Sunday, December 22, 2013

1961 GIbson Skylark Amplifier, $500

Here it is, one of my favorites:

 This is a good one. Boast a Rola Alnico speaker but I'm also offering it with a 50's Jensen C8r. Will post sound samples soon. Amp is re-capped, quiet and can belt out sound much bigger than its 5 watt rating. Interested? Contact me. Perfect for studio use or kicking it at the apartment!

Original transformers, new grounded power cable. I left one signal cap intact, the other was replaced with a leaky one so that had to go. Don't pass on this one!

Here is a bit of its clean tones:
Will post some cranked up sounds soon!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Majic Overdrive pedal

Just built this lil' majic box for a friend. Basic overdrive, perfect for recording at home with your little amplifier. All carbon comp resistors, real Switchcraft jacks and true bypass switch and Mallory 150 caps. Overkill? Yes! But that's the way I like it. Here's a little demo of it to hear with music.....

I sell these babies for $175. On this recording I use my trusty (but noisy!) old Fender Jazzmaster and my lovely little Magnatone amp. No EQ.

Like the playing on bass or guitar? Gimme a gig yo!

Thanks for looking! Jef

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Testimonial from Henry Grimes

The other day I had the honor of working on a bass amp for Henry Grimes. He is one of my heroes. Nice to have him over and his lovely wife Margaret over for tea and soldering! Here is what he had to say:

Jef at Leighton Tube Amplifier Service fixed my Gallien-Krueger bass amp for me! He is a beautiful, wonderful guy, and he fixed the amp and charged us very little money and let us watch him as he worked attentively and sensitively and patiently, concentrating hard on sound and touch. Twice he closed up the amp case, satisfied with what he had done, but then thought of something else he should check and opened it up again and worked some more. We recommend him to the skies! Jef Brown, Leighton Tube Amplifier Service, Williamsburg section of Brooklyn near the river.

Peace, Jef

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kalamazoo Model 1

Here is a gritty looking amp that is in my favorite power range, roughly 5 watts from a single EL-84 tube. This amp was in tatters and didn't work when it came in. Needed a re-cap, it hummed. Was missing some parts as well.
These amps are usually a bargain. They boast a 10" speaker and can cost as little as a modern GA-5 or new Champion from Fender.

The screen resitor was burnt, being it's 1/2 watt this is not unusual. It was also melting the anode wire on the output transformer.

You can see how the paint is discolored in the middle. I relaced it with a 3.3k 3 watt wirewound:
This baby will never burn out in a million years. A little excessive yes but I like things that are reilable.

Took out the old filter cap:
And replaced it with 2 axial caps:
These are silicon glued to the chassis. I used to not like this method but after having worked on amps that other folks did this on with no trouble for over 20 years decided it is okay.

Next replaced the missing 150 ohm cathode bias resistor with a 5 watter:
I put a 22 @50 volt cap across it for hum reduction and a better bass response. You can leave it out but I feel like the amp can stand improvement.

Last thing done was to lift the ground on one end and install 2 100 ohm resitors as a hum balance between the heaters and ground. A trick I learned on these from a really thankfully picky and pushy customer. Amp runs quiet now and PACKS A PUNCH!

Play loud, play well! Jef

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

1981 Fender Champ, line out mod

Today we have an '81 Champ, great little amplifier. It came to me to have a simple line out mod installed. There are a couple ways to do this, one which requires drilling a hole in the back of the amp, the other you can simply use input #2 as the output. We opted for this because these lil' amps are valuable now. If you have the option to do a mod so it's completely reversable than I say do it that way.

First the parts needed.

1 2.2K ohm 1/2 watt resistor
1 220-270 ohm 1/2 watt resistor
A piece of shielded cable
Some silicone glue or whatever fastening method works for you.

First here's a photo of the input jack:

What we'll do is remove the yellow wire coming off input jack #2 then seperate the 2 jacks from one another.

Next locate the speaker output jack:

You will then solder the 2.2k ohm resistor to the hot coupled with the 220-270 ohm resistor to ground.
You will notice that I'm using 2 470 ohm resitors in parallel to make one resistor that is approximately 235 ohms. Under normal circumstances I would of course use the proper part but that part is stuck in a snowstorm somewhere between Texas and here! Customer needs this tomorrow so sometimes you just need to make it work!

Next take a piece of shielded cable and connect the center to the 2 resistors. On the other end of the cable connect the shield to ground on the #2 jack and the center to the tip.

You are done. Give the amp a good socket and pot cleaning and button it up!

This is a great little mod that I personally use with my Magnatone Varsity amp. I've  since given up overdrive pedals cause there is no comparison to the real thing! I plug into the Magnatone and out of there I can go directly into whatever big amp the house has. Pure, HUGE, tube tone! Try it!

And of course, before you do any of this, please bleed the filter caps. They can contain lethal voltage even with the amp unplugged. If you don't feel comfortable doing this take your amp to a tech who knows what they are doing!

Peace, JB

Saturday, December 7, 2013

1961 Gibson GA-5 Skylark

Here is an amp I picked up last week, one of my favorites. A 61 Gibson Skylark. It's the model closest to a tweed Champ and in my opinion has a bigger sound, I like these much better and they cost half the dough.

I bought this on Ebay and didn't read the description thoroughly till later. When I did read it I regretted it, I knew it was as is but didn't read it had a bad power transformer. I wouldn't have bought it knowing that. But.... turns out it's perfectly fine. The bolts were missing so the transformer buzzed horribly. Put new bolts in ans it's dead quiet. There was no sound and that was solved by re-soldering the leads from speaker terminals to the voice coil. It has a decent sounding old "Realistic" speaker made in the 70's. Sounds nice with my old Vega hollow body.

I'll update as I do the restoration. When this is ready it will have new filter caps and a real Jensen speaker. I'll be selling it for $550. Hard to part with cause these are so easy to fall in love with. Perfect bedroom amp or studio amp though they belt out the volume way beyond that little flea power 5 watt rating.

Friday, December 6, 2013

And I'm here to serve NYC now!

Hi all. I'm here to serve New York with your tube amplifier needs. This blog is under construction so more to come! For now enjoy the music!

Yeah, that's a great sounding amp! I made it.....