Interesting amp adventure

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Interesting amp adventure

Postby playingdead » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:57 pm

At the risk of overpopulating, since I just put this up on Gearheads ...

My band played a gig at Harpers Ferry in Boston last Friday; we walked on stage at 10 pm, nice big crowd (350 or so), picked up my guitar and my Twin head was dead in the water, lights on, tubes glowing, but no output.

First, I panicked, then I ran out to the car where I keep a Crate PowerBlock, a little $99 solid stage portable head, 150 watts bridged, the thing is teeny. I plugged it in (luckily, I keep a Holy Grail reverb on my pedal board), and connected it to my cabinet with the two JBLs. I had never tried it before.


I was thinking, this is going to sound thin and terrible, but to my surprise, it sounded pretty good, although I found out later that the cabinet ohms were too low for the head, so it cut out on me when I pushed it hard. After a couple of songs, I went back to the Twin and miraculously got it working, and it stayed for the rest of the night. It's being repaired now.

The morale of the story, to me, was that I was so uptight about not having the expensive, modified "magic Jerry" Twin head for the gig, yet when I heard the board recording, I was surprised to find that while the sound was very clean with no tube warmth, it actually sounded fine. So, a lot of the tone seems to be in the combo of the DiMarzios and the JBL E-120s, as well as your fingers. Maybe I need to carry less gear ... LOL.

Anyway, here's video of the first tune with the Crate head, you can see it cut out on me on the second guitar solo (watch the blue jewel light behind me), with me fumbling with the guitar knobs, and also during the power chords right before the end of the song.

http://www.playingdead.net/aiko2.mp4

In comparison, here's a Cumberland from later in the set, with the Twin, although I played the Tiger in bridge/humbucker mode, so not the best A/B comparison.

http://www.playingdead.net/cumberland3.mp4

Vic
Last edited by playingdead on Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dozin » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:39 pm

Your links don't work Vic.

I can only imagine your panic attack when you security of the twin went down. You don't know what caused it?
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Postby playingdead » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:46 am

Oops ... I fixed the links above, they should work now.

No idea yet; I dropped the head off at Aztech in Boston, will report when I get it back.

Our next gig isn't till 4-11 in Killington VT, so I hope I have it back; if not, I have a mid-90s Groove Tubes Soul-o 75 head which is basically a Trio preamp with a tube power section. That would be interesting to hear as well, I haven't tried it with the JBLs.
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Postby I'm on the Bozo Bus » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:07 am

PlayingDead,
Smart move keeping the spare with you. As mentioned previously ad nasium, I haven't played in a band in many moons, however even when I bust out of my man cave to jam with a friend, I will carry one of my two '64 DR's and a SS Line 6 Spyder II ... I think that is what it's called.. The Line 6 is a bit thin and tinney as all of my settings on my XT live are configured for the DR's in stereo... Maybe that is why the XT has those knobs for gain and tone... duh...

I also picked up a Boss 64 DR pedal. Being VERY snobish about "Gimme glass or I'll pass", I am impressed with the pedal. It can make the thin Line 6 amp sound almost as warm as the real deal. I only use it when I'm playing through the Line 6.
FWIW.... It may serve you well to have that or the similar Bassman pedal to put in front of the Power Block.
PEACE,
Phil
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Postby strumminsix » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:24 am

Phil, I prefer: No glass, no class :lol:

But everywhere I go I carry a 2U soft gator rack.

In the front is a TubeWorks poweramp.
In the back is a POD XT bean (preamp, FX & tuner).

Best back-up I can imagine having.
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Postby GratefulPat » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:34 am

you guys are good as hell...
Comes a time, when the blind man takes your hand and says "dont you see?"
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Postby tigerstrat » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:27 pm

cool story, Vic! You say the Crate backup failed momentarily as well?

surprised it would be an impedance issue... are they two 8ohm speakers in parallel? that's a normal load for a Twin.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby playingdead » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:36 pm

The Crate's protection circuitry was cutting out the power when I was really hitting it hard because it wanted to see 8 ohms minimum bridged mono, and I had it feeding a 4 ohm cab. I was loud onstage that night. Oops.

I just got the call from the amp place, they said a preamp output lead on the Twin was flopping around loose inside the head and that might have caused a short. There was also a couple of suspect caps in there, and a few solder joints to be cleaned up.

I also just picked up a used Trio preamp and might look for a one-space solid state power amp, anyone have any good suggestions?
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Postby tigerstrat » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:42 pm

d'oh- I see now you were referring to the load as applied to the PowerBlock.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby strumminsix » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:47 pm

playingdead wrote:I also just picked up a used Trio preamp and might look for a one-space solid state power amp, anyone have any good suggestions?


How much power?
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Postby waldo041 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:26 pm

since you have the holy grail. this may be might be pretty decent backup. a buddy has one and it is about the size of an older camcorder.

http://www.orangeamps.com/tinyterror/


peace,
waldo
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Postby playingdead » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:33 pm

That's a cool little amp, too!
Last edited by playingdead on Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby playingdead » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:34 pm

strumminsix wrote:How much power?


Enough to drive the 2 E-120s to stage volumes ... 100-200 watts? What do you guys think? I don't want to haul around a Mac, though!
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Postby strumminsix » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:20 pm

playingdead wrote:
strumminsix wrote:How much power?


Enough to drive the 2 E-120s to stage volumes ... 100-200 watts? What do you guys think? I don't want to haul around a Mac, though!


Hmmm, finding a good 200W amp in a single rack space may prove to be difficult. I'll keep my eyes and ears open.

Are you concerned with weight or available space?

I've seen many 2U guitar poweramps that are very shallow.
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Postby playingdead » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:26 pm

Space and weight, both ... I'd like to keep it all in a four-space rack if I can, Trio takes two, power conditioner and/or tuner ..

ART has a 1-space, but I might look for something used.

I'm concerned about the ohms, though, most of these power amps seem to have 8 ohm minimums to run them bridged in mono, and my cabinet is two E-120s which equals four ohms.
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