Brownface Service

We can get your brownface Fender amp sounding and performing better than it ever has. As part of the standard maintenance/tune-up service, we clean all pots, jacks & switches, clean & re-tension all tube sockets, test all tubes, bias power tubes, tighten all pots, jacks, switches & transformers, and give the entire circuit an exam.

We pride ourselves in restoring your vintage Fender to tip top condition, sounding better than it ever has, while maintaining the integrity of the original circuit.

A full electrolytic recap is often required in original amps.

As part of the service we dial in the circuit (called blueprinting) – certain key components are replaced if out of spec. This can greatly enhance the sound and performance of the amplifier and brings the circuit to it’s full potential as intended by its designers!

The original blue ‘molded’ signal caps found in the later brownface amps are some of the best caps ever made, regarding tone, performance, and longevity! Those stay in!! If your amp had those caps removed for some unfortunate reason, we can restore the circuit using Jupiter Condenser ‘vintage tone’ series signal capacitors. These sound remarkably close to the original blues. The Yellow Astron caps found in many brownface amps sound great, but performance can be an issue. These caps have a tendency to leak DCV, which can cause performance, stability and noise issues ranging from minor to severe. We have seen amps loaded with yellow Astrons in perfect working condition, and others where every one needed replacement!

Shop rates are $90/hour plus parts. A typical complete servicing takes about 1.5 – 2 hours, and tends to average around $200 – $400 for the full treatment, depending on selection of certain components – NOS or new production carbon comp resistors, tube condition, etc. This estimate allows a new preamp tube or two, but does not include the price of a full re-tube if needed or desired.

We prefer to replace certain resistors that do get noisy over time such as the plate resistors in the preamp, bias board resistor, screen grid resistors on the power tubes, and power drop resistors in the power supply. This ensures a quiet and reliable circuit for years to come. If these resistors are not changed, you’re rolling the dice. They might be quiet for years, or they might get noisy tomorrow! We ‘d rather not see the amp on the bench again any time soon.