We can get your vintage Tweed era 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 (where applicable), 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.
An electrolytic recap is often required in original amps.
Our approach to the tweed amp is a little different than other later Fenders. There is a certain mojo in these older components, and we like to keep these amps as original as possible! But there is a fine line between playability/reliability and ‘museum piece’.
We like to perform the necessary maintenance first, then see how the amp sounds and performs! Tweed amps all seem to have their own personality, in part shaped by the decades of component drift among other considerations. If the amp sounds great with minimal servicing, we leave it as is! If it sounds weak or ‘wrong’, we’ll dig in and ‘blueprint’ where necessary.
The vintage Astron signal caps in the tweed amps are a 50/50 crapshoot – they might be in perfect working condition or they might be ‘leaking’ DCV and require replacement. If replacement is necessary, we like to use Jupiter ‘vintage tone’ capacitors as replacements. They are the closes sounding modern production cap to the old Astrons! We also install Jupiter capacitors to restore your tweed amplifier if it happens to be loaded with cheap non-original signal caps.
Tube sockets are a big consideration in tweed amplifiers. The sockets used in these amps were held in place with rubber gromits – many of which have simply disintegrated away over the years! This leaves you with a very loose and ‘wiggly’ tube socket… often causing stability and reliability issues. It is also becoming common to see broken metal tabs inside the sockets – the thin metal connectors have simply aged to the point of breaking! We take into consideration many factors here. If you want a ‘museum piece’ amp that will not be moved too much, we’ll keep the original sockets in whenever we can. If you are a gigging musician who needs his/her tweed to be as solid and reliable as possible, new tube sockets and tube clamps will be recommended.
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, tube socket 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.
If you have the original speaker in your tweed amp, you might consider a replacement. I have blown a few original vintage speakers in my own personal tweed amps – the 60 year old paper can only take so much! Many players like to remove and store the original working speaker to have on hane in original, working condition. This helps maintain the value of your tweed amplifier while allowing you to really play your amp and get those magical tones tweed amps are famous for!
Leather handle replacements are also available (and often requested).
Please contact us with any questions.