Ethan, one of John's clients, with his Impact Amp Head after receiving it back after repair by Champ Electronics.
Probably the biggest "Buzz" that I get from repairing and modifying vintage amps is from the pleasure and satisfaction that owners display when I re-unite them with their amps after I have finished working on them. Many of them are kind enough to write to me after they have had chance to use the equipment back in their own homes or on stage, and provide me with their impressions of my work. I am naturally very proud to receive such testimonials, some recent ones of which I display below.
From Phil - The First Of Four Champ CBA-600 Watt Mono-Block Reggae Power Amplifiers - February 2014
Couldn't resist going around my unit and giving it a little run up. F##king hell - wasn't prepared for that! Sounds absolutely stunning - full of warmth and tone with stacks of headroom. Place was shaking a goodun and I was hardly pushing it. Got to watch those drivers though. I'm going to give her a harder run over the next couple of days. This amp/quad Goodmans speaker combo is sounding better than I'd hoped. Nice job! Cheers Phil.
....and some time later after receiving the second of the four amps (May 2014).
Hello John. Quick update on the first hard session for the first two amps together. A complete success! Each one drove 4 x 200 watt 18" Goodmans and was f*****g thrashed for 7 hours hard & solid....non stop! They never missed a beat and sounded sweet as a nut all night! Good Job!!
Best regards & thanks again.....looking forward to the next two! Phil.
From Edward In France - The Making Of A Champ CBA-300+300 Stereo Power Amplifier - December 2013
Hi John, How are you?
I had my "testing" session yesterday with the amp...2 x 18" Fane on each channel running in 4 ohms...the result was "breathtaking"! Kind of....each channel was running half volume ....what a heat, what a round warm attacking sound....! I feel really blessed with this amp. Someone told me that you were on top of the "valve pyramid" & that I couldn't find no better builder than you...this I CONFIRM!!!
My musical life has changed right now....."some people dream mentaly, I dream through my ears"...you know what I mean John. So long I was waiting for such a power valve amp....I am still feeling yesterday night sound emotions!! What an amp.... simply amazing!!
Thank you so much John. Valvely yours. Edward.
From Robert - Re-build Of An RTVC Amplifier [Home Made?] - November 2013
re the RTVC amp with 2 x 6L6 valves. Just a note to say that after a nightmare journey out of Nottingham (where are all the road NUMBER signs? All I could find were signs directing me to Derby along numberless roads... and I didnít want to go to Derby) I got home and after a day or two of reminding the cats who I was etc, I fired up the BEAST and it is WONDERFUL!
Itís much better than I remember the original RTVC design being. Iíve found an old Rola-Celestion which is even older than Bruce Forsytheís jokes and Iíll be using that on it, I think. The Carlsboro tone controls work wonderfully and Iíve tried it on a guitar and that sounds fine too.
I vandalised an old 19Ē rack pre-amp that has NEVER worked properly, and used its casing to make a steel base for the amp. Just to be on the safe side, Iíve cut a match-box size hole in it just over the choke connectors so I wonít accidentally short them to earth. It is now as stable as Vannessa Feltzís backside. And twice as attractive.
Thanks for all your efforts, you certainly know your stuff, and it was worth the journey to get the amp working perfectly, after the courierís attempts to destroy it & It was very nice to meet you, thanks..
From Al - Genz Benz Amplifier - October 2013
Hi John and Merv!,
I thought I'd best give you a quick update on how things are with the Genz Benz....
Well I'm pleased to report that it's so far so good, touch wood! It's back to sounding fricking awesome again, and I've played it for over an hour with no problems which is just about the longest I've ever managed. Although I've only had it up to a sociable volume at home so far (about 9 o'clock on the pre amp volume and 10 o'clock on the master), but it'll get a run out with the band soon so I'll send a further update after that.
Thanks so much both of you for all your hard work sorting it yesterday, and I hope you enjoyed your carvery because you deserved it!
Speak soon and cheers again lads! Take care, Al :-)
From Tony - Watkins/WEM V-Front Dominator - September 2013
Firstly I just want to say a big thank you for the Dominator you did for me (black panel) a while back - just got it back from Howard (he put a couple of 'new' Alnicos in it I'd got) - it sounds amazing: the tremolo is stunnning.
One question: can all V-front Doms have such a good tremolo or is it just that early model? The reason I ask is I've got two later ones and the Trem's nothing like as deep/rich...
Anyway, thanks a million. Best regards, Tony.
From Mark - Carlsbro TC60 & Rosewell Amplifiers - September 2013
I just wanted to drop you a line about the amps. First of all they are both really sweet now.
The Carlsbro sounds wonderful, it works just as you said it would with pedals and I think will become my main live amp as it is so versatile with pedals. I use several od pedals to shape my live tone from a 57 tweed for the Fenderish moments through to a ZVEX Box of Rock for the Plexi tones. The amp responds really well and when left clean sounds really sweet. Hardly any hum from it and a real pleasure to play.
The Rosewell is singing along, it sounds great with both Les Paul and Strat and now really gives me the sound I always wanted from it.
Thanks for taking care of them so well and I shall be back with the next batch for service soon!
All the best, Ray.
From Ray - Laney LH50 - August 2013
Hi John & Mervin,
Firstly, it was great to meet Merv this time round, a great guy. The Laney LH50-11 head (the LC50-11 head to me) has surpassed all expectations after it's little service and conversion to my favourite valves KT77's. Buying second hand can sometimes be asking for trouble and as this model is quite hard to locate these days it can certainly be a gamble. I'm happy to report that the amp is a perfect replacement for my LC50 combo in the bigger venues and as the combo hasn't had a service since 2008 I think I'll be giving you a call in the near future.
Thanks once again for such great service (and tea making skills).
All the best, Ray.
From Riccardo In Italy - Simms-Watt 100 Watt Head Serviced & Converted From Ultra-Linear To Tetrode Connected - July 2013
Hope all is well with you. I apologise for the long time since my last e-mail. I have had the chance to both play and record guitar and bass with the Simms-Watts. It is a unique amp, it has a tightness (for lack of a better word) that I have not heard in any other amp. Punchy would be a close enough descriptive word!
Well done and thanks again for your work.
From Tom - Selmer TnB 50 Mk2 - June 2013.
Just wanted to let you know what a fantastic job you have done with my Selmer TnB Mk2. The tone is fantastic!!!! I've not owned the amp for very long but really liked the unique tone it has. However since you brought it back to A1 condition its even better than I imagined it possibly could be. It was a pretty quiet amp before but now its the quietest amp I've played!
The tone and sound of amp in general (especially vintage) is a very subjective at best and can be argued that people in general (especially guitarist) hear with their eyes first and in reality can hear little or no difference. Sometime this can be true, but this is not the case with the Selmer that you serviced as even my next door neighbor commented on how nice and grunty it sounded on a test run. He ain't no musician but had to come round and see what was making that beautiful twang!
I used it at the Sheffield gig and it sounded awesome!!! Loads of bottom end with spanking crisp end! A lot of people commented on its sound! I don't know how, but you've allowed me to get much more expression out of it now!. You're a master craftsman and you're workmanship on this amp has given me absolute confidence that it is running safely and sounding as good as can be.
Thanks so much for going the extra mile with this amp.
Kindest regards, Tom.
From Bob - Mesa Boogie Maverick - May 2013
Just to let you know that I used the Maverick a couple of weeks ago at the Newark Blues Festival and it performed and sounded great.
From Brian - Selmer T&B 50 - April 2013
Just letting you know the amp seems in good order. I havent had chance to 'crank' it yet but the tone sounds good to me from what I've heard so far. Thanks for making such a good job of it, I appreciate it. I will get the little lamp posted off ASAP, havent got round to swapping it yet. Hope you had a good xmas?
From Jim - Mesa Boogie Nomad - March 2013
Thanks for fixing the Nomad for me. It definitely sounds good (and somewhat different I think). I haven't been able to use it at a gig yet, but I'm sure it'll be OK.
Thanks again for the effort and good service,
From John - 1962 Vox AC10 TV Front - January 2013
Just a note to say thanks again to you & Merv for sorting the Vox.
All the best, John.
From Philip - Laney LC30 + Line 6 Spider - September 2012
Hi John and Merv.
Just a quick thank you for doing such a great job on the two amps I brought in recently. The Laney LC30 will now run for more than 15 mins without failing and the Line 6 Spider Valve sounds like new again. Those valves you recommended are the dogs! It was a real pleasure to deal with you, and should I need an amp sorting out again....you'll be top of the list.
Till next time, many, many thanks. Phil.
From Santiago - Triumph/Johnson 5 Watt Combo - June 2012.
Hi John, I got the amplifier yesterday and tried it out when I got home. You've done an amazing job.
The amp had gone through many mods in the past (many of them rather shoddy), so untangling and understanding them must have been quite a lot of work in itself.
The tremolo mod is brilliant, I like this valve tremolo a lot and being able to change the depth allows me to get much more extreme or subtle effects. I get a lot more out of this effect than I could before. I think for people who have this amp this mod is a must.
The treble boost is very nice and sounds really different to the results you get by turning the treble button up. The amp is normally quite "dark", but the treble boost gives it a completely different sound, which is fantastic, it's like having an additional amp!. Again, your detective work in finding out what that switch was for and making it operational was great.
I have not tried the speaker out connector yet, but it's something I'm looking forward to. The original tiny speaker is part of the charm of the amp but it is nice to have the possibility of using other speakers from time to time. I see some nice old PA cabs at carboot sales from time to time and this way I can get a few different tonal flavours quite cheaply.
As for the rest of the work (twin inputs restored to functionality, new screws, rubber feet, correct period chicken head knob), it just shows your attention to detail and concientiousness. So many thanks for doing this, I will have a lot of fun with this amp and it will certainly make its way into my recordings. I will put them up in my website when I do: http://soundcloud.com/otherdays
From Tim - Selmer T&B 50 Mk2 - June 2012
Thanks very much for rushing to finish the Selmer today. I just tried it and it is massively improved. The treble channel is also much more balanced now and the overall noise level is lower too!
A job well done, thanks.
From Tanya - Matamp GT200 - June 2012
Just a quick email again to thank you for fixing my GT200. It's sounding great and the tone is perfect and loud. Cheers for the speedy turn around too, it was very much appreciated. When my Sound City B120 is poorly, I will definitely taken him to you to have a look at as you know your old amps!
Thanks again, Tanya
From Riccardo In Italy - Selmer Treble 'n Bass 50 Mk3 - May 2012
She arrived safe and sound. Noise on the bass channel is non existent, on the treble channel only faintly audible. Very well done, stellar job!
The amp sounds fantastic. I don't know if this is due to the rectifying diode change but it does sound just a tad more compressed. She also has a tad less gain. Needless to say I am very happy with the result. I guess you could play almost any genre, majoring in blues, and Seventies rock and beat, she is the same age as me after all. She is already back into service as I am a firm believer amps should be played rather than collected or looked at.
Needless to say I should pass on your contact to all the valve/tube amplifier aficionados over here in Italy, with amps in need of service or renovation.
From Tom - Bird Brothers Bandstand 100 Watt Combo - May 2012
It's a familiar story to all of us gear heads. Late at night I found a very interesting amp listed on eBay as "mid 60's combo amplifier". It had been recovered at some point in its life but still sported its original 15" "Bird Brothers" branded speaker and seemed all good. I couldn't find much out about the amp but I ended up winning the auction and waiting tensely for it to arrive. It was a little battered from the postie when I received it but I fired it up and it had lovely cleans and just a touch of distortion.
I was in a funk/rock band at the time and was really keen to crank it up. I played a couple of gigs and on the second one, a fuse blew and so began all the problems! It was never right after that and would squeal and crackle continuously!
After languishing in the house for awhile, I brought it to John to have it sorted. He did some fantastic work whilst I waited, and diagnosed and fixed multiple issues, brought it back up to its full 100w, and in turn back to its beautiful sound! Thanks John!
From Alister - Carlsbro TC60 - April 2012
Hello John, Mervin and Mum,
All I can say about my Carlsbro TC60 is wow and wow again! I just adore the 2nd channel with the response control, that takes away all the harshness from the EL34's. I have had it on playing guitar for a couple of hours today, it's been fine, seems all the problems are solved, thank you so much for your assistance. Even linked the channels too, all good.
From Alan - Fender Tweed Bassman - April 2012
Many thanks to both you & Mervin for the superb job and fast turn-a-round on my '59 Fender Bassman. It really sounds the business once again with the tone seemingly warmer & brighter than ever. I've been playing my Strat' through it all day long & driving my missus mad! I ask you, what else is an old bluesman supposed to do on a wet & miserable bank holiday?
From Jeremy - Marshall TSL122 & Laney LC15R - March 2012
Sorry for taking so long to get back in touch, but just a quick email to let you know the Marshall and Laney repairs have been brilliant. I forgot just how loud the Marshall was, especially running it on a 4 x 12 with the extension cab! Thanks again and Iíll give you a call if anything ever goes pop again!
From Julian - Early 60's Marshall JMP45 - March 2012
I am not a fan of words like "cool" or "awesome" but they're the only words that fit! Thank you so much, this amp has never sounded this good in my experience, in fact it's so good I'm leaving my 360BHP Impreza in the garage this year and spending all the petrol money on cabs, power soaks and the like just to try and do it justice! Might even treat myself to an SG as I've always wanted one and I think now could be just the time. Any chance of a copy of the build photos?
Thank you both, regards,
From Simon - 60's American Ristuacrat Record Player Amp - March 2012
It's Simon here with the Ristuacrat dial-o-matic record player. I have got a new cartridge from America and it now sounds great!
Thanx for a great job.
From Richard - Vox AC50 Head - February 2012
Only had chance to have a quick plug in and test with a Fender Tele. Will give it the full blowout tomorrow when I don't have to worry about disturbing the neighbours! I can tell it's working great already though, and you're right there's a lot more power. Taking it out to a gig on Saturday. I shall lobby to get that extra speaker in the cab. Will get back to you when I've had a proper go on it.
Many Thanks indeed
And a few days later......
Did the gig with the vox last night. Running very nice indeed. It's louder now as I said before but the other thing I noticed compared to before it broke is how much quieter it is. Before I plugged my bass in to try it, I thought for a moment I'd forgot to plug the speaker cab in! So very good work indeed. The other lads were very impressed and said they'd like to use you for all the Fab 4's future amp work if that's ok with you?
Thanks again and all the best, Richard
From Andrew - Champ CBA 200/200 Stereo 8 x KT88 Amp - August 2011
"I wanted to replace a 400 watt valve amp that I had custom-built back in the early seventies but hadn't owned for many years. Searching on the internet, I could find what I can only call gimmick designer amps and second hand guitar heads; not really what I was looking for. Just as I was about part with a lot of money for a little amp that seemed to be the only choice I could find, I stumbled across a picture of a 1000 watt valve amp and followed the links to John's website.....Wow what a result!
I phoned John to see if he could help me. He knew exactly what I wanted as he had made many amplifiers like this over many years. When I asked him meekly if he would build one for me, he said "yes....no problem" and the "CBA 200/200" was realised!
During the build, John emailed me with regular photo and textual information on the progress, and with his ideas. Also with regular phone conversations taking place, John involved me at every stage. We live about 150 miles apart but I could have been sitting next to him in his workshop...extraordinary inclusion and a real privilege/added value. I met John for the first time when the amp was completed and ready for collection and, yes the rumours are true......he does make a lovely cup of tea!
What a great amp he has built! The thing that leaps out is the quality of workmanship, with the tidiest wiring I have ever seen. It's robust, with no hums or hisses even when turned up to max...and that's even with an open circuit input! The care taken at every stage is extraordinary; John is a conscientious craftsmen who takes great pride in his work and he is a lovely fella, which is not something you get with most things these days. At the moment the amp is hooked up to 2 x 18" drivers / 4 x 15" drivers / 2 x horns and will easily handle double that. With plenty of power, it covers all the desired ranges Hi & Low. My vinyl has not sounded this good for a long time!
I am extremely pleased with the amp that John has built for me, and what a great guy whom I now consider as a good friend. If you need anything related to valve technology be it hardware or knowledge, John is the man you need to speak to (no time wasters please), and be nice!
From Steve - 1961 Vox AC30 Combo - July 2011
"Hi John. Yet another superb job carried out on one of my amps. This one hadn't been used for many years when I found it a few weeks ago, and internally it really did need sorting. You methodically worked through all the caps and resistors and changed a high percentage, re-wound the choke which was smoking rather drastically, checked everything else, and generally put the old girl back to rights. She now sounds as well.......maybe even better......than she did when new.
You certainly know your Voxes!
Once again, many thanks. Steve
From Kyle - Selmer Zodiac 30 Combo - July 2011
"Hi John. The amp sounds absolutely amazing! Thanks for your help. Found it very interesting watching you work and detecting / correcting the faults. I fancy getting something old and broken and having a mess around myself.
If you do come across any old Vox's for sale in the future please let me know.
From Pete - West Fillmore Bass 200 - July 2011
"Hey John, just wanted to say thank you for spending time with me on Friday and going through the ohmage maths for the West Fillmore. I am so pleased you managed to bring the West Fillmore back to life. It now produces the most incredible tones, and is true to the name given to it in the 70s, 'the earsplitter'. It doesn't get much louder than this other than maybe an Ampeg SVT, or V9.
Thank you so much again, there is a very good reason I use you John, it's simply down to one fact, other than that you are good guy, you are undoubtedly the best amp tech in the UK!
From Matt - VamPower 100 Watt head Mk1 - June 2011
"Dear John, I haven't had a good chance to try out the Vampower until today, so I'm really sorry I haven't got back to you sooner.
It's way beyond my expectations! I love the clean sound through the bass channels and the lead channels, there's so much scope there. But when I threw the 'bite' control on I was floored! It's an incredible amp. The Vampower tone is now there!!
When I bought the amp, I was really disappointed. I thought the Vamp tone would be there, it wasn't. It was underpowered, the tone was dull and the 'bite' control sounded like the worst overdrive in the world. Thank god you took the project on. You've made it sound like it should, and it probably hasn't sounded this good since the early seventies! It's the best amp I've owned by a very long way, and that's all down to you (and Dave Roffey of course!). I really can't thank you enough. Thanks for all the updates and photos showing me the progress you were making along the way. You obviously have a great passion and understanding of valve/tube amplification, and to have you work on my amp has been an honour.
Best regards, Matthew Holden."
From Jerry - Vox AC30 - May 2011
Thanks for your help yesterday. I tried the AC30 today and it sounds great. One of the best sounding ones I have owned. Vibrato/trem set up to perfection!
Thanks again & best regards, Jerry."
From Ian - Rare Selmer Zenith Head - April 2011
"Hello, this is Ian from Bolton; sorry for the delay but this has been the first week I've been able to get back to you.
Anyway, to the Selmer - it's nothing short of spectacular. It was always a good reliable amp until the power transformer burnt out in 2005 (even though in 1990 it was run for 1/2 an hour with no speaker plugged in by an IDIOT I leant it to at school who didn't know shit from clay!), still gigged it for another 15 years... then in 2008 I had it rebuilt it for 385 quid, with the new transformer and reverb tank, and those weird bottles that you pointed out (should have been EL34's I think you said).
At that time the guy said it had been converted to a master volume and that the soldering was 'disgusting' and had I done it!! (no) so he re-soldered it (we have no idea who converted it, he said it had been redesigned but was done OK). I had asked him if while it was in bits he could convert it to valve rectification, but he said it would be a 'radical re-design and too expensive'. Although I'm not an engineer, I felt in my heart this was wrong. So then when a channel started to crackle after only one gig I looked around for someone else to do the work, and found your website, then you did the amp, and here we are.
After getting the amp back from you with the conversion to the GZ34 tube recitifier and general service....I am well pleased with everything. Many thanks for the good work.
From Andy - Vox AC30 Head - April 2011
Apologies for the delay replying, had a really busy weekend...
Firstly, thanks so much for fitting the repairs in over a day and a bit, it was really convenient to be able to drop off and collect the amp whilst I was in the area!
I had the amp fired up yesterday- it sounded absolutely brilliant, even at about a third volume (I haven't got it into the rehearsal room yet...)!! All the hums, hisses and pops have gone, and I can tell from my limited testing that it's loads louder and cleaner than it's ever been in the 20 years I've owned it. I recently had my stock Fender Jaguar pickups upgraded, and my little marhsall combo wasn't doing them any great justice. Through the AC30, they sound excellent.
My next job is to get some decent speakers into the cab, but for now I'm really pleased with the results. I can't wait to get it into the rehearsal room and turn it up loud!! I'm hoping to get in later this week, so I'll try and give you a call then while the amp is in front of me.
Thanks again John, it was a pleasure meeting someone who obviously has such a passion for bringing these old and abused bits of kit back to life.
From Rupert - Fender Blues Junior - March 2011
I got a chance to mess about with Blues Junior today and to try out the in/out cable on my Music Man combo too.
The Blues Junior does sound a lot nicer with that mid tone mod. I can hear a big difference with taking the mid clean out for a classic Fender scooped sound and the reverb is nice to have now too. I haven't tried the DI out you fitted yet; but I'm sure that will be fine when I need it.
The lead works a treat too. I need to work out which effects will work best in the loop and which best driving the front of the amp. That loop does what it says it should so I'm happy.
So thanks for all the work,
From Robert In The USA - Selmer Zodiac 50 Power & Pre-amp Chassis' Only - February 2011
The amp arrived yesterday and I've added a three prong plug to it. I didn't think it would show up so fast. Wow! I can't begin to describe how cool this amp sounds, it's got a unique sound and feel to it. I can't see myself picking up a Vox anytime soon with this around, not to mention all the tonal options the push-buttoms provide.
The work you did on the amp is fantastic, it sounds great for a 46 year old amp. I figure you must be busy so I won't bother you much more, but thank you very much for bringing this amp up to full health.
Best Regards, Robert. "
From Dave - Fender Princeton - February - 2011
Played the amp last night. Crackle has disappeared. Thanks very much. I'm just praying it doesn't resurface. Amp sounds much the same, but runs nice and quiet. No sound until 2 or 3 on the volume, but the amp was that way before and it isn't a problem as it gets plenty loud enough plenty soon enough.
Nice little amp - I like Princetons; spot on for home use. Speakers always crap out when they get too loud, but I don't play overdriven nowadays anyway. Just wish it was a UK voltage model! Top job again, thanks very much, Dave."
From Andrew - Traynor YSR1 - January 2011
"Hi John First of all, apologies for not getting in touch sooner - things are manic at home and at work and I'm knackered!
I've only had time to try the amp twice (only in the house so not tremendously loud) but early impressions are it sounds really good. I haven't even thought of attempting to try out the alternative caps - the lower mids give it a really warm and full tone just as it is and I don't want to do anything that might compromise that.
Also it breaks up really nicely now, not unlike an old Marshall despite the tone circuit differences. For that reason I haven't tried the spare 'cleaner' valve either. If I remember right you said substituting the valve would affect both channels (have I got that right?), if it only cleaned up, say, channel 1 I might give it a go but I wouldn't want to lose the nice crunch on channel 2.
The other thing is the distortion pedal sounds really good through it now - not jagged like before so all in all I'm pretty pleased with it. The reverb seems better too, still not brilliant as a reverb but good as a gain boost. Replacing that will have to be a future project.
I'll leave you in peace now John, many thanks for what you've done, really appreciated. Cheers for now, Andy.
Cheers bud, hopefully see you soon. Andy."
From Steve - Watkins Dominator And Mesa-Boogie Duel Rectifier Blue Angel Combo's - October 2010
"Hi John, thanks for all your recent work on my WEM Dominator and the Mesa-Boogie. I tried your suggestion with the Boogie and it sounds much better when I run the 6V6's at 4 ohms so the plate load of the valves are correct, it gives me more clean headroom and at higher volumes the breakup is more defined and less muddy! I havent tried taking 2 of the EL84's out in Simul-Synk mode yet but I will do over the weekend and let you know?
Again, thank you for your time and the education on valve plate loads etc. Be safe, Steve."
From Don - Italian FBT LB-250 Small 15 Watt Combo - October 2010
"John, the amp is a treat! Haven't tested the D.I. yet but it plays well. Also feels loads safer! Enjoyed the chat on Friday. Would like to talk with you for longer, so hopefully on my next trip!
All the best, Don."
From Andy - Ampeg SVT Classic - September 2010
"Hi John. Just a quick note to let you know amp sounded sweet on Saturday, back to her old self!!! Once again thanks for all your help and very quick response, you got me out of trouble nicely!!!
Cheers bud, hopefully see you soon. Andy."
From Pete - 3 Amps - Sunn Model T, Sunn 2000S & An Impact/Status 120 - August 2010
"Hi John, just to let you know the amps sound absolutely incredible! I compared the Model T to my other Mk1 Model T from the same early Seventies era and it's spot on. Impact sounds punchy and so much bass, it had the side handles on my 8x8 Ampeg cab jumping up and down, and that was on four!! The 2000S actually sounds like a bass amp now, loads of volume and the tone is phenomenal. So well done, another good job done. We're heading out today to see if we can buy another Impact by Status 120, we know where one is, it all comes down to price. See you very soon I hope. Cheers, Pete."
From Bags - Marshall 9100 Head - June 2010
You fixed my Marshall 9100 valve power amp (the one Marshall hadn't wired up properly!) and it's a beauty now!
Best regards, Bags."
From Declan - Selmer Zodiac Twin Fifty Full Restore - June 2010
I realised I'd not emailed you for some time after picking up the Selmer. It sounds incredible, absolutely blows the bollocks off any other amp I've owned. The attention to detail and quality of restoration is second to none.
Again thanks very much for your work on it and I hope to do it justice with some recordings.
Thanks again, Declan."
From Jake - Vox V15 Combo - June 2010
"Hi John. Sorry itís taken a while to get back to you but itís been hectic since getting back from Oz. Once again the job you did on the Vox is a cracker. I havenít had a chance to use the D.I. output yet but iím sure it does what it says on the tin. I used the amp straight away at a gig and also on a recording and the tone and volume are right up to scratch with no pops or whistles. Basically the amp is performing beautifully. Youíre definitely the man I trust with amps around here!
Thanks again. Jake."
From Chris - Linear L45A Little Baby Single-Ended Mono Amp - May 2010
"Dear John. Thanks for all your hard work and the care you have taken with my Linear. Thanks especially for the photos, I wish my workbench was as tidy as yours! I might even take a photo as well to show you the unit in-situ.
Thanks again. Regards, Chris."
From George In Southern Ireland - Klemt-Echolette Showstar Guitar Head - May 2010
"Hi John. I have tried the Echolette on a Marshall 4x10 cab and it sounds great. Thanks again for your expertise.
Best wishes. George."
From Jake - Marshall JMP Master Volume Combo / Service & Slight Mod - May 2010
"John, Hi. Just a quick word to let you know what I think of the 6L6 valve change that you made to my Marshall JMP Master Volume amp that you fixed last week.
In a word - wonderful !! I hadn't actually played the amp for several years so, I'm relying on my memory of what I think it used to sound like, but I'd say it sounds smoother and more even than it did before. There's not quite as much bass and there's definitely less 'bark' to the sound, but what there is is a more even mid-range and a sweeter top end. It gives that AC/DC 'raunch' - sort of clean but distorted as well - straight out of the box without any pedals. For the first time in my life I've actually managed to make a Strat sound passable without being too spikey, and humbuckers just add an extra bit of girth.
Overall I really like it. I haven't played it at gig volumes yet to see how it reacts when cranked up, but I'm hoping for good things. In fact I'm considering buying some spare 6L6s off you while you've still got them!
Anyway, thanks for the work and the advice. Nice one, sir.
From Marek (originally from Czechoslovakia) - Carlsbro CS60 (rare) Bass Head - April 2010
"Hey John! I'd like to thank you for your great work on my amp Carlsbro 60W! It's really the beast of Carlsbro amps; especially this rare one.. When I plugged the guitar into my speaker cab in the house I realized that it would be better go to stage, it's simply very and nicely loud especially with a distortion pedal!
All the best, Marek."
From Phill - 1970's Fender Champ - March 2010
"Hi John. The Champ now sounds absolutely superb........................possibly better than thirty years ago! Fender tone to die for!
Thanks very, very much. Phill."
From John - Linear Diatonic - February 2010
"Hi John. Many thanks for sorting out the amplifier. It is really quiet now as far as hum goes and thank you also for a very pleasant evening. Thanks for all the photos too.
Best wishes, John."
From Steve - Mod on a Fender Music Master Bass Combo - February 2010
"Hi John. Sorry its taken this long to get back to you about the Fender Music Master Bass amp that you modified. It is sounding fantastic with the different valves and the Tone Tubby speaker replacement. Just waiting for Bob now to finish the extension cabs.
Many thanks, Steve."
From Daniele in Switzerland - Regarding Three Amp Heads: Selmer Bassmaster 50; Marshall Superbass; and Vox AC30 - Received January 2010
"Hello John. Hope you're doing well. At last, I found some time to give you some feedback on the 3 amps you did for me around summer 2009. Since then I have spent some time with them, and others have tasted them too!
Selmer Bassmaster Fifty:
Warm and precise tone, but surprisingly lean. I didn't expect it to be that 'polite', being an early british amp. Others describe it as a mix of Fender and Vox, but it isn't quite that fat. It takes pedals very well and is definitely something else. It's like the Beatles before they went worldwide and got badder boys!
Definitely a great, great Marshall sound. Three dimensional, fills the room, raunchy and just lovely huge Rock'n'Roll. I had instant offers from Marshall freaks, but I'll keep it!
Just two words: Truly superb, even for Vintage Vox standards! The most pickiest souls couldn't help but praise this incredible tone!
Many thanks for all the hard work.
From Derek - Regarding A Mod/Fix On A Laney VC30.....Over The Phone! - December 2009
"Hi John. Derek from Eastbourne here (the Laney VC30 Telam tube problem)....resolved, thanks to you. I just had to say again John how grateful I am for the time you took to talk to me on the phone, and how refreshing it is to have had the pleasure of making contact with someone like yourself. You're a star my friend. I'm absolutely positive that the people all over the world that have come in contact with you feel the very same way...all the very best.
From Martin - Regarding A Pair Of Musician OTL Hi-Fi Amps I Serviced/Improved A While Ago - Received November 2009
"Hello John. As the new owner of the Musician OTL amps you worked on a while ago (the ones featured on your website), I feel bound to correct an error in your feature on them. You say at the end of the article "Apparently they sound pretty good now after my work on them".
What you should have said is that they now sound utterly stunning! Seriously, they are among the best amps I have ever heard, which is quite remarkable considering their humble origins. Some of that is surely due to the work you did on them, so this message is just to say........wow, great work! I know who to contact if they ever need work on them again. That's all really.
All the best, Martin."
From Tony - Fender Black-Face Twin - November 2009
"Hi John. Just wanted to say thanks for the work you did on my Twin (the one that had been badly mod-ed). I've now had it at two rehearsals so had a chance to turn it up a bit. The problems that I brought it to you with, the tone circuit and reverb, are completely fixed and I'm happy to say I have had several compliments on tone. I also think it sounds better than when I brought it to you. Maybe it's something to do with having the valves in the right place now!?
I was also very happy with your customer service, letting me know at every step of the way how things were progressing, and having it ready to collect at a time that worked for me. And when it came to the bill, after the amount of work you put in, I thought your prices are very reasonable. So all in all a very happy customer and I would happily recommend you to my friends
All the best, Tony."
From Paul - Fender Blackface Bassman - October 2009
First of all, hope you're well - secondly, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Thanks for doing a great job on the amp and nailing the problem. When I brought it in, we both agreed it was a sick little Bassman. Following your tender ministrations, it now sounds brilliant - full of life and sparkle, loud and punchy. Thanks also for explaining the details of the repair in such clarity and for turning the job around so quickly at such a reasonable price.
I've got some work that needs doing on a Pro Reverb and I'll be in touch in the New Year to fix a date. In the meantime, I'm off to play with the Bassman some more!
Best Wishes to you and your Mum. Cheers, Paul."
From Chris - Gibson Gibsonette Tremolo GA-8T + Fender 1960's Champ Combos - October 2009
Apologies for the delay, didn't get a chance to try the amps until late yesterday. What can I say - absolutely superb as is always to be expected with your work. They both sound fabulous and are ready for another forty to fifty years of playing. Once again many thanks for your hospitality and unbeatable service - if there was a Nobel prize for service to needy amps you would get it!
I've included a couple of pics with the repro Gibson logo which I think really sets the amp off.
Best Regards, Chris."
From Harry - Selmer Thunderbird Thirty Croc-Skin Combo - October 2009
"Dear John. Thank you for the service you undertook on my amp. It really is a great improvement. You are a master craftsman and it was nice to meet you. It was interesting for me to see you do the final touches to the amp, and meet your mother too who is charming.
This morning I was tempted to have a little play with the amp and it is wonderful. I am really pleased with it.
For your interest, I attach a picture of the amp with my 1961 - 4 pickup Burns Black Bison....they are well suited to each other!
Thanks again. Harry"
From Nigel - 1963 Watkins/WEM Westminster 10 Combo - October 2009
"Hi John. Just to say that the amp sounds great. Thanks for your work.
From Kevin - Mesa Boogie Triaxis Rack-Mount Pre-Amp - September 2009
"Dear John. It was lovely to visit last Monday, to see round your workshop and meet briefly with your mum. When I dropped off the Triaxis you were obviously totally snowed under. On Monday you had the time to show me round, to let me see your pride and joy thousand watt amplifier, and to speak to me over a cup of tea with passion about all things valve. You are just like your website. Full of love for the things you do. In this day and age it seems truly rare to find people like you!
The pre-amp works fine and I am grateful that you were able to sort it. When I bought it, I had this idea of a small 'rig' using a one rack unit preamp and a one unit power amp, forgetting that I needed two speaker cabs in any case. It was another year before I bought a power amp to go with it and it was extremely noisy with after doing so. I quickly wished I'd spent the money on a good combo but that's another story.
I must say that when it went down I was dreading getting it fixed. I've seen reports on the web of people sending off Triaxis' to have them returned unfixed. Apparently lots of so called "amp techs" can't do them! I know it was a drag because of the amount of circuitry in a small space that needed dismantling, but I could tell from your site the love and care you put into your work, (even if you might be cursing at the time!). That's a real credit to you.
Thanks again and best wishes to both you and your mum.
Keep well! Kevin."
From Chris - Red Iron 100 Watt KT88 (6550) Bass Head - September 2009
"Hi John. I've had my Red Iron bass amp back for a while now and have been able to give it a good test, including gigging it. I'm really pleased with it. The new transformer works fine, of course, but I'm also really pleased with the extra work that you've done to it. It was lacking in power before, but now it has power to spare, more clarity, and I'm more easily able to control the lovely overdriven sound.
It was interesting and educational to have the repair explained in detail, and helps me appreciate that your work was thorough, top quality, and good value for money.
Thanks again, Chris."
From Bryan - Watkins/WEM Custom 15 - September 2009
"Hi John. I would have emailed you earlier today but I've found it very difficult to put my guitar down! The amp sounds awesome, as expected. I've been playing it all day. Every time I switch her off I hear her calling me and before too long I'm right back there at her feet... It sounded good before you got your hands on it, but there's much more clarity and detail now, particularly when 'digging in'. This amp is so full of character! I could go on and on...
Thanks for doing such a great job and for doing all the right things, like the caps and the power lead etc, and I'm sure those extra bulbs will be a God-send when the time comes. Of course, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to anyone. In fact, I already have! Check out my review of the Watkins Custom 15 on the Harmony Central website (if it's been processed yet...).
Cheers for now, Bryan."
From Jon - Rewind Of A VamPower 100 Watt Head Power Transformer - August 2009
"Hi John, The power TX arrived yesterday. Thanks again for a nice quality re-wind. I was mistaken over the phone... the O/P TX is laminated, not a c-core!.. I will send you some pics when the job is completed, thanks again.
Best Regards, Jon."
From Jon - 1962 Copper-Top Vox AC30 (chassis only) - August 2009
"Hi John. Just fitted the chassis back in, fitted valves etc and fired her up. Sounds beautiful and very good output now on all channels. Another great job you have done, so have a large whisky on me! Sat here at the moment playing on an old 1960 Harmony Meteor 'You really got me' by the Kinks, exact same set up as Dave Davies. Fantastic sound....!
Thanks again for such a great job and packing the chassis well for transit. If I get anymore old amps in, I'll send them your way.
Cheers for now and all the best. Jon."
From Dave - Champ Treboost+ Type 5 (Stomp-Box Version) - July 2009
"Hi John. Sorry for taking a while to get back to you. Iíve been away at a festival all weekend and I am just about recovering now!
As you know from speaking to my wife, the pedal turned up here just fine. I had a quick chance to have a blast on it before I left for the festival and Iím very impressed. I have quite a few different boosters and yours is the definitely the best of the bunch alongside my DAM Red Rooster. I love the option of being able to switch between the 3 transistors and your general build quality is top notch. I canít wait to get down to a rehearsal studio and really open up my Orange head and properly put the Treboost through its paces.
Thanks a lot and if you ever decide to make any other types of pedals then please get in touch with me Ė fuzz pedals are a bit of an obsession for me at the moment. Take care, Dave."
From Andy - Trace Elliot Quatra 200 Watt Rack-Mount Bass Head - July 2009
Many thanks for sorting out the Trace amp and apologies for delay in writing. It has now been put through a good test and is sounding fantastic. In fact, I have had a lot of comments as to the pin sharp clarity and quality of its sound (something that could not be said before my visit!).
I also wanted to comment for anyone reading these emails in your testimonial section that may be thinking of giving you a ring about their amp.......Do not hesitate........Give John a ring. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with John while he checked out my amp, and his attention to detail and workmanship is second to none. An annoying and particularly difficult to find fault in the graphic section was no match for him and by the time I had returned home, John called to let me know it was sorted and running sweet again. One very satisfied customer.
Well, thanks again John for all your help and advice and hope to speak soon. Andy."
From James - Recently received regarding the Champ CBA-500 Prototype Bass Amplifier, which he purchased some time ago in 2007 - July 2009
Thank you very much for your assistance on the phone today, regarding a refresh on setting the bias' on this humongous baby! I got the job done and it was quite easy really (when you have the multi-meter on correct setting!). It still sounds the b******s! As I haven't used her for a while, I'd forgot just how good she is! I ran it today on the P.D. 24" ported cab with 3 six inch tuned ports, with a passive crossover @ 500Hz and with a 1976 Vitavox S3 comp driver that is rated to just 12KHz, amazingly warm full range sound (I like your E.Q. design!). I have never seen a valve amp move the cone on this 24" Precision Devices driver like this mother does!
Anyway, after setting all bias' I let it warm up with a little forced air cooling and after two hours I checked and adjusted the biasing again, although it was still fairly spot on. I've set it to 34 m/v per valve. I managed to get them all set to within half a m/volt of each other. I have worked with all sorts of kit over twenty years or more and your design sounds the best! I'm now thinking I would like to commission you to build another identical one!
Thanks again. James."
From Colin - The Making/Supplying Of A Replacement Wem Dominator Power Transformer - July 2009
Picked up my WEM Dominator yesterday. It is fantastic! Many, many thanks for your wonderful work in making the power transformer. John Gee (who fitted it for me) was full of praise for you - I knew you two would get on like a house on fire...
Many thanks my friend. Colin."
From Aivars - Roost Session Master R50 Combo - June 2009
Sorry I haven't been in touch more recently but I've been just enjoying playing the amp! It's still sounding great. The reverb unit sounds awesome (I'm using that instead of the digital reverb on my Line6 pedal at the moment). The new caps make it really sing even at a low volume; it's great to have it back in working order.
Would recommend your work to anyone with a vintage amp (and I have been!) as the results have blown my expectations out of the water!
Thanks and respect. Aivars."
From Richard - Orange PA120 - June 2009
Just a quick line to thank you for the repair & service you did on my amp. Almost a month ago now...(sorry for the delay - we wanted to give it a good blow out!)............you almost rebuilt the thing; new caps etc, re-soldered the main board, and it sounds sweet.
Thanks again. Richard."
From Alan - Fender Blues Deluxe - June 2009
Just wanted to let you know that my amp sounds great-thanks to you and Merv! I cranked it up to max volume (for a few minutes-neighbours/noise cops and all that!) and boy is it loud! Loud enough to blow my wig off! Thanks again to you and Merv for fixing it so quickly. My only regret with this amp is that you can't plug in headphones, 'cos then I could deafen myself without annoying anyone else!
From Rion In Derry, Ireland - Mid-Seventies Vox AC30 Top-Boost/Reverb - June 2009
The day after the amp landed I had a gig, plugged it in, played it to a sound engineer who is pretty familiar with the amp and we both could not believe the difference on tone from patching the normal/brilliant channel! Our local studio engineer/producer/geek also was shocked with how well it sounded and he normally hates my vintage sound. I'm sure you know yourself that these boys can hear just about anything! On the whole, really pleased with the work undertaken, and at one point I was thinking I had to go and search for a new amp. A million thanks John. You are a real star!
John Chambers. A.K.A The Vintage Valve Amp Hospital. Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin! Once again, a million thanks.
From Brian, Five Amps - Two Vox AC30 Sixties Top-Boosts, Peavey Encore 65 Combo, Vox AC4 & Gibson GA20 - June 2009
Thanks for the work to the AC4 and the Gibson GA20 - and the Vox and Peavey amps previously. It is rare to find someone like you with an expertise and enthusiasm for the work and it was certainly worth the trips to Nottingham. The amps all sound great - the AC4 is transformed and it is reassuring to know the Gibbo is safe to use now!
It was good to meet Mervin - bon voyage to him as they say in Madrid!
From Dave - Fender Deluxe Amp - June 2009
"Hi John...Sorry for the delay... Just to let you know, I've done 2 gigs with the amp now and I reckon it's just about back to it's former glory. At one of the gigs, 2 different people said how nice it sounded, which hasn't happened for ages! I still think it sounds a bit under-powered on the clean setting, maybe it's just a characteristic of the valves or perhaps it used to be biased too hot; but I seem to have to turn it up higher to get the same output that I used to get on a lower setting. Having said that, it's not a problem as such...as I still only have it on about 3!
Thanks again for your work and I'll be back if it breaks down in the (hopefully distant) future..
From Doug - Carlsbro 50 Top - June 2009
"Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you about my 50 Top. I've only had the chance to use it for one gig so far, but it is sounding great. Rehearsals have been a treat with this amp working as it should. I find that I'm using my 10 band EQ a lot less these days.
Thanks for your quick, and quality work on my amp. I'll be putting the Powercon connector on soon.
Take care and thanks again. Doug."
From Jon - Selmer Twin Selectortone Amp & Pre-Amp (chassis only) - June 2009
"Hi John. Just an email to say thanks for such a great job on the Selmer. Its all back together working like it was when new!
Best regards. Jon"
From Paul, Oakland USA - Champ Treboost+ - May 2009
"Jolly good job!!!
Thanks John - you got it purrrrrrfectttttt.... Thanks buddy.
From Neil, Northern Ireland - Trace-Elliot 12 Watt Combo - May 2009
Thank you very much for the work on my Trace-Elliot! I haven't heard her like this ever! Essentially its a new amp! Sounds brilliant, clear, no hums or buzzes at all! I am very pleased with the work you have done. Thanks again.
Kind regards, Neil"
From John - National Valco Combo - May 2009
When I left you I was on my way to East Midlands airport (via Leicester) to fly to France.....so the amp sat in my van for 10 days.
Back home now and really enjoying the little amp, the tremolo is superb, so thanks for the sterling work you did in bringing this little beauty back to life.
Many thanks, John."
From Geoff In Ohio - Champ Treboost+ - April 2009"Hi John,Received the Treboost+ Saturday and just now finished putting it through its paces. It is truly a great pedal you have made there. The sound and your craftsmanship is second to none. Could you tell me a bit more about the different transistors. Did different Rangemasters have these? I don't really know much about this sort of thing. I do know I am very happy and grateful to you for your work. Anything you can tell me about settings etc is appreciated.Cheers, Geoff."
From John - 1960's Grundig Stereo Radiogram Amp - April 2009
Sorry I have not got back to you before today, I have been away over Easter. The amp is superb, every bit as good as it was before I blew it up. I cannot thank you enough. I did think it was dead and now it is as good as ever. Being forty plus years old, I was not running it every day but having spoken with you I intend to use it and enjoy it more. I am bidding on ebay on some ELL80's to try and get some spares as you suggested.
Thanks again, John"
From Jan In Norway - Laney GC30V Combo - April 2009
I`ve had a busy week so I haven`t had the time to write you until now. I received the amplifier in good condition on Tuesday, the very same evening I took it with me to rehearse with some friends of mine. The amp sound very good. The clean sound is crystal clear and the overdrive is nice and crunchy, just the way it should be. The output power is like I remember it from the past, so the re-wound output transformer works very well. All in all I think you have done a great job.
Thank you once more for a job well done, I am very satisfied with the result.
Cheers for now, Jan"
From Ray - Fender 30 and Laney Combos - March 2009
"Hi John. Further to my call today, I have checked out the phono-type connections to and from the reverb, and as you suspected it was the reverb tank connections that were the source of the buzzing problem. Having now cleaned them all I am happy to say the amp is once again buzz free.
After 18 years in a damp cupboard I'm happy that you were able to rescue this amp for me - especially as they are so very rare in this country and nearly as hard to find in the US! It's my intension to gig it for a while with the new output valves you supplied and then swap them for the Sylvania 6L6's I've been hoarding so that I can evaluate the new one's more impartially. I will let you know my thoughts at a later date. Meanwhile, thanks once again for a great repair and service (not to mention the good cuppa!).
All the best, Ray."
From Hector - Mesa-Boogie Mk1 15" Combo - Received March 2009
"Hi John (the Governor !!!!) Don't know if you remember me, but you serviced / repaired my Boogie 15" cream coloured combo just before Christmas - I was in a panic because of a gig that was imminent. I've been meaning to contact you to thank you - it is literally like having a new amp - it actually sounds twice as good as before it broke down! Please use this comment on your website if you want and upload those pictures you took sometime.
Hope you are keeping well. Hector."
From Chris In Ireland - Decca Decola Hi-Fi Amp & Pre-Amp - March 2009
"The quality of the work carried out on my Decca Decola units, as well as the amount of dedication given to them during this restoration, is unparalleled. Champ Electronics provides the customer with a highly personalised and also educational service. These units are now enjoying a rebirth as part of a vintage turntable system."
Thanks again, Chris."
From Steve - 1971 Marshall JMP Head - March 2009
"John. Thanks for Saturdays hard work on my Marshall 50 watt head. It's now so loud I can't find a low enough setting to play in the basement!!! I'll try it in a couple of different environments as soon as I can with a bit of volume.
Best Regards, Steve."
From Donovan, Georgia, USA - Champ Treboost+ Type 4 - March 2009
"John, the Treboost Plus arrived yesterday and I'm just now getting a chance to play with it, but my Matamp's torn down right now and I'm forced to play through a small solid state. Despite that, wow, this is just a great sounding little box! Very mellow distortion that really retains its clarity very well. I'm very much looking forward to plugging it in tomorrow at work, where I've got an old Newcomb suitcase tube amp and a Traynor YBA-1 going into a vintage Sunn 2 x 15 with original speakers.
I know this booger's gonna sound amazing!!
Best regards, Donovan."
From Philip - VamPower Baby 10 Watt Combo - March 2009
"Hi there John! Just to let you know the Vampower combo arrived today in perfect condition. Great work, clean sounds are real good, not so keen on the overdriven sound though so I may sell it on EBay.
Thanks for rescuing the amp and doing such a stellar job!
Best wishes. Cheers, Philip"
From Lewis - Johnson (VamPower) 100 Watt Head - February 2009
"Alright John? The Johnson is f*****g brilliant! Cannot believe the difference in it. Before, when I used the bite control, it would go all ear splitting and horrible. Now it's a really heavy grind. The clean is also really bloody good - easily as good as my bandmates twin - and dead quiet too. We're gonna do a lot of catch-up practice/recording with it next week. The tone controls seem a lot more useable as well. Worth every penny!
From Tim in Switzerland - Champ Treboost+ - February 2009"Hi John, I am writing back to follow up on the Treboost+ I purchased from you. To start off, I will tell you my test equipment: Amplifiers: Marshall 1969 PA20 head & original cabinet, single 12" speaker with a G12H30 greenback. 1957 Fender Tweed Deluxe, Weber Alnico speaker. 1957 Fender Champ. 1969-70 Park 2x12 combo. Guitar: Fender Stratocaster, equipped with Lindy Fralin H/SRV pickups (special wind with extended bass response).
I started off running the Treboost+ through the Fender Champ running a 5Y3, a 6V6GT, and a 12AU7. This is one of my all time favorite amps as it can go from clean to distorted at reasonable volume levels. Running the Treboost+ through this really hit the front end of the amp hard and I got a very aggressive distorted sound, reminiscent of P90's with a nice sustaining quality. At extreme settings on the range dial the bass either got too loose or the tone sounded too constricted. I opted for positions 2, and 3 as my favorites throughout all the tests. In position 3, the bass held together nicely, while delivering a pleasing tone. As an experiment, I cranked the gain and volume on '10' and ran it through the paces. For the first few seconds it sounded very lively, then it sounded as if there was a lot of gating going on. I wasn't sure if the transistor bias was off or the rectifier was overloaded?
Through the Deluxe, the tone was equally pleasing and aggressive, however, no gating at the extreme settings.
With the Marshall the unit really shines. I had a bright cap placed across the input of channel 1 and this, combined with the extended bass response of the pickups makes for a nice combination. The Treboost+ enhanced what was already there and sent the amp into a very nice over driven, distortion. The output on the unit seems to be quite high and it really gave me a searing lead tone. The settings on the range switch usually gravitated between positions 2 and 3.
Similar results through the Park combo and the unit really came to life at higher volumes. I didn't have any gating effects with the larger amps, which leads me to believe there was some sort of overload placed on the Champ.
There you have it! I like the unit a lot and find it very usable. Thanks for a great product and let me know if you have any questions.
From David in Australia - Champ Treboost+ - November 2008
"Hi John. Hope you are well :-) Sorry about the late reply. Well, unfortunately the huge upheaval in the world financial systems has keep me very busy doing anything but music-related stuff. So, since the pedal arrived I think I have touched my guitar once, which I am still very unhappy about. However, that was when I plugged in your Champ Treboost+ and I can say I was definitely very, very happy, to say the least :-) Very nice :-)
From Marc - Kelly 100PA With Some Conversions For Guitar Use - November 2008
"Hi John, hows you? Have been trying the amp a lot......am loving the first channel, it is a lot warmer sounding than before and great for guitar; so is channel 2. Also appears to be quieter (noise-wise, wasn't loud to start of with though). Thank you for all your help....have one question, is it possible to give at least one channel a little more treble...have basic skills with an soldering iron....but if a case of changing only a couple of components that is within my skill range.
Thanks again, Marc."
From David - Chinese Yaquin MC-10L Hi-Fi Amplifier - July 2008
From Burkhard In Germany - The Making Of One Of My EL36/PL36 Amps - November 2008
"Hello John. After an awful long time I finished the PL36 project. I am very impressed at the performance the amp gives! I build it from the parts I already had, except the output transformer. The anode voltage is 406 volt under full load and the Grid 2 is 200 volt from a stabilised source. The amp is doing a little bit more than 170 watt RMS without any problems and there are no red spots on the PL36's. The sound is very clear and powerful with no harsh tones or hearable distortions. I have build it for subwoofer drive only, but in full-range it sounds so lovely I start thinking about a pair of them for my stereo!
Your plans of the 500 watt monster are good as gold for me. I just want to thank you for the kind help and I hope you go on with your site for the next ages....
Many thanks from Germany, Burkhard."
From Neil - Marshall Mk2 50 watt Lead + Cornford MK50 H Heads - October 2008
"Hi John. Thanks for sorting out my Marshall and Cornford earlier this week. I've only just had a chance to fire them up and I have to say that they both sound superb - they have more than lived up to my expectations. I shall definitely return to you for future amp work and will be happy to recommend you.
Thanks, again. Neil."
From Guy - Late 50's Tweed Fender Princeton - October 2008
"Hi John. Thought I must shoot you off an email after spending a hour or so using the Princeton this morning. Really delighted with the work you did on the amp yesterday. It has returned sounding and feeling completely different - and all for the better!
The new lead is reassuring and the plug fits the socket on the stepdown like a glove - great to have that job done. I feel a lot safer knowing it's earthed correctly. The new volume pot has made a huge difference to the operation of the amp, can't believe it, the pot must have been very much on the way out. Before, the amp was starting to break up between 3 and 4 on the volume control, which seemed to be a little too early and a bit too abrupt, but now it breaks up at about 5-6 and graduates there really smoothly. This appears to have given me a bit more clean headroom which is a major bonus. Being able to reduce the volume right down to zero without it cutting out is a joy. Before it normally cut out once you rotated the volume knob below 3.
The tone control also seems to be more responsive, particularly as the pot is graduated up towards 8-9-10? I'm definitely getting more clarity than before when using the neck humbucker. Could this be courtesy of the new capacitor?
Anyway, the amp is now working as it should and it sounds amazing - didn't think it was possible to get it sounding better than it did before.
From Mike - Mesa-Boogie Mk1 Combo - September 2008
"Hi John. Just to let you know, you did a good job. The Messa Boogie is working great. Tone controls not too effective, but as you pointed out, that's their design.
Thank you so much. Cheers, Mike"
From Justin - WEM ER15 & Impact 60 Heads - September 2008
"Really pleased that you sorted this pair out for me... you've breathed new life into these babies! Still can't get over your discovery re. the WEM. Thank you so much.
Cheers for now, Justin."
From Andy - Vox AC30 - September 2008"John - It sounds beautiful, thank you very much, superb job. Have a good gig, take care.
From Greg - Rare Carlsbro CS60TR Head - August 2008
"Hi John - I just plugged it in and it sounded beautiful. Played for an hour revisiting an old friend. The original noise from the tremolo when it was set to zero has gone! Very good. The tremolo itself is sounding lush and smooth. Reverb doesn't sound like it needs adjusting. Well balanced. Overall, It sounds very warm and luxurious and in tip-top condition. Thanks very much!
Best wishes and thanks again, Greg."
From Dan - Carlsbro 50 Top Head - August 2008
Everything working great (as I'm sure you expected), hooked up the powerbrake and really cranked it for the first time - sounds great, really nice vintage style distortion.
From Colin - WEM ER15 Head, rebuilt by Colin himself witha re-wound power transformer supplied my me, plus all necessary components too - August 2008
(For photos and more information, click HERE.)
"John – I think this is now the time to thank you as much as I can for the help you have given me. I am absolutely sure that without your advice, support , knowledge and skill I would never have been able to get this amp functioning again! I hope you won’t mind if I contact you again in the future – this amp actually belongs to my son, but I want one of my own now, so I may have to repeat the process! If I do, I’m sure I’ll need your help again!
Thanks so much! Colin."
From Graham - Mesia (Yes......Law-Suit Stuff!!) M60T Japanese Combo - August 2008
The Original e-mail."Hello Mr Chambers,
I have an unusual amp that's got the better of two repairmen so far. I've already spent more money on it than its worth, but if a repair wasn't too costly I'd risk another go.
The amp is a Mesia 50W (supposedly) valve combo. It's a Japanese law-suit copy of a Mesa combo from the 70's I think. It has a good clean tone and although there is a gain channel it actually has very little gain (by design I think?). It's a bit battered and bruised but I have a soft spot for it. I suspect the speaker is probably not original, but I'm not sure. I've scoured the net and there are no circuit diagrams available anywhere that I can find. I took a chance and bought it for a what I thought was a reasonable price at the time, not knowing I'd bought a train-wreck that would suck money!
It's first problem was an annoying mains hum that the first repairman improved, but he also pointed out that the mains transformer was not original and it really could do with another one with a centre-tapped winding. Consequently, it's down on power despite two 6L6 output valves.
I also took it to a second repair man because at low volumes (bedroom practice levels), it tends to lose volume after being on for an hour or so. I think this has something to do with the reverb circuit, because if you turn the reverb down to zero the volume is restored. The second repair man claimed he'd fixed it (after charging me), but I took it back when I realised he hadn't. He'd lost interest in it though and after about three months I took it back from him and it was still no different. I suspect he left it on at high volume and after an hour or so couldn't sense the loss of power, whereas at low levels it is noticeable. I could live with it, but it's clearly not right and I worry that it might be something that could develop into a more serious problem. Therefore I don't have confidence in it, although it would probably be great for small gigs if I could trust it, and if it were developing full power. I believe all the valves are in good condition, so it shouldn't be those, but I don't know enough to get any further.
I met someone who highly recommended you, so I've plucked up courage to ask if would you be up for a challenge and willing to have a go with it for me please?
Many thanks, Graham, Rotherham."And after the amps' service."Hi John, Thanks very much for your prompt and courteous service. I had just about given up on the Mesia amp after the previous two repair men had not really done me any favours! It's good to know that there are still some genuinely skilled repairers that can be trusted with old valve gear, and that I can rely on you if I get stuck in the future.
The amp sounded fine as soon as I flicked the switch, with the same sweetness that I fell for when I bought it, even as a train-wreck! Turned up a bit, the hum comes in a little with the master volume (as you warned me it would) but its not bad at all (for a rat's nest) and I can live with this. Thank you once again for all your help.
Best regards, Graham."
From Lars in Sweden - Supply of Power Transformer for a Selmer Treble n' Bass 50 Mk I - June 2008
"Hi John. My old Selmer amp is now working! The amp is close to noiseless and sounds very good. The guy who repaired the amp for me says that it is First Class!
Once again, thank you for a well done job!
Best regards, Lars"
"Hi John. Many thanks for your help. The amp is working beautifully now. I was really impressed with your quick response to my problem! Wouldn't happen with many modern day companies! Thanks once again. Feel free to use this on your website.
From Jim - Sound City 50R Head - July 2008
"Was meant to call you tonight I know, but I’ve just been carried away with this amp! It really is like a different animal now you’ve looked at it. Lovely, glassy shimmering clean sound with my Esquire, great balls-to-the-wall crunch with my SG. Yeah, there is a little noise but nothing to complain about – certainly nothing like the problem I had before. The sensitivity switch makes a great difference, so thanks for putting that back in.
Much respect. I shall recommend you to all those people who will undoubtedly compliment me on my sound!
From Ashley - Selmer Standard (TV8T) Chassis Only - July 2008
"Hi John. I put the amp back into its cab last night with the original speaker. It sounded very nice, so thanks for the great repair. That tremolo is unbelievable! Later on I connected it to the speaker in my Line 6 amp's Custom Celestion 12", 8 ohm, 75watt, and it sounded absolutely superb - it takes the bass up and the treble down, and when turned up fully gives a classic 70's "crunch", the sound I really hoped for!
Once again, many thanks. Ashley"
From Martin - Marshall JMP Superlead 100 & Marshall Early '81 JCM800 Superlead 100 - June 2008
"Hi John. Just had a good blast on the two Marshall's you repaired for me, and I'm happy to report that they are now in rude health and sounding loud and proud!
The Mullard EL34's you supplied have returned my 1974 Superlead head back to 'period-correct' loveliness, and the ex-Def Leppard JCM800 head sounds really good now too, thanks to your repairs. In fact this newer amp actually sounds a lot like a vintage Marshall!
Many thanks for your sterling work. All the very best. Martin."
From Ray - Laney LC50 Combo - May 2008"Hi John. Pleased to report that I have given the amp a good testing now with a big range of guitars. The Strat sparkles, the Tele spanks and the Gibson's all sing and grunt like good 'uns!
As well as your obvious electronic repair skills, the adding of the JJ KT77's has really improved this amp! Many thanks for everything, will speak to you soon regarding the Burman.
Best Regards, Ray."
From Bob - Watkins Dominator MkIII (chassis section only) - May 2008
"John. Amp chassis received, valves installed, fitted into cabinet (they didn't scrimp on the screws did they?), speaker reconnected, plugged in, switched on, and.......it sounds brilliant!! I'd forgotten it ever sounded that good, so many thanks for your work on it.
All the best, Bob."
From Ian - A pair of Leak TL12 Plus Hi-Fi Amplifiers - May 2008"Hi John, Just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks again. As I said on the phone, these amps now sound f*****g stunning!! Sweet as honey, delicate as can be. You have the magic touch John.
Now stick this on your testimonial page!
Cheers youth, Ian."
From Mark - Selmer T&B 50R SV Reverb - May 2008"Hi John. Mark from Solihull here - you fettled my metal-front Selmer Treble and Bass 50 reverb two or three weeks ago. You said you would be interested to hear how I got on - Well, the new valves seem to settling in nicely and the amp is now producing some wonderful liquid sounds with guitar (when played by someone far more talented than me) and a nice fat warm bass sound - lovely stuff.
Anyway, I just wanted to say I am really pleased with it - you are a rare character: someone who knows what he's doing, knows how to treat customers, and makes a fair charge for good work. You sometimes get one or two, but very rarely all three in one.
Best regards, Mark."
From Craig - Orange Rockerverb Combo - May 2008"Hi John, hope you're well? Thanks for the work you did on my Orange amp. It's been running flat out for the past week with no recurrence of the original fault!
I just wanted to say thanks again for your expert work, and if I have any other urgent problems with any of our bands' gear you will be the first person to call.
All the best, Craig."
From Harmonica Player Richard - 1959 Tweed Fender Champ - April 2008
"John. Great to see you yesterday with my Fender Champ 59. Thanks for your attention and suggestions as they have made a world of difference. I took it home and first fitted the Russian Military 6V6 you supplied and that made a noticeable difference to the tone. Equally impressive was the Russian Military 5U4M rectifier – more power and even better tone again. I swapped out the pre-amp valve for a Mazda ECC82 which I had and now I have plenty of headroom without the early feedback. Next I fitted the early 60’s, 4 ohm Celestion 8" speaker you kindly lent me to try – much better than the re-conned original which, incidentally, had a piece of felt cut out by a "blind person!", stuck in the middle for a dust-cap! Quality rubbish job then!
It was great to meet someone who is straight and direct about valves and valve amps, as there is too much old-wive's-tales and smoke and mirrors! Plus it was an education to see the amp being tested and the effect of different valves actually demonstrated on your test equipment.
Many thanks and I will call you in a few weeks to sort out my Fender 62.
Best Regards, Richard."
From Ken - Dallas Scala Baby Five Watt Combo - April 2008"Hi John. Just a short note to let you know that the amp works and sounds fine. The buzz that you mentioned is still there a little, but I have to turn the tone and volume right up to max to get it. At this volume the amp shakes the windows; not really the effect I was looking for at all! Lowering the volume gets me a nice tone with the slide guitar. Thanks for bringing my little amp back to life, sounds better than it ever did.
All the Best, Ken."
From Russ - Hiwatt Custom 100 DR103 - April 2008"Hi John. Just thought I'd let you know how the Hiwatt is doing. Since you found the broken bit in the valve socket, reliability has been returned, and the new pre-amp valves you fitted mean that my bass through it sounds frankly.......awesome! Pity the guitarist....! Thanks for a friendly, profesional & quick job.
Russ & A Happy Hiwatt DR103."
From Billy - Sixties Vox AC30 + The Making/Fitting Of A Top Boost Mod - April 2008"Hi John. I thought I'd email you to say thanks for doing such a great job on my AC30. I played it all day yesterday (burning the chips, I was cooking in the process, whoops!) and I have to say it absolutely ROCKS!! I was also able to open it up properly last night as I was in the studio and I was blown away! It sounded bloody gorgeous, I thought it sounded nice before I brought it to you but now it really sings.
It sounds much warmer then my Korg reissue and there's a lot less noticeable hiss from my old AC30 compared with my modern one. I was able to have the brilliant volume on full tilt without hardly any hiss at all, I definitely wouldn't be able to do this on my modern Korg reissue. I'm glad I went with the Vib/Trem pedal being fitted as well, the Tremolo sounds great, real vintage vibe, love it.
So thanks you for all the hard work you put into restoring my amp to its former glories, I can't wait to get it on stage for my next gig which is where these amps belong in my opinion. Also thanks for being so welcoming and for all the advice... and tea! It was a real treat to get to see you at work too. I'll no doubt be back to see you again sometime in the future with my old Orange amp that could do with your magic touch. Cheers John.
Yours sincerely, Billy."
From Ged - Fender Vibro Champ - March 2008
"Hello John. The Vibrochamp really does sound good now, all buzzes and crackles have been banished, and it's sitting happily on top my Cornford Harly. A combined 12 watts that sounds really good courtesy of a Roger Mayer Crossroads AB box to avoid earth hum. I'm dead happy. I'm still using my old leads, so I'm sure the problem must have been down to the loose strand of wire you mentioned in your email. Anyway, thanks again.
All the best,Ged."
From Chris - Proamplifiers VSQ65 - March 2008"Hi John. I finally got the opportunity to plug her in yesterday evening and was quite literally blown away! I thought I would try things easy to start with so set the master volume at about 4 with the gain full up. F**k me John, you have created an ANIMAL!;-) I simply can't get the volume past 4 for fear of structural damage and a possible lynching from the neighbours! My face was acheing from grinning! I never thought for a second that the amp that had caused me so much heartache, and you so much headache could sound so good! A thousand thank you's.
I have since re-called our experiences to a bass playing friend who has a 100watt Hiwatt or Ampeg bass head (I can't remember which) He will contact you soon for some of your "magic" too.
I got a small refund from the guy who sold the amp to me on EBay, thanks for your help in that. A bit more would have been nice but to be honest; after hearing the amp, I really couldn't care now;-) The amp's a keeper for sure! Look after your self and keep doing what you do best!
Best regards, Chris."
From Oliver in France - Echolette M120 PA Head - March 2008
"Hi John. The Echolette sounds very good and quite loud too....I'm happy to report. Thank you for your great work.
From Ste - 1963 Vox AC30 Head - March 2008
"Hi John. It was good to finally meet you yesterday and be re-united with my rejuvenated AC30. We had a good journey home and I tried the amp as soon as I got in. I am extremely pleased with the results of your labours, but had forgotten how loud these amps can be! Hope the neighbours are understanding and enjoy rock music!
Thanks again. Will be in touch in the near future with some of my various amp rescues.
All the best, Ste."
From Damian - Fender Tweed Bassman and a Telefunken valve 1960's mic pre-amp - February 2008
"Dear John. Thank you so much for the excellent work you did on my Tweed Bassman amp, it sounds completely revived...it has had the kiss of life and is now like a Bassman on steroids!! Its a real comfort to meet someone who goes the extra mile.....
My Telefunken V76 mic pre-amp is also well happy to have met you too!
Cheers Guv', Damian."
From Rod in Margate who apparently has just missed Sunday Lunch! - February 2008"Hi John. I have just accidently stumbled upon your website (well actually about 4 hours ago!) and I have been totally engrossed with it, and cannot seem to tear myself away from the computer!! I have even got into serious trouble with the other-half over missing my Sunday lunch (that's a 1st for me!). Let me just say what a great site you have and what a bottomless font of knowledge you appear to be!! If I ever have trouble with my current amp (1982 Fender Concert 4x10 - Paul Rivera designed) I know where to come; and yes, Paul Rivera did work for Fender in the early 80's, apparently to bring back some of the sales that Fender amps apparently lost by bad design/reliability problems in the mid to late 70's....Once again, thanks for the totally engrossing site!!
Regards, Rod (Margate, UK)"
From Peter in Barbados (Yes, Really!!)- 1962 Vox AC30 Head - February 2008"Got it back, lovely, thanks John. Its just great...never had it without a hummmm before, didn't know it was possible! The tremolo is nice, but do you know what is nicer, playing that mellow main channel quietly. Now this maybe because I am older than dirt but what a lovely full sound!
A good thrash this evening beckons. Thanks for your knowledgeable work, such a relief to find a competent craftsman who works to a fine level. My amp was lucky.
Thank God I didn't give it to someone local!
Best regards, Peter."
From Andy - Sound City 50 & Peavey 5150 Combo - January 2008
"Hi John. Tried both amps briefly last night. I honestly struggled to keep the Peavey at an acceptable level! As for the Sound City - what a difference! It's now about twice the volume on the low gain setting than it was on the high gain setting before you worked your magic on it. Can't wait to try them in anger! Will keep you posted.
Will recommend you to every amp owner I know!Cheers for now, Andy."
And again from Andy a few days later!"Hi John.
Took both amps to rehearsal tonight; tried the Sound City first through the Peavey's speakers (the cable will just reach). Absolutely awesome! Proper vintage valve overdrive; for a minute I thought I was Pete Townsend (I believe Sound City were early versions of Hiwatt amps?) I had an overdrive pre-amp pedal on the floor for solos and when I kicked this in I then thought I was Hendrix!, but believe me this was all to do with the amp as opposed to any voodoo guitar skills! I play a Strat almost always and was surprised at how fat and rich it sounded (after much tweaking of those active controls on the Sound City) and how the single coils pushed it into that sweet overdrive even at just over half volume. I can't believe the transformation in this little amp that I've owned for so long but have rarely used because it was so duff!! Almost reluctantly, I switched to the Peavey (my main amp for the last few years). I was considering selling this amp just before it packed up and buying a Marshall but after tonight, no way! It's definitely louder than it was before but more importantly the tone is greatly improved with a much tighter rhythm sound and less 'mushy' with single string work being much smoother and creamier than before. Only problem now is that the wife wants me to sell one or the other and they are now both so great but both so different. The Peavey is more versatile with it's modern layout but the Sound City is just so wonderful with it's proper (not modelled) vintage tone and feel. Perhaps if I get her some flowers she'll let me keep both?
Many thanks John for your wonderful work. You are a true craftsman and there ain't many left! Long may you continue your mystical amp voodoo.
From Jon - Marshall TSL 100 - January 2008
"Hi John. I finally got around to mailing you about the re-valving you did on my Marshall TSL100. In short, it sounds great! I was explaining to you about how I needed to compete with my other guitarist's SG, and I certainly do now! It's hard for me to tell the difference that the new valves have made without being able to compare directly, but the one thing I can definitely say is that it sounds AWESOME!!
Footnote to this mail:- What Jon means in his statement "It's hard for me to tell the difference that the new valves have made without being able to compare directly" is that his quad of EL34's were kaput and needed to be replaced. However, when anybody brings me a 100 watt head of any kind, and especially for guitar use (rather than bass guitar), utilizing a quad of EL34's, I always advise a combination of 2 x JJ EL34's and 2 x JJ KT77's. The combination of the 2 pairs adds something to the sound of the amps and is always very pleasing!!This is because the EL34 is a pentode and the KT77 is a beam tetrode.....the combination of the two gives great results, but one does have to know how to bias the combination pairs correctly! John.
From Simon - Sound City Bass Concord Combo - January 2008"Hi John! Managed to do some recording with my band last weekend and used the Sound City Bass Concord. Very, very pleased with the sound. Prefer it to my Sound City 120 / Ampeg rig!, though that needs a service too. The Fanes are nice, tight and punchy; just what I was after. Need to get the back panel sorted for it as it was a little lacking in low end!
Thanks again for the good work. One day I might ask you to sort out the Sound City 120 head but as I'm using the Concord now there's no immediate hurry.
All the best, Simon."
From Graham - Vox AC4 & a Champ Treboost+ (My own clone of the Dallas Arbiter/Rangemaster Treble Booster + Extras!) - December 2007"Hi John. The amp is now a delight - it now has surprising clarity and sparkle with hardly a hint of its earlier muddiness - whatever you did with that tiny mod has improved it no end - not so much a treble thing but more of what would be termed the "Presence" or "Brightness" of a bigger amp!I have spent hours with it today and it really has become a nice little thing - a very tactile and responsive feel; quite the opposite of what you normally get from these things - very pleasantly surprised!! Also the trem set-up - normally the trem on these smaller British (and American) amps is relatively unusable or at best something you would only find a use for occasionally but by getting that little trim pot installed it has all changed - with some reverb added into the mix it now has what is practically a "chorus" sound as opposed to what I would normally think of as a tremolo - very nice indeed and now a very usable effect - I am very pleased!!Your "own designed" treble boost arrived this afternoon - I opened her up and was impressed by the innards - very tidy, not as if I expected anything else from you! I set it up through the Vox AC4 and tried it out against several other treble boosters I had kicking around - basically I did some side by side comparisons with an original Rangemaster by Dallas - and a rare treble/bass booster face by Arbiter (both from the days before they amalgamated into the better known Dallas-Arbiter of fuzz face fame) and what is considered by many to be one of the best current RM clones the Analogman Beano Boost - Your box of tricks holds up very well indeed - the only major difference is it lacks the overall gain (volume boost) of the original although it is very similar in its sound giving a great clarity - particularly noticeable when using chords - it lets all the notes get heard and giving a very nice bit of overdrive when playing lead - I couldn't help myself but started hitting some Rock & Roll riffs on a Fender (you know Johnny B' Goode and all that stuff) - it thickened up the sound very nicely indeed and although I only used it on the small Vox it was bloody good at tilting that EL84 over into a nicely sustained overdriven sound. I found (so far ) that I just left the Gain control maxed and used either the second or third tone filter setting. Apart from on the most bass of the four settings I felt that my speaker was safe (you know how hard it is to get these old 4 ohm jobs!) I certainly didn't want to have to own up to "breaking" the amp less than a day after getting it back..Your design Treboost+ pedal sits exactly with it's middle two tone settings as good as any of the others I tried, so I think it will prove to be a very useable bit of kit; particularly when you think that it only runs to about a tenth of the cost of replacing the original Dallas-Arbiter Treble Booster!!Kind Regards & Many Thanks indeed - Graham."
From Chris - Linear Concord 30 - December 2007"Dear John. Thanks for re-building my Linear Concord. It sounds surprisingly good!Best regards, Chris."
From Ed - Wem Dominator Mk III - December 2007"Hi John. They are in and glowing, sounds really nice. If I were a techie I would say that the amp has a lovely warm tone but as I'm not; I'll say it sounds nice!
Many regards, Ed."
From Jim - Impact 60 Head - December 2007"Hi John. Tried the amp last night, very nice. Quite a wide ranging tone, warm and mellow when the bass is raised (especially with the SG set to neck humbucker). Thanks for a good job well done!Jim."
From Pete - Rivera Quiana 112 Combo - November 2007"Hi John, it's Pete. I brought over the Rivera Quiana 112 amp last week. I've used it at two gigs and with no probs at all, so it looks like you cured the fault for me! Thanks very much for your time.
From Tim - Gem Venus and a Selmer T n' B Mk I - November 2007"Hi John. Just a quick note to say how pleased I am with both amps. The Selmer is sooooo loud! Its far louder and quieter (hum/hiss etc) than any Selmer I've ever encountered and its great to find someone who could bring the old gal back to life. I'm sure it will be on a stage with me very soon! If only all Selmers were this good!The Venus is a revalation. I still can't believe how good this thing sounds. It's so hum-free, yet so warm and crystal clear. I've owned and recorded with quite a few amps over the years and this is up in the top five of all time. I've recorded some Gilmour-Esque stuff with it and it excells with a couple of pedals in front of it. I am over the moon with this amp and reckon it to be one of the biggest bargains of my life thus far. No doubt it will be my first choice for recording from now on...Once again, thanks mate. Speak soon. Tim."
From Chris - Selmer T&B Mk III and a Carlsbro CS60 PA Head - November 2007"Hi John.........I can report that FIRST: the Selmer Mk3 is sounding better than ever with your earthing "tidy up" and new ECC83's. Man, I love the sound of that amp!!! However, on the guitar side, the Carlsbro is EVEN BETTER THAN THE SELMER!!! The bass doesn't quite do it just yet, but there's not much in it.......it's just a bit less warm or something. Anyway, thanks again for a great service.
From Steve - Peavey Classic 30 Combo - November 2007"John. Thanks for your help. amp working & sounding better than ever! Keep on rockin'
From Andi - Marshall 50 Mk II Lead Combo - October 2007"Hi John. Sorry I haven't replied. Just to say though, that I am well-chuffed with the amp. The clarity of the sound is much better and brighter than before and the overdrive seems to be more consistent. Whatever the problem was it now seems to be fixed and I spend large parts of the weekend getting sore fingers. Many thanks for all of your help & hope to see you again (although not too soon of course!)Cheers, Andi"
From Andi again in January 2008, regarding the same amp.
Hi John. Just wanted to let you know that I am still dead chuffed with the work youdid on my amp - it is sounding 'sweet as' and I can't thank you enough.Cheers! Andi.
From Richard - Laney LC15 Combo - October 2007"Hi John. Thanks for the photos and for the work done. The amp sounds great and the new output transformer has really improved the tone, headroom and power-stage overdrive.
From Jean-Paul - Selmer Zodiac 30 (Power Amp only) - October 2007"Hi John. Just wanted to let you know the amp is working great! I plugged it in last night and was delighted. Today I am going to crank it up (as it was late last night) and enjoy it for the first time in ages! Thanks for your hard work.
Kind regards, Jean-Paul"
From Eric - Sound City 200 PA Head - October 2007"Hi John. Just sending an e-mail to say thanks, the amp sounds great! See you soon about my other amp.
From Rob - Two Fender "75" amps - October 2007"Hi John. Both Fender 75's sound fantastic now. Thanks so much.
All the best, Rob"
From Steve - Stentor Combo - October 2007Hi John. As expected the Stentor sounds superb even to my ears....If I had to describe the sound it would be warm and rich sounding, and it breaks up nicely around 2/3 volume! I should be taking both amps to my friend Paul next week so he can try them both out, as he is eager to hear them as he knows your reputation.
Catch you later, Steve."
From Alec - Orange AD30R - September 2007"Hey John. Played a gig with the Orange a couple nights ago and its sounding gorgeous, really beautiful. Thank you for your work on her, your patience is very much appreciated.
From Edward & Sharon - Leak and Varislope HiFi - September 2007"Having inherited a Leak Stereo 20 Power Amplifier and Varislope Pre-Amplifier, and having been used to listening to its sweet sound in the past, I was aware that it needed some attention. I contacted John Chambers who agreed to overhaul both units. I left them with him, trusting in his abilities. I could not have chosen better. Both the beauty of his work and the beauty of the sound could not fail to please any audiophile. In short, anybody who finds themselves in the same situation need look no further. I have no hesitation in recommending John’s thoroughness and skill.
Edward & Sharon, Norfolk, UK."
From Clive - Relyon HiFi Amp - September 2007"John. Thanks again for a great afternoon and for getting the little Relyon hi-fi amp up and running..........buzz free! Look forward to seeing you again perhaps later in the year. (I'll bring that old A60 if that's OK?)
Best regards, Clive."
From Mike - Selmer Bassmaster 50 - August 2007"Hi John. Many thanks for the photo's. I used the amp last night and it worked fine. No drop off in volume, and the tone was great.
Many thanks for your work, it's much appreciated.
From Steve - Sound City Concord and B & M Crown - August 2007
"Hi John. I had a quick go with the Sound City Concord and even with my bad playing and practically deaf hearing I can honestly say this....there is no hum whatsoever and I have to have the volume 3/4 full as I cannot hardly hear! On chords, you can hear every note...it's very clean and crystal like...imagine hitting a bell, that's what it sounds like...you hear every note. I thought my "Oliver G150R" was clean, but no where near as clear as this; it just chimes...! I played a few bars of "House Of The Rising Sun" and it sounded superb....really chuffed, thank you. I cannot wait to hear my friend play through it...I only wish my hearing was better as I have to have everything on high volume which sounds normal to me...!
Onto the B & M Crown. Being only 5 watts, I have to crank it up to hear it and then it distorts (lol) but it clips nicely....I'll have to get my ears sorted!! I will ask my friend to e-mail you directly without any influence from me to give you his honest opinion!
Cheers for now mate and nice to have seen you again also. Many, many thanks indeed for a great service. Steve"
From Anthony - Fender Twin - July 2007
"John. Delighted to say we had a great gig, everything on the Twin functioned perfectly which made a nice change. We got 3 encores and a repeat booking in 4 weeks.
Thanks once again for sorting it out. Ant."
From Matt - Fender Twin-Amp - July 2007
"Hi John. Thanks for the photos. The amp sounds absolutely incredible, the tones when the distortion kicks in are amazing. We had a great rehearsal tonight, my amp has never sounded so good.
Thanks for all your hard work. Matt"
"Hi John. I’m more than happy for you to put my email on the testimonial page. Thanks again – our bass player was still going on about how good my amp sounded this morning!! Matt"
From Neil - Fender Twin Amp - July 2007
"Hi John. Many thanks for your enthusiasm and care in the repair of my Fender Twin amp. Your attention to detail is second to none and I would recommend you without hesitation to all tube amp guitarists like me, who have struggled to find someone with the knowledge and skill to repair and service their amp properly. I think my "Twin" sounds as good now as the day I bought it!
Many thanks, Neil - Chesterfield."
From Robin - Linear Diatonic Amp - July 2007
"Hi John. Just a quick note to thank you for the speedy and efficient repair of my Linear Diatonic amp which has been languishing for some months waiting for someone who knew what they were doing! I tried it when I got home and it is sounding fine.
From John - Dulci Amp - June 2007
"Hi John. Sorry for taking a while to get back to you. It was great meeting you and seeing your workshop. The Dulci amp works great. Thank you.
From Justin - Vox AC 30 - June 2007
"Hi John. I used the Vox AC30 at the weekend to good effect, plus it was on hire on Wednesday - everyone that tries it is impressed...!
All the best, Justin"
From Paul - Triumph Leo - June 2007
"Hi John. I received my little Leo amp today, and just like a kid at Christmas I tore open the packaging and plugged her straight in! Well, what can I say!? What a transformation! All the nasty hiss has completely vanished, and the hum is barely noticeable, plus it is so much LOUDER!!!! than it was (I can't believe it's only a 4 or 5 watt amp!). I can only describe the sound as "Sumptuous" and the tremolo (or should that be Vibrato?) is perfect. So I can only say Thank You!, not only for the excellent job that you did on it, but also for going that extra mile with the addition of some really great little modifications, which has given me far greater control over the sound. (This little amp was definitely in the right hands!).
I will be in touch soon!.... : ) All the best. Paul"
From Cliff - Five Amps....Bird Golden Eagle; Bird Talisman; Sound City Concord; Shaftsbury Scala; Small Fender Combo - May 2007
"Hi John. I had a good journey back to Preston, (less than two hours) and, after a quick bite to eat, I thought I'd have a play with my Bird (!!) - The Golden Eagle. What can I say - it's absolutely fantastic, (it was really good before but I was always slightly distracted by the hum). Now the hum has gone it's just perfect. I connected it up to an extension speaker for the first time and I 've been grinning like a kid ever since! By the way - thanks for the tip about making sure the extension cab was correctly wired - mine wasn't, but I would never have known about the "battery phasing check" if you hadn't shown me. I'll give the other amps a workout over the next few days and let you know how I get on, although I've no doubt they will all be great! Thanks for your hospitality and great service. If I may, I'll book in my other amps for a service with you in a few months, (Wem Clubman, 2 little Silvertones and the Carlsbro TC60).
Cheers for now and kind regards. Cliff."
From Dieter in Germany - Geloso Amp - May 2007
"Hello John. By now I got my Geloso G1.1070 working very nice on a pair of EL36, and all thanks to your works I now have a perfectly functioning and lovely sounding valve amplifier at a total cost of about €100!
Kind regards, Dieter."
From Josh - Marshall VBA400 - April 2007
"Hi John. The amp is now amazing mate. This Marshall VBA-400 is fantastic now!! It's bloody brilliant!! I got the cab for it and everything is working perfectly, it sounds amazing, even when turned up enough so that the pictures vibrate off the walls! Thanks again for the repair and for a really good price. Hope you and your workshop are doing well!
From David - Vox AC30 Output Transformer Re-Wind - April 2007
"Hi John. The transformer arrived this morning and within half an hour it was in and singing fine. The owner had bought it in this state 10 - 15 years ago and since it sounded OK but not very loud he thought this was normal. When he put it up against a Dallas Scala and a Bird Talisman he knew something was wrong! The rest is history. He, like many of your customers is very pleased with the results. Thanks once again for a great service.
Many Regards, David."
From Jeremy - Elpico AC85 Amps - March 2007
"Hi John. Just a short note to thank you for all your hard work restoring my two Elpico AC85 Amplifiers. As you know my previous technician had pronounced both output transformers to be down. I was relieved to hear that one was fine. It is rare to find an amplifier technician that can also rewind transformers. Previously I had to get my repair man to remove the faulty transformers and then post them off to a transformer specialist for rewinding. Expensive and time consuming. Your attention to detail is also first-rate. Nothing is too much trouble and you understand how to work sympathetically on old valve amplification without compromising on originality. Both the Elpicos sounded amazing!
Many thanks from a very happy customer!
Kind regards, Jeremy"
From John - Music Angel 300b HiFi Amp - February 2007
"Hi John, Sorry about delay in getting back to you. Yes indeed, the amp works fine and sounds very good. Although its not that powerful, it drives the Tannoys ok. It was a pleasure to meet you and to watch you solve the problem with the amp. Great service. I would recommend you to all hi-fi fans who have valve amps that need repairing.
Many thanks, John."
From Chris - Gibson Skylark & Gibson Les Paul Junior combos - February 2007"Hi John,
You've done it again (no surprise). Have just played the Gibson Les Paul Junior and Skylark amps - absolutely awesome - can't believe the improvement especially in the Junior thanks to your superb detective work. The tremolo on the Skylark is now all you said it would be - very Stringalongs (who still remembers them?) so I may drop in that resistor to reduce the depth a touch as you suggested.Great to see you again and many thanks for the tea and hospitality - unbeatable service.Very Best Regards, Chris"
From Dave - Sound City 50 & Marshall PA 20 - February 2007"Hey John,Hope you are well? Sorry It's taken so long for me to email you. Just like to thank you for the superb job you did on my "Sound City 50 plus " and the "Marshall PA 20" they both sound superb!!I'm soon to be off on my travels again, for a few months. I'm sure i can find you a few more projects!! Take it easy.
Dave "Digger, the guitar-tech" "
From Chris - 1963 Selmer Diplomat & Fenton Weill Cadet - February 2007"Hi John,
Hope you are well? Just to let you know the amps sound absolutely great especially the Diplomat, so will probably end up selling the Cadet. Have upgraded the Diplomat with a 20 watt handling early Goodmans Audiom 61 which sounds even better than the Fane.Once again many thanks for resuscitating two great vintage amps; look forward to seeingyou soon.Best Regards, Chris"
From Dave - 1967 Fender Deluxe - February 2007"Hi John,Many, many, thanks for the repair to my Fender '67 Black Face Deluxe. I don't think that the amp has ever sounded better. I played around with pre-amp tubes and I've got a pair of RCA 12AX7's and a pair of CV4024 in the pre-amp section now. I put in a pair of Brimar Military 6V6GT's and when I checked the bias it was up at 59 mA, I've got them running at about 25.6mA now and it sounds so creamy, just breaking up at about five and a half, really warm clean sound, reverb is superb, really lush Fender.The Les Paul's sound really fat and the Tele has everything, haven't tried a Strat yet but plenty of time for that.The amp has really come to life, what a beauty it is now it's well again. Thanks very very much indeed, I'm sure this amp will inspire me to play more! The next project will be the 18Watt Marshall combo clone.Many thanks for the hospitality, coffee and the care and attention to the fine detail you have given to my amp.All the best, Dave."
From Regan - Vox AC30 - February 2007
I got to use my Vox in all her glory over the weekend and have to say what a beautiful noise it was too. The Vib-Trem is a revelation - why doesn't every amp sound like this?
From Tim - Vox AC30 - January 2007:
"John has got my old 1962 VOX AC30 working better than it ever has in all the 29 years I've owned it. It may still look ugly but it sounds beautiful!
I bought my very battered Vox AC30 in 1977 from a second hand shop in Newcastle. It was a time when Vox's were out of fashion, so between me and the rest of our poverty stricken student band we bought 3, very cheaply and I got the cheapest and most battered but it still sounded wonderful. Unfortunately some deranged incompetent had stripped the original covering and modded it. But at least one of the channels worked like they should and it had the Alnico Vox speakers.
I used it on and off with minimal maintenance until it died around 2003 and then I had a bit of a dilemma. If I took it to a repairer they might fix it but really I wanted to restore it to the original circuits and maybe even get the Vibrato/Trem working! I decided to try to find an engineer who was competent enough to restore the wiring and get it working like it should but wouldn't cost the earth. I talked to several but some did not inspire confidence at all, some couldn't be bothered, some wanted a big fat blank cheque and some were willing to have a go but had no experience of restoration. I found John's website and quizzed him about the job and looked at the work he had already done on other peoples AC30's and I finally had the confidence to put my favourite amp under the surgeon's knife (or should that be soldering iron?).
3 weeks later I collected what is still the ugliest VOX on the planet but it now sounded like it should - and some!. The Vib/Trem was a revelation and all 3 channels sang sweetly. It still hums just a little but who wouldn't after 44 years? John uses quality parts and lots of skill, attention to detail and TLC and he doesn't charge boutique prices. He also fixed my son's Impact 60 head and that too is brilliant. I can unreservedly recommend anyone to get their valve amps fixed by John and I will happily ask him to service and repair 3 other amps I have that need some TLC.
Now all I need is to complete the cosmetic refurb on my VOX
From Will - Sonus Alpha Combo - January 2007:
"Hi John, just got the chance to listen to the amp properly and it's sounding great; well its never sounded this good anyway.
It's also about 3 times louder than it used to be which can't be a bad thing and, it doesn't make weird noises any more.
Great work, decent price and a really quick turnaround. Cheers John.
From Anton in Italy - Geloso G226A - December 2006:
"....My Dear John, I have always thought that having gotten to known you via your web-site, e-mail and then telephone has been a big luck and pleasure for me but, after the PERFECT work/restore on my two nice monophonic GELOSO G-226-A amplifiers, I'm very, VERY glad to be your FRIEND. First of all, I think I could not give in BETTER HANDS my old amps!! I was always following with big attention all your updating Mails on the restoration as it progressed, and I was often not believing to my eyes when I was seeing all the "old parts" going BACK to live and to SPARKLE!!! In a few words, your total work/restore is wonderful, perfect in any details, very clear and respectful, up where it was possible, of the original apparances!!
With just two things you've completely changed, naturally informing me before because you're an absolute serious person, they are "the choke" that was placed over the chassis instead inside and this has given a much better total look and the other was "the rewiring of the secondary of the output transformer", in this case for to reach a SUPERB quality of sound, MUCH BETTER then the original response!!! I also think that describing your "meticulous work" is absolutely useless, because everything is CLEAR and VISIBLE in all the photos published in your nice web-site!
Instead I would like to add a last thing about the final result of the sound quality; it's unbelievably WONDERFUL!! I'm a lover of vintage hi-end sound and in my life I have listened to many glorious tube amplifiers, so I know what I mean by real vintage warm tube sound.
The sound that comes out from the pair of Geloso G-226-A's restored by you through my splendid Tannoy loudspeakers, it's absolutely PERFECT, nothing to envy a many expensive and boasted tube amp of today!!!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH JOHN!...We've many other old device to restore, like my next original and rare TELEFUNKEN TRIODE amplifiers!...
Till the next time my dear Friend..... Anton."
From Steve - Selmer Professional Amp - November 2006
I had a good session with the Selmer Professional TV12 last night. As usual when I get repaired amps back from you, I am very pleased with it. Many thanks! Quite apart from the tremolo now working perfectly, I do think that the amp itself sounds better - more oomph and very Shads/ Vox AC** sounding with the echo turned up. Maybe it's my imagination, particularly that you have now told me that it is push-pull Class A? Did you do anything to it that would have had that effect?
Cheers for now, Steve."
From Tim - Vox AC30 & Impact Head - November 2006
Ethan and I didn’t get much time to try the amps out last night but the initial impressions are:
1). The Vox is brilliant - I've just got to re-learn how to get the best possibilities out of it but first impressions are it still has the one good sound I used to get out of it and it now has a whole bunch of other possibilities!!
2). The Impact is a revelation. The bass channel is great but, it makes the Celestion Greenback speakers flap a bit at 60%. The Treble channel is a fantastic 70's style distortion at 50% and this is before I've had time to put the JJ EL34s in.
I look forward to a more detailed try out at the weekend. Thanks very much, from two satisfied customer’s, I'll be in touch soon with the additional pictures and comments later.
Many thanks for your hard work, time and effort, Tim."
From Adrian - Fenton Weill Porta Bass - September 2006"Hi John,Don't know if you remember me. You repaired my Fenton Weill Porta-Bass amplifier for me. Just thought I'd say thanks for your hard work and also to send you a photo of the finished re-covered amp in full working order.Thanks again. Adrian"
From Karl - Gibson Skylark Combo - August 2006
Just to say how pleased I am with the work you have done rescuing the Kalamazoo Skylark. It did look as though there was a great amp waiting to emerge from what arrived from the USA, incomplete as it was. The work you have done exceeds all my expectations particularly as the amp has not been modified or changed in any way other than for safety. The amp looks great and sounds stunning I imagine just as it did when it was bought in 1964, if not better? Why these amps haven't got the kudos and collectability of Fender Champs is a mystery and lets keep it that way. Cheers again for your painstaking work.
From Justin - Wem Westminster Combo - August 2006
"Evening John... is that whisky flowing yet? What's your poison anyway?
Just wanted to say thanks for the work that you carried out for me earlier today. I've been playing through the WEM all evening and absolutely love it. To my ears its got a lovely warm tone and no more crackle and pops! ;-)
Thanks for letting me call in today and stick around while you diagnosed and resolved the issues - it was very interesting to witness the process and learn about your other projects. I also realize that you went out of your way to save me effort, time and money - you're a rare breed, thanks. I hope you managed to get to the garden centre for your mum before closing and got everything sorted?
Thanks again John.
Cheers. I'm off to buy another doggy amp!
Hope you're well on what's suddenly turned out to be a sunny Sunday evening down here in Worcestershire! Its been rather cloudy all day. Anyway, as promised, please find some photographs (I've included a few for you to choose from) of the Wem Westminster you revived before my eyes at the "Amp Hospital". Take a look at the pictures and let me know if they're suitable or if you would like anything in addition.
Once again, I'm absolutely delighted with the results following your meticulous service and repair of my beloved Wem Westminster. Thank you.
Cheers for now. Justin."
From Cliff - Bird Golden Eagle - July 2006"Hi John,
Just a brief e mail to say thank you for performing miracles on my old Bird amp, the difference is amazing and to my ears it sounds as good as any amp out there, both vintage and modern. When I first made the journey down to you from Preston, I was just wanting to get the amp repaired and working, (something that other amp technicians weren't prepared to take on), and I was therefore absolutely delighted that not only did you get everything working properly, but you have transformed its performance. I would imagine that the amp sounds better now than when it was brand new!
Once again, many thanks. Kind regards. Cliff"