A blog whereby I motivate myself, and my readers, to punch me in the mouth.

  "Punchworthy feeds our deepest Freudian wishes!" --Entertainment

  "The consumate rocker's rocker. Charming, personable... a sucking void of inescapable inner turmoil."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tubes part 2: "life in a vacuum" or "Kirk throws a curve"

So it was time to talk amps. Fortunately, I've got more than one friend who likes to do that. My brother-in-law, Scott, and my long-time musical crony Bill Lewis were both more than happy to dish on their latest encounters of the amplified kind (since I had none of my own).

This was a good time, but unfortunately they were a little too full of information--I started out going from zero new-amp interest to the AC30, and by the time Scott & Bill finished, I was also hot to try out new gear from both Mesa/Boogie (the Lone Star Special) and Orange!

Then, just when I thought I was all ready for some test driving (Scott and I had even made a plan to go to C. V. Lloyd's over Christmas break), Kirk threw a curve.

With his "sweetness" post, Kirk re-awakened my awareness of the great mystical vacuum tube. The heart and soul of little egg-frying AC amps like my Delta. He also re-awakened my memories of seeing my amp referred to by internet forum-posting rockers as "the poor man's vox"--so I started digging again.

What if I could have the best of both worlds? The great AC30 sound plus $1500 smackers with which to play musical gear roulette? If I could modify the Delta to do what I thought the AC30 could do, then that would leave me with a lot of liquid capital! (Can anyone here say "Yamaha AES1500B?" Uh huh.)

Sure enough, I found a wealth of information on mod-ing a Delta 2x10" into Vox-y goodness. From the sounds of things, a new set of JJ tubes and a mismatched pair of Weber replacement speakers (silver and blue alnico) would set me back around $250 and leave me wallowing in lush, chimey, overdriven faux Vox vibe. For an extra kick, I could even build myself a small closed-back extension cab for the Peavey stock speakers in the Delta (Eminence, I believe), and give myself a little more low-end punch. Nothing like 30 watts AC coming through four 10" speakers, two open-back, two closed!

Just to test those waters, I sent an email shout-out to Bob at Eurotubes, to see what he had to say (if anything) about the kind of mods I wanted to make. Lo and behold, he actually responded to me! And was helpful! (Not to mention cheap. Which is pretty important to me, I'm sure most of you know.) Having had luck with Bob, I also emailed Ted Weber at Weber Speakers, Kokomo, IN. (that's right...)

Ted was a lii-ttle less helpful, getting the speaker wiring config for my amplifier wrong, but I'm going to cut him slack because A) he even bothered to email me back, which he certainly didn't have to, and B) he actually tried to look up the specs on my amp and then chose the correct ohmage and wattage, which shows more initiative than I could be bothered to take, myself, even though it's my amp.

A little research, a couple emails to some industry leaders, and a short conversation about ohmage with my bass-playing-demigod of a brother-in-law (Mike, Deb's brother--not be be confused with my knob-tweaking, lead-guitar-playing, Mesa-wielding brother-in-law, Scott, my sister's husband)... and I was pretty sure that not only did I have a good solid "sell the Pro, buy a Vox" angle to work from, but also a pretty good "forget the Vox, mod the delta, get groovy bonus gear" angle, as well!

But there was still the plan to visit C.V. Lloyd's with Scott, and it didn't seem prudent for me to launch off in some other direction without following that through. I needed to plug in and see what some of these amps could do. In person.

(Next time: "Scott & John go to town" or "You've got a little 'Boogie right there... No. More to the left. Where your face used to be."


At 10:46 AM, Blogger kirk said...

I didnt know scott got a Mesa Boogie. That is awesome. Did he get ride of the Marshall or the Yamaha, I thought he loved those amps but I would take a Mesa over those any day.
Did he go with the solo 50 or the lonestar. the Lonestar has the same circutry as my deville but with n extra drive chanel I believe.
When I working with Barry he told me all he ever used in AA was a Peavy Delta blues 4x10.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger caparoon said...

He's got a solo 50 head, w/ a 2x12" rectifier head. That thing can hurt you. But, it can also sound quiet and groovy. Lots of options.

The Delta only comes as a 2x10" or a 1x15", but of course you can add an extension. It's basically a classic 30 w/ a couple different options, and so almost the same amp as the classic 50 4x10", which is pretty sweet. And not at all unlike your DeVille.

No idea what "ogradfp" is, so here, that earns you this:

At 7:30 AM, Blogger kirk said...

ogradfp is the word verification but i thought it was fun to say

At 7:41 AM, Blogger caparoon said...

You're not wrong.


At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the words of Mr. Burns... “Excellent!”

Cool series man. The “Where your face use to be” bit actually made me laugh out loud. Really. Very funny. Because it’s true! I’m eagerly awaiting the next one.

Oh yeah... Kirk, I got a Mesa... Dig it too. Solo 50 head / closed-back 2x12 cab. It does LOTS of things. And I must have bought it during “Bonus Days” or something, because not only is it loud—it’s heavy! My favorite feature has to be the “Output” knob. You have “Gain” and a “Master” to mix your sound, and the Output controls exactly that: output. Roll it down and you still sound like you’re playing at “Eleven”, but now you’re only as loud as Two. Oh-yeah.

You should ask John what he thought when I flipped the Gain voicing switch to “Modern” on Ch2 and struck a couple chords. : )




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