In the ’60s and ’70s, it was not uncommon to find an extra power outlet on the back of your amp. I assume this was because live rock music was in its infancy and most theaters didn’t have a milk crate full of quad boxes and power strips to bring power to your multiple amps, reverb units, and bulky-ass Morley wah pedals. The extra outlet disappeared in the ’80s, which is a shame, because they can be so damn useful. I know, because my Ampeg V-4B and SVT have ones which I use all the time to plug in my pedals.
This is Sean’s Peavey XXX amp with an outlet I added. I did it because he likes to place his wireless on top of the amp and Sennheiser, in their infinite wisdom, made the power adapter cord 3′ long. It’s a pain in the ass to run an extension cord for a single DC power adapter, so the outlet makes things easier. I detailed how I did it in a post about fixing that amp. Another option is to get an IEC plug splitter like the one I wrote about before, but that’s just something extra to lose. Sean’s now got a signature Satriani XXX and he wanted it, too, to have the extra outlet. What a time to make a post dedicated to adding this long-lost convenience.
I spoke about doing this in my post on fixing up a Peavey VTM 120, but I didn’t take pictures. Well, after the ground pin fell out on my Ampeg V4-B, it was time to replace another power cord. This time, I took some pictures for anyone interested in taking on such a task.
This actually happened to me while on my last tour with Exhumed. It didn’t stop me from playing. A ground pin isn’t essential to a functioning amp. It’s a safety device, in case there’s a short within the amplifier, so the amp doesn’t conduct voltage into the user through the chassis. I took my chances on the road, but once I was home it was time to replace this safety feature.
The Peavey VTM 120 is [looks around to see who is listening] a great fucking amp. Don’t tell your friends, because you can still get ’em relatively cheap. It’s essentially a JCM 800 clone with a set of DIP switches “to avoid any Imperial entanglements.” Sebastian Phillips, my bandmate in Exhumed, swears so much by his that he has one for each coast. He even got our other guitfiddler, Matt Harvey, to get one as a back-up for his 5150 (or 6505… I can’t keep track).
Of course, even a good amp has a bad day. This trooper made it through a marathon six-week tour, but upped and quit on us the very last day. It just stopped turning on. Luckily, Matt had that back-up, so Sebastian didn’t lose his groove. I took the amp after we unpacked our shit and did my doktor thing.
Maybe you have a guitar cab with just a single input, but you want to be able to switch to 4Ω instead of just the 16Ω it’s wired to. Maybe you want to run your speakers in stereo. Maybe you just hate those stupid fucking bullshit plastic Marshall switchable stereo jack plates that constantly break. If any of this applies to you, please consider the Plug and Play jack plate as a replacement.
Full disclosure: I have nothing to disclose. This was bought and I installed it. As far as I can tell, it’s made by Amplified Parts, a webstore I use frequently to purchase tubes and parts. This is an all purpose jack plate made of durable metal with no stupid switches that break. Installing one is easy.
I’ve detailed before how I added a power socket to Sean’s Peavey XXX. This was because the Sennheiser’s wireless system that he uses doesn’t include a power adapter that actually reaches the floor from the height of a full-stack. Way to plan, Sennheiser. A second power socket used to be standard on old amps, but they’ve gone the way of Bill Cosby’s standing as a moral person. Now Ben has the same XXX amp and wanted me to do repeat the process. But I thought about an easier solution than cutting into his amp. So, I was certain someone thought of it before me.
What you got there is your standard plug for a modern amp, an IEC C13, with an extension for a US three-prong plug. This tiny cable allows for things you want to keep on your amp, like a pedal, wireless unit, or a hair straightener plugged in without searching around for a shit ton of extension cords. Pretty sweet! These are available on Amazon for about $10-20.
I almost feel guilty for writing about this, as the fix was so damn easy. Actually, that says a lot of good things about the manufacturer of this amp, Peavey. Behold, the Peavey Century (which was produced about twenty years shy of the turn of…)
I had a Peavey XR 400B PA head that I used to call “the amp that will not die.” I used it as a back up bass head before I had a proper bass amp to rely on. It was about the same era as this Century, used the same solid state power amp section, and could get kicked down a flight of stairs and still work. Sure, it never sounded that great, but it was unbreakable. This Century broke when my friend Mark, after seeing a documentary on Keith Moon, decided he was in the Who and sent it tumbling. So, WTF?
During the months we traveled with GWAR, Sean “Bloodbath” McGrath’s Peavey XXX performed robustly. It’s modeled after a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, but minus the almost baffling amounts of bells and whistles and the outrageous price tag. Sean likes his stuff simple and cheap. Other than the embarrassing faceplate I replaced previously and the goofy knob names, it’s been a champ and sounded awesome.
And then the XXX crapped out. It stopped working two minutes before stage time at one of the last dates on our headlining tour. Sean was supposed to take his head into the shop upon our return, but was aghast to find it under a dog pile of costumes in our practice place. He said, “Nah.” Well, I dug it out to see what I could accomplish.
Hammers of Misfortune is the brainchild of my bandmate in Ludicra, Sir John “Cadbury” Cobbett. They are in the midst of working on a new record to be released on Metal Blade sometime in the future.
I got the call from John. “I need my pedal back.” Crap. The pedal I was supposed to fine tune. Oops. Oh well, I got it working, at least. Problem is, I was working in Oakland, and John is hard at work in South San Francisco. And it’s rush hour. So I guess after getting here I’m sticking around and writing about what the fuck Hammers is nailing down.