Resurrectionist: Ampeg SVT-810E

Somewhere in the ’90s, everything became disposable and cheap. NAFTA made lives disposable and cheap. Reality shows made art disposable and cheap. Music companies made their gear disposable and cheap. I have not the inclination to make the philosophical leap as to why. What I do have is a good example of this. SLM Music, who owned the Ampeg name in the ’90s, put out the worst version of an Ampeg 8×10, the “Classic” 810E cabinet. It has eight 10″ speakers and is based on the original winning design from the ’70s. They are made so poorly with shit wood, however, they are often left to rot rather than fix. Well, I said fuck that. One of these fell into my hands, crumbling and falling apart. I brought it back to life.

Ampeg 8x10 refurb finished

When I dragged this out of the apartment from the folks who bestowed it on me, it was missing the bottom entirely. It had the prerequisite tolex rips of every punk rocker’s cab. The baffle board rocked back and forth and could bust your fingers. It was missing a speaker. I rebuilt the bottom, replaced the speaker, and the cab served me well on a few tours. When I sold my Ampeg SVT-2Pro to my bud Brian from Merdoso and formerly of Stormcrow, I offered the cab as part of the deal so long as he covered the expense of a heavy-duty restoration so I could have some fun making the monstrosity punk-proof. And fun I had.

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Operating Theater: Ampeg SVT-200T

Ampeg rewrote the book on high power amplification in 1969 with the introduction of the SVT. That was the Super Valve Technology amp which pumped out, a then unheard of, massive 300 watts from six huge valves (or “tubes”). Marshall invented THE rock guitar amp and Ampeg followed it with THE rock bass amp. And then… through the ’70s and ’80s, they never topped the SVT. Sure, they had a few other good products, in-between changing ownership as numerously as Michael Jackson was changing his nose. So in the late eighties, they just started throwing the SVT name around like baby batter at a bukkake convention. And hence, the SVT-200T, produced from 1987-1994: featuring no valves at all.

Ampeg SVT 200T

I like to think I’m less dumb than I used to be. When I bought this SVT-200T solid-state amplifier, I thought I had an SVT. It was loud, the right shape, it said SVT… shit, I just played grind core, what did I know? It had that “Ampeg” tone they dial all their amps towards and it sounded awesome. Sounded. One night in 2005 it took a dump. Or maybe I took a dump. Did I have the wrong speaker set up? Was the club’s power screwy? Was it just old? It took me a lot of learning over seven years, but I finally got this tubeless, sad sack out of the closet and farting again.

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