For our band, heretofore referred to as “Sean’s Band,” our guitarist Dan Randall uses my Ampeg VH-140C guitar head. He’s had a string of bad luck getting his own taken care of. My VH-140C is a great head I inherited from Impaled’s old guitarist, Leon del Muerte. It’s solid state and goes for cheap used, but makes the perfect compressed chugga chugga. That makes it the amp of choice for us, Pig Destroyer, Dying Fetus, Misery Index, and more. Leon left it behind, broken. I got it fixed and now it works again… sorta.
Dan kept saying it was cutting out. I didn’t believe him, until I saw the distortion light blink out and come back while he was doing nothing. On a cursory inspection, I noticed the power jack did not seem tightly affixed on the back of the amp. Was it shaking out? It probably didn’t help we kept it on top of my bass rig.
So what the eff was going on?
Ampeg… great designs, sometimes not the greatest parts. Hey, every corporation cuts corners here and there (like Coca Cola switching to crack cocaine and non-potable water). In this case, the power jack Ampeg used was a cheapy.
It was secured by some plastic tabs and just snapped-in when built. It was loose in the housing. Lame. I replaced it with a more secure power jack.
This one is fastened to the chassis with 1/8″ bolts and locking washers. It’s way less likely to come free from the amp housing.
On first try, Dan thought I fucked up the amp. Then I reached over and turned the volume knob up on his guitar. Hmmph.
Sean’s Band played a show this last weekend and, to our knowledge, Dan never cut out. The amp is working fine. Not bad for this solid state amp celebrating it’s 19th birthday this month.
Many, many amp and pedal problems are solved just by making sure electricity is getting to where it’s supposed to. Always check your power jacks and battery snaps first! Right after you make sure the volume knob is up on your guitar.
9 thoughts on “VH-140C Power jack fix”
Every time I almost pick one of those up, they always have some weird problem. Amp is cutting out, one input jack doesn't work, or some other weird shit. I've been on the hunt for like a year, but I can never seem to find one that's in good working order for a reasonable price.
I think so many are broken because the price point made them beater amps for many. This one was till I got it fixed up. I found Christy from Ludicra a perfect one with foot pedal for $200. I saw one in PDX for same price that was laughably fucked. Keep looking, it's a cheap lotto, and input jacks are a cheap fix.
Or look for a Crate GT3500h. Supposedly it's the same circuit repackaged by the old parent company of Ampeg and Crate.
picked up its cousin, the ss140c, in pdx for $60. one resistor solder later, shes screaming in the basement.
I love to hear stories like that with a happy ending. Especially when the ending involves a screaming amp.
The Crate amps with the same circuit are the GTX3500h, VTX350h, and VTX200s, not the GT3500h; however, some of the EQ pot values are different on the Crates. Also, the single channel of the Crate Powerblock is identical to the clean/low gain channel of the VH-140c. All these amps have been discontinued since 2006-2007 or so, though.
Some older Crate amps that are similar to the VH-140c would be the G-130cxl, GX-130c (often wrongly described as being identical to the Ampeg, it has a cheaper power amp, and a somewhat more nasal upper-middy voicing), and the GX-140c/GX-140d (same lead channel as the GX-130c, but with the same poweramp as the Ampeg VH-140c).
what about the Crate G120C ? Is this amp like the vh140c ?
I have a vh140c,took me a couple of years to have the money and find one online at the same time, I ordered it from back east, and had it sent to the ampeg repair shop in Venice ca. Got it back, works great, what I’m trying to find out is all the jacks output input in the back to get the best sound for thrash and death metal, any way to make it just perfect?
Mostly, just plug it into a Marshall 1960 and jam. Normally, I hate rack mount shit like this, but a BBE Sonic Maximizer really makes a VH140C sing like a motherfucker. It’s a bit weird to hook up, you gotta do it after the preamp outs and then into the power amp ins, both channels. I highly recommend it for a very compressed yet thrashy tone. The palm mutes are unbelievable.