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.