BillyRadd Music

Friday, March 18, 2011

B12N Repair Update

Here's the thing.

My local tube amp repair man, Aaron, called me yesterday to report on his upgrade of the power cord on my vintage bass amplifier, an
Ampeg B12N. He had found some additional problems.

"Have you used this amp in the last 20 years or was it just stored in a closet or something?" he asked.

"Oh, uh, I've been using it to practice with since last summer," I said innocently.

"Well, I'm surprised at that because there are a few problems with the electronics," he said. "Does it hum a lot?"

"Well, no, it doesn't hum a lot but I haven't turned it up very loud, though. Maybe there is a hum but I can't hear it at low levels," I responded. "Is there something wrong?" Duh.

"Yeah, there is a blown
capacitor and a few other problems. Plus, someone replaced some of the original tubes with a kind that isn't really meant for your amp. I'm surprised it doesn't hum a lot, " Aaron reported. "These tubes won't perform as well as they should - kinda lower capacity power tubes. There are two KS 16's instead of the two GY96's that should have been used, " he said, or something like that.

"I did have a music store replace some tubes about 20 years ago, " I remembered vaguely.

This conversation was beginning to sound like my typical sobering trip to the local car repair shop. I don't know much about car parts either.

"Uh, OK, " I said authoritatively. "Well, can you fix it?" Ah, the perpetual question.

"Oh, sure," Aaron responded happily. "It will take me about 5 or 6 days to get the parts in."

Now, this was really starting to sound like a car repair routine.

"Ok, then go ahead and do what you need to do and let me know when I can pick it up, " I said.

"OK, man," said Aaron cheerily.

We both knew our last two lines very well from years of practice. But, the B12N will be back into service in about a week. I will be happy thumping away through the B12N's new vintage electronics and Aaron will feel the satisfaction a doctor feels when restoring the life of an older patient who was very near death but didn't even realize it.

For myself, I spent the remainder of yesterday trying to think of a good nickname for the old amp. This is my typical level of personal interaction with my instruments, besides playing them - thinking up a good name.

Then it hit me hard and quickly while looking at the above pic of the lit Ampeg logo that decorates the top of my B12N. Peg is her name. The logo, to me at least, says, "I am Peg", so that's her new name.

Anthropomorphism - it's a great hobby - not too expensive and VERY non-technical.


  1. I can't believe none of us saw the perfect name for your amp years ago! Way to go Papa! Glad that the amp can be fixed; that amp is basically a family member. :)

  2. Thanks for the comment, Beth. Peg says thanks, too.

  3. Thanks for the great story...and provoking some thought. I've decided to name my Mustang Amp "Sally". It's so was one of the tunes that Mitch Ryder played when our band opened for them!

  4. Thanks for the comment, Bob.

    Jenny take a ride, now, hey, hey, hey!