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FDP Forum / Amp Mods, Repairs, and Projects / 1 question on tube amp heater wires soldering to socket tabs


LA , Calif

I try my best
Nov 4th, 2016 12:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If using 18ga solid wire I've always placed the two leads into a octal or 9 pin tab as well as the pilot lamp and soldered them.

I think this was mainly what I saw on SF champs.

My question is wouldn't it be better to bend a hook in each lead so they have a better mechanical connection then solder basically the same way one would do for any connection on a tube socket.

I tried this with 18ga cloth wire and found it next to impossible to bend 18ga solid wire x2 in one octal lug let alone a 9 pin.

I've looked at many photo's to see and none I've found can be seen how it was done.

Mine have held up fine just wondered what others find best.

Contributing Member

Cincinnati, USA

Nov 4th, 2016 08:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

All the tube-era books said solder is not glue and leads should be bent around lug to be mechanically secure before soldering. You find that construction technique in mil-spec and lab gear and even consumer pieces like televisions and tube hifi gear from the '50s and early '60s, especially in point-to-point construction.

Fender just stuck a lead (or two) into a hole or eyelet and soldered it in place. Not by the book but generally robust enough to last decades of carting around to gigs.

With tube sockets, everyone is just poking them through the holes and soldering.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Nov 4th, 2016 09:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


I appreciate the response. It's certainly easier if one needed to change something.

I've only done this with the heater leads , everything else I made a hook in the lead and pinched it closed then soldered. Doing so always seems to make soldering them more difficult , it does however keep the lead from moving when soldering.

I've only worked on three true fender amps to do cap jobs Two were music master bass amps and a 71 SF Champ. I never worked on any mods or repairs on any other amp. All had the leads just placed through the hole and soldered and never seeing any other amp even though I've owned them I knew absolutely nothing about how they worked and never opened one to look. I thought well maybe since the Champ and MM are the bottom end student amps that the ones one step up were done better. Or perhaps the smaller companies who sell kits and or build one for those who are not interested for what ever reason might do the job a bit better because it's more personal for them.

Contributing Member

Cincinnati, USA

Nov 7th, 2016 07:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The two Music Masters and the SF Champ that you worked on are typical of all the Fender amps. Fender used the same techniques regardless of amp size or student-line status and all are built to what they considered professional standards. I'm talking about pre-printed circuit board amps, before the advent of machine stuffing and wave soldering.

I have a '53 Champion 600 that's point-to-point wired and not built using an eyelet board. It might have more secure physical connections of leads (can't remember). But any that were built in more of an assembly line process, instead of individually hand-wired, will have wires simply poked through a hole and solder-glued. I would say later tweeds, blonde/brown, blackface and silverface are all built the same as the three you worked on.

You might want to twist those heater leads a little tighter than they did during the SF era and check their phasing on the output tubes.

FDP Forum / Amp Mods, Repairs, and Projects / 1 question on tube amp heater wires soldering to socket tabs

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