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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Preamp tube failed on a gig - first time for everything!

Contributing Member

Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Jan 8th, 2017 01:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Just before Christmas we were playing a private event and suddenly I got the most horrible buzz out of my rig. It was not 60 cycle hum, it was more like "factory time clock buzzer set loud enough to be heard over machinery" buzz. Immediately I shut the whole thing down. My rig is pretty simple so a quick switch-and-test revealed the culprit to be my blonde tolex '64 Reverb unit. The unit is mostly original and to date has been pretty much bulletproof-reliable for the 12 years I've owned it. I figured it might at the very least be due for a general overhaul and cap job, and at worse some kind of expensive repair.
After puzzling over what might be wrong with it I tried swapping out tubes with some spares and found the culprit to be a JJ 12ax7 that seems to have simply went south.

I've never had a tube die on me in mid-gig before - let me tell you, that sound is SO disconcerting.



you want me to play where?
Jan 8th, 2017 05:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have only had ONE go bad and that was in my 71 bassman head that is my guitar amp. Just started distorting pretty good but at a lower volume than was acceptable. Like on 2 1/2"! Took it home, scoped it and after tracking it back, one side of the PI tube was insanely over pumping. Like four to one. That's the only one I've ever had go bad(as I knock on wood!), Mike

Contributing Member

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Jan 8th, 2017 02:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

thanks for posting.
I have a box of spare tubes I keep in the car trunk, but I've been riding to gigs w/our organist lately and forgot about spare tubes.
I'll need to get another box together for these gigs.

Contributing Member


Jan 8th, 2017 04:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've had one go at a gig in my PRII. I had to remove it in pieces. If I recall I had just installed it.

Contributing Member

The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Jan 8th, 2017 07:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A great way to carry spare tubes in your crate or gig bag is a small flat plastic fishing tackle box. Wrap each tube in thin bubble wrap, secure it with a strip of tape, and place it in one of the partitioned slots.

Like this, @ Bass Pro/Cabela's/Scheel's/Dick's/WalMart/etc.

Contributing Member

Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Jan 8th, 2017 10:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Funny story - though it wasn't funny at the time :

I was a sub on this gig - my first live show with a new bunch of folks. It was a private event at a very exclusive country club in a very affluent area. I was hoping to make a good impression because they gig quite a bit and well, private events like this pay more than your standard bar gig.

The venue really hosed up the scheduling for the evening. We were originally supposed to play at 7pm but we got pushed back to 8:30. This wouldn't have been a problem however the clientele was mostly made up of folks in their 70's and 80's who just don't stay out that late. As a result most of them went home after they ate dinner rather than coming into the adjoining room to see us. By 9:45 the place was empty and basically they just told us we were done for the night.

At the end of the night the venue event coordinator evidently felt badly that the place had emptied out so soon. He hadn't even had a chance to hear/see us play, so he asked if we might do a tune for him so he could get an idea of what we do, in case they might want to hire us for future events (an agent booked us for this show, so this guy had never seen us before)

The bandleader called a song and we launched into it. Not even 20 seconds in my amp starts to go BUZZZZZZZZ. I throw the amp on standby, wait a couple seconds, turn it on - buzz is still there. I repeat this one more time with the same result, so at that point I resign myself to pantomiming the rest of the song.

The problem is the bandleader has chosen a tune in which everyone takes a solo break - and not just a solo break, but an ANNOUNCED solo break - you know where he yells "Jimmy Joe Bob on the drums!" and the drummer takes a few measures, and on down the line. So I'm on the other side of the stage desperately trying to communicate to him that I had no amp and was dead in the water and DON'T THROW ME A SOLO... however he didn't understand my gestures...so we had a "Rob - lead guitar!!!!" followed by...no lead guitar from Rob.


Contributing Member

Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Jan 13th, 2017 01:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


I can't even imagine! At the time you just wanna die!

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Feb 12th, 2017 03:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I carry extra tubes to every gig.

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Preamp tube failed on a gig - first time for everything!

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