Wednesday, September 29, 2010

changing tube on the rectoverb

Changing the tubes on a tube amp can be tricky if you don't know what your doing. Most the time i would recommend taking it to a pro to have the amp serviced because tube amps have to be biased. However mesa boogie amps never have to be biased. which means it is easy to do yourself from home. The rectoverb has two 6l6's power tubes these  are what will need changed the most. The 12ax7 pre-amp tubes are still working and i have never changed them. However the two power amp tubes are easy changed. Just  turn the amp upside down and let the tubes cool  or use a towel if they are still hot. Rock them back and forth(wiggle) them while pulling upward until they work their way loose. Just put the new ones into the spot  by lining up the connections. If your are replacing them with 6l6's than you are done. If you are replacing them with el34's you must switch the  bias switch on  the  back of the amp . It really is that easy

Playing the rectoverb live.

 When playing live with any amp there are alot of determining factors of how enjoyable it will be. One of my biggest complaints is  the growing  trend of soundmen that want zero stage noise. This is rediculous. A sound system is called sound reinforcment for a reason. However many modern soundmen want the front loudspeakers to be all the sound there is. They want to have totall control of everything through the house system and they don't want to be bothered by any stage noise. This means that they usually want the guitar players to turn down way to far. They also want to put the drummer in a box or behind  some plexiglass .But they actually prefer an electric kit with a volume knob. This is just plain lazy on their part.
 It simply doesn't matter how good it sounds in the house if the band can't hear to play properly. At the last gig i did at a festival .I used a guitar amp that they provided that was pre-set volume. I wasn't allowed to touch it. If that wasnt bad enough They had the monitors turned down so much that i couldnt hear any guitar at all. I played our entire set by memory with no idea what anything i was playing sounded like.
  I am a firm beleiver that much of the sound should be coming from the stage from the acoustic drums and the loud amplifiers. Possibly even the monitors. While the house system should be their to "reinforce" and balance and even out the sound compensating for what may not be heard. Unfortuantly many  modern soundmen don't understand this concept.
   Anyway the rectoverb sounds great at loud volumes and is a pleasure to play live if you are allowed to play it the way it was suppose to be played.

review of my old fender ultimate chorus.

   I use to have a fender ultimate chorus. I wish i still had it. The first one's without the dsp effects were the best in my opinion. Yeah sure it was not a tube amp but for practice at home in your bedroom you couldn't ask for a better basic amp. It had a distortion that reminded me alot of eddie van halen and a clean sound to die for,mostly due to the rich lush chorus that could out perform any chorus effect pedal that i have ever heard. The chorus was stereo which probably accounted for much of the great sound of it. This was possible due to two seperate 60 watt amps one each per speaker. It even had stereo effect loop as well as a mono effect loop. Oh yeah and this one came with casters . Im thinking about buying this amp again as you can get them on ebay for cheap. Sometimes as low as around a hundred bucks and seldomly over three hundred. If the amp is in good working shape with no problems than it is well worth the money

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

demoing a guitar amp while in a music store

We have all been there. Wanting to try out a guitar amp in a store but most of the stores won't even allow it unless they have a demo room. They will sometimes allow it but they expect you to leave the volume down so as to not disrupt the other shoppers. That sucks. Especially if you are in the market for a tube amp. We all know that tube amps sound horrible while at low volumes. So how do you know what an amp is capable of? Well amps are exspensive, and if you are going to  pay around a thousand bucks for an amp then you should know what you are getting. I would take along two e.q. pedals with me. I would hook them up one between the guitar and  amp and one in the effects loop. I would give the first one a slight frown curve going into the amp and the  one in the loop i would give a slight smile curve. If you are scarred to turn it up in the store to hear the tube sound then take along a THD hotplate. These do not hurt your amp or it's tubes regardless of what the sales man might tell you. The misconception is that they ware out your tubes faster. First of all this is untrue. Secondly it wouldn't matter in a few minutes of playing in the store anyway. The reason this misconception existence is because turning your amp all the way up will make your tubes last a shorter time because they are working harder. This is what is going on with using a hotplate. The hotplate isn't responsible for your tubes short life but rather the volume. Your tubes would last the same time if you played at full volume constantly.
   I hope this  approach really lets you make a more informed decision when purchasing an amp. I also hope that your local guitar salesman is cooperative with your approach to trying an amp out. Im sure if he knows you have money in hand and will definitley be leaving with an amp that he will not want to loose your thousand bucks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

what's wrong with the rctoverb?

  The main thing that is wrong with the rectoverb combo is the weight. It ways around 70lbs or so if my estimates are correct. If that ain't bad enough it did not come with any caster wheels. It also only came with one handle on the top so lifting with two hands is difficult. I fixed this problem with a road case. The top lifts off of the road case and leaves the amp on the bottom part of the case with the casters. ...sweet. The case is a must have if you are going to move this amp.

other features of the rectoverb

 There are more features to the mesa boogie rectoverb than i have previously discussed. In this blog we will go over  them. First of all i would like to say that the rectoverb is a master volume amp.This means that each channel has it's own volume controll . Both channels send their signal to a shared amplifier with it's seperate volume controll. This allows you to turn up both channels at the same time once you have their individual volumes set in relationship to each other. I can not stress enough the importance of power amp saturation to your desired tube sound. Pre-amp tube saturation is not enough. You can find the sweet spot on this amp around 2 or 3 o clcok on the dial., but all the way up will be fine . However turning it all the way up with result in some power amp hiss. Once this is done you can set the individual volume on your distorted channel around  9 to 11 o'clock  for a good tone. This will result in it being vary loud. I encourage you to use this approach with a THD hotplate to get the volume under control.
  Each channel also has it's own reverb. There is no master reverb on this amp( don't really need it anyway) . One very good feature is the solo  feature. This is a volume nob beside the master volume that gives you a boost in volume for solo's or whatever. To obtain the boost you have to have this nob turned up past the master volume nob or it will not give any type of boost. There are a few more features such as a bias switch on the back to change tube types and multiple jacks for different ohms for different speakers hook ups. It also has external switching capabilities. The amp comes with a foot switch for channel, reverb, and solo for easy switching with your feet.

How to get a great tube tone out of your rectoverb at any volume.

  I don't care if you are living in an apartment and need to play at very low volume,if you own a tube amp you want to hear a tube tone coming out of it. The problem is that to so you must crank it all the way up  right? Well yes, but what is the next best thing? The THD hotplate is the answer. I use one on my rectoverb and will not do without it. What the THD hotplate does is , it allows you to crank your master volume up  to get power amp saturation while converting that pwer to heat and feeding a much lower signal to your speaker. Sure this isn't going to get you the desired speaker "break-up" that you get from cranking it but it will get you the warm tube saturation that us guitarist can't do without. The THD hotplate has two switched for high and low e.q. that gives you another e.q. option between your amp and speaker...nice and very handy. It also comes with a form of noise reduction that does not clip your sound.