A Blues Harp Guide to Tube Amplifiers
Does it Work?

Any vintage tube amp can be fixed, for a price. They are not like VCRs, which are difficult to service and designed to be thrown away after a few years service. Tube amps have all of their components easily accessible to you and the parts are designed to be replaced.

Some repairs to an amp are expensive. A new speaker or transformer can cost more than $80. A cap job costs around $100, although you can try that yourself for less than $20. It is no good to buy a $100 tube amp and spend $100 to get it working so you can have a $150 amp.

Most tube amp problems involve tubes and capacitors. Turn the amp on and try it out. If smoke doesn’t come out of it, it is a very good sign. Typical problems are 1) no sound 2) weak sound 3) loud hum 4) popping 5) scratchy pots. If you get no sound and the tubes light up, there is hope for the amp. It could be a tube or cap or the speaker is bad. If you get a sound, then a good amp tech should be able to fix you up. Things like scratchy pots you can fix yourself. Hum and pop are cap problems. I’ve read the amp fix it pages and sometimes I can fix a small problem. I’ve recapped amps and lived to tell, but I am not a repairman. I take bad amps to dude named Dumbrowsky who lives way out in the Jersey woods and a couple of months later I get the amp back in perfect condition.

If an amp doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean that it has no value. The parts in an amp are worth more than the amp itself. The quesion is: do you want to take the time and effort to get the amp fixed?

 

Buy the Book!

I cleaned up my tab for Sonny Boy's Help Me and made it into a short book. There's a Kindle version for 99 cents, and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle free.

Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

I also write Science Fiction, so you can sample some of my best stories. Also available in Kindle format.


Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul
 

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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into JT30.com in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

Usenet Articles


Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old Harpamps.com website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.


Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003

Harp Frequently Asked Questions