From legma–(at)–clipse.net Fri Dec 12 09:31:56 CST 1997
Article: 75504 of alt.guitar.amps
From: Mike Smith
Subject: TORRES NIGHTMARE….
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 00:10:41 -0500
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In April 1995 I purchased a 1970’s Silver-face Fender Twin-Reverb,
equipped with 2 orange-frame JBL speakers.
It sounded fine, but I decided to beef it up by installing a Torres
“Super Texan” amp mod. The brochure made it sound like
just what I needed, and I hoped it would turn my Twin into a versatile
“killer” amp. Installation went well until I got to step 3
when the amp began humming & buzzing. Days later I decided to bring it
to a professional and let them install the rest of the kit.
A week later the amp was done. The buzzing/humming was the result of a
short (melted insulation). I plugged my guitar in and
began to play. Hmmmmmm. Not good. Sounded weak & flat. Not musical at
all. Even the two technicians agreed. It also appeared that the tone
controls didn’t work as well as before. Over all this amp now sounded
terrible – no tone or color at all. After awhile they offered to go
through the amp again – free of charge – to see if they missed anything.
I was in no hurry to take it home so I agreed. One week later I returned
to pick up the amp and there was no difference. The techs had gone
through the amp and found it to be wired exactly as the “Super Texan”
diagram required. I took it out on 2 or 3 gigs before I decided to send
it to Torres Engineering and let them fix it. During this time I spoke
on several occasions with M. Griblin who said he’d check out the amp
when it arrived in the shop. Over a month later I got the amp back. I
took it out of the box, installed all brand-new tubes (Sovtek) and
plugged in. It immediately began to sputter & crackle loudly. I turned
it off, unplugged it, and opened it up. After a few minutes I discovered
a wire going through one of the tube socket terminals but not soldered
to it. I soldered it and plugged back in. It sounded lousy. I
immediately called Torres and spoke to Mr. Griblin, telling him exactly
what I found & how I felt. He felt that the solder joint could have come
loose during shipping and that the tubes might be to blame for the poor
sound. He suggested I send it back to them for another look. No way. I
sent it to them to fix the problem and they failed. They had their
chance & blew it. Besides, I live 3,000 miles away. There was a letter
accompanying the amp listed what Mr. Griblin found and fixed. In this
letter he mentioned not having the time to go through the amp more
thoroughly to really straighten it out.
Now stop and think about that for a moment. I sent this amp to them –
3,000 miles away – so that they WOULD straighten it out. But he couldn’t
find the time. Why not? I sure as hell wasn’t hounding him. And besides,
it’s his job to REPAIR AMPLIFIERS! If they couldn’t finish the job then
why was it sent back to me?
This time I brought the amp (and the Super Texan diagram) to a local
repair guy and told him to open it up and check it out. The following
week the tech told me the amp was indeed wired exactly like the diagram.
He also said he found blobs of solder on the circuit board, and that the
interior was pretty messy so he cleaned it up. Now keep in mind that the
last place to open this amp up was Torres Engineering. There was no
mention, either on the phone or in the letter, of Mr. Griblin finding
sloppy solder work from the previous techs. So where did it originate?
Meanwhile this amp still sounded like a dog. We’re talking about a
Fender Twin Reverb that sounded fine until the Torres mod was installed.
Torres also has a tendency to overstate things in their brochures by
claiming that certain tubes & parts can’t be purchased anywhere else in
the world. Or that all the big stars use his amps. The brochure clearly
states “…sustain for years and unbelievable tone….” That is a lie.
And their wiring instructions leave a lot to be dsesired. At any rate,
this amp sounded sweet, and by installing the Super Texan I’d hoped to
make it sound sweeter. Instead, I, and all who heard this amp, was
greatly disappointed. If Leo Fender could hear this amp he’d be glad he
That’s where my Torres tale ends – but the amp saga continues. Never
I brought the amp to a tech about 10 miles away, highly recommended to
me by Fender. I brought the amp to him and explained the problem. He
took one look at the speakers and said that someone would have to work
real hard to make orange-frame Fender JBL’s sound lousy. Hours later
(Man, could this guy talk!) I left the Torres brochures, schematics,
etc., and the amp with him, telling him to restore it back to specs,
with some beef added to it. The next time I spoke to this guy he
couldn’t say enough bad things about Torres Engineering and how they
should be out of business for what they did to my amp (and other amps as
well). He also felt that the parts & circuitry provided by Torres were
among the cheesiest he’d ever seen. Very low-grade. On and on he went.
Like I said, this guy could talk. (Bear in mind that this guy was no
fraud, and that he absolutely knew his stuff, but he had a tendency to
make his point. Then he’d make it again. And again. Then one more time.
And then….well, you get the idea.) He also felt that ALL tubes being
manufactured today sucked, and constantly told me so. Anyway, this guy
was so incensed that he even wanted copies of all correspondence I’d had
with Torres, which I readily supplied. He was on a mission to rid the
guitar world of poor & inadequate repair work, even going on the
internet to track down Torres horror stories. He’s probably reading this
one right now. (Hi, Rich.)
Well, the day finally came when my amp was ready to be picked up. To
the best of my recollection it’s been more than a year since I
originally purchased the amp, and now it’s finally been restored and
back in shape and ready to rock.
That’s what you think.
Looking at the invoice I see that my 1970’s silver-face Twin Reverb has
been restored to the specs of……..a ’65 Fender Bassman????? When the
frig’ did I agree to that? I don’t recall the words “…65 Fender
Bassman..” ever rolling off my tongue at any time I spoke to this guy.
He and I are both huge Hendrix fans, so I made it absolutely clear what
kind of sound I was looking for: think Jimi plays Monterey. When I
inquired as to why he would take it upon himself to do what he did he
explained that “…I think you’ll be happy with what I did to your
amp….a lot of guys are into this sound, check it out!” He then added
“…if you aren’t happy with it let me know.” Why? So I can ask him to
restore it to the specs of a 1970’s SILVER-FACE TWIN REVERB WITH
ORANGE-FRAME FENDER JBL’S ?????????????!!!!!!!!!! HELLLLLLOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. You’ll notice I haven’t
mentioned the financial cost of this adventure. I’m too embarassed.
What’s that you say? Whatever became of that amp? I haven’t played
through it since I brought it home that night.
I pile my laundry on it.