Disclaimer, Information, and Biases

Posted: September 13, 2015 in Cork Sniffer Heresy, DIY, Modification, Tube Amps
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Disclaimer

Guitar amplifiers contain lethal levels of electricity.  If you work on your amp, it is at your own risk.  This site doesn’t recommend anyone without the necessary training and/or experience to perform work on an amplifier.  Even trained, experienced people can receive electric shocks from time to time and I don’t wish for anyone to injure themselves.  Additionally, soldering on PCBs can damage traces if care is not used.  Any potential damage or wear is the fault of the person performing the work and warpedmusician is not liable for any limitations of the materials or skill of the person performing modifications.

Information

I cannot perform every mod mentioned or written about.  It is safe to assume it’s theory unless otherwise stated.  If you don’t have experience necessary to understand the implications of the modifications, please present the information to someone with adequate experience.  Additionally, I’m a human being and I can make mistakes.  Even though I take steps to ensure I’m not passing on poor information or recommending things that could damage an amp or kill a person, please take time to carefully read all the information presented and be sure you understand the implications of any changes you wish to perform.

Biases

In general, an approach to most anything will be met with alternatives and critiques.  There are often many right approaches to one particular thing.  In almost all cases, I will not tout something as being “the best” or “the only” approach to anything.  Be wary of anyone who makes those claims.  A person’s personal biases in tones, feel, and execution are not a blanketed, true statement about anything.  It’s an opinion.

Some of the mods and analyses are to help people with different ideas of tones reach their goals more easily.  That a modification can be done is not the same thing as saying a modification should be done.  I have seen crowds of people (real and virtual) parrot the consensus of others without having a lot of insight into what they actually want.  Be aware of what you want and tell those other people to go fuck themselves if their cork sniffing, half-formed, biased, opinions conflict with the goal you want to reach.

The parts in vintage amps drift with time.  This changes the response of the bias and filters.  What one of those old amps sounds like today is not what it sounded like 30 or 40 years ago.  Additionally, the designers and users had no guidelines to follow.  They made it up as they went along and acted conservatively when a good idea took off.  The parts they used were not high grade in most cases.  They used cheaply available technology in the cheapest ways possible to keep costs down.  If the guitar amps had been better made, harmonic distortion as we prefer it would be completely different (and people would instead comment on how linear their amps are when being stuck-up assholes).

There’s also no natural electric guitar tone.  From the moment the steel strings disturb the magnetic field of the pickups, the whole affair is an exercise in electronic music.  Electrons are reacting to an AC signal according to DC bias points and filters.  There is not anything “natural” about it.  Keep that in mind when people mention the composition of their parts or the “tone wood” on their guitars, because the electrons really don’t care whether that’s an orange drop cap or not, or if the mahogany was grown by pygmies on a mystical island, but the companies selling it to you care about the mark-up they can get for things that may or may not be beneficial.

Then the user might end up proclaiming that as the only way to build something, because they justify the large cost of “high end” upgrades that appreciably increase the cost of their gear, using the buzz words and misdirection used by some manufacturers to sell a product.  My advice is to keep an open mind, because there is no magic mojo in regards to guitar and amplifier technology and multiple approaches work just fine as long as the parts are of reasonable quality.  No snake oil required.

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