SG101 on the Web

Follow SurfGuitar101 on Twitter

Photo of the Day

Tqi: I like Chicken. I like liver. Meowmix Meowmix please deliver.
37 days ago

GatoStrato: Onward and upward!
29 days ago

Brian: Bozo bit flipped
27 days ago

Tqi: Can we talk about how hard it is to get hold of the Brownface 350K/70K treble pots?
23 days ago

Tqi: Raw Purple Sprouting Broccoli is the most delicious part of spring.
17 days ago

GatoStrato: Pickles, pickled,pickles
16 days ago

dragonfly: Congrats bigtikidude on your first pier show. I sure miss doing them but happy ypu've continued the program. Great selection of bands for the year. Much love Linda xo
11 days ago

dragonfly: Congrats Brian for keeping sg101 going for all these years.Your friend Linda
11 days ago

bigtikidude: Thank you Linda, wish you could see them still
9 days ago

surfinjohnnyq: howdy kats .. I have not checked in in a while... still verbolishous !!
3 days ago

Please login or register to shout.

Current Polls

No polls at this time. Check out our past polls.

Current Contests

No contests at this time. Check out our past contests.


Help us meet our monthly goal:



Donate Now

SG101 Banner

SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Amp fail. New levels of despair..

New Topic
Goto Page: 1 2 Next

We've been booked to play this gig for months. They love us, it's a big burlesque show and we're the only band. It's sold out with over 250 people.

I've a Dual Showman, 1975, and a Hot Rod Deluxe. I took two amps, just in case!

The Hot Rod was my main amp as the cab for the Showman is not that great. So I plugged my guitar in to a reverb tank, then into the Hot Rod. I decided to use the Showman to reinforce the sound a bit so I took the Preamp out from the Hot Rod and plugged it into the guitar input on the Showman. Sounded good! Quick soundcheck and we're ready to go...

We go get some food, watch the other acts. I switch on my amps about 30mins before we're due on to warm everything up, so they are on standby.

Our time comes, we get a big introduction, 250 people are looking at us expectantly , I flip the standby switches and... nothing. Absolutely no sound from either amp. Both amps have the lights on, but no-on at home. I tried everything, a sound engineer took pity on us and checked everything but no. I ended up slinking out feeling an idiot.

Does anybody have any idea what could be wrong, in case it's something simple? Ever optimistic! I don't care about why or how it happened, just if anyone has any idea what could be wrong! Two amps? Both not working?

So I checked them this morning and they are fine. Absolutely fine. If I hadn't had the sound guy check them over I would assume it was my fault and I don't know how to work an amp. But between us we couldn't get a sound out of them.

Now I want explanations!

(Although I am very relieved the Showman is working...!)

Now that is a pretty terrible story. You have my sympathies, Da-Ron (not that they will be much use to you, I'm afraid).

HangNine Blog
Los Fantasticos
HangNine on Facebook
Los Fantasticos on Facebook

That's horrible - my sympathies for sure. Historically, when my amps have gone "light's on, nobody home" it has to do with the power tubes failing. Best of luck figuring out the issue and hopefully it's something that never happens to you again!


Gypsy Moonshine on Reverbnation
Gypsy Moonshine on Facebook

I've pulled stuff like that for a minute or two due to my own idiocy, but somebody else always spots what I've missed. Since you had sound at soundcheck and none later, then had the sound guy check it too, I'd be as baffled and frustrated as you. My heart broke for that one--it's our waking-up-at-school-in-your-underwear nightmare.

The Mystery Men?
SSS Agent #31

Did any of the amps make any kind of hiss, or were they dead silent?
Tried Guitar straight to the Showman?
Guitar cables? Guitar volume pot?
Sorry if it seems stupid, just eliminating the obvious.

I know it sounds dumb, but were you pluged in all the way? I've done this thinking it was all sorts of horrible catastrophic failures, only to find I wasn't fully pluged in.

Last edited: Dec 18, 2011 10:37:18

What guitar were you playing? Early on with my offsets I'd accidentally have the rhythm circuit switched on with the volume all the way down and have no idea why I'm not getting any sound.

Danny Snyder

aka Mycroft Eloi of The TomorrowMen
aka Shecky Shekels of Meshugga Beach Party

Please check out our latest album FUTOURISM, it's a deluxe box set with original artwork from 10 artists and a bonus download sticker.

I think all of us who play off-sets have done that one. This would be my first guess. However, I've played a venue that has power issues and either my reverb tank would go out or my amplifier would have issues the whole night and the only thing we could surmise was power fluctuations. The other guitarist would have the same issue and it seems that when we'd play at this one place, it was either he or I who would have this issue.

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007

Thanks to everyone for your replies. I think it must have been a dodgy power supply. We have an electric fan for the drummer, and when I turned it on, it didn't turn very fast at all. Thought it was broken, but got that home and it worked fine as well. The amps and fan were plugged into a surge suppressor multisocket thing, so I can only guess this was faulty. Anyone else had that?

The lights were bright, the tubes were glowing, just no sound. Didn't move the plugs, but when the tubes are glowing, there's electrickery in there isn't there?!!

Horrible, horrible. It was like the twilight zone.

So... seeing as I don't have to get my amps fixed, I'll buy a new wetsuit instead!!

da-ron wrote:

... The amps and fan
were plugged into a surge suppressor multisocket thing,
so I can only guess this was faulty.
... I'll buy a new wetsuit instead!!

Or maybe buy some kind of voltage regulator instead? Furman or something, that has a power (w led or needle indicator) regulation on top of the surge protection.
Pure sinewave bliss can get pricey though.
Seems rather important to me, especially when using our favorite vintage tube gear (even at home), and mandatory for those that play live. You never know the power quality the club's supplying you.
Even if that wasn't the problem causing device, it can give you a peace of mind next time.

Is there anything of practical size that you can carry to act as a voltage regulator in addition to surge protection? Ever since reading about how much power dips (as opposed to surges, which most people protect against) affect electronics I've tried to have a power supply on everything at home, but it's not practical everywhere due to size (and cost). It's not like you'd be able to run an amp for very long on a battery-backup, but it'd still be nice to have.

The Mystery Men?
SSS Agent #31

Richard, it all depends.
Here's some kind of overview on this issue, to clear some confusion one might have (as far as I understand, I'm no EE, just worked in sound reinforcement a little, maybe someone can fill in the rest, or fix my mistakes):

There's surge protection -
Basically a glorified power strip. Cheap, and small. Sometime includes UF filtering, or other doo-das. Get it, because why not? (make sure it's quality though, good leads, clean connections etc.)

there's power regulation -
The most important for the gigging musician IMHO. Protects against power fluctuations ("dirty power" that is quite common almost everywhere, esp. when the wiring's old/dirty) which can badly affect audio gear.
Yeah, each piece of gear usually has it's own PS and transformer (that should do this job, to a limit), but clean, pure AC power can prolong each component's lifespan, especially tube gear.
I guess some veteran gigging musicians can chime in here and say "Hey, I've been touring for 40 years and never had a prob, that's all fancy BS for geeks", but there are countless horror stories as well. For your consideration.

and there's backup power (UPS) -
Application is to enable safe shutdown, and/or to continue doing what you're doing for a while. Batteries are expensive, and need to be replaced periodically. Cheap units are unreliable. There's online (better, you get your power straight from the battery, more $) and offline (triggers the battery in case of fail, less $), and combined types (a good compromise).
Also helps protect your equipment in a case the power falls completely, but for the slight spike that occurs when that happens, the above two solutions should take care of it. Anyway, if the power falls down in the club maybe it's time for the acoustic guitar and jokes routine... No
^ IMHO, UPS are not a necessity for the simple touring surf band, since mostly we don't use a bunch of computers, MIDI and lightning stuff, and we don't have roadies (Yet!) Cool . But it can't hurt either.

All the above come in many shapes and prices, for different applications. Some are combined all in one. I would refrain from the cheapest ones, but stay reasonable, from a reputable company.
Most good, audio handling devices can come in a 1U or 2U rack size. Not too bad, but yeah, another thing to carry. What can you do...
Also relates to better sound (ground noise minimized), if all the gear in an audio chain is grounded and connected through the same power distribution device.


Read more HERE and HERE.

Oh, always check EVERYTHING before a gig. Failing power is the worst kind, as evident from the sad story above. The fan should have been a hint, not to be neglected.
I'm lecturing Rolling Eyes . Sorry, better luck next time.

Last edited: Dec 18, 2011 16:49:30

Pretty unlikely that 2 amps would fail at the same time. Did the soundman have you plugged into a DI?

Did you try plugging straight into the Showman and still no sound? And when you say no sound ... do you mean zero, no "blow" either? If that's the case I'd look at the speaker connections and see if somehow they became unplugged.

Back in my top 40 days, our keyboard player (who was an MD) was impatient as always and insisted that I let him tie in our light feeder and stage power lines to the frat house's big fuse box......... A bit later he came running up to me and said that he had turned on his Jupiter 8 synthesizer and that that it came on for a moment got bright and went off. When he flipped the start switch on his Hammond organ, it sounded like a jet engine.

A closer look at the fuse box revealed that the three phases coming in to the box were two 110's and a 180 leg...........He didn't bother to check them all with a meter. Blew up two synthesizers to the point that they could not be repaired and fried his strobotuner. Luckily the Hammond survived and worked that night and he had not gotten to the CP-70 Yamaha Piano.

If you run into that issue with your amp again, unplug all your cables and replug them in several times. One of my showman amps acts funny like that some time. I've never tried to figure out why.

eddie k

Traditional........speak softly and play through a big blonde amp. Did I mention that I sill like big blonde amps?

Oh and I'm not opposed to "Surges!" I kinda like those guys..........ed

Traditional........speak softly and play through a big blonde amp. Did I mention that I sill like big blonde amps?

Considering I was in a near blind panic, I thought I was pretty logical. Unplugged guitar and shoved it in the bass amp. Worked. Disconnected reverb tank, plug guitar into Showman. Nothing. Plug into 2nd channel. Nothing. Plug into HRD. Nothing. Check valves glowing on Showman. Yep. Check valves glowing on HRD. Check. Really starting to panic. Plugged lead into Power Amp In on the HRD. Nothing. If that doesn't work the power amp stage is u/s. If the power light wasn't on, I'd have chacked the power, but if the lights are on and the tubes are glowing there must be voltage, no?
I'm going to buy a decent multi power socket and never rely on what I'm given at a venue!

Try to find one of these or an equivalent and throw it in your gig kit:


Danny Snyder

aka Mycroft Eloi of The TomorrowMen
aka Shecky Shekels of Meshugga Beach Party

Please check out our latest album FUTOURISM, it's a deluxe box set with original artwork from 10 artists and a bonus download sticker.

Shows what I don't know, but isn't too little voltage the same as a brown-out, and isn't too little the same as none for trying to power amps?

da-ron wrote:

... but if the lights are on and
the tubes are glowing there must be voltage, no?

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Here's a question for you: back at step one, did you really put the amps in "standby" by flipping the standby switches...or were they simply silent with the volume turned down?

Maybe when you returned, and flipped those standby switches...perhaps you inadvertently switched them into standby at that time...


Goto Page: 1 2 Next