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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Amp Volume Dropping at Gigs

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Hi!

I need to rewire my AVRI-style Jaguar.

I would love to hear if anyone has recommendations on kits. Or kits to stay away from.

Thanks in advance!

Jonathan the Reverbivore

The Reverbivores

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Last edited: Jun 14, 2024 12:55:36

If I were to do that, I'd just source all the individual parts myself. But the real question is why do you need to re-wire the entire guitar? You say it's "AVRI-style," so does that mean it's not a Fender and maybe the wiring is sub-par? If many of the components are good quality, maybe you only need to replace a few things and not go to the trouble of re-wiring everything.

Yeah, I’m curious why you need to rewrite the entire guitar. But assuming you really need to, the Toneshaper kit is solid. Toneshaper Jaguar Kit

Hi!

Thanks for the recommendation @archimedes.

I have been suffering intermittent and unreproducible volume attenuation issues while performing live. But only while performing live - never while practicing at home or rehearsing with the band using the same gear. Being unable to reproduce the problem means I might only ever be able to troubleshoot the problem should it recur at a gig and that would be unfair to everyone - the audience and my bandmates. I'm trying to solve the problem by throwing money at it which is the least aggravating solution in my situation. I'm pretty sure our label will reimburse me. Big Grin I've replaced my amp. No dice. I've replaced all cables in the signal chain. No dice. I'm now replacing my pedals. I've also switched to another Jag leaving my previous main player available for electronics replacement. I fully expect that replacing all component in the signal chain will solve the problem. If it doesn't, I'll have to replace myself.

Jonathan the Reverbivore

The Reverbivores

Please check out our latest album The Reverbivores Watch TV!

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Ahh, gotcha. Yeah, that sounds like a nightmare. Even thought I work at a custom guitar shop, troubleshooting things like this is something I really do not enjoy. Good Luck figuring it out. I definitely would have thought something cable, pedal, or amp related as the first spots to check but it could be a short somewhere in the wiring, possibly. If you don’t mind, could you describe the issue in more detail? I’m not a guitar electronics expert but I wire guitars at work and work with others I could check in with. It might be as simple as resoldering a couple joints and I’d hate for you to go through the trouble of rewiring the whole thing when it might be unnecessary.

I’ve recently faced the same sort of issue (same symptoms), although at home. I thought it was the amp as initially other amps seemed ok. In the end, with significant component testing, scoping and monitoring, there was no fault found by a VERY well regarded tech (I’ve mentioned him before, he was Steve Carr’s/Carr Amps) warranty guy and bench tester for years).

After eliminating everything else I/we could think of, the theory was power fluctuations. This fueled from the bizarre situation of another amp starting to do the same thing. I didn’t think #2 had the issue when amp #1 was acting up, but it definitely was the same issue while #1 was being looked at. Amps #3 & #4 were seemingly unaffected.

I’ve played with a volt meter plugged into the chain since that servicing, waiting for the ghost to show itself again. It eventually did and sure enough, the reading had dropped a few volts. The main amp has some choice old Tung-Sol power tubes so biased to the sweet spot for that set in that amp, which happens to be running on 116 volts. When the volume drop and anemia happened, voltage was bouncing around between 113-114 volts. I was beside myself that what seems a pretty minor dip had such a profound impact (thinking about Eddie VH running down at 90 volts, for example). After a few minutes, my sound was fully back and my reading was just over 116 volts. It did shortly there after jump up to 117-118+ which sounded a tad more lively and a touch louder than normal. Worried about those spendy old Tung-Sol tubes, I immediately rolled back the variac and my original, expected base volume, tone, feel and ‘liveliness’ was right there again.

My a-ha in all of it… apparently some amps can be more sensitive to changes in voltages they are being fed, and the impact to volume/output/feel can be profound.

Might be worth at least checking/monitoring voltages with a volt meter which is a pretty simple and inexpensive endeavor. For a little more cash, a basic variac can be added to the mix to rectify such situations on the fly.

I were a betting dude, I’d put $100 on some sort of power issue at the venue(s) over the guitars wiring given what you say about home & practice being totally issue free. But who knows, electricity based gremlins can be really deviant and the wiring/wired components of the guitar can’t be 100% ruled out I don’t suppose.

Fady

El Mirage @ ReverbNation

@Fady, thank you for your very insightful reply. This problem correlates highly with questionable power situations. I like the idea of carrying around a volt meter.

I was thinking about this as I was losing volume Saturday night but noted that both the bass amp and I were plugged into the same power source. I also considered that a decrease in volume by the bass amp might have gone unnoticed given how big and loud it was (I currently play a little/loud solid-state 200-watt Quilter Aviator Mach 3.)

I'm hoping that after I swap everything out, I can play at one of these clubs again and have the same problem. Then I can look my bandmates in the eyes and tell them "It ain't my rig, bros."

Funny side note: last year we set up at club, launched into our opening song and nearly electrocuted our bass player. Somehow he made it through the tune with electricity surging through his flatwounds, but since then he's always brought a power conditioner with him to gigs.

Jonathan the Reverbivore

The Reverbivores

Please check out our latest album The Reverbivores Watch TV!

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Man, those intermittent drop-outs are really frustrating to diagnose. Since it doesn't happen at home or when practicing with the band, it would seem unlikely to be a fault with the guitar. If it happened at venues that were built decades ago, it could be an issue with their electrical system, like maybe their circuits can't supply sufficient current.

Glad my post sharing experiences may be helpful!

I’ll add that 3 of 4 amps are on a shared power strip in my music room. At the time, the other 2 amps didn’t seem to be affected, or certainly not near as much as amp #1 when it first set in. Seems you can often but not always rule out the outlet/power if shared as it seems each amp can respond differently to the same changes in power delivered.

Also of note, I’m in a rural area and had my current place built in the last 5 years or so. Power company had to add a ‘ped’ just to service us, so very little else to interfere around me, yet we’ve got that fluctuation issue and a really hot line (usually 251+ volts / 125+ volts at the meter). All that to say older places can be prone to power issues for sure, but new can have issues all the same.

And assuming you are still in the SF Bay Area… we know all too well about PG&E and California power challenges. Seems like a very likely culprit or at least compounding complication across so much of the state.

Fady

El Mirage @ ReverbNation

A couple of thoughts. Just a few days ago, I had some volume drops, and it was almost certainly utility related. It’s the hottest month, here in the desert, and the power distribution system in my rural setting has been taxed. We had an outage for over an hour, this morning, and I’ve seen lights dim a few times. Considering the size of the areas involved in today’s outage, I suspect that at least today's outage is probably traceable to a substation, but the fluctuations could be more localized. There are voltage regulators in commercial power distribution systems, but I don’t know where the closest ones even are. It could be that simple.

Music venues seem to frequently have ratty power, I think it must be in the building code for saloons. Smile

As far as the harness in your Jaguar is concerned, there’s not much to go wrong. The wiring itself is robust, and unless you see insulation coming apart, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I can’t think of a mode of failure which would cause a pot to change values. Pots usually get scratchy, but that’s about it. A shorted cap’ could cause problems, but chances are that a shorted cap would just shunt the signal to ground.

Switches can fail, and in fact I’ve experienced this, myself, where a Jaguar switch failed early on, but that was an absolute failure; no more signal, end of story. If everything is working at home, and the pots aren’t scratchy, I’d call it good. If the pots are scratchy, well that’s what De-Ox-It is for.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

Thank you for your comments, @synchro - I'm feeling much better about this whole situation. Another reason not to return to this particular venue (besides the fact they decided not to pay us. Big Grin )

Jonathan the Reverbivore

The Reverbivores

Please check out our latest album The Reverbivores Watch TV!

www.thereverbivores.com
Facebook
YouTube

h3dg3h0g wrote:

Thank you for your comments, @synchro - I'm feeling much better about this whole situation. Another reason not to return to this particular venue (besides the fact they decided not to pay us. Big Grin )

Far too many venues like this.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

Hi all!

Thanks for your comments.

I bought this on Amazon for like $10 and will keep it plugged into my power conditioner at all future gigs. It's not as if I can do anything if the voltage drops, but I'd like to know, dammit!

image

Jonathan the Reverbivore

The Reverbivores

Please check out our latest album The Reverbivores Watch TV!

www.thereverbivores.com
Facebook
YouTube

h3dg3h0g wrote:

Hi all!

Thanks for your comments.

I bought this on Amazon for like $10 and will keep it plugged into my power conditioner at all future gigs. It's not as if I can do anything if the voltage drops, but I'd like to know, dammit!

image

That will be of, at least, diagnostic value. There is one other thing that can happen with AC which will play havoc. If you have nice, pristine AC and there is too much inductive load on the distribution system, the current peaks can lag behind the voltage peaks, and make the current very inefficient.

Power companies try to keep the relationship within 15% of unity, by using huge capacitor banks, but it it not always possible and there can be transient conditions, such as large industrial motors starting, which might take the power out of resonance for short periods of time. It’s measurable, with power monitoring equipment, but hardly practical.

One place I worked had power about 40% out of resonance, and we were popping circuit breakers right and left. I caught onto with with power monitors for our computer equipment. I would imagine that such an event might cause an amp’s power supply to underperform, and have a serious effect on the amp’s operation.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

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