A basic tune-up includes a thorough chassis cleaning of all oils and gunk, cleaning of all pots and jacks for residue and smoke, lubricating of pots, jacks and switches and tightening of all bolts, screws, jacks and all tube socket pins. Old tubes will be tested, marked and returned to the owner. All transformers will be ohmed out and documented. A complete visual, pulling and poking of all components and wires will be performed and again documented. A DC and AC analysis is performed which will evaluate the performance of the amp and its reliability. New output tubes will be installed and biased using the current shunt method. New preamp tubes will be installed and checked for microphonics. Tubes will then be burned in while observing the amp's operation on an oscilloscope. Bias will be re-checked. And oh yeah, I'll play every Stevie Ray lick I know through the amp to be sure it's up to gig level performance.
Here's a tune up example for a Super Reverb:
In this example, new production JJ/Telsa and Sovtek tubes are used exclusively, except for one NOS 12AT7 in the phase inverter position, but any tube(s) can be substituted from my current inventory of new production and NOS tubes. Cost will be adjusted based on tube selection.
If your amp is more then twenty years old, in addition to the above tune up, it likely needs replacement of all electrolytic capacitors, grid and screen resistors, maybe preamp load resistors and a new 3 prong AC power cord. Below are descriptions of other common restoration services. Several more comprehensive restoration service examples for Fender amps is also listed here and in the main menu contents page.
SUPPLY CAP REPLACEMENT
A cap job is not just for reliability, it's also for tone and power. An electrolytic's shelf life runs about 15 year's max. So if your amp is more then 10-15yrs old, you probably need a cap job. Weak caps will reduce the over-all power, bass will start to sound flabby, highs will be dull. So if you observe any of the above, you may need a cap job. I use nothing but USA made Sprague Atom "Blue Can" electrolytics compared to some that use cheap cheesy Illinois Japanese caps. Once the new electrolytics have been installed, the amp is then brought up slowly on a Variac to insure caps have been properly formed.
$180 parts and labor.
Cap job Link
TUBE SOCKET REPLACEMENT
Occasionally tube sockets can not be restored but need to be replaced because of a previous fire, arcing, cracking due to vibrations and heat or repeated soldering of pins.
$53.00 for 2 tubes, $106.00 for 4 tubes parts and labor.
SCREEN AND GRID RESISTORS REPLACEMENT
Screen and grid resistors take a real beating and don't last forever. They are soldered directly to the output tube sockets and take a beating from speaker vibrations and heat. Four output tube amps like Twins and Showman's run especially hot and thus are even harder on these resistors. Smoking screens resistors are very common and can take its power tube with it. So if your amp is 10+ years old and/or you have re-tubed with expensive NOS tubes, I highly recommend replacing screen and grid resistors with 2% flameproof resistors. Cheap insurance!
$12.85 for 2 tubes, $25.70 for 4 tubes parts and labor.
Screen & Grid resistor Link
PREAMP LOAD RESISTORS REPLACEMENT
Again if your amp is much older then 15yrs, it probably makes some "snap crackle and pop" noise while idling. Your 100K ohm pre-amp resistors need to be replaced. Cheap service for a quiet amp once again!
$46.80 parts and labor.
AC POWER CORD REPLACEMENT
Aren't you tired of shocking yourself yet? And what about noise? Do you like a noisy amp? Do you like having to move your amp around to just the right spot? Heck no! Let's get it fixed! If anything should go wrong inside your amp that causes a short to the chassis, you really want the current to be shunted through the grounded green wire and not you. So replace that 2-prong AC cord with a high quality grounded 3-prong AC cord.
$41.75 parts and labor.
These are required for the spouse, so you can keep your amp in the living room. The cost to re-tolex assumes original Fender factory tolex. If an amp has been re-tolexed by someone using the wrong adhesive, this requires more prep time and the cost to re-tolex increases by 2 hours. I carry replacement tolex and grill cloth for Blonde, Brown, Black and early Silverface Fenders. I also carry some really cool "Aged" Blackface grill cloth that has that "20 year aged" appearance. Call or e-mail for more details.
I'm currently not accepting any cosmetic restoration work due to an abundant amount of electrical restoration work. I would still be glad to discuss any cosmetic restoration questions you might have, but for now, I'll have to refer all cosmetic restoration work to Gregg Hopkins or Larry Rodgers.
Fender amp tolex tips and tricks link