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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tech Work for Black Sabbath the End Tour 2016

October 2015
I received word that Black Sabbath would be in town for 3-4 days rehearsing for their "The End" farewell tour and that they'd need some technical assistance.  Time went on and I'd kind of forgotten about it.  Finally I got the call in January 2017.  The band needed all their gear in working order so they contacted me.  They constructed their stage and lighting for multiple rehearsals at the local Enormodome, followed by opening night of the tour.  I had the privilege of working with them for a few days, repairing and tidying up a few things.  It was quite something to be on stage during full volume playing and hear things like tornado sirens and rain being tested at giga-decibles.  It was really quite something.  Super thanks to Ben, Terry, Neil and Nevik, super dudes, a super time.
I was mentally preparing for a healthy dose of this.

January 2016
 To my shop:

Geezer Butler Ashdown bass rig, custom circuit, custom black faceplate
Tony Iommi custom Laney guitar head on Geezer's Ashdown.

Laney Iommi

Laney Iommi Signature Model

Inside an Iommi Laney

Inside an Iommi Laney

Working out crossover notch

balancing outputs

Laney Iommi on the bench and powered up

Laney Iommi the backlight emits red crosses.  Now we're cooking with fire.

To the Century Link Center, Omaha, NE

Stage Right:  Geezer Butler, bass

More of Geezer's power amps, power to boot.

Geezer's rig with EQ units, pedals and tuner.

Each power amp is linked to it's own cab, though only two are mic'd

Geezer's "Henry" logo appears everywhere, I mean everywhere.


Geezer Butler Black Sabbath Cry Baby Wah Pedal Bass Effect
Geezer Butler Bass Wah.  He uses it for one song.  One song.
Geezer Butler Black Sabbath Cry Baby Wah Pedal Bass Effect
Geezer's wah comes out at the beginning of NIB, is well marked so Ozzy doesn't break a leg, and is removed promptly after all the same.

Geezer Butler Lakeland Black Sabbath The End Tour
Geezer Butler's Lakeland basses.  Even the strings are black.

Henry.  Even his strings resonate black.

Too dark but his other basses.  He has his own EMG signature pickups.

Center Stage:  Tommy Clufeto drums

Tommy Clufetos's massive D.W. kit

Tommy's kit

Stage Left:  Tony Iommi, guitar
Tony Iommi Laney signature model heads, 100 watts each
Adam Wakeman the same.
Mic configuration and matrix, note bottom speakers only.
Massive, just massive.
Warpigs, the perfect soundcheck
Finally, the concert.  First of the last.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ampeg SVT CL Blues

Ampeg SVT's could be the greatest bass amp of all-time.  Ampeg SVT-CL's could also be the most difficult and dangerous amp to service of all-time.  It's been well documented online, notably in this four page, 28 picture epic by: Bustedgear.com
SVT-VR (Vintage Reissue)
SVT-CL (Classic Reissue)
Here's a message I sent to famous touring band:

"It had at least six different problems, notably some bad power tubes, screen grid resistors and cathode power resistors.  There's no telling what took what down, it's the chicken or the egg really.  I'm sure it got worse and worse, eventually the amp was working against itself.

I know I ramble on about these.  They're a great bass amp.  The best.  But the way they're constructed is almost impossible to safely work on.  You have to dismantle and un-pancake pc boards to work on or replace components, removing the power tubes and all attaching sockets.  Once you get a feel for the damage you have to reassemble to test, repeat disassemble to repair, etc. ad nauseam.  Flipping around an 85 lb. amp is not easy, nor safe when there's close to 700 volts DC.  If anything touches any metal it's fireworks...sometimes the nuts pop off the chassis just when you've put it back together, you have to pull it apart to retrieve and start over...it's challenging.

To better appreciate/respect the amp and what goes into it take 2 minutes to browse these pics (this is not us):  http://www.bustedgear.com/repair_Ampeg_svt_classic_shutoff.html

Some guys prop it up with wood to test it, some stand it upright, it's just crazy.  So basically I got the new tubes in, it was still in fault mode.  There were some burnt components on the power tube board I replaced, still not right.  On the board (under the power tube board) there were some off voltages, isolated and replaced key resistors.  Things are lining up now.  I've had it on, on the bench, and it's been in the green for the last 2 hours.  Btw L., it's been on the bench since Tuesday when we hoisted it up there, I have not been able to move it nor complete any other jobs since."
SVT CL PC Board 1
SVT CL PC Board 3 (Board 2 Underneath)
SVT VR all on one board

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fender Princeton Cabinet Redux

My friend Eddie Morin produced a reproduction 1950 TV Champ cabinet for my Fender amp last year.  It turned out extremely accurate, both in detail and craftsmanship.  And it looked so nice I just couldn't bring myself to cover it in tweed.  So I gave it some orange shellac and here it is.

I recently had another idea to have him help me complete a Fender Princeton project I've had around for some years.  I basically have a pair of Princetons but a single cabinet to house them.  Eddie was up to the task.

Eddie's wood shop
Attention to detail

Here's how it fit

I was going to cover this in black or blonde tolex.  Once again it was much too elegant to hide in wrap.  Great work Eddie, much appreciated. 


Orange shellac just looks so nice.

Isabella helped me do the oxblood grille cloth. 
Not the easiest thing, we did pretty good but not factory.
I created a repro tube chart, based on the other tube chart.  Look authentic?
Here's both of them, 1963 vs. 1969
Still has that blonde look of sorts.
1965 with some repro, in comparison.