Quick Questions,
Quick Answers

This is where to look first for that quick answer you're dying for.

First things first: If you're looking for parts for a modern Ampeg made since 1986, then contact Ampeg.

I don't know where else to find knobs, footswitches, pots, etc. Go right to the source. The parts and tech people at Ampeg are a friendly, helpful bunch. Check their official website. They've beefed up their support options considerably.

If you have a Lee Jackson Ampeg,

then you should check out his website at www.leejackson.com.

How much is my Ampeg worth?

I don't know.

I'm not a dealer or merchant of any kind, and I don't keep track of the values of the many different amps that Ampeg produced. Values used to vary regionally, but with the advent of web-based economy and web auctions, the prices are becoming more consistent.

The real value of something is determined by what someone will pay for it. To that end, check the prices of items in eBay's completed auctions. Also check your local papers and music shops, because heavy items might not be as appealing to a distant auction puchaser as they might be to a local buyer. No one really wants to ship an SVT or even a VT-22!

My personal feeling is that prices cited by guides like the Orion "blue book" are of dubious value. The data is compiled from reported sales, but I've seen listings for instruments that were incorrectly described, from years they weren't produced, etc.

How old is my Ampeg amplifier?

FIrst know the basics: If your amp was made in New York (1949–1961) or New Jersey (1962–about 1972) or by a division of Magnavox (late 1971–1980, most of that time manufactured in Tennessee), that basically spans the beginning, the "golden era," and the start of the slide. Was it made in Japan by MTI? That narrows it down to about 1981–1985. If it was made in St. Louis, then it's a modern SLM "renaissance" Ampeg made since '86. Know the cosmetic features of your amp. Then with this knowledge, check the Dating Page, information kindly provided by the authors of Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound and excerpted from that book.

Can you give me more information on my Ampeg amplifier?

Maybe, but my information is limited, and dates mostly to the early- and mid-70s. I urge anyone with any interest in Ampeg to buy the book Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound written by Gregg Hopkins and Bill Moore. It gives a thorough history of the company and its products and offers plenty of technical insight from technical editor Greg Gagliano. It's worth every penny.

What about schematics?

Check the schematics page of this site. There are many amp schematics, most of them kindly drawn and provided by Joe Piazza. I've also posted some schematic and other info on the original Dan Armstrong/Ampeg instruments, and the Scrambler schematic, although a few people have had trouble downloading the Scrambler schematic. I don't understand why—I've successfully downloaded it both on my Mac at home and the PC at work, so I haven't been able to recreate the problem myself. I'm looking for clues.

I have a few other schematics that other people have sent in, but not many, that I'll eventually get posted. If it's not on the schematics page, I probably don't have it. Check Aspen Pittman's The Tube Amp Book, among others.

Schematics will always be free of charge on this site.

Where can I get an owner's manual for my Ampeg?

I haven't got a clue where to find manuals for vintage Ampegs, or if they even existed [update: I've been told of a V-series manual from the Magnavox era, and I hope to have a PDF available soon]. I've never seen one, but we could say that about a lot of things. For SLM-era (modern) Ampegs, check with them. First check Ampeg's official website, as they've started posting some in PDF format. If it's not there, call them at 1–800–738–7563.

Where can I get parts for my vintage Ampeg?

My first recommendation is always Gregg Hopkins at Vintage Amp Restoration in St. Louis. Gregg is one of the co-authors of Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound, so you know he knows his Ampegs. Gregg can supply many of the cosmetic parts you need for your old Ampeg, including correct blue-check or black tolex and grill cloths, Portaflex transformers, handles, latches and other hardware. He is an expert at recreating amp cabinets, so if you''ve got oneof those orphaned Portaflex heads and want a reproduction cabinet made, Gregg is your man. Speaker reconing services are also offered, and Gregg manufactures amp covers as well. Also available are certain of the parts from the reissue Dan Armstrong instruments that also fit the older originals.

Another excellent source of Ampeg parts is found at Fliptops.net. The number of available parts, both NOS and reproduction, seems to increase each time I visit the site. They even have repro tube cages last I checked, and a selection of NOS transformers. They are truly dedicated to keeping those old Ampegs warm and alive.

If you're looking for tubes, my personal choices are Angela Instruments and Triode Electronics (where you can read Uncle Ned's excellent discussion of 7027A substitutes in old Ampegs—a must-read if your amp uses these tubes). There are many, many other good, reputable dealers out there, however, and if I was to try to list them all, I'd fill this page up and you'd never find anything else. (This is for quick questions, after all!) I suggest checking, for a start, the AMPAGE site.

Can you recommend a serviceman?

Well, yeah, kind of. Obviously, I probably don't live in your area and don't have experience with the service techs there, and so I usually have to go by word of mouth.

Dennis Kager was an Ampeg employee during their golden years in Linden, New Jersey. His expertise can be had at Central Jersey Music Service, 1627 Route 27, Edison, NJ 08817; phone: (732) 572-1911; fax: (732) 572-1910. DON'T call him looking for vintage Ampeg parts! He doesn't have them.

Andre Audio-Tronics, 375 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036; Phone: (212) 765-4345 Fax: (212) 765-4345 was started by another ex-Ampeg employee.

Oliver Sound, 225 Avoca Ave., Massapequa Park, NY 11762; phone: (516) 799-5267 is the business of yet another former Ampegger.

Professional Audio Services, 2031 Bridge Avenue, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742; phone: (732) 295-8690; fax: (732) 295-7140; email proaudserv@aol.com. Rich is one of the "Ampeg bretheren" behind the scenes of Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound.

more to come as I pick through my accumulated notes .  .  .

Where can I get more information about the early Horizontal Basses? And isn't someone making new versions of them? Where can I get parts and those really long strings for them?

You want to go to Bruce Johnson's site for his Johnson's Extremely Strange Musical Instrument Company. Bruce has been collecting and disseminating valuable information about early Ampeg horizontal basses and is the recognized authority. Bruce also can supply a few reproduction parts, like the bridge cover, and has a selection of the extra-long-scale strings these basses require.

Bruce also manufactures an updated version of the "f-hole" basses and the short-scale basses, with others on the way. These are not slavish reissues, but thoroughly modern instruments. They keep the style and cool vibe of the old instruments while providing truly innovative features that make these absolutely top-quality instruments with flexible sound and excellent playability for the modern bassist. If you contact Bruce, please tell him I sent you.

more coming . . . (March 30, 2001)