Tube Amplifier Maintenance, Repair and Mods
Some samples of my work
Workshop located in Urbana, IL Contact Wes Howard at
Since I was a pre-teen, I had built electronic kits from Radio Shack, so it wasn't a great leap to start working on my own amps in the late 90's. There are no longer any training schools to learn the art of tube amp repair and maintenance. So with the help of local tube amp gurus and the internet I taught myself. Since then I've worked on my own amps and many local guitarists have asked me how I get such a good tone, so I ended up working on their vintage amps as well and starting this business.
I specialize in the repair, maintenance and modification of vintage (and vintage style) vacuum tube guitar and bass amplifiers. Since they are incredibly common, I have been inside countless Marshall and Fender amps and know their circuits well. Other brands I have repaired or modded include Ampeg, Vox, Silvertone, Airline, Gibson, Supro, Sound City, Musicman, Mesa Boogie.
Amplifier Mods (this is the fun stuff):
Amplifier Maintenance Services:
This old 1966 Fender Twin Reverb had been played alot over the years and was really suffering and we gave it a complete overhaul. The reverb did not work so the reverb transformer was replaced. Replaced all Filter capacitors and electrolytic cathode bypass caps. Replaced a boatload of out of spec resistors with NOS carbon comp resistors. Replaced the bias capacitor and resistor. ALL of the ceramic capacitors were leaking DC voltage so they were replaced with silver micas or 716 orange drops. Left the wonderful blue molded caps in the preamp, but replaced them in the phase inverter with 6PS Orange Drops as preventative maintenance (if they fail it will kill the output transformer). The big screen grid resistors had drifted wildly out spec from years of heat and were replaced with NOS resistors. The midrange control was changed from 10k to 25k to give even more raw tone in the mids. All the tube sockets were cleaned and re-tensioned and the potentiometers were cleaned. NOS preamp tubes installed and new production poweramp tubes installed and biased. It's ready to go for another 50 years!
Texwest Guitar and Amplifier Service
This amp started out life as a 90's era 50 Watt plexi reissue Marshall 1987x. The owner wanted it to be a boutique plexi recreation so we ripped out the stock printed circuit and replaced it with a point to point wired circuit board and loaded it with Sozo signal caps, a couple vintage mustard caps we had available, high end Vishay Dale resistors and a few NOS carbon comp resistors in the preamp. We installed a boutique Obsolete Electronics Output transformer and Mercury Magnetics choke. This thing was transformed into a screaming Rock n Roll machine. It sounded especially cool when we installed a set of KT66 tubes instead of the usual EL34's. The KT66's really made it sound like those early AC/DC recordings. After all that, it definitely sounded better than the stock 1987x I happened to own at the time.