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Post new topic Effect of dirty power on tube vs. solid state amps
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Author Topic:  Effect of dirty power on tube vs. solid state amps
Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 4 Nov 2017 4:31 pm     Reply with quote

I played a gig last night in an old building in Lodi, CA. As soon as I turned on my Twin Reverb it started buzzing loudly, even when the volume was turned completely off. The guitar player's Fender Pro Reverb, which is also tube driven did the same thing. We tried everything imaginable but couldn't get the amps to quiet down. All instruments have single coil pickups.

Then the guitar player broke out his emergency amp, a little solid state Fender, and it was quiet. So I got out a Peavey Session 400 converted head (also solid state) that I carry as an emergency amp, and it was also quiet. We played the night using the solid state amps.

Why would tube amps be so affected by funky building wiring whereas solid state amps don't seem to be bothered?
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Len Amaral


From:
Rehoboth,MA 02769
Post Posted 4 Nov 2017 4:47 pm     Reply with quote

If you unplugged the guitars and left the tube amps on was there any hum or only when the guitars were plugged in. Could be a grounding issue in the club wiring.
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 4 Nov 2017 4:59 pm     Reply with quote

I don't recall unplugging the guitars while the tube amps were buzzing.
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"I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." George Bernard Shaw
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J.D.White


From:
Spring Branch, TX
Post Posted 4 Nov 2017 5:44 pm     Reply with quote

This might be a good $7 investment to have. (also available at Lowes / Home Depot)

https://www.amazon.com/Sperry-Instruments-GFI6302-Receptacle-Professional/dp/B000RUL2UU

I would guess that the outlet polarity was reversed. Back before grounded / 3 prong outlets were standard - amps had polarity switches. The easiest way to tell if the switch needed to be flipped (besides getting shocked when touching a microphone) was the loudness of the buzz. Tube amps buzzed loudest (probably because of the filament wiring) - solid state amps were the quietest - especially with humbucking pickups.

Definitely something to check before playing there again.
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J.D.White


From:
Spring Branch, TX
Post Posted 5 Nov 2017 3:38 am     Reply with quote

Remembering a gig that I used to play - my amp / guitar would sound fine until the club owner would turn on the fluorescent beverage signs outside - then my amp would buzz so loud that I would have to turn off the volume on my guitar in between songs. (Single Coil Stratocaster into a Fender Super Reverb).

There were plenty of fluorescent signs and lighting inside the club - but they didn't affect my amp like the ones outside (over 200 feet away).

Maybe a bad starter / ballast, or the way it was wired? There was also a ungrounded metal railing around the bandstand that could have been another factor?

* I was the only one playing through a tube amp - and the only one with a buzzing amp.
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