Feeling Charitable Towards Folks Who Get "Creative" With Their Amp Solutions

stevieb

Just another guy, really.
Feeling Charitable Towards Folks Who Get "Creative" With Their Amp Solutions

Saw a post on CL just now, a guy is selling an "Amp with Speakers"
amp with speakers
Turns out to be a Rat-Shack 4-channel PA amp and two unknown speakers which someone has glued Bob Marley pix to the backs. At first, I slipped into snob mode, but then I thought, hey, wait a min, I have done far worse.

My first garage band's drummer stole a tube PA head from a Lutheran Church (I am not proud of my complacency...)

I tried using the same Rat-Shack amp as a head for one of the rehearsal PA's I rented at the Rock n' Roll summer camps I provided gear for (didn't work very well, before the amp would even fill a bed-room sized space, it began to distort.)

Between those two dubious attempts there are countless other near-misses and barely acceptable workarounds in my past. One that comes to mind is a 200-watt home brew power amp that I got tired of sending back to the tech to get the right channel to play, so I gave it and a Tapco Karo-Syrup-knob mixer to a kid in my neighborhood who needed a PA system. Never heard them play, but I hope it worked for them.

So, here's to all the home-brew, cobbled-together, near-miss, made-it-work, what-have-we-got-to-lose, Nope!, epic-fail, not-bad, creativity-gone-amock amplifier "solutions" that, in retrospect, were by and large a waste of time. For every Darcy Amp or Sholtz wunderkund there are probably a thousand abject failures. Lord love 'em all!

What are yours?
 

Greg_L

Banned
I used to play guitar through my dad's hi-fi. It had a mic input for some reason and I could plug my guitar into that input and crank the input volume. It wasn't a good sound, but it was plenty "distorted" and my first taste of making my own crunchy sounds.
 

fat_fleet

Swollen Member
MOZ8CPsQ
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
How's this for a PA? A Bogen 2-input PA amp (really for one of those 'in store' PA systems) with two old Fender guitar cabinets - one had been in a fire, lost all its Tolex and original grill cloth. One was a Showman size, the other a Bassman size, both had Lafayette Electronics-sourced 15" speakers. The amp went missing the summer after I started college - only cost $50.
I eventually traded the two cabinets out to a bandmate for a couple of home-built cabinets (3/4" plywood, no corner hardware or coverings, just black paint) and remounted the same Lafayette speakers in them. Lost those to another bandmate who claimed they got stolen from a house he was renting. Got my $100 out of them, anyway. ;)
 
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dervish riff

New member
My mom had a Zenith AM/FM radio with a mono phono input. I found an adapter and started playing guitar through it, sounded pretty good. Mom wasn't too happy, though.
 

JG96

Active member
Ahh this thread brings back some good memories. I have been jamming/playing with the same band since middle school. We are now in college and their are certainly some nostalgic gear stories. We have had PA troubles since the start

When we were starting out our pa was a radio shack mic plugged into a 15 watt hartke. This could barely be heard at all. To top it off the mic cable was on its last leg and it needed to be wrapped around a foosball table we had in the room in order to work.

When we were in 8th grade we attempted to get "serious" with gear. We were fortunate enough to be handed down my dads old Allen & Heath powered mixer. We needed speakers though. Being young and impulsive we purchased a used Peavey SP5 from a local mom and pop shop. It had torn carpeting and a busted crossover. we didn't realize this at the time. We gladly handed them 250 dollars in scrapped up birthday money. The thing had NO highs! The vocals were just a distant grumble of words. The following year one of the speakers blew in my bass cab which was then added to the pa. It surprisingly it sounded better than the peavey.

Until very recently this was our setup and it was miserable. We finally added a proper set of monitors, fixed the crossover on the peavey and added a graphic eq.

It's funny because in retrospect we could have had a good set up many years ago had we shopped wisely. I am still a bit pissed off at that shop for selling some kids a speaker that wouldn't be worth more than 150 used in working condition.
 

stevieb

Just another guy, really.
Oh, something I forgot.

Before my first garage band got going, my drummer and I met at the church I was a member of at the time. I attempted to use my portable cassette recorder as a PA by connecting the little mic that came with it and pushing down the "record" button but with no tape in the unit- I just reached in the open cassette door and pushed the tab that allowed the unit to record. Turned the volume all the way up. It worked, after a fashion, but was not very loud, and the cable on the mic was short, so the unit had to sit on it's side on the floor, right at the base of the "mic stand" that I made from a music stand- removed the part of the music stand that held the book and taped the mic on. It was FEEBLE. Actually was a blessing that no one else showed up- one look at that rig and I'd never been able to recruit band members!
 

guitar junkie

Guitar User.
My first amp was a Wollensak Reel To Reel, actually worked pretty well until I got single coils on a strat copy that managed to pick up RF interference... I also had a Crate bass amp that got a little action before I bought a real PA. I have had to cobble stuff together, my favorite was when I used a Ampeg Reverb Rocket reissue for vocals and a Fender Champ for guitar at a coffee house gig. Actually worked damn well. I used a transformer adapter to bring my Shure 55sh into Hz mode and boom! I had 50 watts of tube PA!
 

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
We are now in college and their are certainly some nostalgic gear stories.
Sorry, I found this amusing. Not an english major, eh?

Edit - OK, fine, I'll actually contribute something... My favorite was when I used a Fender Quad to amplify a drum machine, just completely cranked. Sounded like it was falling apart, except that it was kinda too loud to really hear much of anything.
 

Chili

Site Moderator
A Bogen 2-input PA amp (really for one of those 'in store' PA systems)
I think I had the very same amp. Did it have the screw-on mic connectors?? Mine did (now THAT's old!!) and I had to solder a guitar cable to a connector to get it to work. I used mine as a guitar amp. Built a cab with two carvin speakers that a friend stole from his brother. :facepalm: I used to play in the basement and would get zapped if I didn't wear sneakers. :laughings:

Here it is...

Bogen PA.jpg
 

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
Oooo! I got zapping stories!

I was playing a Mustang through a Vibrolux with a Hi-Z Shure Green Bullet plugged into one of those fliptop Ampegs. I'd lean in to sing, and the lights would flicker, and my nose kinda hitched and my fingers tingled. Got about halfway through the song before I realized that it wasn't the lights, but my eyelids. I wasn't touching the mic, but my big nose was close enough for it to arc!

My Gibson Atlas had its two prong wall plug replaced so many times before I got it that nobody knew what polarity it was supposed to be. I figured that out the hard way, and marked the plug accordingly. Lent it to a friend, and of course forgot to tell him. They ran their vocal mics through the awesomest old no-name all tube powered mixer. Don't know who made it, but the grill clothes were sparkly. Anyhow, it almost killed him.
 

rayc

retroreprobate
I started playing bass with my parents stereo (like Greg, into the mic in that was intended for the saccette player I think{ I didn't own an amp of my own for another 9 years.
 

Greg_L

Banned
I started playing bass with my parents stereo (like Greg, into the mic in that was intended for the saccette player I think{ I didn't own an amp of my own for another 9 years.

Awesome. Sounded terrible, yeah? But at the time, for me, it was the sound of rock and roll.


I also made do for several years with various solid state bass and keyboard amps and various dirt boxes. I used a Peavey Basic 50 for a while, and a KB100? Or something? Sounded like ass, but when you're 16, a distortion pedal is all you need.
 

muttley600

Banned
Awesome. Sounded terrible, yeah? But at the time, for me, it was the sound of rock and roll.


I also made do for several years with various solid state bass and keyboard amps and various dirt boxes. I used a Peavey Basic 50 for a while, and a KB100? Or something? Sounded like ass, but when you're 16, a distortion pedal is all you need.

...and a pointy guitar. Don't forget the pointy guitar..:RTFM:
 

Greg_L

Banned
...and a pointy guitar. Don't forget the pointy guitar..:RTFM:

I, Greg_L, hereby state on the record that I have never, and never will, own a pointy guitar (2).



(1) A Flying V or Explorer is not out of the question.

(2) "Pointy guitar" is defined as gay hair rock shred fag jumbo fret Super Strat.
 

Greg_L

Banned
Not this one. It's gonna be teh worst pointy ever and it has some serious competition in that category..;)

In the US, for every hideously cheesey pointy guitar, there are 2000 zit faced 16 yr old metal dorks virgins that will buy it because it looks "cool".
 
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