How much does it cost to service or repair my Amplifier ?
When people inquire about the service cost of a vintage valve guitar amplifier without me first conducting an examination, it is crucial to explain that the cost of parts and labour can only be speculated upon and is purely conjecture without a thorough examination and testing. Moreover, the cost and sourcing of hard-to-find components play a significant role in determining the overall expenses. Just like when someone asks a garage mechanic to estimate the cost of fixing their car without knowing the faults, the true extent of the necessary repairs remains unknown. Similar to a vintage car, these amplifiers often have numerous aged parts that may need to be replaced. It is common for one fault in the amplifier to uncover another failed or potentially problematic part, which may require attention in the near future. This situation is reminiscent of the old adage "spoiling the ship for a halfpence of tar," where neglecting minor issues can lead to larger and costlier problems. Ultimately, restoring the amplifier to an electrically safe and reliable working condition necessitates meticulous examination, testing, and potential replacement of multiple aged components.
An initial informal discussion about your electronic equipment is free of charge, prior to a physical assessment. A bench fee for a physical assessment is £45 per item, this covers the cost of labour & use of calibrated test equipment used in fault finding. If a repair can be carried out within an hour, the bench fee of £45 covers the labour cost. Any further labour will be charged at £25ph. Multiple faults typically emerge during amplifier repairs. But I aim to provide ongoing estimates as the amplifier is being tested/repaired.
Here at W.G&E.S, safety is of utmost importance, and every amplifier undergoes a rigorous process before leaving our premises. Firstly, it goes through a close physical inspection where I thoroughly examine the amplifier, paying close attention to its components, connections, and overall condition. Following that, an electrical safety check is conducted using calibrated test equipment. This check is commonly known as Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and ensures that the amplifier meets the required safety standards. By conducting these meticulous inspections and tests, we ensure that each amplifier is not only in proper working order but also electrically safe for use.
Ward Guitar & Electronic Services 2023
WHY DOES MY GUITAR NEED A SET-UP ?
If you have a brand new, old, or pre- loved instrument irrespective of price point, it may almost certainly benefit from a pro setup
A guitar setup can offer several benefits to a guitarist. Here are some of the advantages of getting a professional guitar setup:
Improved Playability: A properly set up guitar ensures that the instrument is comfortable, easy and a pleasure to play. It involves adjusting the action (string height), truss rod, and intonation, among other things. This can make the guitar more responsive, reducing string buzz and making it easier to fret notes and perform techniques like bending and vibrato.
Enhanced Tone: A setup can optimize the guitar's tone by addressing issues such as string height, nut slots, and pickup height. These adjustments can help achieve better string resonance and improve the overall balance and clarity of the instrument's sound.
Better Intonation: Correct intonation ensures that the guitar plays in tune across all frets. A setup involves adjusting the saddle position and string length, aligning the fretted notes with the open strings. Proper intonation allows chords and melodies to sound more harmonious and accurate.
Correct Neck Relief: The truss rod adjustment is a crucial part of a guitar setup. It helps maintain the correct amount of neck relief, which is the slight concave curvature of the neck. Balancing the neck relief ensures proper string height and action, preventing fret buzz and intonation issues.
String Stability: A well-set-up guitar minimizes tuning problems. By properly lubricating the nut slots, adjusting the bridge, and optimizing string tension, a setup can improve tuning stability. This allows you to play for longer periods without having to constantly retune your instrument.
Customization: Here @ Ward Guitar & Electronic Service.
A setup can be tailored to your playing style and preferences. Whether you prefer low action for fast playing or higher action for added sustain and resonance, a professional setup can accommodate your specific needs.
Prevents Damage: Regular setups can help identify and address potential issues before they become major problems. For example, a setup can identify worn frets, loose hardware, or other structural issues that could lead to further damage if left unattended.
It's worth noting that while some guitarists learn to set up their instruments themselves, it's often recommended to have a professional guitar technician perform the setup, especially for more complex adjustments. A skilled professional can ensure that your guitar is properly adjusted for optimal performance.
Frequent string changes are important for several reasons, especially when it comes to preventing accelerated fret wear from rusted strings. Here are some good reasons to regularly change guitar strings:
Improved Tone: Over time, guitar strings lose their brightness and become dull. This can negatively impact the tone of your guitar, making it sound muddy or lifeless. Changing strings regularly ensures that you maintain a vibrant and clear tone.
Playability and Responsiveness: As strings age, they become harder to play. They may develop uneven tension, making it difficult to bend notes or perform techniques like vibrato. New strings provide better playability and responsiveness, allowing you to execute your playing techniques more easily.
Fret Wear Prevention: Rusted strings can accelerate fret wear due to the abrasive nature of rust particles. When rusted strings come in contact with the frets, they can cause grooves and divots to form, making the frets uneven and potentially affecting intonation. Regularly changing strings minimizes the risk of fret wear and helps preserve the life of your instrument.
String Breakage: Old strings are more prone to breaking, which can be frustrating and disrupt your playing. String breakage can also damage your guitar's finish, hardware, or even cause injury. By changing strings regularly, you reduce the likelihood of unexpected string breakage and maintain a consistent playing experience.
Hygiene and Appearance: Strings accumulate dirt, sweat, and oils from your fingers over time. This not only affects the sound and playability but also creates an unappealing appearance. Changing strings frequently keeps your guitar looking and feeling fresh.
Confidence and Inspiration: Playing on new strings can be an inspiring experience. The improved tone and feel can boost your confidence and motivate you to explore new musical ideas. Having that fresh set of strings can make a difference in your overall playing enjoyment.
While the frequency of string changes depends on factors such as playing style, string type, skin moisture levels and personal preference. A good rule of thumb is to change them every one to three months, or whenever you notice signs of wear, rust, or tonal degradation. Professional players often change their strings after every gig !
Why is it important to change strings on a regular basis ?
Why do I get electric shocks from my guitar ?
It is crucial to understand that electric guitars themselves do not pose a risk of electric shocks. The issue always lies with the amplifier or other connected equipment. Guitars are passive devices, they generate only small voltages that require amplification. No electricity is directly supplied to the guitar from the amplifier. However, the real danger arises when the amplifier is ungrounded or develops a fault. Occasionally, you may feel a tingling sensation when lightly rubbing the back of your hand over the strings or metal parts of the guitar. This is the first sign of a serious issue and should not be ignored!
A shock hazard can occur when a microphone is connected to a faulty amplifier or when the microphone itself is connected to a defective PA system. In such cases, touching the guitar, the microphone, or other grounded metal objects could result in severe injury or even death. It is important to emphasize that the guitar itself is not at fault in these situations.
Another potential source of danger arises from poor quality non-compliant switch mode power supplies. These pose a substantial risk of electrical shock and fire hazards. These inexpensive, non-CE, type approved or EMC compliant devices are often purchased as replacements for power supplies used in pedal boards and other equipment. Many of these substandard products are imported from the Far East and can be found on well-known auction sites. It is essential to exercise caution and prioritize safety when considering such power supply options, as their lack of compliance and low quality can lead to dangerous electrical incidents. Cheap multi block extension leads are another major cause for concern, here the safety Earth return path is often compromised. This leaves equipment with mains filters likely to float at 1/2 mains voltage.This will lead to an unpleasant sensation and mild burns. However if a fault occurs the equipment will be live with no protection.
I cannot stress enough the serious nature and potential consequences of failing to address these issues immediately. To avoid the serious risk of electrocution, it is absolutely imperative to have your gear thoroughly inspected without any delay. Your safety should be the utmost priority in dealing with these matters.
Ward Guitar & Electronic Services. 2023