By Mike Borish June 2016
The Ampeg SVT is a bass amp that doesn’t need an introduction. The original version was introduced in 1969 and various reincarnations are still in production today. The Ampeg SVT did for bass guitarists what the Marshall Super Lead did for the electric guitar; it set the standard for rock tones and high volume live performances.
When the SVT was first introduced to the public, it was absolutely cutting edge technology. It was the loudest and most powerful amp on the market. Unfortunately for players, all of the amazing features come at a price: SVT’s have a lot of expensive parts that can fail if the amp isn’t properly set up or maintained.
Through several revisions and updates, Ampeg engineers have tried their hardest to make SVT’s more robust and reliable. In some ways, accountants have frustrated these noble efforts by trimming budgets and sourcing inferior parts in some of the newest versions.
Servicing these amps has become a specialty within itself. The modern SVT-CL designs incorporate solid state protection circuitry that is foreign to many guitar amp service technicians and the employment of inferior parts further complicates the matter. With the cost of a sextet of 6550’s at around $200, the power tubes that these things run, even a small mistake or mis-diagnosis can cost you a set of tubes.
I’ve serviced over 100 of these amps and know the circuits well. I’ve got advanced tools for testing the them and will get the job done right the first time. Feel free to contact me to discuss your options.