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Sheik Yerbouti

I've got a bunch of newbie questions regarding vjr head and cabinet

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SHEIK -- If you're still reading your topic, then I think you'll see that many of these die hard modder guys' comments have done more than I ever could to vividly illustrate my point: Most all of their time is spent modding, re-modding, or fixing mods gone bad (or beating dead horses on these forums).

 

I sensed from your question that you, like I, want to play guitar, play better, and sound better and if so then that is where to put your time (instead of hacking/modding/fixing). While perhaps best intentioned, as you can see they seem to want to convert everyone to a modder, and that is misguided and on the whole BAD ADVICE!

 

It's PLUG & PLAY with pedals -- swap what you don't like, find what you do like... THEN consider tweaks and mods.

 

You'll come out playing better, and most definitely playing more!

 

Me, I'm going to play on...:-k

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:D Bad indeed! It's true! We've become hard core tone mod junkies, and of course, we're simply acting true to form. But, that's what happens when you mod your amp and experience the near epiphany of finding out how easy and fun it was to make such phenomenal improvements your amp's tone. And, then you just want more of that feeling! So... RUN! While you still have a chance! :-#

 

And rest assured, no dead horses were beaten during the production of THIS posting. :-

 

Gil...

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SHEIK -- If you're still reading your topic' date=' then I think you'll see that many of these die hard modder guys' comments have done more than I ever could to vividly illustrate my point: Most all of their time is spent modding, re-modding, or fixing mods gone bad (or beating dead horses on these forums).

 

I sensed from your question that you, like I, want to play guitar, play better, and sound better and if so then that is where to put your time (instead of hacking/modding/fixing). While perhaps best intentioned, as you can see they seem to want to convert everyone to a modder, and that is misguided and on the whole BAD ADVICE!

 

It's PLUG & PLAY with pedals -- swap what you don't like, find what you do like... THEN consider tweaks and mods.

 

You'll come out playing better, and most definitely playing more!

 

Me, I'm going to play on...:D

 

Man you spew alot of bullshit......Tone chasing IS something that most decent guitar players do and it can take you in several directions. Unlike Steve here I'm not trying to tell you which one is right for you or to convert anybody to modding or anything else...just to show you that with a little research and ability it is a very viable and rewarding option. That's all! I guess if guy's like EVH would just Stop all their tone chasing nonsense and play their guitars they might actually get somewhere huh Steve? Eddie's tone chasing obsession has produced some great casulties BTW....the brown sound...the musicman/peavey wolfie guitar design...countless frankenstrats...and on and on. Your presumption that all modders are hackers who can't play is just Wrong. If you chose to do a little research before opening your mouth you would find that Gil and myself and many others simply want to share great tone through freely sharing information. We have both stated many times that if people are not 100% comfotable doing mods....then don't! If they are however the rewards can be well worth a little effort. I think thats a pretty honest presentation of options. With regard to dead horse beating on this forum.....If your Idea of beating a dead horse is responding to Thousands of hits from interested tone chasers then I guess we are guilty as charged.

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Let's get a couple of things squared away, with regard to modding. First, forget warranty. Almost all product failures that would fall under warrant occur within the first few weeks of use. Secondly, we're talking about something that costs about $100.

 

Not insignificant, but hardly an amount that would justify a rigid stance against improvements, for fear of being bludgeoned by the manufacturer, in the case of a failure that might otherwise fall under warranty. Aside from that, it would be assumed that if you had the courage and knowledge to perform the mods in the first place, you'd have gathered the knowledge and experience to repair said failure on your own, without having to rely upon the ridiculous process and delay of manufacturer warrant repair.

 

The simple fact is, you're not going to get tonal perfection when you buy a $100 tube amp. There are compromises made in design and manufacture that make it impossible. So, what are the options, given that? You compromisve yourself and play an amp that doesn't quite fit your idea of perfection, until the day arrives when you grow weary of the glaring limitations and either park or sell it, or you make changes to the amp that improve it and make it better suit your style.

 

The beautiful thing about venturing into the self-tinker world with this amp is that it's an incredibly easy amp to tinker with, and doing so can give you the knowledge and courage to tackle bigger jobs later. I recently modded my kid's Blues Jr., after my experience with the Vlv Jr., and I managed to turn that amp from a basement turd into an excellent amp. I sure hope I didn't void the warrant by making it a playable amp!

 

That's really the bottom line. The modding is done to improve the amp and to bring it closer to "perfection." Nothing at all wrong with that.

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Steven:

 

You have a valid perspective but your condescending tone and myopic attitude really undermine it.

 

There is no real right or wrong with this debate. It just depends on what a person wants. I like amp modelling but it is something fundamentally different from a tube amp. I can see how plugging a Pod into the VJR could give you the best of both worlds to some degree; versatility and that punch that comes from tubes.

 

On the other hand, although I haven't done any modding yet, there is a real appeal to me for getting that one sound I really like and getting the VJR to do it (as much as possible) all by itself. The more junk you have "in the loop" the more fussing and wasted time in the long run.

 

With regard to playing versus hacking. Understanding and developing tone has been a major part of what playing electric guitar is all about since the very early days. Spending some time modding a simple amp like the VJR could really contribute to that ability and pay off in the long run. You oversimplify alot in your posts.

 

Now, if I can ask a question of the tone tweakers here. Why do you think Epi left the bias voltages high in Version 3? Wasn't this issue well discussed prior to the release of V3? Is there some valid reason to leave it the way it is?

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Now' date=' if I can ask a question of the tone tweakers here. Why do you think Epi left the bias voltages high in Version 3? Wasn't this issue well discussed prior to the release of V3? Is there some valid reason to leave it the way it is?[/quote']

 

I've thought about this a bit, and what I keep coming back to is that the VJ is basically a crippled version of the Gibson Les Paul GA5 reissue amp. The circuits are similar, but not identical. The VJ is meant to be a starter amp. By all accounts, the GA5 is a great sounding amp, V1 & V2 stock VJs are not. The GA5 is built on a turret board using Mojotone transformers and premium parts. Interestingly enough the Mojo OT in the GA5 has a 7.5k primary and yet still sounds good. The VJ is built on a PCB using Chinese-made components.

 

What Gibson/Epiphone never figured on was that modding VJs would take on a life of its own. All of us modders started to improve the VJ to the point where it was actually a decent sounding amp, maybe even better than its more expensive big brother the GA5. So Epi began to make slight improvents to make the VJ sound better, but not too much better. Now in its stock V3 form, the VJ sounds pretty good, but not as good as the GA5. I think that the VJ was improved to a point, but Epi doesn't want it improved too much so that it surpasses the GA5.

 

You can compare the V2 VJ schematic and the GA5 schematic:

 

http://www.diycustomamps.com/images/schematics/vj_stock_schem.pdf

 

http://www.diycustomamps.com/images/schematics/gibson_ga5_schem.pdf

 

tung

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I've been chasing "tone" for 40+ years. It never stops. Found it once in the 70's with a 1970 Marshall 100-watt Superlead into a 2-15 bottom with EVM-200's. But sold it 2 years later to buy drugs... so be it.

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Sweet baby bigsby! What did I create with such an innane question, dear god it's frakenthread!!!! O:)

I appreciate all the help and advice here. I truly do, I am going to start slowly, trade the tubes out and go from there. When I take them out, will there be an obvious physical difference between the two?

And yes, I do get the irony of the question to further lengthen this thread and spur on the warring factions within.

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Strangedogs *L* tone my a** there's a party at freds!

 

sounds familiar.

 

Sheik.. I'm going to buy an au7 and another at7 and probably that sovtek ax7lps..

I'm pretty much sold on the 5751.. but I wonder.. *L*

 

some tubes are a little fatter.. some don't light up much.. other than that they're pretty much the same.

 

As far as this playing thing goes.. I'm almost 60.. my crazy woodshedding days are pretty much over.

I play like I play. incremental improvements only.

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Sweet baby bigsby! What did I create with such an innane question' date=' dear god it's frakenthread!!!! #-o

I appreciate all the help and advice here. I truly do, I am going to start slowly, trade the tubes out and go from there. When I take them out, will there be an obvious physical difference between the two?

And yes, I do get the irony of the question to further lengthen this thread and spur on the warring factions within.

[/quote']

 

SHEIK -- SMART CALL! Yes, the tubes have obvious physical difference, PLUS they are identified by the # imprinted on the tube, e.g 12AX7/ECC803S. Nowhere have I seen anyone here tell you yet that it's best to wear rubber gloves when handling the tubes (keeps body oils off of the glass). Change them out when the amp is cold (unused for an hour or so) - it's just easier that way.

 

We all benefit from the free, open, and lively discourse of two opposite positions. I believe your topic will prove to be VERY HELPFUL to those visiting this forum -- and a little fun to boot.

 

I am not opposed to mods at all! But, and this has been my point of reference -- mods should not be made until they have been intelligently thought through first -- or we take a big risk of coming out sorry we made them!!! Even if, and m-theory is spot on again when he points out the financial bottom line -- on a Jr. the worst is that you're out 130 clams (+ mod parts costs).

 

A final note -- all us can agree (imagine that !?!) that tone is so subjective that we ourselves even hear tonality differently on different days! Some days, I find nirvana with stock ver.3 Jr on any given volume setting. Other days, an overdrive pedal in front of Jr. is where it's at. But, another day dawns and I find I want that stock Jr. tone again (and it's always there if you stay stock). And, the bottom line is that Jr.'s tube tone helps you play better because you can hear better what it is that you are playing... so you improve your pick attack, or palm muting, or etc., and guess what happens -- you have become a better guitar player (so then you'll want more from your amp -- it's a vicious circle that way). As the man said, even EVH (and he can afford Marshalls, Dumbles, Soldanos and anything else) is never satisfied. So, we non-pros balance budget and limited time -- it's work on equipment or play guitar!

 

Me, I'm going to play on...:-

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We all benefit from the free, open, and lively discourse of two opposite positions. I believe your topic will prove to be VERY HELPFUL to those visiting this forum -- and a little fun to boot.

 

Right on! :- I'm going to hack up....err Mod an amp....then play some guitar.#-o

 

The bias question is a good one BTW since simply changing 2 resistor values R-10 and r-14 would get them in a better bias ballpark:-k But then again why did they use an output transformer better suited to a6v6 than an el-84 on the first 2 versions of the amp#-o

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Maybe they got a good deal on a batch of OT's that got them through the first two versions.

 

Layboomo:

 

You're getting right to my question. I don't really want to be measuring voltages in a live amp at this point in my non-experience. My question is this. Are there some values of R10 and R14 that I can just swap into the circuit and trust that the tubes will be better biased and not worry about tweaking it to the exact theoretical perfect voltage?

 

Also, what about the other tube voltage mod that I've read about. I think it was heater voltage. I read about a mod to insert a high power resistor right inline from the power cable ahead of the power supply transformer. Is this a mod that is still needed in Version 3 and if so how would you rate its importance?

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Maybe they got a good deal on a batch of OT's that got them through the first two versions.

 

Bingo.

 

You're getting right to my question. I don't really want to be measuring voltages in a live amp at this point in my non-experience. My question is this. Are there some values of R10 and R14 that I can just swap into the circuit and trust that the tubes will be better biased and not worry about tweaking it to the exact theoretical perfect voltage?

 

Use a 1K ohm' date=' 3W metal oxide resistor for R10. Use a 270 ohm, 3W metal oxide for R14. These will get you into the ballpark. You amp may not be biased to the max, but if it sounds good then you're done.

 

Also, what about the other tube voltage mod that I've read about. I think it was heater voltage. I read about a mod to insert a high power resistor right inline from the power cable ahead of the power supply transformer. Is this a mod that is still needed in Version 3 and if so how would you rate its importance?

 

It depends on the voltage coming out of your wall socket. I have very high wall voltages in my house, it rarely goes below 124v and is normally around 126v. The PT in the VJ is designed for 115v use. So the closer your wall voltage is to 115, the less likely it is that you need to drop the heater voltage using either a large resistor in series with the primary of the PT, or diodes legs of the heater windings.

 

tung

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thanks tung

 

He beat me to it....yup 1K and 270 will probably put you just a little on the cold side but it will sound good and your tubes will live longer.

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Thanks Layboomo. BTW, your youtube clips sound great. I like my V3 but there's quite a bit of difference from your clips. (AND, I'm sure my playing has nothing to do with it.)

 

MaybeI should start a new thread but these are newbie questions and that's kind of how the post started out.

 

I've been doing a lot of reading here and on sewatt and one thing I've never seen mentioned is anyone putting in some type of socket for the resistors and capacitors so that you could change values without repeatedly soldering and desoldering the board. I thought I had read about people doing this with their stomp boxes but maybe its only for ICs and transistors. Is there any kind of single lead socket that could be used for this or could you take one for a transistor and only use one lead or somehow cut it into three parts?

 

Also, I should go back and read through sewatt but can someone tell me in brief how cooling the bias will effect the sound?

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Thanks Layboomo. BTW' date=' your youtube clips sound great. I like my V3 but there's quite a bit of difference from your clips. (AND, I'm sure my playing has nothing to do with it.)

 

MaybeI should start a new thread but these are newbie questions and that's kind of how the post started out.

 

I've been doing a lot of reading here and on sewatt and one thing I've never seen mentioned is anyone putting in some type of socket for the resistors and capacitors so that you could change values without repeatedly soldering and desoldering the board. I thought I had read about people doing this with their stomp boxes but maybe its only for ICs and transistors. Is there any kind of single lead socket that could be used for this or could you take one for a transistor and only use one lead or somehow cut it into three parts?

 

Also, I should go back and read through sewatt but can someone tell me in brief how cooling the bias will effect the sound?[/quote']

 

Thanks...those were just little quickies with a cam corder (not the best audio quality but it got the feel across I think).

 

The thing about a socket vs soldering parts in is that in the case of power resistor and filter caps where you have alot of heat and voltage present you really want those parts very firmly attached for safety reasons. You could probably get away with it for tone caps or something like that,but in all honesty a firm soldered connection would be my first choice every time.

 

This a very simplistic answer...but an amplifier that is biased hot will generally have the most dynamic range sometimes at the expense of tube life(nice for that ballsy lead tone)....where an amp that is biased a little cold will extend tube life and have a little less than optimum dynamic range....But sometimes this is a desired effect. Take fender blackface bandmaster's for example.....just about everybody I know bias them on the cold side for that nice clean fender tone. If you want to learn more(alot more) about biasing go to http://www.aikenamps.com/ and look in the tech section ....great stuff.

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LABOOMO' date=' is the vox mod on your vj the same as the one offered from Watts tube audio(formerly 18 watt, I think)?[/quote']

 

Yes it's based on that Voxy layout...but I did swap out some cap values to get a little thicker tone out of it. There is alot of talk on sewatt about that in the voxy threads....but basically it involves going with a slightly different c-1 value than the vox .0022uf value which many people(myself included) think is a little too thin sounding.

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This is EXACTLY what I need, audio/visual aids

You'd probably be surprised at how much you could figure out as you go along, without video guides. There's really not that much to these amps at all, and what there is has been very clearly marked on the board. It's really just a matter of replacing some of those very clearly marked components with different values.

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You'd probably be surprised at how much you could figure out as you go along' date=' without video guides. There's really not that much to these amps at all, and what there is has been very clearly marked on the board. It's really just a matter of replacing some of those very clearly marked components with different values. [/quote']

 

Thats absolutely true and the parts in most kit's are only a few bucks....the remaining $30 or $40 is for the instructions which are really all over the place for free if you dig a little.

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