This Silvertone 1482 looks like it may have suffered some water damage or excessive dampness. Take an amp with this kind of staining and erosion to a tech before plugging in, since it is a potential shock or fire hazard.

How to know when a vintage amp is worth rescuing.

I'll bet most of us have experienced this: You're en route to the grocery store on a pleasant Sunday morning, not a care in the world except getting home for breakfast in a timely manner … and then it happens. You see someone staking a garage sale sign at the corner. Your mind begins racing as you do the math. The person with the sign looks old enough to have cool stuff and I'm the first to see this sign. Will it be me who finds the mint '59 Bassman and Les Paul that must certainly be waiting there?

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Tim Schroeder—amp builder for Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline—offers seven tips for avoiding the post-purchase blues.

So, you “need” a new amp, huh? Maybe you’re looking for a certain sound, or your old amp is no longer reliable enough for gigging. Perhaps that mammoth stack from your high-school years—y’know, the one with the lightning bolt and pot leaf stenciled on the grille cloth?—doesn’t quite fit with your current décor. Or maybe your income has changed and you finally have enough scratch to purchase your dream amp.

There are many reasons to search for a new amp, but the most common is probably that we’re simply looking for that “perfect” setup that’ll finally allow us to convey the sound in our heads to the rest of the world. After all, your amp’s speaker is literally the last signal-chain element shaping the sound that hits waiting eardrums.

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Removing or replacing a single component in your amp can have significant impacts on both its tonal character and the amount of gain or headroom on tap. Here we guide you through several easy projects you can do in relatively little time with a few basic tools.

It’s in a guitarist’s nature, I believe, that we can’t leave well enough alone. Most of us have an ideal sound (or sounds) in our heads, and we won’t rest until our vision is realized. We can have a perfectly fine guitar or amplifier, but we still have an inherent urge to tinker with it until it’s “just right” in feel or tone. On this premise—as well as the fact that many of us are on budgets that don’t allow us to buy every amp that strikes our fancy—the idea of modifying an amp we already own strikes a very appealing chord for many players.

Of course, before beginning any sort of amp modification, you’ve got to pinpoint exactly what you want to accomplish. And you have to keep in mind that an amp is full of many parts that interact with and affect one another, so even small changes to any of these parts can yield major differences in tone and performance. However, this exponential effect that small changes can have on tone means there are many relatively easy ways in which even inexperienced but adventurous DIYers can mod their amp.

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