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Blues Amp Restoration Project Diary

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I had to revisit the amp today and install what I hope will be a better quality reverb transformer I ordered from Mercury Magnetics. I can already tell the reverb sounds a little stronger and deeper but only time will tell. They are supposed to be the best. I'll certainly save the original transformer and any original parts I remove in case I ever need them.

 I also took the advice of the folks on the Fender FDP Forum and reinstalled the eight original blue tootsie roll Mallory caps back in. They say these are the tonal heart and soul of the amp and I do somewhat agree based on my experiences years ago. I used to bring my amps to have them repaired then come back home and locate the parts they replaced then swap them with the original type I kept in several old spare chassis. In several cases I found  putting the ORIGINAL parts back into a Fender amp indeed restored some kind of sparkle or magic and that was always more obvious when I played my Fender Stratocaster through the amps. I've always thought a single coil Fender guitar sounds it's worst through a lame or unhealthy Fender amp. I had to look at a bunch of old photos of amps to make sure I installed these like they came out. The foil side of 7 caps was toward the rear but the one .047uf seems to always have the foil marker down toward the front panel. Not sure if this even makes a difference like the other caps but I didn't want to take a chance.

MP3 SOUND SAMPLE OF THE AMP AFTER REINSTALLING THE OLD CAPS AND THE CHANGES DOCUMENTED ON THIS PAGE. Please note I was not able to have super control over the mic position and all settings but you can compare this to the recording on the previous page. I think the amp has alot more midrange than it did with the other caps and the new caps might have been a little smoother and more hi-fi quiet. I can certainly hear some serious mojo in this amp now and it's only turned up to 3-4 volume. Here's the other mp3 recording with the yellow Mallory  caps.

Above: I feel like a dumbass but I'm about to remove the 8 yellow Mallory caps I just installed last week and reinstall the 8 old ones. I'm told the old ones can be in as good a condition as they were brand new 40+ years ago. Unlike all the polarized filter caps which often begin getting weak with age. I'm hoping I did not damage any of these when I removed them. I'll probably heatsink the leads as I solder them to reduce the possibility of heat damage from the iron.

Above: I also decided the Mojo power cable I ordered was not tough enough or long enough for my tastes so I installed this new monster power cable I bought at Ace hardware.

Above: I also installed a new Mercury Magnetics replica reverb driver. I can already hear a noticeable difference in the depth of the verb. It's just about right for that huge "Wall of Sound" these amps can produce.

Above: Installed all the eight original blue Mallory tone caps.

Above: Closeup of the left hand group of 5 caps. From left to right you have .1uf 400v, .022uf 400v, .047uf 400v, .1uf 400, .022uf 400v. The front panel is down. The tubes are above. The black stripe indicating the foil side of the cap is pointing up on all five of these caps. I dressed the leads and mounted them so they sit firmly on the fiber board and don't strain the solder joints.

Above: Here are the remaining three caps on the right side of the board but notice the left most cap has the foil pointing downward toward the front panel. from left to right the values are as follows. .1uf 200v, .1uf 400v, .1uf 400v.

MP3 SOUND SAMPLE OF THE AMP AFTER REINSTALLING THE OLD CAPS AND THE CHANGES DOCUMENTED ON THIS PAGE. Please note I was not able to have super control over the mic position and all settings but you can compare this to the recording on the previous page. I think the amp has alot more midrange than it did with the other caps and the new caps might have been a little smoother and more hi-fi quiet. I can certainly hear some serious mojo in this amp now and it's only turned up to 3-4 volume. Here's the other mp3 recording with the yellow Mallory  caps.

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