Yeah... So I opened up the 30th, took one look and bailed out pretty quickly. No way was I going to get too involved inside this amplifier. I've serviced it before but not changed valves and as I've said before get a pro to do it if you're unsure!!! So I did...
So, I'm fitting out with original Svetlana Winged 'C' 6L6's for the power stage and JJ-Tesla ECC83S for the pre-amp. The 30th takes 11 valves so it's never going to be a cheap or easy exercise. In the research I've read over at Watford Valves both these choices are top of the pile. The JJ's appear to be the best of the current production valves available today. The only other way you might be able to top these are to source some New Old Stock or original Mullard's, if you do find some expect to pay top money! I've seen some part used singles going toward the £80 area!! However back to the real world, it's said JJ's will tame the treble in Marshall and Fender amps, they are very warm and rich, I was impressed with them when I installed them into my Blackstar and an added bonus is the construction is rugged, just what's required for life on the road.
We didn't need to venture far this year while picking, in fact we only needed to visit one of our secret Blackthorn's to get more than enough for this years gin/vodka. Probably collected 5 or 6lb and there's plenty more on the tree... Just in case!
Going to stick to the usual recipe for 2013, last year I backed off on the amount of sugar as I was finding it very sweet - perhaps my tastes are changing? I think this made a far better tasting gin. The taste of the sloes and gin wasn't over powered by the sugar meaning you could really taste the flavour of the sloes, also the vodka had more of a punch which in turn gave that fantastic warm feeling on the way down... Great on a winters day!
My Marshall 30th Anniversary finally needs to be re-valved after a good four years of use... Not bad huh!? After replacing the stock valves in my Blackstar with some original SED Svetlana Winged C's I'm gonna do the same again with the Marshall, these are fantastic sounding valves!!! Now my 30th was fitted with 6L6's from the factory, Marshall did this in the 1990's when decent EL34's were in scant supply. Many users decided to modify their amps to EL34's later after production became more reliable and widely available, however I like the sound the 6L6's give so I'm sticking with them for this replacement.
I've ordered the Winged C's from Watford Valves who guarantee they are original Svets which pre-date the New Sensor take over, you can see them here. Many valve aficionados say that the current production valves are no where near as good as the originals in both quality and sound. I'll post up another project report once they arrive, however and this is a big however, upon reading up how to bias a 30th anniversary I'm seriously thinking about taking it to Essex Amp Repairs. General consensus around the internet is that biasing is no easy task when dealing with a 30th! As I said in my Blackstar report basically if you don't know what your doing take your amp to someone qualified. Once I open her up and take a look inside I shall decide whether to stick with my own advice!
Been messing around with a photography technique called painting with light. Essentially you find somewhere very dark with no light pollution, set up your camera with a very log exposure and paint the subject with a torch or some such light source.
Well it happened, Dan had to eventually leave us in case his modern interpretation of the 'Windy Miller' job comes along. As we already knew Dan going will leave a big whole in the band, not only on a musical level but also we're all good friends so it was kinda like a family member going. His last gig with us was at the Trimley Beer Fest which was an outdoor performance through a powerful PA system. He got a good send off!
Anyway, we can't dwell on the past and moving forward we found ourselves a great replacement in the form of Mikey. He brings a different style, much heavier and by god he's loud! He's a great character and immediately fit in with us which I always think is half the battle, if you all get on, the rest will come.
Circa Fall have played a couple of gigs with Mike now which have gone very well, we still need more time to gel and get used to one another but with the limited time Mike's had to learn the stuff and rehearse, we all admit he's done well... The proof is evident in the form of all the overwhelming responses we get after gigs, very humbling, very positive and bookings are coming in for next year already.
Onwards and upwards!!
This Saturday I started the upgrade by building the function generator kit shown in the picture here. It was very straight forward to assemble and only took around an hour, the kit doesn't come with instructions as such so you'll need a basic understanding of electronics or an understanding of what each component is and know how polarity works. Once constructed, a quick test then I moved on to the amp itself... You can grab this DIY kit from Maplin here...
Thought I'd get something down about this new addition to my amplification arsenal, having been an avid Marshall user for many years the lure of the Blackstar sound is just something you cannot ignore.
I found this little beauty on eBay going cheap, it had an intermittent fault which the previous owner didn't know how to resolve so he bought himself a Fender as a replacement. After a few emails with the seller, I soon had a good idea what the problem might be so purchased it as a fixer-upper...
There's a sure sign that things aren't improving economically this year especially for pubs and clubs and we're definitely feeling the knock on effect. Gigs are certainly a bit thinner this year. After talking with some other guy's from popular covers bands, they're being hit as well, so it's not just individual bands being knocked back. I'm hopeful most venues are seeing this as a time to clear out some of the crap that's managed to leak out onto the circuit.
I read a post on Ross' Blog where he has said the same things, as we have less gigs this year, I think it has an effect on us as a band. We seem to have got into a rut musically and the drive to be the best has undoubtedly slipped, what hasn't helped but is totally understandable is that Dan our drummer is looking for a job on the wind farms which could take him away at short notice for a few weeks at a time. The concern is he might not be available for gigs already booked and we could end up cancelling with very little notice to the venue. Again this whole situation could in a roundabout way be attributed to the current economic downturn, however I won't go in to that bit... Dan must do what he needs to do to pay the bills, we all know that and support him.
Just finished and interesting project for the local Braintree Taxi Association, the committee there needed a site to share information on a public and private level. They wanted it to be clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate with extra functionality for private members. The site is now complete and launched and you can take a look by visiting www.bd-ta.org
Need a small website built? Perhaps I can help, click here for more...