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Ampeg V4 Tube Retainers

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  • Ampeg V4 Tube Retainers

    Hi there,

    Has anyone ever found replacement power tube retainers for an old model Ampeg V4? I'm working on one that is missing three of the four bear trap style retainers, and I can't find any replacements that fit. The mounting holes for the sockets and retainers are spaced more closely than everything I can find - the distance between the holes is about 1.3", everything I've found is 1.5". I've sourced replacement sockets that drop-in fine, just can't find the retainers, and I'd prefer them to the spring type. Obviously I could drill new holes and install larger modern sockets etc., just trying to keep this as easy as possible.


  • #2
    You might have already checked fliptops. If not these might do the job but I would contact them first to check sizing.
    When the going gets weird... The weird turn pro!


    • #3
      I'd just replace them with the spring-based hold-down clamps. I have a growing collection of bear-trap clamps that I've removed, and with sockets that DO grip the power tube pins as well as the bases, they're fine. But, I come across so many amps, particularly those with the chassis' inverted & the tubes are hanging down, that I get issues with some of the tubes as they age. I do go one step further when I install the hold-down clamps. I install hi temp silicone rubber tubing over the spring/clamp legs to keep that metal joint off the glass, tubing on the wings, and slit a smaller dia tubing to fit into the 7/8" or 1" ID in the top of the clamp, so the tubes are well shock-mounted.

      Click image for larger version

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      The tubing I use comes from McMaster-Carr....smaller size for grommet is 3/32" ID x 7/32" OD, P/N 3038K12 and the larger size for the spring/flap & wings is 3/16" ID x 5/16" OD, P/N 3038K14....10ft min qty

      Maybe this is overkill, but, it has cut down the tube glass breakage in our large rental inventory now over the years. I first began using this on 6550's and KT-88 power tubes used in Ampeg SVT's with great success.
      Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence


      • #4
        The funny thing is, if you want to go for 6550's you will have to cut the bear trap style stock retainers off.
        So that's another reason to go for the spring type. I can understand wanting to keep it stock though. For what it's worth, with those lovely shock mounts, you don't need retainers (if sockets are nice and tight). The pair I cut off (for reason above) have no issues with loose tubes.
        It does about 90W with a pair of 6550's.
        Last edited by g1; 12-09-2019, 07:42 PM. Reason: of course the tubes hang upside down, wake up g
        "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey


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