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Thread: Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve

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    Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve

    Dreams do come true. I never win anything. No raffles. No door prizes. When I comb the amp forums so many times I read about the guy who got the tube amp for free. That prospect has always evaded me. Last night my fortunes changed. I got a message from a guy with a tube amp which he describes as working and sounds great with a les paul through it. I call the guy back today and he says he's old and the amp it too heavy. You can have it. Well doesn't it figure my car is under repair and won't be fixed until the end of the week. But he says it yours...don't worry...I'll hold on to it. He said he was going to drag it out to the street and put a sign on it that says free, but the weather called for rain and he figured it would be ruined. I asked, not that it mattered, but does he know what kind of amp it is. He says it was made by Sears or Montgomery Ward and it's too damn heavy.

    It was driving me crazy today having to wait until the end of the week. Even if he did say its mine. Until its in my hands anything can happen. I tried to get my car back going but, no go. Then my 16 year old son messages me for a ride from school. He lives with his mother and should get his license in a couple weeks. I say my car is not working, but I could ride my bike to his house and use his mother's spare car to get him and btw I have this tube amp I can get for free if i could get that too. He checks with his mom and tells me where the keys are. I grab my 3 year old daughter, put her in a bike trailer, throw the car seat in the trailer and ride my bike about 5 miles to my Xs house. I pick up my son from school, but when I tell him the amp is 45 mins away he doesn't want to go. And he's the one who plays guitar. I say how about I take you home and make the run for the amp. He agrees, so I drop him home and go.

    I got to the guys house at about six tonight. He can barley walk up the stairs. He shows me the amp and cabinet. The amp is sitting inside the back of the cabinet. He insist on showing me its working even though I'm reluctant to have it powered up. There are mouse dropping in the bottom of the cabinet and it looks like a nest behind a tube. But it works. I get the amp and my daughter in the car and as I'm driving away I get a call from my X. She's pissed and lectures me about asking her not her son. Of course I say, so sorry. I drive my ass to my house, drop off my daughter and the amp, stop to fill her tank and get her car back to her house. Then I ride my bike five miles back home.

    I usually don't write long stories on the forums because I don't like to read them. But hey! It happened to me! It was free! Now I have a Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve amp.

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    Pics of the amp.
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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Hey, good for you!

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Nice score!!! Just be careful during the cleanup. Wear a mask and use gloves! You might consider a light spray of water and clorox (where the rats left a mess).

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomCarlos View Post
    Nice score!!! Just be careful during the cleanup. Wear a mask and use gloves! You might consider a light spray of water and clorox (where the rats left a mess).
    Nice score! They are a pain to work on but sound great. I wrote up some stuff on working on one of those with many possible mods here at Ampage and I think at Hoffman's site too. You can search me on both sites and you'll likely find them.

    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by soundmasterg View Post
    Nice score! They are a pain to work on but sound great.

    Greg
    What makes them a pain to work on?

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    Looking at the pictures online of yhe guts, the fact that they are in a very narrow chassis & wired true point-to-point. And as someone who builds true P2P amps in recycles organ chassis, I can vouch for them to be difficulr to work on.

    Justin

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    Chassis removed. The underside looks pretty clean!

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    What are the big bottles? Two different 6L6s?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    What are the big bottles? Two different 6L6s?
    Yes they are.

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    I exposed the speakers. Jensen C12Q that date to 1966. Only one is connected.

    I also found a pile of money!

    I mean mouse shit.

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    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    I see big bottles and... a barrel of beer. Amp welcoming party maybe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    What makes them a pain to work on?
    They used shoddy parts in some cases, such as the material the boards are made out of which can break easily if bent at all; the resistors aren't very good quality and drift more than most; the output transformer is very undersized and often fails in these amps; the layout is very poor and if you try to increase gain very much in either channel the hum increases a lot more than the increase in gain and there is no way around it except to use mu-metal (very expensive) to isolate the influence from the centrally located power transformer; the reverb is cheesy sounding but that likely won't matter because it likely doesn't work due to a very cheap quality reverb tank that often breaks. In other cases there are some things they did that are good practice but make it very hard to work on, such as the fact they wrapped the leads of the parts around the terminal strips tightly before soldering. Its great for stability but hard to repair. The brown coupling caps aren't the greatest though they usually still work. The electrolytic caps said they were 'guaranteed for one year' but they last much longer than that, though they weren't very good quality either back in the day. They could really use the addition of a voltage doubler to the bias supply and an adjustable bias so the tubes will run cooler. The power supply used two voltage doublers stacked on top of each other which doesn't regulate very well and due to the low value of the caps used in the doublers, the first equivalent cap is somewhat low so there is more hum than necessary. The amp is low gain stock so you don't notice the hum as bad as if you try to mod to increase gain. The chassis is really cramped too.

    All that said they are cool sounding amps in stock form or modified, the trem is really nice, and they are pretty reliable amps. You will need to come up with a mod to replace the can cap as they are not available anymore in those values, so you can cut a bigger hole and put in a dual cap, then add others under the chassis with terminal strips, or you can leave the stock can in place but disconnect it electrically and use discrete caps in the chassis with terminal strips.

    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickb View Post
    I see big bottles and... a barrel of beer. Amp welcoming party maybe?
    I tend to drink a lot of beer when I work on the amps. Kegerator by my side!

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    Removed the speakers. They look intact but one seems it may be brittle.

    The baffel board looks like 1/4" masonite board. Very flimsy. I think I should epoxy coat the inside of the particle board cabinet and replace the baffle with plywood.

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    maybe the masonite board is the secret behind the Silver tone

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    maybe the masonite board is the secret behind the Silver tone
    Is that possible? I always thought a flimsy baffel was a sign of low quality and frowned upon. Same with particle board cabinets.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    What makes them a pain to work on?
    The fact that they can fall apart on you just taking the chassis out for one!.

    nosaj

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    Is that possible? I always thought a flimsy baffel was a sign of low quality and frowned upon. Same with particle board cabinets.
    i think there was some sarcasm there.
    nosaj

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    i think there was some sarcasm there.
    nosaj
    Ok. I'm taking note. Mice urine and flimsy baffels good for tone!

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    Do you make him a offer on the 58' LP?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mozz View Post
    Do you make him a offer on the 58' LP?
    He said he had already moved all the guitars. Maybe that meant sold. Maybe he gave them away to people he knew. Not sure. Didn't seem like he could play much anymore. The LP and the amp were given to him by his friend's daughter after his friend passed away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soundmasterg View Post
    You will need to come up with a mod to replace the can cap as they are not available anymore in those values, so you can cut a bigger hole and put in a dual cap, then add others under the chassis with terminal strips, or you can leave the stock can in place but disconnect it electrically and use discrete caps in the chassis with terminal strips.

    Greg
    That's where I'm at now. Seems like it's always a problem replacing the can caps. There isn't much room in the chassis to bring all the caps to the underside.

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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    It was free! Now I have a Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve amp.
    I would be very happy If I could find one like that for under $300. The ones I've seen have gone for $600 - $800 with the cabinet, and in roughly the same condition. It's a great amp for that era, and there's a lot of information out about them, as in schematics ! So you won't be flying blind with a no-name amp...

    https://www.silvertoneworld.net/ampl...schematic.html

    All for free ! that would make me happy for several months, perhaps a year !

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    Last edited by HaroldBrooks; 11-01-2019 at 06:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    That's where I'm at now. Seems like it's always a problem replacing the can caps. There isn't much room in the chassis to bring all the caps to the underside.
    I've never done it, but you could "Gut" the can cap and put smaller modern ones in place. It's been done by many, and it doesn't have to look perfect from the underside, IMHO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkZYkSLEit0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBSYCaosk_k

    Also, I've found some the caps from China are small for the microfarad capacitance. A 20uf Atom is 3 times the size of a Chinese cap. I'm sure the Atom is a better cap, but If you use the amp and keep your eye on it, I'm also sure the Chinese caps will last a decade. The big thing is using the amp periodically, and keeping A/C off the caps. Since I believe this amp has a diode rectifier, there's less chance of a short that would blow up caps.

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    Last edited by HaroldBrooks; 11-01-2019 at 06:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HaroldBrooks View Post
    I've never done it, but you could "Gut" the can cap and put smaller modern ones in place. It's been done by many, and it doesn't have to look perfect from the underside, IMHO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkZYkSLEit0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBSYCaosk_k

    Also, I've found some the caps from China are small for the microfarad capacitance. A 20uf Atom is 3 times the size of a Chinese cap. I'm sure the Atom is a better cap, but If you use the amp and keep your eye on it, I'm also sure the Chinese caps will last a decade. The big thing is using the amp periodically, and keeping A/C off the caps. Since I believe this amp has a diode rectifier, there's less chance of a short that would blow up caps.
    I found a can cap that is 20/10/10/10. The original is 20/10/5.

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    Supporting Member TomCarlos's Avatar
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    There you go. Connect two of the 10s together and you get your 5!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    I found a can cap that is 20/10/10/10. The original is 20/10/5.
    Ask these guys https://hayseedhamfest.com/
    nosaj

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    Also, I've found some the caps from China are small for the microfarad capacitance. A 20uf Atom is 3 times the size of a Chinese cap. I'm sure the Atom is a better cap, but If you use the amp and keep your eye on it, I'm also sure the Chinese caps will last a decade.
    Not sure which chinese brands you mean. But for decades the best, most advanced ecap technology has been coming from Japan (no matter where the production sites actually are), think Rubicon, Chemicon, Nichicon, Matsushita/Panasonic etc. as well as Europe (Evox/Rifa, Philips/BC now Vishay, Siemens/Epcos).
    The ecap technology of Sprague (Atoms) and ILC must be considered inferior and outdated by today's standards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Not sure which chinese brands you mean. But for decades the best, most advanced ecap technology has been coming from Japan (no matter where the production sites actually are), think Rubicon, Chemicon, Nichicon, Matsushita/Panasonic etc. as well as Europe (Evox/Rifa, Philips/BC now Vishay, Siemens/Epcos).
    The ecap technology of Sprague (Atoms) and ILC must be considered inferior and outdated by today's standards.
    Atoms are definitely not the best caps out there. They are some of the most expensive, but use old technology and a much larger case size than what is necessary. A guy on Hoffman's site took one apart and posted some pics some years back and it was a smaller cap inside the large case. All the brands Helmholtz mentioned are better than the Atoms, and are cheaper and much smaller. I like the Panasonics myself. I usually prefer to go with discrete caps too instead of a cap can, but in space limited applications like the 1484 it might make sense to use a cap can. The CE caps are somewhat expensive and in some cases not the best quality too. You might get better performance from a dual can and use a discrete cap under the chassis on a terminal strip. That approach would certainly be cheaper than using the can cap.

    I am pretty sure the speaker cabinet is particle board all around. The head box is too, though that isn't under any strain. The 1484 that I have currently is stock bit I never had a speaker cabinet for it....just the head. My brother's that I modded the piss out of is the same deal, and we ended up making a new head box for his and adding a Fender reverb circuit to it among many other changes. I made the thing sound really good but I hate working on it due to the lack of space and poor layout. BTW, these amps were only ever about 25 watts RMS. With the small original output transformer and some mods to the screen supply you can get it up to 30-35 watts RMS and that is about it.

    @Haroldbrooks - this amp does use solid state diodes in the power supply. It has two half wave two diode doublers stacked on top of each other for a total of 4 solid state diodes, four caps, and somewhat poor regulation, so it sort of emulates the sag of a tube rectifier.

    Also, there are two errors on the schematic. It shows a ground between R35 and R36 that should not be there, and on the trem tube it has pins 6 and 8 reversed on the schematic....or at least the numbers are reversed from where they actually are.

    Greg

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    I sold one a few months back in perfect working order (even the reverb worked with mostly original tubes) for $400. It had some water damage to the cab. They used to be worthless. I can remember throwing 5 or 6 in a dumpster in the 1980s because the they weren’t worth re-tubing and saved the speakers for wedge monitors. A cult kind of started after Jack White hit and was using one. That demand has peaked I believe. They aren’t a good amp to gig with. The tube sockets don’t age well and you get lots of intermittences if you move them around much. Replacing tube sockets is a bear. If you get “weird” problems the first thing you do is retention the tube sockets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    I sold one a few months back in perfect working order (even the reverb worked with mostly original tubes) for $400. It had some water damage to the cab. They used to be worthless. I can remember throwing 5 or 6 in a dumpster in the 1980s because the they weren’t worth re-tubing...
    Now that I have one, I see a bunch around for sale. Asking prices are higher. But that doesn't mean people are buying them. Its a hobby for me. Has to be. Hopefully it will have something good to offer when its done.

    I found a piece of plywood for a new speaker baffle. That and some epoxy should strengthen things up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Not sure which chinese brands you mean. But for decades the best, most advanced ecap technology has been coming from Japan (no matter where the production sites actually are), think Rubicon, Chemicon, Nichicon, Matsushita/Panasonic etc. as well as Europe (Evox/Rifa, Philips/BC now Vishay, Siemens/Epcos).
    The ecap technology of Sprague (Atoms) and ILC must be considered inferior and outdated by today's standards.
    I've only been told the Chinese caps are inferior, never seen it so far in my short tenure as a tube amp guy.

    I will defer to your experienced opinion Helmholtz, and continue to use my Chengx branded caps.

    The ones I have installed still look good, and no failures or dimensional changes that I've seen so far in the past two years, so I will carry on !

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    Stray Cap DrGonz78's Avatar
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    Well I would hope even the most generic modern caps would be an improvement when replacing 50-60 year old caps. What I avoid when buying components is the snake oil expensive stuff that only cork sniffers would buy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrGonz78 View Post
    Well I would hope even the most generic modern caps would be an improvement when replacing 50-60 year old caps. What I avoid when buying components is the snake oil expensive stuff that only cork sniffers would buy.
    That's my thinking. I cant justify putting expensive components into an amp that was never made to be expensive and wont be worth much today either way. Leo Fender didnt use expensive components, so why should I.

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