The Workbench

Uncle Doug?

1

Anyone here watch or subscribe to Uncle Doug on Youtube? I'm trying to educate myself on tube amps and to me his channel seems pretty straightforward w/o BS. There are others I've watched as well. What say you?

I also have a book to read and bought a 5E3 kit to build fairly soon.

2

I really like Uncle Doug’s videos. Very informative and easy to digest.

3

I'm an old school electronics technician, and I love watching Uncle Doug videos as a refresher. He really does have an excellent way of explaining things. I've re-learned so much stuff that has sort of slipped my memory. He's great for us old techs needing a refresher, as well as new technicians just getting into repairing and refurbishing old (and some newer) audio systems. His knowledge is timeless when it comes to guitar amplifiers and HiFi systems. If it has tubes, you want to repair it, and you're either a little rusty or just learning tube circuits, Uncle Doug is definitely the best YouTube resource that I've found.

You can also learn a ton of tube amp troubleshooting (and even solid state amps) by watching Brad "The Guitologist". The man's extremely knowledgeable, and he takes you through the entire troubleshooting process, start to finish. His topics (subjects of his repairs) vary widely from fully tubes to fully solid state, on just about every amp you can imagine. He also does videos on amp conversions. He turns a variety of other types of audio equipment into guitar amplifiers. Uncle Doug does too, but not nearly as many as The Guitologist does. Both of these guys are very valuable resources for electronics technicians.

4

Huge fan here. I've learned loads from him and he's one of my favourite You Tubers.

5

Having a bit of an electronics background, I watch Uncle Doug once in blue moon, and The Guitologist a fair amount. Watching Brad go through some of the weird amp problems he encounters is always interesting and enjoyable. He's also not adverse to working on weird & obscure amps, and has even worked on a Valco made Gretsch amp or two.

6

Yup, always enjoy Uncle Doug's videos.

7

My brother is a subscriber. I echo all the good things said. My one criticism is that amps don't need to have original caps, etc removed. They can be disabled and the smaller modern ones laid under or next to them.

In the case of the electrolytic caps (doghouse) , we push the original cap from the vintage sleeve and install the modern F&T sort of one through it. So we keep the amp in order but retain it's vintage wiring look as much as possible. I wish Uncle Doug would do that.

Example: 1961 Bandmaster. Look at the large cap sleeves.

8

I've been hiding new caps in the originals for years on my antique radio restorations.

9

Me too duojet, and I make my own cardboard tubes when there are missing originals.

10

A mix of old, new and some half finished...

11

And back in the amp with the restoration complete - a TV Pro...

12

I like UD as well,have learned alot. My only complaint is personally I can do without the extra chat,I like max info without chit chat,but that's just me. For real serious in depth stuff I like Mr.Carlson's lab . Not all guitar amps but sheesh, this guy's the professor .

13

Shuggie, what do you use to fill the ends of your caps? I use dark amber-colored hot melt glue.

14

I have seen UD do the new-cap-in-an-old-cover thing before. As much as I like the idea of keeping amps looking original it's not something I would necessarily do myself though - I think it's ok to be honest about what is really in the amp. Once it's all buttoned up nobody will see it except the next tech unless you're some kind of amp fetishist who takes the amp to bits every weekend!

If you make your caps look too authentically old then some tech down the road might just tear them out thinking they're the problem.

But then I am all in favour of using carbon film resistors instead of carbon comps. What would I know?

15

I have seen UD do the new-cap-in-an-old-cover thing before. As much as I like the idea of keeping amps looking original it's not something I would necessarily do myself though - I think it's ok to be honest about what is really in the amp. Once it's all buttoned up nobody will see it except the next tech unless you're some kind of amp fetishist who takes the amp to bits every weekend!

If you make your caps look too authentically old then some tech down the road might just tear them out thinking they're the problem.

But then I am all in favour of using carbon film resistors instead of carbon comps. What would I know?

– JimmyR

Ahh - the age old struggle between form and function.

16

Shuggie, what do you use to fill the ends of your caps? I use dark amber-colored hot melt glue.

– duojet55

I pour melted wax in there and once it has set, I dip the whole thing in molten wax.

That way I know the original capacitor sleeves can easily be re-stuffed 20 years down the line. Maybe hot melt glue works the same?

And I always tape notes on the inside of chassis saying when and how the caps were replaced.

17

I've been re-sleaving capacitors for over forty years now. I really like to keep an amplifier looking as original as possible, whenever possible. If I can't find a replacement Ash Can multiple capacitor, I clip it out of the circuit, leave it in place and wire in the appropriate modern replacements underneath and out of sight.

I thought it disappointing to see Uncle Doug just clip the Ash Cans and toss them out. I've always left them in the set for aesthetic reasons. That's my only gripe with Uncle Doug, I find the rest of his content very helpful and useful.

I'm using his channel as a refresher course in vacuum tube technology. My initial Army electronics training was in 1978 - 79, and a lot of the academic aspects of basic electronics have faded from my memory. Uncle Doug has been a great help to me, in that aspect.

18

I like UD as well,have learned alot. My only complaint is personally I can do without the extra chat,I like max info without chit chat,but that's just me. For real serious in depth stuff I like Mr.Carlson's lab . Not all guitar amps but sheesh, this guy's the professor .

– Opie

I'm a big fan of Mr. Carson's Lab and Blu Glow Electronics as well as Uncle Doug. Of the three, I'm most impressed with Mr. Carson's Lab. He's the tube guru!

19

I'm with Jimmy, I like modern caps and modern resistors. No interest in making new caps look old, but I did get some valuable knowledge from the Guitologist when restoring my Ampeg Gemini. I will check out Uncle Doug, and I'll submit my recommendation for the "Truth about Vintage Amps" podcast for anybody interested in these kind of things. It reminds me of "Car Talk" but for tube amps.

20

I don't think there's anything honest or dishonest with hiding new capacitors in the older sleeves. It's simply fun to do and quite satisfying to have the look of the originals. It's a challenge to try to keep the set looking as original as possible. I've even hidden a modern resistor inside a piece of dowel that I carved to look like a dumbell resistor, which I then painted dark brown like the original and striped with the proper color code bands. It's kind of like building models. Personally, I like rebuilding the caps better than just soldering in a bunch of Sprague orange drops.

21

I don't think it's dishonest, just a little tacky. But then I like relic guitars, so who am I to judge?

22

It looks cool and I think amp guys are impressed, but after replacing a bunch of old wax caps and spending an hour scraping out all the melted wax and accumulated junk the last thing I wanna do is put more wax inside there. Plus, when I do repairs I want it absolutely obvious what was replaced and what wasn’t. You’re too good at what you do Wade. I can’t tell what’s new or old.

23

I love the idea that people are resleeving caps and resistors so they look authentic, but I support Shuggie’s approach and agree there should be some kind of documented evidence of what’s been done. No point in going to all that trouble to make it look right and then some guy down the line chops out all the ‘old’ caps as a matter of course.

24

I don't think it's any tackier than looking for vintage guitar parts to restore an old guitar. Besides, I don't do it for some guy down the road, I do it for me. Any tech worth his salt can still read the value of an old cap and replace it. What's the difference if it's loaded with a new capacitor? It's a strawman argument.

25

I don't think it's tacky or deceitful - but there might be room for confusion down the road. I actually think it looks cool with the old-style caps but I wouldn't worry about going to the trouble myself. I'm perfectly happy with how Sozos and Mallorys look. I only use orange drops as a last resort because i think they look awful, so I am fussy about looks!

I don't deal a lot with older amps so the point is fairly moot I guess, although I did happen by chance to have an old mustard .68 to use in a friend's original '67 Marshall 50W head - he was stoked that the cap looked like it had always been there. What an amp that was! Very early '67 and very original. It sounds wonderful.


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