Other Amps

How long can an amp be left unused?

1

I'm going to have to store most of my things for a year or so while waiting for a new house. They'll be accessible, but inconveniently so. I was planning on just keeping one amp out for regular use, but don't want the others to deteriorate.

How long is too long for a tube amp to sit unused? I ask because I hear of capacitors drying out, using variacs to fire up old amps, etc.

Just wondering if I need to drag them out and plug them in periodically, or if they'll be ok for a year or so.

2

Well when it comes to deteriorating caps, like in classic tube amps etc. depends how old they are at the time. New ones maybe more stable than old ones at the same age? If they are already 50 years old, etc like you hear about. ... but some amps have sat for decades and come on ok, others have not. Maybe no general rules but more of a case by case basis.

But the experts will let us both know.

3

A year in storage is fine. I’d me more worried about the mice and spiders than the capacitors.

4

I had to put my '56 Champ and '63 Bassman (among many more modern amps) in storage for 18 months after my house suffered a disaster and had to be restored. No problems at all. They fired up perfectly as if no time had passed as all. Good point about spiders above. Make sure you seal them up. Mine were covered in plastic wrap to keep them from becoming a home to pests.

5

If you have any doubt at all a variac is your friend. Slowly bringing it up should allow old caps to refresh,or so I've been told.

6

I had to put my '56 Champ and '63 Bassman (among many more modern amps) in storage for 18 months after my house suffered a disaster and had to be restored. No problems at all. They fired up perfectly as if no time had passed as all. Good point about spiders above. Make sure you seal them up. Mine were covered in plastic wrap to keep them from becoming a home to pests.

– Jack Skellington

That's doing it right.

At the peak of the guitar show frenzy, dudes were dragging in hideous stuff, just lazy slugs who would not even clean them and taking them out of the snakepit they had been in for 20+ years.

Dirt, cobwebs, mouse droppings, missing 2 knobs -- and still it was $ky-hi. There was a rancid brown 3-10 Bandmaster that barely worked @ $4K, mouse droppings free.

7

Thanks, everyone. The space they'll be in has no history of mice, but I can plastic wrap them to keep the spider count down.

8

Thanks, everyone. The space they'll be in has no history of mice, but I can plastic wrap them to keep the spider count down.

– wyowill

Good plan. Spiders really aren’t so bad, but once mice nest in there for a while the stink is so bad it’s almost always a lost cause. Worse than cigarette smoke? Now that’s a draw!

9

Good plan. Spiders really aren’t so bad, but once mice nest in there for a while the stink is so bad it’s almost always a lost cause. Worse than cigarette smoke? Now that’s a draw!

– Powdog

If an old amp DOESN'T smell like old smoke,it's a sure sign previous owner(s) couldn't get a gig!

10

It’s a long one, but if you have the time this thread I started last year is well worth a read. Lots of good advice.

11

Deke, that thread should be bookmarked. It is a great thread.

12

Good vintage tube amps only last two weeks without being played. After that they should be sent to me... No, not buying that..? I tried..

13

If you have any doubt at all a variac is your friend. Slowly bringing it up should allow old caps to refresh,or so I've been told.

– Opie

Yep, that's what we often use for checking out old tube radios (including old tube ham radios), that have been unused for umpteen years. It also allows you to notice if components have failed before the amp zaps out.

As long as you don't have any marginal/worn out components in your amps, a year or two of them sitting unused, should be fine, as long as your they're stored in a reasonably dry place.

14

They can go unused forever. Using them is the issue...not unusing them.

15

Very true. Word choice matters.

16

I have ample room should you choose to store them here. I’ll use ‘em too.


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