300's Tips


Grill Cloth – How to Tighten Sagging Grill’s

If your amp has loose, sagging grill cloth there is an easy quick-fix to tighten it back up to be factory fresh. This remedy applies to the plastic type grill cloth typically found on Fender type amps. First remove the speakers from the amp and then remove the baffle. Then take a hair dryer or if […]

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Printed Circuit Boards – Soldering Tip

Printed circuit boards. We love them because they can make amplifier production faster, easier and consistent. We hate them because if you are not careful you can burn up a circuit trace making a simple component tweak a repair job…yay. I have found over the years that if you are going to repair or tweak […]

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Stickers – RemovingThem Safely From Your Guitar

If you have a guitar with stickers on it and want to remove them there is an easy way without harming the guitars finish to get the job done. The most effective way (and safest) for all finish types including nitrocellulose lacquer is to use Naptha. You can get Naptha in hardware stores or even […]

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Hearing Protection that Sounds Good

Protection for your hearing has advanced significantly over the years. You no longer need to shove little foam “marshmallows” into your ears and deal with a completely muddy mess of a sound that you hear wearing them. Yes, your hearing is protected but you cannot enjoy the sound of the band or your rig that you […]

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Hand Fatigue and How To Prevent It

If you experience hand fatigue and or pain from extended periods of playing there are a few things you can do to prevent it and avoid a more serious condition such as tendonitis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Hand fatigue happens for a number of reasons. One reason could be your technique. For example if your guitar is worn […]

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Baffles – Plywood vs Particle Board

Here is a tip for anyone who has a guitar amp or extension cabinet with a particle board baffle. Changing the baffle from partical board to a high quality plywood will give your cabinet a more open and natural sound. Some players describe particle board sounding and feeling dead as compared to plywood. This is […]

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Tuneomatic Bridge Saddles – Nylon or Steel Saddles? Both!

This tip comes from a unique feature on the new Joe Bonamassa Signature Les Paul guitar. It seems that Joe was experimenting with some of the components on one of his Les Paul’s and decided to try different saddles on the tune-o-matic bridge. After his experiments he settled on using three steel saddles for the low E, […]

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Nut Lubrication to Avoid String Breakage and Tuning Problems

Here is a simple tip to help keep your guitar in tune, especially guitars with vibrato tailpieces. One of the most common places where tuning problems occur is at the nut. Strings can get “hung up” and not glide through their nut slots. Bending strings and use of a vibrato tailpiece can also cause them to go […]

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Input Jacks – How to Keep Them Clean

 One very simple maintenence procedure can help keep your guitars’ signal at its best and prevent the loss of ground connection. Clean your jacks! We are talking about the 1/4″ jacks on your amplifier as well as your guitar. Jacks can become oxidized over time and cause grounding problems and resistance in the signal path. ¼” Output jacks can […]

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Speaker Cones – Repairing Small Rips and Tears

This tip is about how to repair small tears in speaker cones. You may have a really great sounding speaker with it’s original cone that has a small tear somewhere in the cone. A small tear is around one inch in overall length. Instead of getting the speaker reconed or trying to find a replacement […]

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Finish Checking – How To Avoid It!

Finish checking are those little hairline cracks that you see in the finish on many older guitars. A guitar that is 30 years or older can develop these merely from the finish drying out and aging. The environment that the guitar spends its life in is also a contributing factor. Some players find these tiny hairline […]

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Machine Screws – Keep Them From Vibrating Loose

If you are having a problem with machine screws on your guitar or amp coming loose you can use Loctite to prevent this. This is helpful on small screws like the ones used for guitar bridge height adjustment. This also works well for the mounting screws on amp handles that come loose occasionally. I like to use […]

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Knobs and Switch Tips- Keeping Them in Place

If you have a guitar with push-on type knobs such as the ones as used on a Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul you may experience the knobs coming loose and falling off. This quick fix is great for push-on type switch tips as used on a Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster as well. On guitars with […]

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Capo’s For Truss Rod Adjustments and String Removal

If you need to adjust your vintage Fender type truss rod with access at the heel or change the battery in your acoustic/electric guitar this tip will help keep your strings in place and make the job alot easier. First thing to do is loosen the strings so they are slack and do not produce […]

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Preamp Tubes – How To Fine Tune Your Amp

You can fine tune your tube amplifier with one tube substitution. The tube that you want to change is V1 which is the first gain stage preamp tube. You can tailor the gain structure with different tubes making your amp run cleaner or dirtier and also change the dynamics. For example changing a 12AX7 for […]

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Hum Elimination With Multi-Amp Rigs

If your rig has more than one amp in it and you are experiencing excessive hum or buzzing then you may have a ground loop. A ground loop is an unwanted current in a conductor connecting two points that are supposed to be at the same potential, often ground, but are actually at different potentials. Ground […]

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Tolex – How to Clean it the Simple Way

What is the best product to clean dirty tolex without using harsh chemicals that may do more harm than good? Simple: Use “Simple Green“. Simple Green is the original Green cleaner not containing ammonia, citrus oils, bleach or petrollium distiallates. It is non-toxic, non- flammable, non-abrasive, biodegradable and the packaging is recyclable. Simple Green can be […]

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Trem Arm Adjustment

Here is a tip for players that have a Stratocaster type guitar with a threaded, screw-in trem arm. Sometimes with the vintage type threaded, screw in arms the arm itself is either too loose and just swings uncontrollably when not in use or tightens up in the wrong spot. Either situation can be annoying. By taking […]

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Pedalboard Power Supplies and Batteries

Many players have different opinions on whether to use batteries or a power supply for pedals. The battery camp says that as the battery drains and the voltage drops there’s a certain tone their pedals get. The power supply camp says that batteries become expensive and some power supplies have a “battery simulator” built in so […]

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Kluson Adaptor Bushings For Vintage Type Tuners

So many vintage guitars in the past have been “upgraded” with Schaller, Grover or Sperzel type tuners. While these tuners are a better quality component they do not look like the originals taking away form the factory vintage look and they actually change the response of your guitar by adding more mass to the headstock. […]

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Wood Screw Holes – A Quick Fix!

Here is a quick, “down and dirty” fix for stripped wood screw holes on your guitar and will also work on amplifier back panels. The common quick fix is to take a tooth pick and insert it into the hole making the hole diameter smaller. This will help the wood screw bite into the toothpick […]

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Output Tubes – Why Buy Them Matched?

When buying power tubes for your amp it is always a good idea to purchase an extra set that is matched to the set you are buying. For example if you are buying a matched pair of tubes for your amp get a matched quartet. Once you set the bias for the first pair from […]

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Tube Filaments – Wiring to Reduce Hum

Here is a great tip for DIY tube amp builders. When wiring the filaments of the output tubes in a push-pull power amp always remember to keep the wires from your tightly twisted pair in phase. For example one filament wire from the twisted pair going from pin 2 on the first output tube socket for a 6L6 should also […]

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Open Back Combo Amps – Reduce Phase Cancellation

This tip is for all you players that use an open back combo amp. This tip comes from a personal experience on a gig. During the soundcheck at a recent gig I noticed that my 5F6-A 4×10 Bassman clone I built sounded a little thin and harsh in the midrange. It also sounded very two […]

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Spotlight Articles


Mark Jenny – MJtele

This month’s Spotlight is on Mark Jenny and his son Matthew of MJtele. Located in Carthage, Missouri together they specialize in the highest quality aged guitar finishes available. In this interview Mark talks about his finishing work and commitment to customer satisfaction. His passion for his work is clearly evident in each piece of work he produces […]

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Musikraft – Licenced OEM Guitar Necks and Bodies

 In this Spotlight segment Scott Smith, General Manager of Musikraft in NJ, answers many questions regarding guitar neck and body manufacturing as well as adresses some key details like the type of glue that is used, cloning a vintage neck, what effect finish thickness has and how the different types of truss rods effect the strentgh of […]

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Scott Lentz – Lentz Guitars

  In the guitar world of the so called “small builders” one man stands out among many of his ilk. That man is Scott Lentz. His instruments are his way of expressing himself and every instrument he builds has some of his heart and soul built-in so to speak. Scott’s focus is on electric guitars for […]

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Shane Fontayne – The Transcendental Guitarist

 Credit: Marc D’Amour. This month’s Spotlight is on Shane Fontayne. “Who is Shane Fontayne”? some of you may ask. If you don’t know who Shane is then you are about to discover an extremely talented musician who plays and lives his life with presence. For those of you who do know of Shane then you […]

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Larry Rodgers – Rodgers Amplifiers

If you are looking for a complete vintage amplifier restoration then look no further than Larry Rodgers of Rodgers Amplifiers in Naples, Florida. His amplifer custom shop can transform your age worn or badly modified amplifier into a sonic and aesthetic thing of beauty. Larry’s extensive knowledge of amplifer circuits, cabinetry and years of experience goes […]

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Dave Sharp – Hard Travellin’ Troubadour

  This month the Spotlight is on Dave Sharp the Hard Travellin’ Troubadour. Dave was one of the founding members of the british rock group the Alarm. His guitar playing provided the edgy, punk-like guitar syle for many hits including “Marching On”, “68 Guns”, Rescue Me” and “Sold Me Down the River”. But that’s not all that Mr. […]

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Cindy Cashdollar – Always on the Money!

This month we are shifting gears here a bit and featuring a brilliant Dobro/Steel guitar player. Here name is Cindy Cashdollar (yes, that is her real last name). Born and raised in Woodstock, NY Cindy became interested in the unique sound of the Dobro and honed her talent with bluegrass legend John Herald, Paul Butterfield, […]

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Jason Lollar – Lollar Pickups

  Get ready for “16 tons” of info about pickups in this month’s Spotlight feature on Jason Lollar. Based in the Seattle area for most of his life Jason started playing blues music around 1980 while also listening to lots of older funk, mowtown, jazz, rock and country. How he got into the pickup business […]

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Tech 21 – Sans Tubes For 20 Years!

Tech 21 is celebrating 20 years in the musical equipment biz this month and we are honoring that with this Spotlight feature. With the introduction of the SansAmp back in 1989 the company’s founder, Andrew Barta, made his mark in the industry. Since that time he has designed and manufactured some pretty amazing pieces of equipment […]

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Gord Miller – GM Vintage Restorations

One Sunday morning you wake up and during breakfast while reading the paper you spot in the classifieds some local garage sales. There is not much going on so you decide to take a ride and check one out. Who knows maybe there is a Rembrandt hiding behind a velvet Elvis or something. Upon arrival […]

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Reviews


Intex Guitar Cable

We guitarists drop lots of cash on guitars, pickups, pedals, amps, speakers, tubes, etc in hopes that we will end up with the magical tone existing in our heads. One piece of the quest that I believe gets overlooked is your cables. Let’s face it…buying a new cable is kind of boring. It’s not flashy, […]

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All the Articles


Tremolo – How it Actually Works in Your Amp

Tremolo…..it almost seemed like it had disappeared for awhile during the whole boutique “less is more” amp craze. Then Cesar Diaz released his famous Texas Tremodillo pedal, and tremolo was reborn. Soon, tremolo was popping up again in every manufacturer’s amp line. What I will unlock here is the “mystery” behind the tremolo circuit, what […]

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12AX7 Tube Comparison

Kurt Prange who is the Sales Engineer at Amplified Parts wrote an article comparing current production 12AX7 tubes. The article is loaded with information, graphs and diagrams. It’s an interesting read with lots of details.       […]

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Interview: John Frondelli on Hot-Rodding the Fender Champion 600

In this brief interview John Frondelli talks about the mods that he cooked up for the Fender Champion 600. This amp is exactly the same as the Gretsch 5222 amp. He also talks about his “version 2” mod that is being field tested right now and will be available soon. If any Champion 600 owners […]

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Guitar Players: Consider ART Before Surgery!

If you are a guitar player and have what is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome then this article is for you. This article also applies to anyone experiencing hand, forearm or any other body pain for that matter. Before you “go under the knife” and opt for surgery consider an alternative method to heal that […]

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Interview: Jim Pasch of Hoboken Vintage Guitars

Jim Pasch of Hoboken VIntage Guitars is an expert on vintage guitars and has been dealing them almost his whole life. In this interview he will talk about his experiences over the years of dealing with these treasured gems of yesteryear. He also gives some advice for collecting and examines trends in the vintage market. […]

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Telecaster Bridge Pickup Feedback Reduction Tips

If you are like me and love the Fender Telecaster but cannot deal with the unwanted microphonic feedback from the bridge pickup then this article will help you with tips to reduce or eliminate it. The first issue is the pickup itself. The pickup must be wax potted. This is a process of dipping the […]

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Chokes: What Are They? What Do They Do?

A choke is an iron core inductor used in the power supply of a guitar amp as a filtering element. Looking a lot like a transformer a choke only has two leads coming from the housing. They are designed to block AC while passing DC. Their purpose in guitar amp filter supplies is to smooth […]

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Guitar Terms And Their Meaning

Abalone – A rain-bowed colorful shell material used for inlay on guitars for decoration. The color varies greatly and enhances the overall appearance. See Photo. Action – This describes the string height above the fingerboard on a guitar. The closer the strings are to the fingerboard without excessive buzzing the faster and easier the guitar […]

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Rectifier Tube Voltage Drop Chart

This is a chart showing the specifications for 5 volt rectifier tubes that can be used in guitar amps. By having this information on a chart you can choose a rectifier tube that will best suit your playing style. The more of a voltage drop (DCV Drop) you have the more sag or compression you will […]

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Gig Bag Essentials

For the working guitar player a gig bag full of essential items is a good idea for any challenging circumstance that may arise. Here is a list of essential items in no particular order. All items are important and could help to save the day on a gig or session. 1- Strings. A couple extra […]

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Hot-Rodding The New Fender Champion 600!

Last year, Fender did the unthinkable…they commenced tube amp production in China. Many players first thought was “Oh God, what IS this world coming to?” After all, tube amps are an AMERICAN thing, right? As someone on the inside of the industry, I can assure you that Fender is NOT trying to upset the balance […]

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Gibson Mini-Humbucker vs. Gibson Firebird Pickup

There are alot of players that think the Gibson Firebird and Gibson Mini-Humbucker are the same pickup with different covers. This is not the case. They are entirely different designs. This brief article will explain the differences. The Firebird mini-humbucker appears outwardly like the mini-humbucker used on other Gibson guitars such as the Les Paul Deluxe, […]

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RoHS Compliance – What Does It Mean To Musicians?

We are a world in crisis. The inherent greed and gluttony has been turned inward on us. This time however, it is not the collapse of the Roman Empire at stake, but the destruction of our life-supporting ecosystems. Mother Nature is trying to say that she’s had enough.The electronics industry has always employed the use […]

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Fender Custom Color Finishes

Did you ever wonder how and where the folks at Fender came up with those vibrant custom color finishes in the 1950’s and 1960’s? From the automotive industry of course! That’s right your favorite vintage custom color Fender guitar shares the same finish as a Cadillac, Oldsmobile or even a Corvette of that era. The […]

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Guitar String Construction – How They’re Made

String construction Depending on the construction of the instrument on which they are used, strings will usually have either a ball or loop at one end to attach the string to the instrument. Strings for some instruments may be wrapped with silk at their ends to protect the string. The color and pattern of the […]

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Impedance – Speaker Cabinet Wiring

Impedance – Speaker Cabinet WiringThere are a number of important technical issues relating to the matching of speakers to amplifiers, and to the wiring of multiple speaker systems (eg 2 x 12″, 4 x 12″, etc.). Impedance – Cabinet Wiring The impedance of a speaker is basically a measurement of how hard the amplifier will […]

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Preamp Tube Gain Factors And Substitution Chart

Preamp Tube Gain Factor and Substitution Chart 12AX7 Family Tube Substitution The 12AX7 family of dual-triode preamp tubes consists of the 12AX7, 5751, 12AT7, 12AY7, 12AV7 & 12AU7. These are all pin compatible with one another, the only differences being the gain factor of each tube. A common substitution is to replace a 12AX7 with […]

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Capacitor Referance Chart

  When reading schematics, building or repairing amplifiers and also buying capacitors, you often must convert between uF, nF and pF. Paper, plastic and electrolytic capacitors are usually expressed in terms of uF (microfarads). Short forms for micro farad include uF, mfd, MFD, MF and UF. Mica capacitors are usually expressed in terms of pF (micromicrofarads) […]

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Resistor Color Codes Explained

Classification of resistors consists of three main properties. Resistance, measured in ohms, Tolerance of the resistance value, shown as a percentage and Power handling capacity, measured in watts. The first two can be taken from the table below using the 4 or 5 band code as appropriate. The power handling capacity is not normally indicated […]

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Guitar Maintenance – The Basics

This article will deal with several points to look at and inspect on your guitar to keep it in top playing condition between your regular set-ups. Some tools may be required such as a large and small Philips head screwdriver, small flathead screwdriver, toothbrush, boiled linseed oil, small adjustable wrench, a small piece of #600 […]

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Phase Inverter – What it Does and How it Works

Of all the circuits in a tube amplifier, the Phase Inverter, also known is the Phase Splitter, is the most difficult to understand by even some experienced techs. Its function is relatively simple: take a signal input, and create two outputs, one that is identical (e.g. in-phase) to the original, and another that is a […]

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Hand Strength For Guitar Players: Eliminating Hand Fatigue

This article is about my experience building my hand strength after I cured the tendonitis condition I had. The program has a few parts to it and I will outline them here. There is another article that goes with this one entitled “Tendonitis And Guitar Players” in which I outlined how I cured my tendonitis […]

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Tendinitis And Guitar Players: A Natural Cure

This article is about my experience with a tendinitis condition I developed in my left hand and how I cured it naturally. The remedy has a few parts to it and I will outline them here. The time frame was not long before I felt significantly better. There is another article that goes with this […]

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Active Pickups- What They Are and How They Work?

What are active pickups and what are the advantages and drawbacks? An active pickup is one that uses electronics to enhance or modify the signal from the guitar’s strings. Unlike passive pickups that are constructed of wire wound around a magnet, active pickups require an external power source to operate. Along with the external power […]

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