OK … the Thrifty Wreck amp is back home

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I haven’t been keeping things updated like I should …

The amp got back ‘home’ at the end of May and it was pretty much neglected until last week.  I knew I needed to do a thorough check over after being shipped  seven times in the nine months on tour.  In Bellingham Aaron repaired the cracked faceplate and I knew it would need a more in depth inspection.

Last week I tore into the Thrifty Wreck to upgrade the output transformer from the low budget Hammond 125E to a Hammond 1609 10 watt hifi output transformer (which is now priced at about $80, I got it for less than $50).  I got that done and had some stability issues from wiring in the new output transformer but got them and a stability issue with the presence control fixed.

Then while checking things out I noticed the toroidal power transformer was loose, the bolt was holding the transformer to the mounting bracket but the transformer was free to move around … no good!  Then I noticed that the chassis was bent down about 1/4″ under the PT mounting bracket.  I made a 1/2″ baltic birch plywood end cap for the chassis (the chassis is a simple “C” section chassis).



In Spokane

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I just got a message that the ThriftyWreck Tour amp was delivered to its destination in Spokane … now it needs to make some noise!

Good bye Bellingham … on the road again … Spokane here I come

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Here’s a farewell picture from Aaron … the ThriftyWreck tour amp on the left … his ThriftyPlexi on the right


Thriftywreck tour amp in Bellingham

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I’m in Bellingham … hello is anyone home

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So the amp is on the UPS truck in Bellingham, WA …

Update: The amp found it’s way to its destination, here’s a picture of it sitting on top of a Thrifty Plexi



Oh Seattle …

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Well it’s been ages since I’ve been in Seattle but the amp has been there for almost a month now … getting ready to leave Seattle for its next stop in Bellingham …

This is the critique from LeftyStrat in Seattle:

Got to really crank it and run it though it’s paces today. Very nice to get the Wreck vibe without making your ears bleed. I have only built one Trainwreck, an Express, so that is all I have to compare it to.

It seems to have a much more usable range on the Gain pot. My Express is pretty touchy and almost full on around 4 to 5. Tone controls are responsive and similar to my Express.

Despite the low power, I could still get it to bloom into feedback with the gain up, and still roll back on the guitar for clean tones.

I tried several speaker cabs, and it seems to like (and hate) the same ones as my Express. I have this bizarro and huge Acoustic Control Corp 2×12 that I typically use with lower wattage amps to make them sound big, but with both my Express and the Thrifty, it just doesn’t sound that great. More a cab for clean tones.

I have a 1×12 TRM cab with an Eminence Tonkerlite that sounds great with the Thrifty (my Express sounds great with this too).

Tried it out with both a Strat and a Tele. The Tele sounded fantastic in all pickup positions. Unfortunately, my Strat has some recently installed noiseless pickups that I am not that fond of, and while it sounded good, I think those pickups are just not my bag of tea.

It doesn’t sound overly bright or buzzy to me, very good “throaty” tones, I even bumped up the presence a bit and it still wasn’t harsh.

I’m going to try to get together with Brian in the next couple of days and let him try it out.

Let me know when I need to have it out to it’s next destination. And thanks for letting me try it out. I would say it’s probably more versatile than my Express, given that I can crank it up without the cops coming.


In Portland, OR!

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So there hasn’t been a lot of activity for a couple of weeks, midweek the Thrifty Wreck amp made its way to its next tour stop, Portland, Oregon. Portland is the new home of most of the LC Valley musicians so I know a few guitar players living there.

The amp is visiting my friend Greg and will probably get passed around a bit in the Portland area … I’m looking forward to some clips, pictures and feedback …


Hanging out with good company …

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Here’s a picture of a real Trainwreck Express and the Thrifty Wreck sitting side by side … WOW!

Here’s particles comment:
“Personally, I’d be very happy to be playing Rock’s amp as it stands today. I’m definitely going to build one.”

BTW – the Thrifty Wreck is NOT going to threaten the value of the Trainwreck …

Trainwreck Express and the Thrifty Wreck

Amp Test Clips by particle in LA

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This is the first time checking out the amp.

The first test was to see the amp’s sensitivity and how well it responded to the guitar’s volume control. All gain changes were made from the guitar’s volume control.


The second test was to check out the amp’s sensitivity and how well it responded to various degrees of pick attack. The only gain change was at the very end putting the guitar’s volume control up full.


Amp settings for both tests were:
EQ was set flat (12 o’clock), Volume and Presence were dimed (all the way up).
Speaker: Vintage 30 in a single 12″ Mesa Boogie cabinet.Mic: MXL R-40 Ribbon
Guitar: Strat with EMG’s.

In Los Angeles …

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So the Thrifty Wreck made it to Los Angeles Saturday, and it gets to go to a party Oct 6 and 7. I don’t think it’s been plugged in yet, anyway it doesn’t sound like it … some people have jobs and families that get in the way of “fun” things. This weekend it should get played though … I guess we just have to be patient.

Anyway, my birthday present to myself is having the amp visit LA !!! I hope the party goes well … and think of me … OK

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