Solid-state amplifiers are extremely popular for many reasons. The first one is that they are considerably cheaper than tube amps. Chances are there is one laying around in your home, even if you declared never to drive your sound through anything other than a valve.
Solid-state amps are also lighter and more road-ready. You will see a lot of musicians banging their SS gear carelessly when touring as they don´t have to worry about rectifier tubes breaking. This does not mean solid-state amps are indestructible, but you get the point.
Many contend that tube amps tend to sound better overall, eliminating those brittle high frequencies by adding a natural distortion that makes them sound warmer. However, modern solid-state amplifiers have improved their quality over time, and there is no sound you can’t get with the right pedals (or plugins) today.
So, given their popularity, why aren’t there many solid-state guitar amp repair services?
After all, there are a lot of these in circulation, and the laws of probability indicate that a good percentage of them are not working as they should. So why are there shops where they tell customers that their solid-state amplifier is not worth the bench?
A logical answer would be pricing. Because solid-state amps are cheaper, it might be easier to just buy a new one when they start failing.
This might be true for simple models used for practice at home, and even some chunky amps in the low-mid price range. Indeed, many amps under $100 fit the bill and might make the case of not being worthy of paying to be opened. But the vast majority of amps are an easy fix away from delivering a serious tone.
Models such as the legendary Roland Jazz Chorus series, or even many Behringer heads, are worth taking to the shop for regular maintenance. It is always a good idea to make sure they are in top shape and prevent further deterioration. If you hear scratchy sounds when turning the gain knobs or experience volume variations, you better take your noise box to a pro and have it checked and tightened. Most of the time, solid-state amps fail because of a tiny mechanical problem.
However, this does not mean that you can perform a solid-state guitar amp repair on your own. Unless you have ample experience, amplifier repairs must be left in the hands of specialists. They operate on high voltages and internal components such as filter capacitors that remain charged even after you unplug your unit. This makes opening your amp extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you´re doing or have the right tools for the job.
Most amplifiers are totally worth the trip to the shop, especially if they specialize in guitar amp repair. EMI Audio is a family-owned service company and warranty repair center in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. They provide expert guitar amp repair services since 1973. Get in touch with them at 1-800-832-5174 and let them know how they can help!