Best and safest cleaner for vintage fender amps

Guitar Tricks Forum > Gear Discussion > Best and safest cleaner for vintage fender amps

stratmanjimbo

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Joined: 02/23/12

Posts: 67

Hi!! I usually choose the same stuff i use on the interior vinyl of my car but I'd love to bring back to life the tolex and do so correctly. I invested a pretty penny in my 50+ year old Fender amp and the tolex is in great shape but definitely faded after all these past decades. Suggestions are welcomed!! Jim C.

#1

Hi!! I usually choose the same stuff i use on the interior vinyl of my car but I'd love to bring back to life the tolex and do so correctly. I invested a pretty penny in my 50+ year old Fender amp and the tolex is in great shape but definitely faded after all these past decades. Suggestions are welcomed!! Jim C.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 4877

Originally Posted by: stratmanjimbo

I usually choose the same stuff i use on the interior vinyl of my car but I'd love to bring back to life the tolex and do so correctly.

Yep, I use the same stuff as on the car dashboard, etc. As long as it doesn't have an abrasive element I think it's fine.

Originally Posted by: stratmanjimbo
I invested a pretty penny in my 50+ year old Fender amp and the tolex is in great shape but definitely faded after all these past decades. Suggestions are welcomed!![/p]

I've heard great things about this stuff:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MN107

Decades ago, when I was working at a music store, the owner would rent gear & run sound for shows. I worked some of the shows when they need an extra hand. I still remember winding up thousands of feet of cables! They were all dirty & sticky from beer & who knows what else from the concert floor. As we reeled things in, the owner handed out rags & big spray bottles of Armour All. He said wipe everything down as you reel it in before it goes in the road case. That way it was cleaned & packed in one step, stored & ready to go for the next gig.

I suppose that new product might be better in some ways, but it's probably the same basic stuff. :)

Don't waste too much time cleaning that amp. Crank it & play it instead! Hope this helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#2

Originally Posted by: stratmanjimbo

I usually choose the same stuff i use on the interior vinyl of my car but I'd love to bring back to life the tolex and do so correctly.

Yep, I use the same stuff as on the car dashboard, etc. As long as it doesn't have an abrasive element I think it's fine.

Originally Posted by: stratmanjimbo
I invested a pretty penny in my 50+ year old Fender amp and the tolex is in great shape but definitely faded after all these past decades. Suggestions are welcomed!![/p]

I've heard great things about this stuff:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MN107

Decades ago, when I was working at a music store, the owner would rent gear & run sound for shows. I worked some of the shows when they need an extra hand. I still remember winding up thousands of feet of cables! They were all dirty & sticky from beer & who knows what else from the concert floor. As we reeled things in, the owner handed out rags & big spray bottles of Armour All. He said wipe everything down as you reel it in before it goes in the road case. That way it was cleaned & packed in one step, stored & ready to go for the next gig.

I suppose that new product might be better in some ways, but it's probably the same basic stuff. :)

Don't waste too much time cleaning that amp. Crank it & play it instead! Hope this helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

stratmanjimbo

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Joined: 02/23/12

Posts: 67

Thanks as always, C.S.!! Next though............what to do about the spitting and fading very expensive tubes!! I recall the days when these replacements were a few bucks but now one needs to provide a clean 750 credit report and down payment for a loan for a new replacement set!! Jim C.

#3

Thanks as always, C.S.!! Next though............what to do about the spitting and fading very expensive tubes!! I recall the days when these replacements were a few bucks but now one needs to provide a clean 750 credit report and down payment for a loan for a new replacement set!! Jim C.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 4877

You're welcome!

Originally Posted by: stratmanjimbo

Next though............what to do about the spitting and fading very expensive tubes!! I recall the days when these replacements were a few bucks but now one needs to provide a clean 750 credit report and down payment for a loan for a new replacement set!!

Ha! Actually Tube Depot has some pretty reasonable deals.

https://tubedepot.com/

They have some pre-arranged kits for popular amp models. Or you can do a Google search for the tubes that your exact amp uses. I recently had a couple of small amps re-tubed & re-capped. I used Tube Depot & they were very reasonable & had very quick delivery.

Just make sure you get exact what your amp needs. I strongly encourage you to take it to a pro, because sometimes an old amp needs to be biased with new tubes. And it can't hurt to have the caps looked at. Those old capacitors were often better quality than newer ones, but they still only last for about 40-50 years. At that rate any relatively old or vintage amp is due for a re-cap!

Have fun gear shopping. :)

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#4

You're welcome!

Originally Posted by: stratmanjimbo

Next though............what to do about the spitting and fading very expensive tubes!! I recall the days when these replacements were a few bucks but now one needs to provide a clean 750 credit report and down payment for a loan for a new replacement set!!

Ha! Actually Tube Depot has some pretty reasonable deals.

https://tubedepot.com/

They have some pre-arranged kits for popular amp models. Or you can do a Google search for the tubes that your exact amp uses. I recently had a couple of small amps re-tubed & re-capped. I used Tube Depot & they were very reasonable & had very quick delivery.

Just make sure you get exact what your amp needs. I strongly encourage you to take it to a pro, because sometimes an old amp needs to be biased with new tubes. And it can't hurt to have the caps looked at. Those old capacitors were often better quality than newer ones, but they still only last for about 40-50 years. At that rate any relatively old or vintage amp is due for a re-cap!

Have fun gear shopping. :)

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory