The ideal, of course, is that we know exactly what we are going to get… and why! Let’s do a little research, too, and choose where you’d want to start.

Have you taken your axe to the store and taken a listen to stuff you haven’t played before? Or maybe you’d want to take the specs that you’re looking for and see who has the best fit. Don’t forget to think about the “dream rig” and then find out what you sound like through it. How about folks that have influenced your approach – do you sound like you want through the same gear they use? Who makes gear with the sound you want with enough wattage to do the trick?

We also want to check out the manufacturers. I tell my customers to go to the manufacturers’ website. Look to see if they have a “Service” or a “Support” tab. I’ll be straight with you. If there’s no “Service” or “Support” tab, those folks are just interested in selling you stuff. After you buy it, you’re pretty much on your own. Next, click on the “Service” or “Support” tab. Does the manufacturer support local techs? Do they give you a search box to enter your Zip code so you can find someone close that has an “in” with the factory to help you with your problem? If not, if there’s only a 1-800-HELP ME phone#, better pass them by. Usually you’ll have to ship the gear to them, and if it comes back still with a problem or damaged during shipping, well you get the picture.

Many manufacturers are based, or have headquarters, right here inCalifornia. Please consider these folks, since because they’re close, things will happen faster (usually!!) than manufacturers based out ofChinawith a website and a PO box in theUSA. There’s a good selection: Yamaha is inBuena Park, Kawai in Rancho Dominguez; Carvin is close as is QSC, and Roland is right inLos Angeles. Mesa-Boogie is inCalifornia, as is Gallien-Krueger and American Music & Sound. All of these folks have wonderful Service Departments with good people willing to help both you and local techs like me.

As far as other manufacturers go, Samson/Hartke and Korg are on the East Coast, but support local techs in our area very well. Peavey and Gibson are mid-country and they too, support local techs for warranty and repair service. Behringer and Fender are west of theMississippiand they support local techs as well. I have found that Loud Technologies, Mackie, Ampeg andCrate,USMusic, andMarshallall are very responsive to local service needs and customer support.

This is important information to know as you consider what gear to buy. You don’t want to get “dixie cup” gear – to use then throw away when broken. Gear will either fail on its own, or get broken through rough handling, so find service folk in your local area that are well supported by a factory represented here in the USA, that has parts and everything…

Also check the company’s warranty policy. Bear in mind that: 1) no new electronic equipment, 2) no new electronic part, and 3) no fresh electronic repair can be considered “good” until it has had 100 hours of trouble-free use. This is part of what “warranty” is about. Also, warranty is how the manufacturer gets feedback as to how the equipment fares in the real world. If x, y, or z part keeps breaking – then an Engineering Change Order is issued and the gear gets improved!! Good for everybody!

Just like buying a car, you’d want to talk with your trusted mechanic to find out who’s who in the zoo. Some cars look flashy, but are a bear to keep running. Other cars may not have the status, but give years of dependable use and are simple (read inexpensive) to repair. Which would you choose?

 Thank you,

Armand Blake, Owner: AMPWERX Repair

1935 E. 7th. St.Long Beach,CA90813

Tel: 562-591-1423 Fax: 562-591-1423              

[email protected]

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About the Author


Ampwerks Repair

My name is Armand Blake, and my shop, AMPWERX Repair, is located inside Gilmore Music on the NW corner of 7th. St. and Cherry Av. in Long Beach, CA. I have been there since 2003, however, Gilmore Music, a local independent full-service music store, has been there since before most of us were born. This store is not your corporate super-box, and as far as the repair of electronic and acoustic musical instruments are concerned, we do it all in-house.

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