While browsing Craig’s List the other day, I ran across this neat little Marshall Lead 12 amplifier. I did a bit of research and came to find that they have a bit of a cult following. The price wasn’t bad, so I bought it. The seller said it had been sitting in storage for over 15 years, but it “worked great!”. These are simple amps and I wasn’t too worried about it. Of course when I got it home, I found that it barely made any sound, and what sound it made was mostly crackly, poppy sound.
After cleaning all the pots & jacks, the amp actually worked…mostly. Further inspection revealed a broken input jack and several cracked solder joints (see pics). These types of problems are very common in guitar amplifiers. Inputs jacks get stressed from being plugged into hundreds of times, and pots get cranked around and yanked on, which can flex a circuit board enough to crack the joint.
Often the most time consuming part of fixing a jack or a solder joint is getting the circuit board lifted out of the chassis enough to get at what needs fixing/replacing. On most modern day amps, the jacks, pots and switches are mounted directly to the circuit board. These same components are also attached to the chassis. So, in order to replace one component, or resolder one joint, you must disconnect every pot, jack and switch from the chassis. Often times there are several internal wires connected in various spots across the circuit board that must also be removed. All this attaching and reattaching of wires & components takes TIME, and we all know the equation: time=money.
Lucky for me, the Lead 12 has relatively few knobs, and no surprise circuitry inside, so this repair job went pretty quickly. With a brand new Cliff input jack and a few shiny new solder joints the amp is in near perfect playing condition, ready to bang out some hard rock riffs ala AC/DC and ZZ Top. No, this is not a jazz amp, nor will it do for classic Buck Owens tones. It does one thing…hard rock. Which is fine…
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