Question about Gibson Robot Flying V LTD RM

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Tube guitar amp problem

I have a old 60s gibson guitar amp that sound fine, but the reverb and tremelo are notta. all the tubes test ok...

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  • Michial Gueffroy May 11, 2010

    Can you please post the model number of the amp? I may have the schematic for it.

  • Anonymous Mar 28, 2014

    This problem occurs at any volume. It does not seem to be vibration sensitive. Sub harmonics do not seem to change if tapping on the amp while playing. Reverb is not used, so reverb dial is at minimum.

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  • 109 Answers

Definitely need the amp model. This is fixable for sure.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009

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How do you check the tubes in a guitar amp


A vacuum tube tester is used to test tubes. Years ago, you could walk into an electronics store like radio shack and test your tubes. I suggest you take the amp to good music shop that repairs amps. They will be able to test the tubes.

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Microphonic tubes can be detected by tapping them lightly with a pencil. I cannot find if this uses a spring reverb, but if it does, vibrating the cabinet will get a clanky type sound from the reverb tank. This MAY use a digital reverb however which is immune to that. Next thing is to make sure your guitar can't "hear" the output sound of the amp because the strings can pick up the sound and resonate feeding back into the amp. You can detect if this is happening by quickly dampening the strings and see if ringing gooes away. You probably need 6 to 10 feet of clearance between the guitar and the amp OR put your body between the amp and the guitar. ALWAYS set sound level at safe levels. Get a sound meter and go no higher than 90 Db. I know a lot of near deaf musicians whose careers are near over because of hearing loss using too high level.

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Not sure of how it is feeding back. Two possibilities... the reverb tank in the cabinet is no longer shock mounted. The other is your guitar can "hear" the speaker... make sure you are away from the amp. With the reverb on, the feedback stability is less than with it off so make sure your guitar is away from the amp. Acoustic guitars are more sensitive to this than solid body ones.

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It is UNLIKELY you will notice any difference trying different brands of tubes.

The sound will be most affected by the audio output transformer and especially speakers. The transformers in many of these have too little iron in them resulting in saturation. You can spend a lot of money on new tubes and any apparent change you notice will probably be psychological rather than actual.

The design of vacuum tube amps will often result in a softer high ends... If you want more than that, go to the solid state amps. Sustain is affected by the overall gain which is mostly in the preamp and reverb functions AND a large part on the quality of strings on your guitar...

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In YOUR amp, take a pencil and tap teh sides of the tubes GENTLY, listening for any crackling... note SOME microphonics is normal in the preamp stages.

Since retubing it fixed it once, it is likely either a tube was bad OR a pin of a tube wasn't quite making so replacing the tubes cleaned it and made it work. Tubes DO go bad, especially when they are vibrated like in these amps... BUT don't just replace the lot, try to find which is at fault..

On your friends unit, LIKELY an electrolytic bypass capacitor for one of the reverb preamp stages has dried out and needs replacing.

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Channel one doesn't work


The 12AT7 is usually the driver tube for the tubes before it ( the input channels ). It can also be the driver for the reverb or tremelo channel. I'm not sure what model of amp you have or the manufacturer but there are plenty of places to look on the internet for info. http://duncanamps.com/index.htm is a good place to start. If you can't find the schematic for your amp try and find one that is similar to give you some ideas. If you don't have the basic tools like a volt/ohm meter and a capacitance tester. You might have to consider a pro to look at it. You will be looking for resistors and capacitors in the same circuit as the tubes that you originally mixed up. If its a hybrid solid state/ tube amp you will also need a transistor tester. Of course good soldering abilities are necessary and ABSOLUTELY do not work on the amp while it is plugged in and make sure you properly discharge the filter capacitors in a safe and proper manner before touching the circuit. All the info you need to sucessfully do it yourself is available at the library or on the net as long as you are confident in your abilities and first and foremost work in an absolutely informed and safe manner. Hope this helps.

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