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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nashville Flood: Initial Steps to Take When Recovering Your Guitar Amp

This helpful tip from Jamie Scott!

Nashville Flood: Initial Steps to Take When Recovering Your Guitar Amp

I am an amp builder/designer based in Franklin/Nashville TN. I was lucky enough to be on high ground, about 100 yards from the flood water. Others were less fortunate. If your prized amplifier(s) have been damaged, take these initial steps:

NOTE: Take steps to handle your gear in a sanitary manner (rubber gloves, etc.). Keep in mind that your amp has been submerged in likely contaminated water (chemicals, microbes, waste and other yuck).
NOTE: Do NOT spray your gear off with a hose... it's wet already isn't it? While it is already wet, spraying it off will likely cause more damage by forcing water or contaminants deeper into the circuitry.

• Oxygen and high-humidity are not your amp's friend after a flood - they're responsible for bringing on rust. Rust is corrosion and will expand and cause all kinds of damage. We need to take immediate action to dry out these amplifiers once they're recovered from the flood site.
• I'd get the most prized pieces of gear disassembled immediately (like in the parking lot once they let you on site) and get the chassis toweled dry. Then wrap it in a dry towel and get it home asap and place it in an air-conditioned room.
• Blast the AC and put the gear near the vent. The goal here is to get the chassis in a low-humidity environment. This will keep corrosion down to a slower pace.
• If you have one, use a wet-vac and vacuum out additional water.

We now have some time to get the transformers out and get them dry. I've discussed the situation with Mercury Magnetics and they've pledged to assistance with re-baking transformers. If a transformer is too severely damaged, they'll rewind or provide replacements at reduced cost for Nashville musicians impacted by the flood.

In any case, do not power the amp on even if it looks like it's dry as it needs to be examined carefully first. Many vintage and high-end amps have cloth insulated wires. Once they've become compromised by moisture they can no longer effectively insulate and block or retain heat. They'll need to be examined and serviced accordingly.

Let me know if I can help further.
Jamie Scott
Tone fanatic and amp designer
3RD POWER Amplification

Thanks for reading,

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