Friday, December 19, 2014

Going North For A Traynor.







Here are a few snapshots of a recently acquired Traynor YBA-4 Bassmaster. At least I think they call it a Bassmaster. Never mind. It is what you see, and it originally belonged to the Mound View Independent School District. That mighta been a cool school to go to if they had stuff like this.

I'd been looking for one of these for a while (my love of fifteen inch speakers) when I located one on the Minneapolis Craigslist. A price was agreed to and I committed to picking it up. Serves me right, I shoulda known better because it was actually up north of Brainerd, which is a long way from Des Moines. But I'd already agreed to it and it seemed like it would be a good road trip. I flew solo, which left the right seat vacant-a good thing because it did rain some.

Brainerd is about 375 miles from here, a couple hundred miles south of the border and maybe 75 miles west of Duluth. I met the young man who owned it, cash was exchanged and home I went, flying blind through a heavy fog. The Garmin GPS did a splendid job because I'd have never found the place otherwise.

Once I got home all it needed was a single preamp and a single power tube. I decided to replace the electrolytics in it and install 6L6GCs instead of the usual EL34s because I just don't like the way the EL34s sound. They're too Marshall-y (if that's a word), and I've just never liked the Marshall grind.

It's a drop in fit, but it's a good idea to remove the 47k bias resistor and replace it with a 22k resistor and a 50k trip pot so you can adjust the bias a little to suit the different power tubes.

Now. Pay attention here.

On the other hand if your amp has 6L6GCs and you want EL34s for some unknown reason that totally escapes me, this CANNOT be done without some surgery so beware, and if you can't read a schematic or wield a soldering iron leave it to someone who can. Aside from that the EL34 draws a lot more heater current and that's not a great thing.

One thing that's sure to please is that the circuit is almost identical to a 5F6A Bassman or a JTM45. There are some minor component differences in value, but the major difference is that the rectifiers are solid state and the power transformer and diode bridge is full wave with no center tap. Traynor calls the middle and presence controls the low and high range expander but they're pretty much the same thing.

The goal here is to make it as much a 5F6A  as is possible. I think a choke instead of the first dropping resistor a sag resistor modification, and conforming the rest of the component values ought to do the job.

As it is it is incredibly loud and the work I've done so far has it sounding really clean and bright. It's got a solid bottom end that makes for some good rockabilly plonking. It might even be worth investing in a few pedals, too.

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