Fratus Amplification repairs tube amps and other audio gear.

Tube Amp Repair in Houston

Home button Home button Services button Videos button Learning button Links button Contact button

Quick Links

Tube amp repair and custom amps in Houston, Texas.

Guaranteed work and knowledgeable technicians. I will be honest with you about the work you need done to your amp, what parts we replaced, and what work we actually did.

If your amp ever sounded good, it can be that way again. If you never have been happy with it, we can look into improving it instead. Or, you can start over with a completely new custom amp, designed for you.

Since it is nearly impossible to give an accurate estimate without fully repairing an amp, I don't really do estimates except for perhaps re-tubing or installing sets of output tubes, but I will talk with you about your amp and then we can have some general idea of how much it might cost.
People listen to you, but they also hear your amp. It can add to your playing or distract people from your skill.
You may not notice the gradual decline in dynamics and breadth of tone that your amp has undergone over years.
Even the best player sounds bad on an amp with hum, buzz, and peculiar noises that are not part of your playing.

Get in touch with me about your amp's sound. Maybe we can get the sound you want out of it again by repairing it.
We might be able to improve it with a small modification, or maybe by restoring the original design.
If it was a good ever a good-sounding amp, it can be again.
What is it that makes an amp or particular piece of equipment sound good?

If its a good design, then there is hope for it. If its a poor design, then probably no amount of good components will make it good. You may be able to make it as good as it can get, but there will be limitations based on the design.

If ALL of the Model X amps sound bad, then probably its a bad design. If SOME of the Model X amps sound good, but others don't, then it is probably poor-quality parts or loose tolerances.
And, if you can make any Model X amp sound wonderful by simply upgrading the parts, then it is almost certain that the problem is poor-quality parts.

But, in my thinking, if nothing you do parts-wise takes a Model X from bad to wonderful, then its probably a design problem.

Sometimes the design problems are correctable, and sometimes you just need to start over or make major architectural changes. One example of that is Blackfacing a Silverface Fender Twin. The engineers (in most people's opinion) took a great-sounding guitar amp, changed the design to include several new feedback paths, and made it a really good HiFi amp... but a lousy guitar amp, when compared to the legendary sound of a classic Blackface Twin.
You had to reverse those changes, and in other words change the design, to make it sound like the old Twin. No amount of fancy new parts would have done it, you had to change the design.

So, if your amp sounds bad, ask yourself, "Do all amps of my model (and version) sound like this?"
If they do, then design changes are probably in order. If some sound great, then basically you can view yours as "broken."

Whether its broken or needs changes, simple or radical, or if it just needs some better parts, we can look at it and see what the problem is, and correct it.


Call Mike at my name and phone number graphic, but please don't call before 9AM.
Signs that your amp needs looked at include: "Red plating" (tubes are glowing red); Blowing fuses, either constantly or occasionally; Loss of power; Crackling, buzzing or hum from the speaker; Any smell of something really hot or burning, smoke, or fumes from inside the amp chassis. Drop-outs are not good, and neither are microphonics or strange reactions to certain notes.

I also design and build Custom Amps, both Guitar Amps and Audiophile amps.
Great Video from Gerald Weber about doing Amp Repair.
The Grateful Dead's - 'Wall Of Sound'
Repair is usually a turn-key process. People drop off their amp with their problems listed, and get the amp back with all of that repaired and the whole amp checked out. We repair anything that is going to prevent the amp from functioning. If something is "iffy" or optional to repair, we generally ask the customer if they want that issue addressed. But what you as a customer get back is a fully-functional amplifier at a reasonable cost, and reliable repairs that don't need to be re-done. If your budget is tight, we can deal with that as well.

Repair time is usually 2 weeks or so if I don't have to special-order parts and if my workload is not too high. I'll let you have some idea when I know what model unit you have. Be sure and let me know when your next gig is, and I will try to work you in if I can. Same-day repair is available if possible. Priority is given to working musicians or others with a recording schedule or who are on-tour. Please give me as much time as possible to repair your amp.

If your amp needs a special-order part or an expensive, non-stocked part, I need payment for that part up front to order it. When I have the part, the repair process can continue.

Labor Rates are as follows, based on a semi-flat rate adjusted for difficulty.
Now, why would I tell you my labor rates? Because I'd rather that you knew what repairs cost these days, up front. Check around and you will find few places that will tell you what they will charge for a given repair. Most places will insist that you bring it in first, then hang a bench fee on you even if you don't want the work done after all! I'd rather you not bring it in if its not in your budget.

Estimates are hard to do sometimes. Basically I need to find and probably repair the major problems with your unit before I can tell you what was wrong with it! So be prepared to have some idea of what you are willing to spend on your unit. Please be realistic about it, as even what seems to be a minor problem can take an hour to go through the stages of: So unless the problem is with something we can get to without removing the chassis, we could be looking at some significant bench time. Usual charges are over $100 to actually repair something.

All repairs are concluded with a final test:

I can rebuild, re-cap, or restore your amp into whatever shape you want it to be. Or, I can repair just what you want fixed, as well.

I NEVER put in parts that you don't need, unless it is part of the diagnostic process. If I do put in a part that does not contribute towards the repair of your amp, I don't charge for them, and all old parts are returned.

Mods: If you don't like the way your amp sounds, we can discuss what would help it. I don't believe in blindly doing other people's mods to your amp. I could, but there would be no warranty that it would solve your problem or not hurt your amp.
First, let's make sure your amp is working the way it should. Then we can talk about how to get your amp to sound the way you want it to sound.

I've been chosen by Mesa-Boogie as one of their authorized repair centers in Texas.
I am also listed for support of Ceriatone Amps, a semi-kit vendor.
References available.

Call Mike at
my name and phone number graphic
from 9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday.
The "Amp Repair Guy."
----------------------------------------
Please Donate to the Red Cross!
----------------------------------------
Feeling appreciative? Like what you see here? Drop a few coins in my tip jar. Sorry, no sound effects. But its so empty-looking!

Contact me... my name and phone number graphic from 9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday.
or Contact button

Why was this site called Tubemodules.com?

Well, I've been developing some plug-ins for tube sockets. My first product was the HushPuppy. It plugged into your output tube socket without any changes to your amp circuit, and reduced the power output dramatically. That way you could practice or record without having to turn down the volume. It worked pretty well, and in fact I incorporated them into some of my amp designs. But they were a pain to build, and people complained about the price.
But products keep getting better! I have released limited quantities of a solid-state replacement for 12AX7 tube. It has many good qualities, and the HiGain version has more gain than ANY 12AX7 tube. Give your amp an instant gain boost! See the Products Page for details. Or go to Synthetic Tubes for the full story. They are not like the Fetrons that made the scene quite a few years ago, and they are not at all like a more recent offering that I read about.

On A Personal Note: I'm a technician who really enjoys the sound of guitar music. So most of my time is spent on repair, design, and listening.
I've been doing technician work since the mid-70's, in audio, digital, video, radio, and in industrial and computer electronics. I've worked on lots of things, but I've now chosen tube-type amps to repair.


Serving the areas in and around Houston, such as Alvin, Angleton, Baytown, Bellaire, Clute, Conroe, Deer Park, Dickinson, Freeport, Friendswood, Galena Park, Galveston, Humble, Jacinto City, Katy, Lake Jackson, La Marque, La Porte, League City, Missouri City, Pasadena, Pearland, Richmond, Rosenberg, South Houston, Stafford, Sugar Land, Texas City, The Woodlands, West University Place and all the Greater Houston Area.
If you are up to the drive, serving Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Corpus Christi, Bryan, Round Rock, Georgetown, Huntsville, Beaumont, Lake Charles, Port Arthur, Victoria.
Receiving UPS, USPS, and FedEx shipments of amps from all around. It is best to ship "return shipping paid" to get a better shipping rate.

Servicing:
Acoustic, Alembic, Alesis, Allen, Ampeg, Ashdown, B-52, Bad Cat, Behringer, Carvin, Crate, Crown, Diezel, Earth, EBS, Eden, Electro-Voice, Epiphone, ENGL, Fender, Fuchs, Gallien-Krueger, Genz-Benz, Gibson, Hartke, Hiwatt, Hoffmann, Ibanez, Johnson, Kendrick, Korg, Krank, Kustom, Laney, Legend, Line 6, Marshall, Matchless, Mesa/Boogie, Metaltronix, Orange, Peavey, Randall, Rivera, Rocktron, Roland, Silvertone, Soldano, Sound Research, Sovtek, Squier, Sunn, SWR, Tech 21, Top Hat, Trace Elliot, Trainwreck, Traynor, VHT, Vox, Yamaha, Yorkville Sound.

Would like to see:
Andrews, Ashton, B.C. Rich, Blackheart, Blackstar, Bogner, Bruno, Burgera, Carr, Díaz, Cornford, Elmwood, Framus, Garnet, Heritage, Hughes & Kettner, Koch, Matamp, Mojave, Naylor, Reeves, Rick-Tone, Ross, Selmer, Session, Sewell, Soultone, Stephenson, Straub, Suhr, Supro, Synaptic Amps, THD, Tone King, Two-Rock, Valco, Yerasov

Entire site Copyrighted by Mike Fratus, webmaster at Fratus-Amplification.com 1/9/2015 - don't snag! Leave email with suggestions or requests at: webmaster@tubemodules.com
Submit Your Site To The Web's Top 50 Search Engines for Free! Free SEO Tools Active Search Results