Fratus Amplification repairs tube amps and other audio gear.

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My New Children's Book

It seems like everybody is writing children's books, so when I had an idea and one other ingredient, so did I!
Front cover of my book showing lots of cute kitties.
This all started when I saw a girl across the street, looking under cars and behind bushes, and I thought that she must have been looking for her kitty. So I thought, "where would I go if I was a kitty?"
It is written in very simple words with large, colorful pictures, this is a good read-a-long book, I think.
Inside of book - cute kitties.
I also published a Spanish version, but I have been told that the Spanish is not so good. Terrible, in fact. It may even be funny, because I don't speak or write Spanish.
My detailed book about Tubes in Amps is close to completion. Stay tuned!
Finally Retired! I now only take on a few small and interesting jobs that don't involve a lot of stress.
Many thanks to all my customers and friends over the years. It was a pleasure meet you, and to put your equipment put back into usable shape, and hear that music again.

Did you find something you liked here? Use my Tip Jar!

Mods and Mod Kits!

Modifying amps for the classic "Brown Sound"

Even though we have lost Eddie Van Halen, the originator of the sound we love so much, the sound and style can live on.
Scott Berry just got his amp back from me, and sent this video of the amp's, and his, performance.

His amp was a Metro Amp '69 Plexi Superlead that was just way too clean and did not have enough gain to reach these levels.
Call or email me for info on the mod, if it is even possible to do on your amp.

A repair kit for the dreaded red-plating JCM2000 amps!

Symptom: After a half hour or so, the output tubes would red-plate and overheat.

I used to do this mod as a repair when JCM2000 amps would come in with red-plating symptoms.
Now I'm offering it as a kit for owners and techs who want to do it themselves.
Cost: $25 plus shipping. You have to replace two parts on the main board, which requires quite a bit of disassembly just to get access to it.
Until I put it on this website with a Buy Now button, you'll have to call me about it.

Modify a Marshall JTM45 Reissue - rollback to the original design!

The RI version of the JTM45 is a good amp, but like many amp manufacturers, Marshall made changes that they thought were improvements but took away the tone of the original JTM45 (before it was called the JTM45). It is a well-built amplifier, but the "improved" tone isn't what a lot of people want.
Here are two audio files that (hopefully) show the difference between the JTM45-RI and the rolled back version with my modifications.

Before Mod

After Mod!

For more information about the mod please contact me.

Book News: I've reduce the price of my first book by $10 because we all need a break from rising prices.

The perfect gift for that tech-head musician or technician that loves to work on guitar amps.
My New Book!
Click for preview of inside.
This new edition has been updated with the latest problems and now includes the parts used in the repair!
New edition of my book, "Guitar Amps and Their Problems, 2.0" - Updated and Improved!
With over 2500 entries of service records for many popular (and rare) makes and models of (mostly) tube guitar amps and other gear!

How to solder!

Old but very good "HOW TO SOLDER" video from the Pace Company.

My Newest Distortion/Fuzz Box

The demo for this Box was done by Michael Anthony Shanks. A really great-sounding and informative YouTube video.

Excuse the appearance... This is the most-recent pre-production model.
It has a 3-position distortion level control, a tone control, and an output level control. The latest model has 4 levels and a Fuzz switch for those who want lots of fuzz. Plus, always True Bypass and operation on standard 9V battery or standard stomp box power supply.

The new 4-Level Fuzz Version is in production! Available for $185.

Here is a link to many old tube books lovingly scanned for free download!

Download a few and learn the technology.

Introducing Mudbone Amps

I have finally started a separate amp-building effort under the name "MudBone Amps." All the other names were taken.
They are intended to be simple amps that are reliable and usable, and of course, affordable - without looking like cheap junk. The amps will be made here in Houston, and will be customizable for tone. Check out the new site at and follow the progress.

A relatively unknown cause for an amp to stop putting out sound or to put out really nasty sound is shown in this YouTube Video. If your amp has an effects loop, please watch the video. You can save yourself some trouble.
OK, so you know your controls are scratchy... how hard can that be to fix? Well, it depends.
First, don't pull off the knob and spray some lubricant onto the pot shaft - that won't do a thing that is good, and may put whatever you are using inside the control. Especially don't use a "no residue" spray, as that just washes off the lubricant that belongs there.
Here's what you do: (follow all safety rules in doing this) Open up the cabinet and pull out the chassis to gain access to the BACK of the controls. That is where the working part of the control is. (Most controls are able to be cleaned, but some are sealed or just not able to be cleaned.) Then use a search engine to find a video about how to clean controls. (Really, that is the best thing. My point is that you can't simply spray stuff in the front of the control, and it isn't necessarily easy.)
Sometimes the control is so bad that it needs replaced. See this video of me replacing a volume control in a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Its 4x time-lapse, so a 20-minute job takes 5 minutes.
And, sometimes its not the control at all, its a cap allowing voltage to get to the control. In that case, you need a technician.

We repair, design and build Vacuum Tube Amplifiers and effects, pedals, vacuum tube microphone amps, instruments and so on. While not a tube snob, I do find that tubes provide a much more musical and natural sound than most solid-state gear. If I do make solid-state amps, I will strive to design them to be natural-sounding and not sterile.
Although Guitar Amp Repair is our main business, you are welcome to ask about other vacuum tube devices.

Take a look at the Amps and other products that I build.

A new product is an EF86 tube converter, which lets you use quieter tubes in the EF86 position, because most all EF86 tubes I find are terribly microphonic.
Or, if you are thinking of a new amp, look at my Custom Amp Estimate page to get an idea of what a custom amp from me could cost. New formula on 4/15/2015! (Closer to reality, I think.)
For repair services, look at Repair Services for more information.
Want to build your own amp? See Amp Kits page. For your enjoyment and for a chance to see something new, see these Videos. Many are local bands, but there are also some tutorials and demos.
If you are interested in lots of opportunities to learn electronics for audio there is a page for that, as well.
And, finally, there are Links to lots of stuff, from electronics references to stores and parts suppliers. Also, sources of schematics for your equipment.
Call Mike at
9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday.

Now available!

If you have a Vox or another amp that uses the EF86 tube for vintage sound, you probably know that this tube is notoriously microphonic.
Its hard to find a current production or even an Old Stock tube that is not microphonic. I have a solution for that. My new EF86 Tube Converter will plug into the EF86 socket and allow a quieter 6AU6 tube to be used. The first units are now available. Call for pricing.

Secondary Mission: Provide information for musicians.

Its hard to depend on somebody to take care of your equipment as carefully as you would.

That is, if you knew how. You know how important it is for stuff to work. I think that everyone should know at least a little about the equipment they use all the time. Even if you only learn some basics, it will help in the long run when deciding what to do about problems or when selecting new equipment. I prefer to have some idea about what is inside some "mystery box" that I use all the time, or at least have a vague idea of how it works. Eventually I will probably open it to see what makes it tick. There are lots of places on this site to learn anything from the basics to advanced electronics, or even how to solder properly.

Serving Houston and the surrounding areas, 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 equipment from all around. If you ship "return shipping paid" you will get a better shipping rate.
Some brands that I work on:
Acoustic, Alembic, Alesis, Allen, Ampeg, Ashdown, B-52, Bad Cat, Andrews, Ashton, B.C. Rich, Blackheart, Blackstar, Bogner, Bruno, Behringer, Carvin, Crate, Crown, Diezel, Earth Amps, EBS, Eden, Burgera, Carr, Diaz, Divide by 13, Cornford, Elmwood, Framus, Garnet, Electro-Voice, Epiphone, ENGL, Fender, Fuchs, Gallien-Krueger, Genz-Benz, Gibson, Hartke, Hiwatt, Hoffmann, Ibanez, Johnson, Heritage, Hughes & Kettner, Koch, Matamp, Mojave, Naylor, Kendrick, Korg, Krank, Kustom, Laney, Legend, Line 6, Marshall, Matchless, Mesa-Boogie, Metaltronix, Orange, Peavey, Randall, Reeves, Rick-Tone, Ross, Selmer, Session, Sewell, Soultone, Rivera, Rocktron, Roland, Silvertone, Soldano, Sound Research, Sovtek, Squier, Sunn, SWR, Tech 21, Top Hat, Trace Elliot, Trident, Stephenson, Straub, Suhr, Supro, Synaptic Amps, THD, Tone King, Trainwreck, Traynor, VHT, Vox, Yamaha, Yorkville Sound, Two-Rock, Valco, VSP Labs, Yerasov and more.
Entire site Copyrighted by Mike Fratus, webmaster at 4/1/2020 - don't snag! Leave email with suggestions or requests at: webmaster@fratus-amplification
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