How to troubleshoot a peavey tube amp

Written by simon foden Google
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How to troubleshoot a peavey tube amp
Valve technology is less reliable than transistor technology. (Amplifier image by Mladenov from

Peavey is an American sound equipment company most notable for their guitar and bass amplifiers. Peavey manufactures a range of tube amplifiers, including the iconic 5150 model made famous by Eddie Van Halen. The most common problems that affect tube amplifiers are issues with the tubes themselves. Failure to replace worn-out tubes can lead to other problems with the amplifier. There are some problems that should be left to qualified technicians, especially if the amp is still under warranty. But there is a simple process for determining the nature of the problem with your Peavey tube amplifier.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver
  • Spare fuses

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Plug in your guitar and turn on the amplifier. Make sure that volume is set low to avoid any bursts of noise. If the amplifier doesn't power up correctly, it is most likely that there is a problem in the power section of the amplifier. You may have a burnt-out power tube which would need replacing. It may also be a blown fuse in the power amp section. Symptoms of a malfunctioning power section include complete failure to power up and intermittent power failure, which is characterised by the power light repeatedly going out. Peavey amps, especially the 5010, should produce a high gain, bass-heavy sound at low volume.

  2. 2

    Gradually increase the volume and play the guitar. If your amp powers up, you can eliminate problems in the power section. As you turn the volume dial, the output should increase noticeably. If you need to turn the dial up high to get any sound, there could be a problem with the preamp. Pre-amp tubes can burn out; replace them at least once a year as part of your amp maintenance regimen. Replace like for like where possible, for example, the Peavey JSX takes EL34EH or 6L6GC power tubes. If your amplifier powers up but produces no sound, you may have a blown fuse in the preamp section.

  3. 3

    Replace the preamp fuses. Only do this once you have turned off the amp, removed the power supply and left the tubes to cool off for half an hour. Remove the back, consult the owner's manual to locate the preamp section and replace the fuses. Look out for any with a brown discolouration similar to a blown light bulb. If this doesn't fix the problem, refer your amp to a qualified technician, or contact Peavey if your amp is still under warranty.

  4. 4

    Look for loose wires. If the amp powers up and produces volume but is making unusual sounds, such as rattling, the fix may be as simple as fixing any loose components. Remove the back, use a flashlight to investigate, and tighten any nuts that are loose. If you find a loose wire and feel capable, solder it back to the correct terminal.

  5. 5

    Examine the speaker cone. If the amplifier is powered and producing the right amount of volume, but the sound quality is bad, there may be a problem with the speaker. A torn speaker cone will produce a flapping sound as the material moves.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace your tubes in sets, rather than individually. Older tubes perform worse than new ones, and this can put excess strain on your new tubes, causing them to blow sooner.
  • Never attempt to repair a tube amp if you are unsure. Most tube amplifiers carry potentially fatal amounts of electricity.

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