Hiwatt Lead 30 Head Repairs

DR103, DR103OL, DR504, DR504OL, DR103S (Gilmour), CP103 (Townshend), Lead 30, Lead 50, Lead 100, DR201, DR405, SA112, SA212, SA412, SE4121, SE4122, SE4123

Hiwatt Lead 30 Head Repairs

Postby gldtp99 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:19 am

it arrived with shipping damage despite being well packed----- plastic stand-off posts failed and main PCB board was flopping around inside chassis--- one broken wire, easy fix-- got a PTP board mounting kit (brass hardware) so board is AOK now---- two of the four metal anchor tabs on PT snapped and PT at crazy angle--- did repair with a 3x3" metal plate and and JB Weld (i've repaired many dropped, smashed, run over, shattered chain saw alum/magnesium chassis with this product---- works very well when used properly)--- PT can still be unbolted from chassis if ever needed----- so how does it sound ??? it sounds just like the guys described in the previous Lead 30 thread--- agressive classic rock+, sweet singing distorted lead tones---- not at all like classic DR 504, DR 103---- this isn't that same exact Lead 30--- this one was in a later BIN auction and i grabbed it-- it matches my Sterling Imports Hiwatt 4x12 cab with G12T-75's i've installed----- does anyone know the story/history of the Sterling Hiwatts?----- interestingly, the Lead 30 chassis is the exact same dimensions as the "real" Hiwatt 50 and 100 watt chassis---- it does look odd with four EL84's and the much smaller trannies sitting on it---- this Lead 30 held it's own against a Fender Bassman 100 (with matching 4x12 cab) that my friend was playing---- the Bassman wasn't dimed but the Lead 30 was and it sounded like it was meant to be played that way---- it is kind of a one-trick-pony but it does what it was meant to do quite well---- i replaced the Ruby silver-plate in V1 with a used RCA 7025 and it rounded the edges off the tone and made it more fun to play---- sustain for days......................gldtp99
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Postby lowend1 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:54 pm

Easily my favorite amp. Find somebody with a Junior or something similar - P-90 equipped mahogany slabs are tons of fun to play through this amp.
Does your head have reverb?
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Postby gldtp99 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:45 pm

No reverb on this one---- i've got a LP Special w/P-90's---- one of the newer faded yellow ones (lefty)---- i'll give it a try, thanks------ amp sounded killer with my "amp tester" guitar--- a cheapo Epi LP Special single cutaway with an old Dimarzio SD in bridge................gldtp99
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Sterling Hiwatts

Postby OVERDRIVEN66 on Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:52 pm

The Sterling Hiwatts were US made and very crude by 'Hiwatt" standards. And, doesn't sound like a 'real' Hiwatt at all. I had a Lead 20 which is pretty much like your Lead 30 (2 EL84's instead of 4) but mine even had the tubes mounted directly to the board! At least yours has tube sockets!
My Lead 20 was an absolute gain monster. When I got it, I turned it over to my tech who fixed a few sloppy connections and went over it. At times, it would cut out when really pushed. Never solved it except by putting a fan in it. It was really cheaply made with a super thin PCB and all cheap components. For rock, it sounded great and I'm sure yours does too. I ended up selling it and buying an 18 watt Ceriatone TMB mostly for the security of knowing I have a good old PTP handbuilt amp.
Hiwatt purists typically dislike the Sterling era stuff but mine sounded great, just not like a Hiwatt.
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Postby gldtp99 on Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:01 am

i plugged my Gibson LP Special with P-90's into the Lead 30 tonight and lowend1 is absolutely right--- this guitar does sound especially good with this amp-- :D -- i was considering selling the LP Special but not after hearing this guitar/amp combination---- the P-90's work better here than HB's...............gldtp99
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Postby OldSchoolDave on Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:15 pm

gldtp99 wrote:i've got a LP Special w/P-90's---- one of the newer faded yellow ones (lefty)-


Slightly off-topic but, have you done anything to the finish on the neck of that faded LP? I tried one a couple of years ago and found the pitted finish kind of annoying. Figured I'd have to apply a sealer or do some sanding to smooth it out.

Looking forward to hearing from someone who has lived with one for awhile,

Dave
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Postby gldtp99 on Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:22 pm

yes-- the neck finish is one of the things i'm not wild about with this LP Special--- when playing this guitar, i've got to concentrate more on the mechanics of playing rather than what "music" i'm putting out-- it's not just the neck finish--- my cheapo Epi Special II (w/old Dimarzio SD in bridge) and RI Dano U-2 (w/Seymour HB in bridge) are more no-brainers to play--- still i prefer my '92 Gib LP Standard overall--- but until i find another P-90 guitar i'll keep the LP Special faded because finding decent lefty guitars isn't always easy.............gldtp99
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Postby gldtp99 on Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:41 am

there's another Lead 30 on ebay with two out of four PT mounts that snapped, so mine isn't the only one that this has happened to --- maybe these trannies should have been secured with metal banding straps like on my Sound City SMF 150 watt head----http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=004&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=140000673348&rd=1&rd=1............gldtp99
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Postby daddy on Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:06 pm

I have a Modesto built sterling 30 combo and it sounds freaking amazing! My friend worked at the factory back in the 80's and he had it custom built for himself, with some mods...then I snagged it from him...LOL. I have heard something about unplugging the reverb and it will add more gain if that is possible since this bad boy had a ton already? Can someone tell me about that theory.

Ya know, to the one's who say this is not a "real" HiWatt, that is fine and I understand your passion for the vintage tone of the originals, but this HiWatt 30 sure screams and definatley in my opinion does not ruin the HiWatt reputatuion of great sounding amps.

peace out,
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Postby Sol Cotlier on Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:00 pm

Funny...when I got my lead 30 in the mail....the plastic stand-offs failed and two flanges on each transformer were toast...

I wonder how common this is?
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Postby gldtp99 on Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:06 pm

Another one ???--- :shock: ---- sounds like it's more common then i thought----- i noticed that my local hardware store stocks all the parts that i sent away for in the Board Mounting Kit--- i could have just gotten the parts there................gldtp99
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Postby Sol Cotlier on Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:16 pm

Also...there is a fit and finish issue with mine...the chasis doesn't really fit the head cabinet...it does...but barely...its really a tight squeeze...

but the thing sounds pretty cool...it's the young sibling trying to outdo its older, more recognized brother...

Set the gain on 2 and you get a pretty good custom hiwatt sound...set the gain on 8 and get ready to play some metal...
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Postby lowend1 on Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:28 am

daddy wrote:I have heard something about unplugging the reverb and it will add more gain if that is possible since this bad boy had a ton already? Can someone tell me about that theory.


I stumbled on that one when I was trying to isolate some crackles in my 30. I wouldn't say that it adds gain, but it definitely adds upper mids and volume. It's not particularly useful, at least in my opinion, so I just roll the reverb knob to "0".
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Postby lowend1 on Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:29 am

daddy wrote:I have heard something about unplugging the reverb and it will add more gain if that is possible since this bad boy had a ton already? Can someone tell me about that theory.


I stumbled on that one when I was trying to isolate some crackles in my 30. I wouldn't say that it adds gain, but it definitely adds upper mids and volume. It's not particularly useful, at least in my opinion, so I just roll the reverb knob to "0".
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Postby lowend1 on Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:29 am

>>I have heard something about unplugging the reverb and it will add more gain if that is possible since this bad boy had a ton already? Can someone tell me about that theory.<<

I stumbled on that one when I was trying to isolate some crackles in my 30. I wouldn't say that it adds gain, but it definitely adds upper mids and volume. It's not particularly useful, at least in my opinion, so I just roll the reverb knob to "0".
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