Broken Equipment

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My best amp went up in smoke yesterday. Misery loves company. Please tell me your most pitiful, gut-wrenching, pathetic tales of broken guitars, smoking amps, and microphones that got submerged in the beer pitcher.

I knocked a nearly-full pint of beer right into my laptop a few years ago and let all the magic smoke out. Almost repeated the same earlier this week, but narrowly avoided disaster.

Way back in my early 20s I saved up my money and bought a nice little mixing board/PA. Didn't have a band yet but I was certain I was on my way. Used it for practice just a handful of times. Moved to CA and during setup in my garage accidentally plugged outputs into inputs and it totally fried it! Smoke and everything! Was sure I would eventually fix it. Kept it stored away for something like 20 more years before I finally accepted that I was never gonna ever fix this and threw it out! I do still have the two enormous Bullfrog PA Speakers I bought with the PA in case anyone is interested! Biggrin

I remember playing with Donnie Cox and looking at my amp start smoking.... kept playing till the end of the song and then unplugged her real quick. A couple of capacitors went kapooey.

Dang, @TomS, that amp was golden. Is it fixable? I know a guy who works wonders resurrecting amps, but he lives in Singapore...

My trusty Fostex 4-track gave up the ghost during FAWM. It joins an old Yamaha drum machine in a pile of non-functional equipment for which I have neither the motivation to get fixed or the heart to recycle.

Frankie, my beloved, sustainer-equiped, 24 fret Telecaster has given up the ghost this time round. She's only appeared on one track this year before throwing a diva strop and giving me the silent treatment. And I just can't be bothered pulling her apart to solve the problem at the moment. Biggrin

Not my story, but I have in the past worked at a renaissance festival (still do from time to time). One year they decided to have an archery tournament before the joust. They couldn't place the targets anywhere where they might hurt a patron so they put them near the stage, aiming at the stage. No one told the musicians who were sitting on stage about this before we rehearsed it. Then arrows started flying. We were off to the side, but not everyone had great aim. We made a hasty retreat well off the stage. Then one of the musicians' speaker got shot through. Shot with an arrow at a renaissance faire is about the strangest equipment death I've witnessed... well except for the time I destroyed a herald trumpet by playing baseball with it and a raw turnip. I really hated that instrument and also didn't expect to hit anything as my athletic coordination is very poor.
This is my life.

Ah, I knew that there was humor in this. :D. Painful humor! Smile Chris, it will be repaired!

@TomS Glad to hear it. After posting about such things, perhaps it was inevitable that my studio PC crashed big-time this afternoon. And the reboot froze up completely. The Windows "repair disc" function appears to have fixed things, but I've had to completely reinstall Ableton to stop the PC switching off in the midst of playback. Weird.

(Edit) Harumph - typed that, went to another page and got a blank pale blue screen and a totally non-responsive system. Pulled it to bits, and it now appears to be working again. I hate Windows 10.

Yeah, Chris, W10 is not the best. Geez, now I feel like I have brought you bad luck! Sad

Son jumped on laptop and destroyed the screen while I was at SCA Autumn War. The keyboard and track pad were already shot. Luckily I have a spare running Windows 7 I think....with a bad keyboard and bad track pad. Come on, old girl, just hold together a little longer.....

At a gig once, my fiddle player's boyfriend sat on her bow about an hour before our set and snapped it. We used a pen as a splint and gaffa taped it together. It looked more like a bow to shoot arrows than to play a violin and I gather the weighting was off but she managed to play the gig.

Two guitar whacks and one crack, both unintentional. The crack was on the Silvertone 608(?) I had when I was a kid, I was sure I dropped it but maybe it was from toting it to/from guitar lessons in Pennsylvania winters. First whack was the Taylor I just got in Minneapolis on my way to the airport. I had it shipped home and within a couple of weeks I cracked the bout on the corner of my slider guitar chair. Second one was my Voyage Air guitar with a folding neck for air travel. It has gone checked into the cold belly of the plane (not my choice, different airlines) several times and came out unscathed. However I had it out for a lunchbreak, put the guitar back in the gig bag, forgot to zip it closed. I picked up the handle, the guitar slid out and landed on the concrete sidewalk at the top binding, cracking the top and side. I fixed both DIY with Elmers wood glue. Guitars play fine, the Voyage Air is prolly heading for a paint job someday. Almost every guitar I like I manage the bang the headstock or bout on something.

Many of you are talking about costly equipment. I don't have any similar tales of woe, but my first really nice acoustic guitar finally succumbed to repeated dropping and knocking over. I had it for maybe 15 years.
@headfirstonly - I bought a Fostex 4-track recorder in 2005. (Are you talking the cassette recorder? I am.) I was still collecting and trading cassette tapes of Grateful Dead concerts, so I had lots of blanks. I only used it a few times, went to computer recording and mixing in 2006. The Fostex may still be around here somewhere.
I'm about to record a banjo track into a computer mic that is held together with duct tape. Before FAWM, I told myself I should replace it. Same with before 50/90. A new one would cost, what, 20 bucks?
It has to be propped up by a few books, too. But here I go, using it again.

No matter the cost, the loss of a beloved instrument is like losing family. A number of years (quite a number) ago a house fire destroyed my 1960s Rickenbacker 325 (John Lennon Style, three pickups, whammy bar, so beautiful...purchased for 100 bucks in 1978 or so) and a Vox amp...

That's horrible! My biggest fear in a house, outside of having something happen to a family member, is losing a guitar!

There have been some family members...nah...not really... Smile

THere are instruments that have spent a lot of quality time with a luthier. Old instruments can be very long-lived. I have instruments older than me, and they have been to the repair shop now and then in their lives.

At band practice a couple months ago a 30-year old Roland power amp started smoking. Unplugged it, opened the windows, and took it to the dump that weekend. It had a long and productive life.

I have an old Fender Showman that was my main gigging bass amp for years, but it started dying on stage at gigs. Bought solid state amp. Had it fixed, and now it's a guitar amp in the practice space with a much easier schedule. Kind of like retirement -- put out to pasture.

I once watched a flashy guitarist do the whole "spin the guitar around your body by the strap, catch it as it comes back around, and keep shredding" thing. He did it one too many times and the strap button let loose. His prized guitar flew across the stage and the head snapped off. He actually sat weeping and cradling the guitar in his lap in the middle of the gig.

I once watched a flashy guitarist do the whole "spin the guitar around your body by the strap, catch it as it comes back around, and keep shredding" thing. He did it one too many times and the strap button let loose. His prized guitar flew across the stage and the head snapped off. He actually sat weeping and cradling the guitar in his lap in the middle of the gig.

I bought a second hand audio interface a few years back from fleabay (especially for fawm or 5090). I called the guy before bidding to ask if I would be able to go pick it up rather than pay postage. A few days later I 'won'.
I intended to get him to show it working but when I got to his place it was all neatly wrapped up like a present with my name written on it. That seemed nice! (and sus, since I arranged to pick up before bidding). Got back home, opened it up - the box was immaculate! Still had the price on it ($600 or something) and inside the power adapter was in its box and even had that plastic prong protector on it as new things do.

It was a firewire unit and I was waiting for a firewire adapter, so couldn't test it immediately. But even plugging it in with the power adapter showed no life.
Ho humm. waited.

Turns out that the 'immaculate' power adapter was 1) not an original unit (though the box was); and as I later found out, 2) it didn't even work - a fuse was blown inside;
3) when I finally got a new power supply, had firewire, and got the unit up and running the thing became most temperamental! I had to unplug every RCA + headphones + XLR etc. to get it to boot up, and then after a while it would randomly switch off (unplug everything, try again). I used it about 3 times.
So, thanks for packing it up so nicely ya jerk!

Thus began my down going to cassette.

Other than that I have only happy stories. Other people's stuff breaks, they throw it on the side of the road. I pick it up. Good gear is usually fixable.