Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 61: 18 Months In

From: David Jackson
Subject: Re: Shipping the Superfly amp
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 2009 17:50:29


Is is a coincidence that every time I ask about the silver case it seems to stop you in your tracks?

I would really like:

- an answer
- some action

It is now November 2009. My amp has now been in your shop for over 18 months.


October ends with no response from Bruce to my email of two weeks previous, so off goes another one.

Will this finally generate an answer, an idea why any mention of supplying my a case is met with - not an answer - but another communication stoppage? Watch this space for part 62.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 59: Same Old Question

Subject: Re: Shipping the Superfly amp
Date: 19 October 2009 16:02:44 BST

Does that mean you won't supply the silver-covered head-only case which I thought we'd agreed on as far back as February? I would really like some clarification on that.


There it is again - the question about the silver case.

A question apparently with the power to stop Bruce in his tracks. The evidence is compelling - see part 60.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 56: Just Checking

Subject: Shipping the Superfly amp.
Date: 17 September 2009 17:39:47 BST

Hi Bruce,

That's a pleasant surprise to hear you've done the work.

First up then, my address is:

[my home address]

Second up, please include the reverb pan I shipped out with it. Also I hope you will be shipping the new power tubes and silver-covered case as discussed at some length in February of this year. I am still willing to pay the agreed amounts for the latter two items.



So, nothing complicated, just a reminder of what I'm expecting and an offer still to pay the agreed price for the silver case as well as the power valves.

That can't present a problem after all this time and discussion surely?

Well as suddenly as Bruce appeared to be focused on the amp again, he dropped it - see part 57.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 47: Call 4

Telephone call on 10 February 2009

  • Nothing more had been done on the electrics
  • Bruce would supply me the silver case for $175
  • The only other cost was $60 for the new power valves
  • I could pay by credit card once the amp was ready
  • Sorry about the delay

Subject: Confirmation of agreed costs for Superfly Amp
Date: 10 February 2009 20:35:57 GMT

Just to confirm our earlier telephone conversation, you agreed to supply the used silver coloured head case at a cost to me of $175. The only other charge is $60 for the new power tubes, giving a total of $235 which I can pay by credit card when the amp is reassembled and ready to ship.



The call was productive in the sense that I could have the silver case, but tediously predictable in that nothing had been done with the amp, irrespective of the issue of re-covering the case.

I decided to fire off a confirmation email just so it was in writing.

I had no real idea of how soon the rest of the work would be done; not very soon as it turned out, judging by my next call - see part 48.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 46: Cabinet Workaround

Subject: Re: Superfly progress in Feb
Date: 6 February 2009 11:34:13 GMT

I take your point about the tubes.

There seems to be another option regarding the cabinet which you have not mentioned, namely that I have the silver-covered one and either live with the colour or get it recovered at my leisure here in England.

So how much for the silver cabinet? Less than the $290 originally quoted for a re-covered one I would hope.

David Jackson

It seemed so straight-forward and would hopefully break the deadlock:

I'd like to have a black case, but would settle for a silver one and could shop around for an affordable re-covering service in the UK once I'd received it.

So that just left the amp to be finished up...

Except that my email wasn't replied to, so after a few days, yet another call seemed necessary - see part 47.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 45: Call 3

Telephone call on 5 February 2009

  • The silver case has not been stripped even
  • The electrical work has not been finished
  • Bruce is sorry for the continuing delays

Subject: Re: Superfly progress in Feb
Date: 5 February 2009 23:48:34 GMT

As I have said before, the replacement tubes were weak.

The problem with tubes is that the "acceptable" range runs the gamut from long lasting, but weak, to tubes that run hot and burn out very fast.

We buy all of our tubes pre-selected within a very narrow transconductance and plate current range. This yields tubes with long life, as well as maximum power. Tubes which fall outside of the desirable range are often sold to vendors which brand the tubes, silkscreening their own logos on the tubes. I think that's what you had in there.

Anyway, the new tubes are $60. You will pay nothing else. I will pay the shipping.

I can't supply a cabinet, because my glues are contact cements, which do not keep the vinyl from creeping, thus gaps in the material can occur. A harder glue is needed, and we don't have that here. Sending the cabinet out is not advised, as our cabinet maker takes three months to do anything. Lastly, we don't have the time to strip and sand this cabinet, nor do we have the time to make a single new cabinet from scratch.


This is really not what I wanted to hear.

I mentioned the replacement power valves and this was the first topic in a surprise email I received from Bruce later the same day (see below right). This email contained even more unwelcome information: they simply couldn't get the silver case re-covered! This despite being told during my first call on 3 December 2008 that "Nate" would do it next day.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 43: Call 1

Telephone call on 3 December 2008

  • There were no black-covered head cases available
  • A silver-covered case was to hand
  • "Nate" would re-cover it the next day

So I called the company and to my surprise got straight through to Bruce. The discussion focused on the availability or otherwise of a new head-only case.

He apologised for the delay and when pressed, gave the information on the right.

Being the eternal optimist, I took this as a positive sign and left them to get on with it, expecting that finally the work could be wrapped up.

When I had not heard anything more for yet another month, I figured I'd better call again - see part 44.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 37: Great News?

Subject: Re: Superfly- Basically done. Just have to put it back in the shipping box
Date: 19 August 2008 10:04:42 BST

That's great news. Can I just recap on what I needed / wanted to be done?

- Fix the intermittent reverb;
- Replace the power tubes at $60 cost to me;
- Fit the $100 upgrades which will obviate the need for the retrofit reverb level box as well as other improvements;
- Supply a head-only cabinet with black grille cloth at $290 cost to me (as per your email of 16 April you were not sure if you'd have to recover in black one you had already covered in silver);
- Ship back to me at my cost.

I hope I haven't forgotten anything there. I'm sure looking forward to having the amp back.



So here's a short but complete list of what I'm expecting - again.

Bruce has had the amp for three and a half months, so none of this should be a surprise, right?

We should really be on the homeward straight, yes? Sadly not - Bruce did not reply to this email at all so a month later I was in a less optimistic mood - see part 38.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 23: More Confirmations

Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 19:23:48 BST

I was going to send one of my reverb pans with the amp (you may recall I bought a replacement to see if it helped my problem - it didn't) so I wouldn't need a third one from you unless the actual spec of the pan has to be different after the upgrade? The original one in my combo is a type 4FB3B1B.

Tube-wise, I'm curious why the new Sovtek tubes that I bought caused a loud hum on the output after an hour of use, but I'll go for a new set from you anyway. Strangely the tubes that were in the amp when I bought it look to be a mismatched set of different makes. I'd welcome a suggested procedure for checking the bias as my knowledge is sketchy.

That's the first quote I've had for the head-only cabinet, AKA shell. It's got to be black really (and black grille cloth please), so I'm hoping you do still have a black one in stock. Overall I believe I'm looking at $100 (upgrade) + $290 (shell) + $60 (four power tubes). Plus cost of return shipping I guess.



We finally seemed to be getting somewhere after 7 days of exchanging emails.

I pointed out I shouldn't need a new reverb pan and tried to summarise the known costs.

Bruce's reply was still on track, fortunately - see part 24.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 21: More Dialogue

Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 18:32:45 BST


I will certainly add a lot of cardboard, bubblewrap and other padding. I have some surplus material for lining flightcases (the dense type, not the soft foam) so a layer or two of that won't hurt also. I take your point about packing it transformers-down.

We haven't actually discussed costs other than my general recollection that when discussed last year, the upgrade work was charged at $100. It would be useful to know what differences result from that by the way - I'm assuming I wouldn't need the attenuator box inline with the reverb any more.

So in addition there's the price for a head shell (black tolex please, yes) and perhaps a labour charge for checking the biasing on my new set of power tubes (which I'll send too)?

Also we haven't thought about how much time you'd need once it reaches you.

I haven't priced out the shipping yet, but as I said in my original email my overriding wish is to get the amp delivering 100% of it's awesome potential and I'll take the cost on the chin as we say over here.

In your experience is there a particular carrier who give a better service for sending something like this to the USA?

Kind regards,


An unprecendented number of emails were exchanged on 16 April 2008, this one being far from the last.

I requested costs for the unknown areas and mentioned my willingness to pay for the most straightforward shipping. Back, finally, came some of those costs - see part 22.

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