ZinkyUser's blog

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 1: Introduction

Once up a time I bought a used Zinky Superfly guitar amplifier.

This blog is the educational story of the perils of "boutique" gear as exemplified in the problems I have had; equipment that is so esoteric that if it develops a fault, only one person in the whole wide world can repair it. If they can be bothered...

I bought the amp through eBay UK on 25 January 2007. The amp chassis has spent the time between 29 April 2008 and 5 February 2010 in the workshop of Bruce Zinky. For the vast majority of that time, nothing has been done with it. For the details of how this ridiculous situation has evolved, read on...

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 77: The Amp In Use

Well, some months down the line, you may if you've read this far, be wondering if it was all worth it? Does the amp work OK now?

Short answer: Yes. There may be a little more of a background hum out of the speakers when it is switched from Stand By to Operate than it produced before all the problems started, but I can't be sure. Anyway once it's cranked up the hum is not noticeable as it doesn't change with the volume settings.

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 76: Oh Me Of Little Faith

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Have received replacement mounting screws
Date: 8 March 2010 15:14:04 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thank you for the replacement mounting screws which I received today. The Superfly is now back in its original case.

David

Despite my doubts that I'd ever see them, a replacement set of shiny, straight mounting screws turned up in the post this morning. I guess if I ever have cause to take the chassis out of the case again I could use them to reassemble it.

Anyway, seems like a polite thank-you to Bruce is in order.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 75: Please Do Close The Case!

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID 8095794.

It manages to be both insulting in tone and misleading in fact:

- I had no communication from Mr Zinky that he had sent me extra screws to replace the ones that were damaged in transit and I have not received anything so far.

- Mr Zinky's claim that the work took "some time" because the amp is not a current product is obscuring the fact that it took nearly two years and that the Superfly model is still being advertised both on the Zinky web site and on UK web sites.

- Mr Zinky's inference that I offered a $1,000 bounty for "fast service" is obscuring the fact that by the time I made the offer, my amplifier had been in his workshop for over a year.

- Perhaps most significantly, Mr Zinky's last claim that I could have got someone in the UK to do the repair and upgrade work on the amp is in direct contradiction to his written statement in an email of 14 March 2007 that "I don't know anyone in the UK with the ability who has the time." I would not have shipped the amp all the way to the USA if he could have nominated someone in any part of the UK.

However, as communicated in my recent emails to you, I have been able to confirm that the amp is, on the face of it, useable and after two years I am as tired of dealing with Mr Zinky as he evidently is of standing by his "lifetime warranty", so I agree to this case being closed.
Regards,

David Jackson

While it seems appropriate to have the BBB close the case, I couldn't just sign it off without some commentary on Mr Zinky's claims, so the pro-forma reply was less pro-forma.

And yet even after all this, there is more to relate in part 76!

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 74: BBB Back In The Loop

03/03/2010

Sam;

[...]I am very busy taking care of actual customers and cannot waste time on nonsense such as this.

Anyway, David Jackson got his amplifier back to him @ no charge via Fed Ex BEFORE I received your first letter. He then whined about the mounting screws, and again I sent him extra replacement screws @ no charge.

I had told Mr Jackson that I wouldn't charge him for the updates and service on his amplifier. Because this amplifier is not a current product, and because we are not set up to manufacture this product, the work took quite some time. He had offered $1000 dollars for fast service, we were not interested in the money. Still, I covered the substantial cost in shipping the unit back to the UK (He could have found someone there to do the work, he did not).

Anyway, I expect to never have to deal with him or you again.

Thank you. Have a day.

B Zinky, Zinky Electronics

Well, waddya know? A couple of days after their previous message, word comes that B Zinky has finally responded.

Picking out the key points (opposite):

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 73: BBB Bows Out?

03/01/2010
In regards to your correspondence concerning Zinky Electronics, your position was communicated to the company. We regret to inform you that BBB was unsuccessful in obtaining a response from the company.
When a business does not respond to a dispute, its report with BBB is updated to reflect an unanswered dispute which has an adverse affect on its BBB rating. If the company has contacted you, please let us know so that our files may be updated. If not, we regret that BBB can be of no further assistance.
We appreciate you taking the time to contact BBB and thank you for including us in your efforts to resolve your complaint. Please be assured that your complaint will remain in BBB’s file for this company for three years, and may be referred to if a pattern of similar practices emerges.
Regards,
Samantha Marquis
Your Better Business Bureau

On 19 February I exchanged emails with the BBB to the effect that:

  • They informed me that BZ had not replied to their original communication.
  • I informed them I had sorted the amp out enough not to consider claiming for the damage.

After another period of BZ still not responding to my last email, on 1 March I received from the BBB the message opposite. Well, I guess having told them of some progress, there's only so much they will do in the face of determined avoidance by the company.

So as far as the BBB goes, case closed.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 71: First Test

Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 20:26:30 +0000
From: David Jackson
To: Zinky Electronics
Subject: Re: Superfly is damaged

I've powered it up and played it, as there wouldn't have been any point trying to straighten the chassis if it wasn't working to begin with. It seems OK.

There were no extra screws in the packaging. Nor was there the reverb pan that I sent you with the amp. I'm not particularly worried about the reverb pan as I bought a second one some time ago. However 6-32 screws of that length don't appear to be available in the UK, going by a 30 minute search on the 'net. Up to 2 inches, yes... over that, no. I would appreciate it if you could send me another set, otherwise I don't know where I'm going to get some from and wouldn't want to try fitting the bent ones?

David

I hooked the amp up to the original speakers and reverb pan in the original case and turned on the video camera and the Superfly, in that order.

After giving it time to warm up, I plugged a guitar in and took it off Standby.

In short, it worked pretty much as I distantly remembered it, including the reverb. Hooray. Now all I have to do is get hold of some new mounting screws and figure out how to bend the chassis back without causing more damage.

Progress on that front is described in part 72.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 70: Worth A Try

From: Zinky Electronics
Subject: Re: Superfly is damaged
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 18:16:25 -0700
To: dave@dave.st

Yes, it is safe to operate.

However- I would absolutely use blocks to apply pressure on the chassis to bend it as close to square as you can get it.

Should be an extra set of mounting screws in there. If not, the screws are size 6-32, 3 1/2 inches in length.

BZ

Bruce's reply was factually helpful, although there was no extra set of mounting screws in the packaging, like there was no reverb pan.

It seemed sensible to try the amp out before making any attempt to bend the chassis back, to find out it if was working at this stage. What happened when I did? - see part 71.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 69: It Was Bound To Happen

From: David Jackson
Subject: Superfly is damaged
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 22:34:08 +0000
To: Zinky Electronics

Thank you for finding the time to ship the chassis. I received it yesterday evening (9 Feb) and my first opportunity to unpack it was a couple of hours ago.

You advised at an early stage of our correspondence that the chassis metalwork was not very stiff and the weight of the transformers was sufficient to cause damage should the amp be dropped on its upper face.

This is what must have happened in transit. Although the outer packaging showed no signs of impact, the chassis is deformed at one end. The fixing bolt at the displaced corner is quite bent. Please see the attached pictures.

The circuit board is also bent but does not appear to have cracked. So for today, just one question: do you think it is safe to power up and try?

David

On the evening of 9 February, the delivery was made - a day earlier than expected but I wasn't able to unpack it until a day later anyway. So the following evening I set up my camera to record the moment for posterity and opened it up.

One of the first things I noticed was that the reverb pan that I'd sent out was missing. Oh well, I had another one (see as far back as part 12).

With the packaging removed and taking a closer look, the next thing I could see was that the chassis was damaged. Oh great.

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