The No Fix &
Non Support List
Understanding them & How they Effect You!
A Cause & Effect Analysis to Help You Construct Your Own List
Before we start...let's pause for a moment to reflect back to a time when the Musical Instrument Industry was very much different from what it has become today. Retail Sales is the only thing today's big national chain Mega Music Store has in common with the picture seen below.
In 1959 Rondo Music opened for business on the Double Duce (Rt 22) in Union NJ. In no time, Rondo Music had become a major watering hole for musicians to network together and also keep up on the latest developments in musical instruments and all manner of music accessories.
There was no area code when your finger actually dialed 687-2250 with that thing with the holes in it. There were no automated answering machines ever used during business hours. Nor, would you ever hear, "Your Call is Being Recorded for Quality Assurance". There were laws against such invasions of privacy. Only the FBI could listen in on phone conversations.
Most often your call to Rondo Music would be answered by Karl, Ann, or Walt, who would direct your call to the right person you needed to talk with. And that, brings us to the heart of the matter.
There are only two things that really defines what a music store is all about.
1. The properly selected store staff of individuals to represent the highest standards possible with Character, Ethics, Experience, and Knowledge.
2. To sell only the best products by manufacturers known for their
consumer direct factory service, high standards in design engineering, quality materials, craftsmanship, with prompt dealer service and support.
Actually, the No Fix Lists were started by the manufacturers who started
using cheap parts, supplies, materials and manufacturing methods that increased their profit line. Yes, it was the manufactuers who were
The failure event becomes very expensive for the owner of the amplifier
to put into the amplifier what the amp factory did not, due to all their cost cutting methods. Specifically the amp company's traded off their Quality, Reliability, Service Life, Ease of Service, and/or Repair for their higher profit margins.
For those of you who have never seen the inside of a guitar amp, let's
take a look at some amplifier history.
It all started with what is known as the point to point wiring method.
This, was followed by the use of the eyeletboard and/or the later terminal boards that followed.
The ease of changing electrical components was the main advantage of these construction methods. It was a Real Serviceman's Dream!
As the years have gone by, this Serviceman's Dream slowly turned into the Serviceman's Nightmare of today! Which, now drives your service and/or repair labor costs through the roof by current manufacturering practice.
I can't count the number of times I've told a customer to CALL the amp company and let them know you are not happy with their amp.
The alternative would be to just fix the amp; sell it, and then go buy a REAL amp. A pre 1980 amp would be a good bet.
If your amp was made after 1980, there is a good chance it's not cost effective to upgrade the amp with better quality parts and address the factory cost cutting issues that would provide longer reliable service life. The make and model will determine if your amp will be a "NO FIX" amp.
Hey, the amp companies don't even want to repair *their own amps*!
******************* IT'S NOT COST EFFECTIVE ******************
So, what do you think they come up with to handle this little problem?
************************* FOSTER CARE ************************
********************** "SERVICE CENTERS" *********************
What a brilliant Marketing Concept! Think of the Marketing spin possibilities, using this network of Foster Care Service Centers, to sell products that are "Backed by Service", never having their children return home again to increase the profit line.
Well, this all looks good on paper. But, in the real world, to what degree are these Foster Care Service Centers actually supported by the front office of the amp/guitar company? As time went on the concept started to fall apart. It started with the technical information needed for understanding and troubleshooting problems in the field. But the experienced in-house experts who used to provide the real answers in the past were no longer employed by the company. Those experienced expert in-house technicians I used to talk with for years are now gone. It was no longer cost effective to keep them.
They were replaced by someone with basic product knowledge and a computer with a database of symptoms, and a computer monitor listing possible causes. After a while, I figured out, this guy I was talking with never had an amp on a workbench, and was only reading from a computer screen.
Imagine that. Software style Support comes to an amp/guitar company!
Computer-aided design (CAD), also known as computer aided drafting,
software was not created by an old school electronics draftsman trained
in proper signal layout convention. If the standard Road Map were handed
to you in the way amp manufacturers produce what they call a schematic,
you would have no street names, interstate, or toll road identification on
your map. You would have more pages than needed, with notations that
would say, this road continued at point J3/page 5. Then, when you start driving down the circuit board from J3/page 5 looking for things, you find
that the road signs may not match up or are completely missing from what you have on page 5 of your road map.
Road Map, Service Schematic... same thing. Both can get you Lost, and Waste Valuable Time. With their FOSTER CARE Advantage, Why would
any amp/guitar company care about their Improper service schematics?
During the 1980's computer concepts started to fall into vacuum tube amplifier design and manufacture. Computer circuit board technology
started appearing in guitar and bass amps.
It was some "Forward Looking" individuals in one of the amp companies who decided to make the jump to the computer circuit board surface mount technology (SMT) with their amps. Did you ever have a sound card or video card in your computer REPAIRED by anyone on a component level?
Only in the MI Industry do MI companies expect their "FOSTER CARE SERVICE CENTERS" to purchase the required SMT rework stations, plus the complete inventory of SMD's (Surface Mout Devices) needed to cover the MI company's product line. All this, without any financial or technical training support from that MI company.
Unlike the Computer Industry, the MI Industry board swap concept never became practical from either the consumer or service standpoints with respect to their advanced/digital electronics in a box products.
©Copyright R.K.Koerner 2001 All Rights Reserved.