DIY: converting a combo to a head shell. pic heavy

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Thread: DIY: converting a combo to a head shell. pic heavy

  1. #1

    Join Date: Sep 2012
    Location: wickford
    ME: RG 1550
    MA: ROFL
    MB: Dafuq?!
    Rig: Mesa Mark IV, Recto 2x12

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    DIY: converting a combo to a head shell. pic heavy

    So, if any of you know I've been thinking about turning my old ashdown fallen angel FA60 combo into a head and cab, as i've been running my POD HD into the loop and I'm digging the sounds i'm getting out of it. I considered a rackmount power amp as toobs are dead but i've just got the DIY bug at the moment, plus racks rarely look as badass as a tube head. I'm going to pick a cheap 2x12 and replace the speakers for the 2 V30's the combo had. I'm scouring ebay at the moment for something dirt cheap i can retolex, or failing that I'll get the harley benton g212 and chuck the speakers on ebay.

    so here is my build thread for the fallen angel combo conversion...

    i started off by taking the thing apart just to see what exactly what i'm dealing with and what i'll need to accommodate in the head.

    Bearing in mind i have zero DIY/woodworking skills at this point i started to wonder if i was biting off more than i can chew.


    So, i picked up some 15mm MDF, got it cut to size in store (for an extra 1.50 i'd rather get it cut perfectly straight so I have a decent base to start with.)

    Next I cut some very bad finger (style) joints and glue the thing together. it was at this point I noticed a lot of my joints were cut quite badly, and this thing was going to need a lot of glue and some serious clamps to hold it in place while it sets. problem is I have one clamp and i ended up creating a system of ropes and weights and a few 10mm 'L' brackets to hold it together.

    I was starting to feel like scraping the thing at this stage as i really wasn't happy with it, but decided to press on and see how things turned out.

    next came shaping the corners and edges for the corner protectors. i didn't have a router to hand so did these by hand, or with an orbital sander. The edges wont be as sharp as a router, but I like the fact that I did these by sight, it gave me a feeling of semi achievement

    getting better..

    starting to enjoy the process now...

    After i did all the corners the whole thing felt a hell of a lot more rigid, and looked a lot more like a real head shell.

    Next was fitting the amp itself in the shell. getting this thing in was a HELL of a squeeze. i measured up with 1mm space either side, but after gluing I had to sand some of the interior just to get it in. if you make one yourself make it a couple of mm bigger than you think you'll need for a snug fit. My biggest concern here was getting the screw holes to line up with the holes on the underside of the chassis - not helped by the fact the bolts are under the chassis so I couldn't use them to line up my holes. I ended up measuring exactly where the holes needed to be ( i measured 5 different times to be safe), drilled the front two bolt holes and to my surprise they fitted perfectly first time! Phew.

    next i bolted the head to the old combo using my perfectly drilled holes, and drilled through the old holes to make the next two holes, so i knew everything would fit exactly when i put the head in the shell.

    Due to the way the amp had been stored for the last 6 years its accumulated a lot of rust - mostly surface rust fortunately. the nuts and bolts holding the chassis in place had rusted to the point where the thread had sheared off totally, and i wanted to replace these. Luckily the previous owner of the house i recently moved into left a whole box of the EXACT nuts and bolts I need - cashback!


    and a close up of the surface rust which i'm currently cleaning off...

    Here is a mock up of my plans for the front using the rear grill and the logo i managed to saw off the front of the old combo (no going back now!)

    what do you think so far? I've got to clean the rest of the rust off, paint the chassis and create some dials for it. i was going to use the original face plate, but its reversed, will need cutting to shape as its got a weird curve to accommodate the voltmeter, and doesnt cover the length of the front due to the side panels on the original.

    then i'll make up a front grill, and tolex it. last night James and I gave the amp a blast and it still works so thats a good sign. I'm thinking of respraying the hardware black and tolexing it brilliant white. although I have been threatening James i'll do it red snakeskin from mojotone.

    i'd love to hear some other opinions on the tolex options

    oh yeah, and my 2 handles for the top have just arrived (yes 2 handles FTW)

  2. #2

    Join Date: Jan 2013
    Location: Edmonton
    ME: Kramer Proaxe
    MB: Ibanez SR605
    Rig: Mark V/5153

    iTrader: 9 (100%)

    Looks deadly, I'd stain it and see what it looks like you can always wrap it later.
    Learn to be quick anyone can be slow

    Do you look at the toilet paper after you wipe?

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Austin, TX
    ME: 90 RG570
    Rig: Digitech GSP2101

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    CLR will clean that surface rust up quite well.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Nov 2010
    Location: Sarnia, ON
    ME: SE Singlecut
    Rig: Blues Jr

    iTrader: 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Boots-Paul View Post
    Looks deadly, I'd stain it and see what it looks like you can always wrap it later.
    That would be awesome.

  5. #5

    Join Date: May 2011
    Location: Wakefield, UK
    ME: Swirley Shirley
    MB: Shine POS
    Rig: SLO & MkIIC+

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    How about blue snakeskin?

    Also if you mail the existing faceplate to JPF amps they will make you new ones to your spec with the correct labelling and such.
    Please visit and share my guitar gear & DIY Blog

    Also if you want a link slapping on there shoot me a PM

  6. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2012
    Location: wickford
    ME: RG 1550
    MA: ROFL
    MB: Dafuq?!
    Rig: Mesa Mark IV, Recto 2x12

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    I have considered that, but it would need a chunk cut out first, and it doest cover the width of the front panel so it might look a little odd. But it's definitely an option. I've just spent the last 3 hours scrubbing the chassis with Hammerite and a brillo pad. looks great now I'll add some pics in the morning. Loving the blue snakeskin there, might take a look at that one too

  7. #7

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Virginia Beach, USA
    ME: ESP Sexy Finger
    MB: ESP Horizon 5
    Rig: Randall V2

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    I had one of those amps, it was definitely not for me lol. Loud as fuck and the bass was unbelievable though. Anyway looks cool so far.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2013
    Location: Southern California
    ME: Jackson DXMGT
    MA: Mitchell MX400 BUB
    MB: Fender P Bass
    Rig: Laney IRT Randall RA412XL

    iTrader: 0

    thats awesome man

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