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Amp tech in the making needs a job...

9/26/2000 10:31 PM
Amp tech in the making needs a job...
I read as much as I could of the huge thread here on everyone's real jobs and I have to say it seems an inordinate amount of you guys have some electronics schooling. I never did, but learned a lot on my own and I am strictly familiar with tube amps and analog circuits (i.e. effect pedals). I would like to start working here in Seattle (I moved up from NM a month ago) either in a shop or on the side. Any suggestions? How have some of you guys gotten started? Should I just jump into it and start up shop? I have not run across a pedal or amp that I couldn't diagnose (yet) but I feel like I could use some education. I'm actually on my way now to a guitar shop to talk to their service dept.  
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9/30/2000 12:55 AM

Hi Rob,  
Here are a couple of thoughts.  
First I would try to find out as much as possible about the area in regards to music and related services. You might want to visit several clubs (more the better) and talk with the musicians to get a feel for their experiences when needing services.  
Study the competition and see where you can have an edge over them. Go talk with techs at a few of the music stores (some techs may not work at the stores). Pretend to have a problem with your amp (leave it home) and get a feel for how they would deal with it. Some will accept you warmly and try to discuss your amp with you (maybe not in detail) and some you might find cold as ice who may just tell you to bring it in - end of discussion. Obviously they may not have lots of time to chit chat with you but you will find out about their personalities business wise. So I think you should feel comfortable with the tech or else don't let him touch your amp.  
I would venture into this part time at first or if you luck out in a few weeks and are fortunate to have a booming business overnight then more power to you. Come where I live in the Stuart/Ft Pierce area of Florida and you'll likely starve if you don't have a backup job. All depends on what you need to live on - got to pay rent, eat, utilities, and so on and on.  
Nothing worse than worrying where your next dollar is coming from. So maybe in Seattle you'll have better luck than most. I don't know. I sense from reading what many others here have to say that they mostly have other jobs as well. Maybe you could get into some mail order parts as well to help out (ala Hoffman and a few others). I've wondered about that myself. Then it doesn't really matter where you live.  
I've been self-employeed as an electrical contractor since 1974. I tried to go back and work for the other man for short times but absolutely hate it. I love being independent although instead of having one boss I have many - my customers. I've never made a fortune at what I'm doing but I've done ok. It's feast or famine as they say in construction. I do amp repairs on the side as time permits.  
You might want to check into occupational licenses and any other requirements. Trying to work without license will limit you to word of mouth. You'll need a tax number unless you do contract work and don't itemize parts. You'll need some liability insurance. If you go for it, advertise like hell! You don't need to spend lots of money, maybe a small ad in a rag paper, preferably a musician's paper of sorts. Hand out flyers, etc to band members and maybe grab some business from music stores if they don't already have someone. Let me say, though, that I hate middlemen so if you can develop a business on your own, go that route and egg the music stores. That way you personally deal with the customers.  
Well, that's about all I have to say - hope this helps some. Maybe some others can jump in and add. Most of all, good luck to you whatever you do. Take care, T.B.
10/1/2000 8:23 PM

Hi TB,  
Ever check out Resurrection Guitars in Jensen Beach?  
10/1/2000 9:30 PM

Hi Jon,  
Seems I've heard of them. Wonder if they were/are on the curve on 707 in Rio? - right next to Jensen Beach. Not sure if they are still around or not. How do you know them? Got a friend who would know if they are still around or not. I'll check on it.  
Jensen Beach is not far from me at all. Matter of fact I work in the area quite frequently. In case you haven't been by the area in awhile, this whole place if growing. They've got downtown blocked off at the tracks - seems like about a month already.  
One of my neighbors daughter works in a little restaurant downtown and their business has suffered because of the repairs/construction or whatever they are doing. Maybe you've not been here and don't know what I'm talking about but thought I'd throw that in.  
Have a good one. T.B.
9/30/2000 1:13 AM
Oh yes! Educate thyself ...
I forgot to mention that you might want to take a class or two of electronics. Maybe start with basics and then pick areas (more advanced) closer related to what you'll be doing. Personally I'm interested in audio electronics only, have no desire to learn any of the other areas at this time.  
Also there are several books that if you don't already own, I would suggest that you obtain. I like to self study rather than sit in a classroom. Although I do like the commaradiere of group learning and interaction.  
That's all ... T.B.

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