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mesa authorized tech requirements

4/27/2005 12:52 PM
mesa authorized tech requirements
I was approached by my local guitar shop about becoming a mesa boogie authorized tech. Does anyone know what the requirements are? The local sales rep is going to get ahold of me, but I wanted a heads up before I talk to him.  
4/27/2005 7:14 PM

Call Mesa and discuss it with them. But they are like other companies. They will want to ascertain that you have experience working on things and have some idea what you are doing. They will want to see and equipment list and photos of your shop. Most OEMs want to see an exterior shot and counter shot - in othre words what will customers see when they get there. They also usually want to see a bench shot. Some even want to see a picture of parts storage and manuals on the shelf! What they want to see is that you are a professional and not some kid working out of his parents basement.  
Most OEMs want to know that you have been in business for some time - a year or more anyway.  
They will also consider if there are already authorized serviec centers in the area. They won't want competing centers.  
They want to know who else you already are authorized to service for. This is not to see if you work for a hated competitor, it is to see that you already have earned someones trust. Like building credit. American Express would rather that you did have a Visa than not.  
Even if the rep doesn't ask for them, a small presentation looks professional and can't hurt. Get a little folder and put in it an equipment list, some photos, and a resume. I even have a shop resume.  
My equipment list is extensive, but what they want is a listing of your major test gear make and model. List your DMM,scope, signal generator,distortion analyzer (if you have one), and other related gear. Mention your dummy loads, variac,and soldering/desoldering gear. Certain things on a list add to your credibility and tells them you are serious about it. I never use my distortion analyzer, but it looks good on paper. An AC VTVM or AC voltmeter is a good thing to have on there.
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4/28/2005 8:14 AM

Thanks Enzo. The reason they asked is that the other local tech won't become a Mesa authorized tech. Thanks for the heads up!  
4/28/2005 10:45 PM
Rick Erickson
Re: Distortion Analyzers and Warranty Repairs
"I never use my distortion analyzer, but it looks good on paper."
Enzo - I'm suprised at that, you seem to do a lot of solid state service from what I've gathered in your posts. I find my distortion analyzer (HP339A) to be a very handy tool, especially for setting the bias on a solid state power section. An o-scope on the output of the D.A. lets me see just the distortion component of the signal. Excessive crossover distortion will produce a large spike which will usually fall below the noise level when bias is adjusted properly. I also watch the analog distortion meter to see when the distortion level just reaches its minimum level. I use a clamp-on current meter to monitor AC line current into the power transformer. An old-school "quick and dirty" biasing method for solid state amps is to adjust the bias control to the point where the current meter just barely begins to deflect. I usually start there,then double check my adjustments with the analyzer and let the amp idle for an hour or two to check for thermal runaway. The HP339A has a low distortion sine wave generator in it which comes in handy for doing final testing also.  
fwiw - As an independant repair shop, I avoid most all Warranty programs. Most of them don't pay enough to begin with and they make you wait for your money. They can also reject your claims long after the amp has been picked up by the customer - leaving you holding the bag... No thank you! Warranty service is great for a store that sells the equipment. If they are the warranty center also it makes more sense to buy a product from them.  
4/29/2005 3:02 AM

I have a 334. I can dial out the xover nothc by eye on the scope to the point it is not heard. And in teh case of some old beater, the mains draw trick gets you in the ball park. I have a line current and voltage monitor I use on the bench to watch draw. It has outlets on it, so I don't need to clamp anyting. I don't even have to open a unit to check its draw. of course the clampers have adapters for power cords you plug them into. I assume yu would agree that a variac is only half th battle without a way to monitor current.  
The current twitch method is really pretty accurate. Crossover drops out when the transistors are just at the turn on point. If the turn on overlaps, then both sids are conducting at once and it draws excess current. if you back off from that point, then the signal has to climb a bit before it turns on the transistor each direction , so it makes the notch. So really, the point of current rise is also the point of both sides starting to conduct, which is the point of xover disappearing. You won;t be far off anyway.  
I want to be on every warranty listing possible. I get many many referrals from the OEMs. I get MArshall repairs from all over the state that way. I get TEAC/TASCAM work from places across the line into neighboring states even. I do a ton of Fender work too.  
My Fender warranty invoice for the last month included two $90 repairs and a pile of $45 ones. They pay me $45 an hour. I don't know what you need to get for repairs, but those are jobs I would have not had at all otherwise. How much is idle time on the bench worth?  
Korg is paying me $50 for anything that requires soldering. Looking in my files, here is $50 for swapping out a noisy fan on a MG100HDFX head. Most repairs fall into place, and I don't think $50 is a sneezer.  
TASCAM pays me flat $50 and up depending on model.  
Reject the claim? Darn seldom that happens. I have to make sure the warranty period has not expired on a product. The only times I get bounced claims is if I didn't file it right and have to refile, or I neglected something. Once in a while I get something in and just hop right inside and fix it. Then I find out it was an "exchange only" item, meaninng they won't pay for repairs, they prefer to exchange it. This is lower end stuff there is not much margin on. recently I opened up an AX1500G - A Korg multieffect floor toy for guitar. Six screws, found the ribbon cable to the expression pedal pinched under the bottom plate, shorting to ground. Rerouted the cable with some insulating tape added, and six screws back in. Fixed. OOps, exchange only. I sent Korg a note about it and they paid me $25 for the repair anyway, against policy. Not bad for ten minutes work and a stamped envelope. In fact I cannot recall the last time I had a claim rejected that was never honored ultimately. Fender once thanked me for fixing an exchange only item by telling me they could not issue a warranty cliam for it, but they gave me an auth number for an hour overtime to tack onto my next repair - same difference.  
In any case it is not going to be the replace the output tranny that gets denied, it will be the horn driver melted diaphragm in a PA speaker that gets denied. You see that it is melted and you don't file a claim since that isnt a warranty failure in the first place.  
Most OEMs do not want any parts back with a few exceptions like hard drives or maybe whole pc boards. They all say to hold them for a couple months in case they want to see them. No one ever has asked to see them. But I save them, and when the date passes, I pitch them. So without inspecting them, they will never deny claims on that basis. In short, claim denial is about as big a problem as flying glass from breaking tubes is.  
I have never found the OEMs to be petty about it at all. They have generally be flexible when I needed them to.. And I learned from experience. I am supposed to file claims within 30 days. Once I filled out a claim and it sat there for two months before the customer came back for it. I pled my case with the OEM and got paid anyway. Now I simply do not date the claim until it is picked up. But if a guy comes in a week out of warranty, I have never been turned down by an OEM when I asked if I could cover it anyway. And that works to my advantage. The OEM looks good of course, but it was me "fighting for the customer" in the customers mind that got his warranty extended. Now I look real good. The OEMs just want their customers to be happy.  
But THE MOST important reason to have waranty affiliations is that it is a market builder - it makes your customer list grow. I have numerous regular customers who lug their stuff here from 70 miles away or more, and all because I was the OEM warranty station for some product. They could go to Detroit or Grand Rapids, closer to their homes, but they come here. I treat them well, and they like it.  
What is a customer worth? What does it cost to get a new customer? In retail that is crucial. Sears knows, Wal MArt knows. Wendy's knows. (And their cost just went up) They can tell you to the dime what a customer costs, they won't tell, but they could. I have a small ad in the Yellow Pages. I used to have a one inch ad for about $100 a month, the last couple years I reduced it to a half inch ad for $54 a month. It is advertising. I pay the phone company $54 a month to send customers my way. If Crate only pays me $20 to tack a wire back on the input jack, OK, I didn't get $45, but I met a new customer. That alone is worth $20-30 to me. I din't lose out, I gained a customer.  
That is the bottom line, it gets new people in the door. And if you are worth a damn, they will come back. That is a business builder, and if it pays me $50 instead of $75, it is worth it. That guy is coming back. I almost wish I had kept count of all the times someone came in from an outlying community and said he never knew I was here, but his whole band has serviec needs, and he knows a few other people out his way that have needs as well. And it is not idle talk, they really do come in following.  
I recommend OEM affiliations highly, you might think about it.
5/15/2005 6:04 PM
well put IMHO.  
btw, speaking of tascam repairs.. do you (or anyone else) have reccomendations about where to get a new drive belt for an aged Tascam 234 4-track recorder? The belt in my old one is dry rotted and keeps falling off. The nearest service center is in NJ, 2+ hours away.  
What I really need to do is reset the oscillator which sets the tape speed (I think) and replace the belt and life will be good again for my 20 year old tape deck. I have a lot of old masters I want to dump onto my VS2000 and I don't lose them. (the 234 played double speed with dbx which does not work well on normal decks..)  
Should I just email the contacts from their website or does anyone have a better tip?  
TIA - Joe
5/16/2005 6:12 PM
SpeedRacer Re: reply from tascam
nice folks.. I can purchase the replacement belt and service manual directly from them, 12-something for the belt and 33? for the manual, so for a tick over $50 I have a fighting chance of getting my pre-cambrian recording studio back on its feet. And it's a 246, not a 234.. guess I've been to one too many loud concerts..  
Life is Good. :)
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