Approved service centre for Fargen Amps

Fargen Retro-Classic 1×12 combo

Welcome to our blog. We have recently been servicing the Fargen amps (USA) for our Newcastle/Hunter Valley customers, and we are pleased to advise that we are now the approved service agent, appointed by the new Fargen distributor in this region. Fargen amps were previously represented by Jacks Music of Newcastle, who arranged their own after-sales-service. Ben Fargen is primarily known for producing amp designs inspired by vintage Marshall amps (ie, prior to say 1973).

Fargen Retro Classic chassis

After Fargen & Jacks Music parted ways – our buddy Marc Saunders stepped in to provide local distribution. Marc delivered to the workshop one of his personal Fargen amps, the Retro Classic 1×12 combo (s/n 01653/2014). This model delivers about 25 watts from a pair of KT66 output valves with a GZ34 rectifier valve. We endorse this combination for some really cool vintage sounds. Marc’s amp was running way too hot, we are surprised the amp didn’t suffer any significant damage. The pair of KT66’s was seriously under-biased, drawing 95ma anode current (Ia) per KT66 at around 400V HT, with no signal ! We rebiased for a sensible & still toneful quiescent current of 45ma per KT66.

Fargen Retro Classic chassis

We don’t know if this was a mistake made by the Fargen factory prior to shipping, or made by the previous Australian distributors, or if the bias adjustment pot somehow accidentally got reset incorrectly, but it could have resulted in an expensive meltdown over time. We removed & individually tested all valves (standard procedure here) and found that the pair of KT66’s were still a close match, no need to replace at this time. We did find that V1 was testing microphonic, and replaced it with a selected low-noise JJ 12AX7. A power output test, burn-in test & earth test followed as always, the amp tested approx 25 watts into 8 ohms.

Fargen chassis underside

This 1×12 combo came standard loaded with a WGS Green Beret speaker, which is their “Greenback” inspired model, and seems to be a good match for old-school sounds. Strangely enough, the master volume control appears on the control panel ahead of the pre-amp volume control, not very intuitive but easy enough to get used to.


Fargen Retro Classic 25W

The 3-position Decade control reconfigures the pre-amp to give different shades of Marshall tone, with the ’68 setting also increasing pre-amp gain quite a bit. Many thanks to Marc Saunders for his continued custom, and for providing us with the subject matter for this week’s blog. IR.

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