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Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Soubi7string, Jul 14, 2010.
Anyone know where I'd get started on learning how to do this?
Weber has some simple amp kits that are good. Start with the simple ones, trust me.
Also read up on the web as much as you can.
There is also a bunch of reading on the subject, including "The Tube Amp Book."
Well, I'll tell you my experience, hopefully that'll help you.
I made a Soldano SLO, I finished it a couple months ago. I'm still waiting on the shell though, that part I had somebody else made cuz I just suck with wood, I'll stain it and finish it myself when I have it, like a Mesa Custom Finish kinda thing.
I neved did any other amp before this. And I'm incredibly happy with the result, it sounds badass.
You could start with the weber amp kits. If you already know how to solder and how to follow schematics, I'd say you could just get the schems for an SLO or a JCM800 and just jump right on it, those 2 amps are fairly easy. The only thing you need to learn about that you may not know is how to do a grounding scheme and how to place your wires so you avoid any unwanted noise.
Find a local amp repair shop and hang out until they take you on as an employee or apprenticeship deal E.E. courses will help, but sadly there aren't many (if any) courses on which capacitors yield light airy tones versus the br00talz, and vacuum tubes are a dying nearly dead technology, it's damn near impossible to comprehensively learn about them from a class. Find someone who can pass the torch, we need more of us building and designing this shiznit!!!
Other than that, I highly second what the other posters have listed, the DIY kits are pretty simple, go for it man
I build custom amps as a hobby now, but I'm coming out with my own line soon. Here is a thread where you can follow my progress building a complete multi-channel 100W head from scratch with my schematics and layouts available. You can really see what it takes to do a custom design from scratch and my trials and tribulations along the way:
MetroAmp.com Forum • View topic - From Scratch Amp Building Chronicle - 6/13/10 UPDATED!!
Here is what my amp looks like now:
and here are some couple clips of it:
Demo Clip of My Amp
While I have a background in electrical engineering from years ago, I really never used it in my career. I learned by reading some basic books on electronics (how capacitors, resistors, etc work, Ohms law, etc.). I then grabbed "How To Service Your Tube Amp", which helped a lot:
I progressed to reading Torres "Inside Tube Amps". This book will take you soup to nuts through an entire tube amp section by section, explaining everything and talking about modding for different tones. Best beginning amp book you can find:
"Inside Tube Amps" Everyone has learned about tube amps from this book!
At this point, I wanted hands-on building experience. I had already done the design of my amp, but wanted to build a simpler design myself first before attempting my crazy multichannel design. I ended up attending the Egnater Amp Seminar. Bruce Egnater used to do these weekend seminars where you build a 50W high gain Marshall head and learn about how it works and how to mod it. It was a great experience - it is too bad he still doesn't do them. Given you can't attend an Egnater Seminar, I recommend grabbing a metroamp 50 watt, 100 watt, or 100 watt master volume kit and building it. The metro kits have by the far the best step by step instructions you will ever see and when you finish you will have a killer amp you will want to keep. The instructions are critical! Most kits come with just a layout diagram and there are all kinds of ways to screw it up. Go with a metro kit. Get yourself a nice soldering station with digital temp control (you'll thank me later) like the Weller WESD51:
Amazon.com: Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station with Power Unit, Soldering…
Also, hang out at the metroamp forums (same forum as the build thread I posted above). People there are incredibly knowledgeable and you can learn a lot. Guys there are always posting cool builds and if you build a metro kit and things go wrong, they'll help you troubleshoot it. Great bunch of dudes!
Once you build one of these kits, I recommend delving into the O'Conner books to learn everything from gain mods to switching, etc. These books are expensive, but worth it if you are going to really get into designing, modding and/or building custom amps:
Tube Amp Kits, Tube Amp Books, Tube Amplifiers by London Power
My 2 cents. Hope that helps!
AX84.com - The Cooperative Tube Guitar Amp Project
www.guitarscanada.com/forum - check out the amp building section there as well, a bunch of the guys are making kits etc.
Umm I failed to mention this.......
I don't want to make tube amps at all
infact I'd like to make solid states that DONT model other amps
I am currently modding my Laney GH100L into the Fryette Deliverance direction.
Valuable info over here:
How to design valve guitar amplifiers
Pentode Press - Books for Professional Guitar Amp Builders
Sloclone Forums • Index page
and for german speaking people:
Be careful, you can easily die, when you touch the wrong wire inside an amp!!!
+1 this one got me started as well
also try building some pedals before you go building tube amps cause 9v is alot safer then 250-500V
The same principles apply, so you'd still get a lot of valuable knowledge from tube amp sources.
True plus a jcm 800 wouldn't be too bad lol
any recommendations for a good high gain diy amp?
I'd vote for the SLO 100 clone.
You can get a lot of what you need here:
C3Amps - ONetics Transformers & Soldano Chassis - O Netics
I thought it was a KIT not individual pieces that are sold seperately
No, for the SLO you need to buy the pieces separately. You can buy the transformers and the full dressed chassis kit from C3, and then with the BOM list that they have in the sloclone forums, you can get all the components from mouser electronics. Then you just need the PCBs, which a guy over there at the forums makes and sells for a modest price. After all that, you're set to go.
Good thing is, it all gets shipped to your house. So as soon as everything gets there, you can start your amp.