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guitar tube amp

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irishape

Member
I believe I am in the right section for this post. I would like to find a schematic to build a tube amp for guitar. I don't need it, can not play anyhow, it is just for a project. I have built several solid state amps and honestly, they did work. I have looked about on the internet and bought a book that was supposed to have plans for one but I think the guy that wrote the book needs almost as much help as I do. I think about a 30 watt for output and nothing too exotic would be something this novice could handle. Any ideas? Thanks
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Well, I found this http://www.ampmaker.com/store/PP-36-18-36W-plexi-amplifier.html but it isn't for novices. It's a little better than a schematic, for that's a bit harder to do. It at least has a suggested layout and a chassis. It does, suggest, that this is not a novice project and it's from an overseas outfit.

I have a friend who has made a number of valve audio amplifiers by following schematics and also making changes along the way. When you add "build from scratch" there are a LOT of other issues you need to deal with. One problem would be making the large holes for the tubes. These were made with expensive chassis punches, but now they could be say laser cut. Unibits or step drills will work too.
 

irishape

Member
This site has a kit that sounds interesting and is something I believe I can handle but it says the kit is out of stock. If I could find an outlet that furnished a schematic, list of parts and instructions for a price would be what I am looking for. I am lucky to have a mill with tooling, drill press and what not so I feel confident I could handle the metal working part. The right kit would be nice to. Thanks for the info.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
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Valve amps are crude, simple, and dead easy to build - the only problem is the cost - transformers are EXPENSIVE items.

There are countless sites out there with designs, or you could simply copy an existing (old) commercial design - schematics for almost all of them are freely available.

My main concern though is why do you want one?, the majority of guitar players use solid state ones, and even ones who use valve ones on stage often use solid state ones in the recording studio (due to their much higher quality). If you're wanting to play over-loud heavy metal though, you NEED a valve amp, and probably a Marshall one :D
 

Cicero

Active Member
Valve amps are crude, simple, and dead easy to build - the only problem is the cost - transformers are EXPENSIVE items.

There are countless sites out there with designs, or you could simply copy an existing (old) commercial design - schematics for almost all of them are freely available.

My main concern though is why do you want one?, the majority of guitar players use solid state ones, and even ones who use valve ones on stage often use solid state ones in the recording studio (due to their much higher quality). If you're wanting to play over-loud heavy metal though, you NEED a valve amp, and probably a Marshall one :D
I heavily disagree Nigel (in a light-hearted way), haha, valve amps for guitarists will always be first choice!

I've been playing for years, and solid state amps just sound dead. You cannot get the warmth you need from them, the soul perhaps. Yes they're crude, they distort the sound slightly, but that's the beauty :p.

@irishape : What style do you play? What are you looking for? High gain? Silky cleans?
 

irishape

Member
I agree with Cicero,the sound from a tube amp cannot be duplicated by a solid state amp, my humble opinion also. The reason I want it Nigel is just to build it. Kind of like the guy that scaled the mountain, just because it was there. Snicker. I have been solid country all my life and that is what always gave me THE sound. Anyhow, I can no longer play but I thought it would be fun to build a valve amp.
 

Nigel Goodwin

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Most Helpful Member
I thought it would be fun to build a valve amp.
Fun to build, but pretty expensive :D

If I could 'come across' a pair of free transformers, I might even build one myself - but I'm not prepared to pay silly money for the privilege :p

Particularly when I've thrown so many valve amps away over the decades - last time I built a valve amp was about 1967/68 - it was a single ended amp with an EF80 with a 6BW6 output valve, and used a metal rectifier.
 

tunedwolf

Well-Known Member
The last valved guitar amp that I built was a clone of the old Fender trem. The output transformer cost me about fifteen quid new. The power transformer cost me around sixty quid, I think it came from an old Bassman. The rectifier was a genuine Mullard GZ34, about a hundred quid NOS and I was lucky to get it for that. The rest of the valves cost me about fifty quid all in, including the 6L6 outputs, I wasn't bothered about brand name particularly, but they were RCA and pretty good quality. I built it on a tag board just like the old days and even copied the cabinet design pretty closely. The speaker was one of Jensen's blue rare earth types and cost me almost as much as the rest of it put together :)

It sounded awesome I admit, but cost me about three times as much to build it, as I could have bought a genuine secondhand one for :)
 

cowboybob

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<Removed>

Completely misinterpreted OP's query.
 
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KeepItSimpleStupid

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https://www.tubedepot.com/t/diy-central/kits-tube-amp/guitar-tube-amp-kits

http://www.mojotone.com/amp-parts/amp-kits

http://tubeamplifierparts.com/watts-store/guitar-amplifier-diy-kits.html

http://trinityamps.com/Product_Parts.htm

http://www.ax84.com/hioctane.html

Plenty of places. Searches like "tub amplifier kits" and "valve amplifier kits". Pricey for sure.

For an interesting Solid state home amp consider building this guy: http://users.ece.gatech.edu/mleach/lowtim/ I built one back in the mid 80's,
 
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irishape

Member
Wow, you guys have me going in circles now. But of coarse after doing things the hard way for so long I must forge on ahead with this project. I will hit some of those sites and see what they have.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Wow, you guys have me going in circles now. But of coarse after doing things the hard way for so long I must forge on ahead with this project. I will hit some of those sites and see what they have.
Like we said, there's LOAD'S of info out there - just not cheap unless you can find second hand transformers.
 

Mosaic

Well-Known Member
I vaguely remember scrapping a valve amp in the 80's, it had two heavy transformers and was constructed from sheet metal framing. As I recall they were comparable to MOTs in size. Perhaps rewinding an MOT might help with cost?
 

irishape

Member
You guys have been more than helpful in my quest for a little knowledge so, thank you. I have another thought that maybe I could get some feedback on. As has been said parts for a tube amp are expensive and kits are also expensive and the whole idea is to learn about tube circuits so what are your thoughts on getting one from ebay, dismantling it and learning that way. Maybe also doing some mods on it. I don't mean one of the high priced ones, something in about a three to four hundred range. Maybe you have some thoughts on the kind also.
 

irishape

Member
No KISS, it is not for resale, just trying to learn a little more about amplifying signals, this time in to tubes. Also I like to solder things together. I just thought if a guy latched on to a used one he could learn the path of the signal, maybe change a couple of things to improve on the circuit and end up without having to make or buy a case and whatnot. I don't know enough now to improve on any circuit but I might by the time I am done. I might also get better at making magic smoke. Any used amps you could recomend?
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Which is why I was suggesting to drop the guitar amplifier and go for something to be able to listen to in the home.

Here's another thought (the Williamson Amp): https://www.google.com/search?clien...=williamson+amplifier+valve&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

and for a better understanding: http://www.thetubestore.com/Parts-Accessories/Guitar-Amps/The-Williamson-Amplifier-CD


For a novice, I'd really like the idea of some sort of kit. Layout is so important. One of the "tube technologies" used to make them is terminal strips and or turret terminal boards.

McIntosh amps are the high end.

A friend and myself compared my Leach amp and his McIntosh tube amp driving Voice of the Theater (VOT) speakers. He was amazed with the sound of the Leach amp. The VOT speakers had horns. the tube amp drove the horns a "lot better" than the Leach. The Leach did much better for bass. He likes Classical music and I like Folk.
 
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