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how many of you think this idea sucks....

6/6/2003 5:25 AM
how many of you think this idea sucks....
Ok, here's the deal. Right now I am in a band that I play mostly rhyhm guitar in. However at certain times I switch off to bass, drums, keyboard, and I do half vocals. Being a poor college student, I haven't had much time since I picked up all these instrments to get good gear for all of them. However, the lead guitar player plays nothing else and has generous parents. Therefore his guitar rig is 10,000x cooler than mine, and since in the band the rhythm guitar is my main instrment, I'm naturally jelous. So i'm trying to think up ways I can get a good sound for cheap. Here's what I'm thinking....  
I've always wanted a Mesa Boogie amp or a high end Marshall like a DSL or something. However, since the venues we play are still small, I would like as little power as possible. 30 watts would be superb, but of course these egomaniacs (no offence Marshall and Mesa!) couldn't have that. However, Mesa makes some high quality preamps that go for cheap on ebay. I already have a good speaker cab (the one thing the other guy is jelous of). I was thinking that I could get one of the Mesa preamps, and then build a little tube power amp (maybe 20 or 30 watts) to hook it in to. That way when my amp is cranked up to 9 and the other guy is still at 4, I'll be grinning my ears off.  
Any suggestions? Comments? Feedback? Verbal abuse?  
Thanks in advance, you guys rock!  
(gosh I'm long-winded)
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6/5/2003 8:44 PM
MJ Harnish

Ok, my two cents:  
Building an amp, even just a power amp, is not a cheap prospect, particularly if you want something road worthy. I think by the time you get done buying all the parts for a power amp and your desired preamp you probably could have bought the amp you crave used. Even a 30w power amp (which isn't going to give you very much headroom, but maybe that doesn't matter) is going to set you back several hundred dollars to build. Double that price if you want a stereo power amp. Most of the cost of any amplifier is in the chassis and transformers, so whether you build just a power amp or a full-blown amp doesn't make a huge difference. Throw in all the tools you probably will need to buy and you're looking at a pretty pricey system that has no resale value.  
Now if this is sounding like I'm discouraging you from getting into amp building, I'm not. It's a great hobby. However, building an amp to "save money" is a losing prospect.  
Here's a better suggestion IMO: Buy yourself a Traynor (the original tube ones) off of Ebay and tune it up. They're all well-built, great platforms for modding, and even sound good stock. Best yet they don't cost a fortune.  
As for whose rig is "cooler"... the fact is 90% of tone is in the hands; concentrate on your tone and don't worry about whose rig costs more. EVH would still sound like EVH even if he was playing a Peavey.... oh wait, he is playing a Peavey. ;)  
6/6/2003 7:53 PM
Doug Shaw (not Doug S)

"Here's a better suggestion IMO: Buy yourself a Traynor (the original tube ones) off of Ebay and tune it up. They're all well-built, great platforms for modding, and even sound good stock. Best yet they don't cost a fortune."  
Holy Cow !! You got that right !! Currently there's a good looking Traynor 50 watt head on eBay with 2 days to go and current bid is 50 BUCKS!!  
And there are LOTS of cheap Traynors there.  
JaValon, I'd definitely look into a Traynor head for the cab you have now. A player in a local band has a Traynor and it sounds great. FWIW...  
Doug Shaw (not Doug S)
6/5/2003 9:38 PM
Geert J.
I always wondered if these were any good...  
There are EL84 versions of these too. I've seen some of these with prices far below the price for the diy parts.  
You could always go see for the poweramp of the November 2+2.  
6/5/2003 10:52 PM

"and then build a little tube power amp (maybe 20 or 30 watts) to hook it in to. "
A possibility would be to find an old tube PA amp (like DuKane, Bogen, or others) or a mono or stereo integrated hi-fi amp (Scott, Fisher, etc.) and mod that to sound like you want it to (if it doesn't already have a good sound with the preamp of your choice). These can be had pretty cheaply at ham-radio fests and flea markets (heck, they even turn up on eBay occasionally, but usually cost a bit more that way), and would cut your costs in going the custom route, as a working old unit will have a 1-200 dollars (at current retail prices) of good, vintage transformers and likely cost less than $50 if you catch a good deal.  
It's a thought. I played through a Fisher X100C for a couple years, and it really had an amazing "coolness factor" to it that freaked a lot of other guitarists out.... :^D  
C ya,  
6/6/2003 2:55 AM

Thats just what I've done Dutch, I'm still working on it. I bought it off ebay for about $56.00, I have about $90.00 in caps and tubes for it, and several hours of labor so far stripping it down and cleaning it up. I'm starting to reassemble it now, using the Clubman design as a basis. You can check out my progress here:  
You could do this also JaValon, if you want to spend the time to do it. Of course, I don't know how it is going to sound yet, but I'm reasonably confident I will be able to tweak it until I'm satisfied.  
But if you want to skip all this and get an outstanding amp that will probably blow away your buddy's rig, just get one of these and be done with it:
6/6/2003 6:48 AM

wow, what a coincidence that you mentioned that amp! I was actually thinking that by the time I got the Mesa preamp and built the power amp for it I could afford a used Carvin MTS1000 head unit. They go for about $400 on eBay. The thing is, I've never heard one, and I have no means of doing so really. If I do get one it would be a bit of a blind buy. Anyone used one?  
Plus, i haven't ever built an amp before. I've just piddled around with effects pedals and read a few books and a lot of websites.  
BTW.. anyone built the Hi-Octane amp off the AX84 project? From the MP3's it sounds really good and marshall-ish.

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