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Building amps

9/12/2000 12:45 AM
John Doe Building amps
Ok, I'm 14, I have a basic knowledge of how tube amps work and I want to know how difficult would it be for me to build one. What kind of equipment do I need to have? I suppose I should probably start with a good tube amp book and try to get a better understanding first, but is this possible for someone my age, or should I not even get into this. Thanks.....
9/12/2000 1:53 AM
Winnie Thomas

Okay John,  
You can certainly build an amp. There are somethings that need to be paramount. #1 is that the voltage in a tube amp can kill you, in fact you'll be fried quite spectacularly, so caution is the watchword.  
Second, There are many books and places to read info. Try the tech section here at the AX84 site, read the papers at and other's site's, Steve Ahola's Blue guitar site is helpful too.  
Then ask lots of questions here.  
Good luck.  
PS is your name REALLY John Doe?
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9/12/2000 2:46 AM

Of course you can make a tube amp!  
As Winnie has already stated, don't dive in until you have a good understanding of the dangers involved. Always be sure to keep one hand in your pocket when you probe high voltage circuitry with the other - that advice has kept many a tube enthusiast alive!  
Your plan of getting tube amp books is a great one. I suggest getting as many books as you can with schematics, including Gerald Weber's books and Aspen Pittman's "The Tube Amp Book" (great schematic pages in both of these).  
Decide what you want from your amp, including power output (3Watts, 15W, 25-30W, 50W, 100W, etc.) and basic sound (Fender, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, etc.), including effects (reverb, tremolo, or none). If you already have an idea of what you want, just repost here, and you'll get plenty of advice on suitable circuits. If you want something to use with a band, then I suggest using an amp with 25W or more.  
If you have someone to assist you with your circuit, that is always the safest approach for a first-timer, regardless of age. You might even be able to get assistance from a high-school electronics teacher, a music store technician, or somewhere else. Heck, you may even get some credit for this in school!  
You are not alone out there. Please be careful, ask a lot of questions, and get multiple opinions on everything (and that includes my advice).  
9/12/2000 4:23 AM

Very good suggestions in the other replies. My Brother built all kinds of things. Our Tuner ,Stereo was one he built. And he was about 13.  
Some people learn faster than others. The Ampage is a good place to learn. I've seen many on here come in knowing almost nothing about amps..except playing through them. And now are building fantastic sounding amps. Its like anything..Start simple learn the basics..and always ask questions..There are many here who will help answer ..till you understand. There are many places to learn on the Internet..and books that have tons of things to help.  
9/12/2000 1:44 PM
Chris B

I'm working on my second home-built amp and my advice is to get at least a 30 watt soldering iron, a fairly big roll of rosin core solder, and a good digital multi-meter (DMM). All of this can be found at Radio Shack or on the net. Another thing, spend some time on the web finding places for supplies, schematics, and parts. Here are a few places to start:  
triode" target="_blank">">triode electronics  
antique" target="_blank">">antique electronic supply  
new" target="_blank">">new sensor corporation  
fender" target="_blank">">fender field guide  
Good luck!  
Chris B  
P.S. check out Ampages schematic index also.
9/12/2000 3:02 PM
Jim S.

My advice is to start out by repairing amps and maybe doing small modifications. You should hold off on building an amp until you understand how every part of a tube guitar amp works.  
One thing you could try is looking for off-brand non-functioning amps that you can buy for very little money. Maybe visit yard sales or music stores that specialize in used gear. Or you can try convincing friends to let you try doing some maintenance on their amps, when you're ready for this.  
Don't be in too much of a rush. Take your time to learn the fundamentals. Read lots of books, not just one. Ask questions. Start with small, simple projects and gradually take on harder ones as you gain confidence. Be sure you gain knowledge of electronics theory as well as the required motor skills (handling small parts, bending leads, routing wires, soldering connections). Commit yourself to learning how to do impeccable workmanship (neatness = reliability!). Have fun. Be safe.
9/12/2000 3:42 PM

I'm a softie for younger folks trying something different so get your parent(s) to email me and I'll help you put together a small novice tube amp.  
My son use to be able to build one of my 5 watt Soulkicker jr. chassis in about 12 hours when he was 14 years old.  
Mission Amps
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