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Help with first amp build

5/10/2005 3:04 PM
Help with first amp build
Hello to everyone! First I shall introduce myself. I'm a young (18) italian guitar player that has made some solid experience in repairing solid state stuff, mostly hi-fi. I want to build my first tube amp, and I don't know what particular model shall I build.  
I play a Strat, the usual SRV, Clapton and other blues... I'd like a SRV sound, and I quite like old Fenders. I need a low powered one, so I thought about a Deluxe Reverb, an amp that I've even tried at the guitar shop (the reissue one). But I haven't listened yet to any tweed fender that everyone seems to like.  
But I've got a Line6 PODxt and I can say that I like Blackface Fenders over Tweeds, given that the POD can't give a real amp sound, but the general flavour is the same of the real amp.  
And another problem: I'm living in Italy, so finding the right components is so hard for me: trannies are expensive and so do the tubes, much more than in the USA...  
Help me please!
5/10/2005 1:45 PM

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5/10/2005 3:05 PM

Yes, I know, but what? Should I go for the California Dreamer or November? I even like the Lowatt...
5/11/2005 9:23 AM

If this is your first build then start with the P1 and gain some building experience. Once you get this working fine then work it further with P1 Extreme.  
I would not recommend the Lowatt. Just do a one channel preamp.
5/11/2005 9:11 AM
Getting parts doesn't have to be hard. You'll need to learn a little about transformers. Try the Aiken site and the R.G. Keen faq for some good info. After that you can find suitable transformers in alot of old tube equipement. I actually find that most of the old Hi Fi output transformers sound better than what you can buy off the shelf. You usually have to overpower them to get them to sound best. My last Hi Fi OT was out of an old "The Fisher" stereo. It was rated at 30 watts and I'm running it at about 45. It sounds so good I could cry.  
Not sure about speakers in your region though. But sometimes you can get them out of the old tube gear too. On the build before my last one I scored an old Jensen P12R thats in great shape. I got that one for free. The original owner of the old record console was just glad to see me haul it off. I almost felt guilty after I opened it up to find some really great old transformers, a chassis that was already just the right size for a guitar amp and that P12R. Anyway, salvage is a great way to get stuff.  
Of course componants (caps resistors etc.) are relatively inexpensive and lightweight to ship. so you just order that stuff.  
5/11/2005 10:34 AM

Thanks to all! But I have to state a few things.  
First of all I've never had experience in guitar amp building (I only built a tube radio), but I have in restoring and reparing many vintage hi-fi amps, both SS and tubes. So I don't think I've got to start from such simple amps that haven't any purpose on stage, maybe just for recording. So I directly pointed on "real" amps.  
And I understand very well transformers and electronics in general, I'd only like to have some info on what amp to build given my tone requests, not how to start my journey in the world of tubes (that already started years ago).  
Second, I stated that I live in Italy, and with that I mean that old tube equipement (trannies, speakers) can't be found anywhere. Italy had a big electronic boom in the 70s, and everything was transistorized. Now you won't find anything, I mean anything old. I've searched for years, and I know...  
So I've got to order. Speakers aren't a problem because I plan to build an head, so I will buy a decent cab or just build later... for now I want to concentrate on the amp.  
So, no salvaged stuff. But good electronics experience. What amp? I like SRV...  
Thanks to all for your help!
5/11/2005 11:40 AM
I wasn't suggesting a way for you to get started. I gathered from your post that you could handle the project. I was suggesting a way for you to find parts so that you wouldn't have to order and ship heavy expensive stuff.  
"So I don't think I've got to start from such simple amps that haven't any purpose on stage"  
The idea is that you remove the transformers, tube sockets, etc. from these things and use them in guitar amps.  
"Second, I stated that I live in Italy, and with that I mean that old tube equipement (trannies, speakers) can't be found anywhere. Italy had a big electronic boom in the 70s, and everything was transistorized."  
Same here in the USA. I can't know what the used market is like where you are though of course.  
I meant no offense by my post. I hope you understand that.  
P.S. Once you already have an amp or two that you've built you may someday run across some old piece of tube gear and then you'll see what I mean.
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