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Who's dabbled in building amps?

I've built myself a 5F1(Champ), 5E3(Deluxe), 5F6A(Bassman) and 18 Watt Marshall. Of course I've done a little tweaking here and there, personalizing them to my taste. I've also built a AB763(Super Reverb) but then tore it apart and started experimenting. It's laying in pieces in the basement.

I've built a couple clones for other people as well.

I must say the 18 Watt is by far my favorite.
 

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Amps

What sort of results are you getting with these home-made amps? How do they sound, say compared to the ones they are modelled after? How much to they cost to build? Are the parts available locally?

I'm interested in getting into amp building myself and would like to hear more about your experiences.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #6
cohenj said:
What sort of results are you getting with these home-made amps? How do they sound, say compared to the ones they are modelled after? How much to they cost to build? Are the parts available locally?

I'm interested in getting into amp building myself and would like to hear more about your experiences.

Thanks,

Jeff
They're pretty close but there is something about 40+ year old components that you can't duplicate. In 40 years they may sound exact. They do sound 10 time better than the PCB reissues that Fender has been putting out.

In most cases you have to get the majority of your components from the US. There is some stuff you can pick up at your local Electronic supply shop. Being in Toronto you probably have more opportunity than I do. But for the higher quality stuff you'll still have to go south of the border.

They cost as much as the components you put into them and each model is different. The cheapest you are looking at is $400 or so for a Champ and it goes up from there. Upgrade your iron and speaker(s) etc and she goes up in price.

Warning: You absolutely have to have a basic understanding of elctronics. Add a huge respect for electricity. If you don't you'll end up in a pine box. :(

Jeff
 

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I just finished off an 8 watt Ardmore kit from Guytronix. I can't recommend this amp enough. Original design, high quality parts, great price, and excellent customer service. The owner, Rich, is an awesome guy. He spent a half hour on the phone with me fixing a mistake I made, on his dime. Shipping the whole thing to Canada was reasonable at only $24 USD.

After reading this over, it sounds like I'm a shill for the company. I'm not, I'm just really impressed overall with this company and its products.

Pic
 

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I used get old Traynors and modify them before the prices got inflated due to the internet :) I must have re-built and sold more than 20 of these things along with some Garnets and other odd-ball amps.

I also built an Allen Old Flame kit a few years back and that turned out pretty well.

It's certainly a lot easier these days to build your own amp due to all the forums out there and the variety of kits available. When I started, I was buying parts from Dave Funk and asking him all kinds of questions over the phone when placing orders. I also got a lot of info from old ham radio books and the RCA tube manuals. I was in heaven when Kevin O'Connor released "The Ultimate Tone".

I've since gotten out of the hobby and am currently using an excellent amp that I bought from Mark Stephenson. Guys like Mark are much more capable of "blueprinting" circuits than I will ever be as a hobbiest and integrate other innovations beyond those found on vintage circuits.

That being said, if you have the time and are happy with a stock vintage circuit, the kits are a great way to go.

Scott
 

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I'd love to do an 18 watt, but I'm very wary of trying. Just need to get the courage (and the cash).
 

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gproud said:
I'd love to do an 18 watt, but I'm very wary of trying. Just need to get the courage (and the cash).
The instructions on the Allen kit that I built were very detailed, so it would be hard to go wrong if you take your time. You will want to practice your soldering though and get an iron with a regulated tip.

That being said, I have an electronic technologist background so my point of view may be a bit skewed.

The 18 watt circuit is pretty simple, so would be a good one to start on.

Scott
 

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Watch out
Amp building is a very addictive activity

In my case it a sickness and can have some serious effect relationships even. Amps don't argue you see- so you tend to spend more time with them
It's a sickness I'm willing to live with tho'

Markus V
 

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It's become an expensive hobby for me. I've build a dozen or so now, mostly from kits (with tweaks) but a couple of ground-up builds.

The list so far...the ones I recall at least...

Trinity 18w sIII
Trinity 18w Plexi (for Basementhack)
Trinity TC-15 (for Basementhack)
Trinity Deluxe (for a pal of mine)
Trinity Tramp (sold to my cousin)
Trinity Triwatt
Marshall JCM800 2204 clone
Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb clone
Bad Cat Hot Cat 30 NR clone (Ceriatone Stray Cat kit)

I currently have three more in the works. A '59 Bassman, a Bluesbreaker, and a Trainwreck Rocket inspired project.

As far as results go, they all sound great. I haven't heard all the "real McCoys" in person, so it's hard to say how close they are to the originals. With the vintage amps that's kind of hard to judge anyway. Component were swapped all the time based on what was available, and component tolerances were all over the map. No two vintage amps sounded exactly the same out of the box, let alone decades later.

I will say the Stray Cat has one of the best high gain channels I've ever heard. I absolutely LOVE that thing.
 
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