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I have knowledge of how a guitar amplifier works, and have even designed schematics for tube amplifiers. Even though the general layout (input—>preamp—>fx loop (if wanted)—>power amp—speaker out) is kind of straightforward, what could I add to the circuit to make my design sound different from others?
Example(s): If I’m making an EL34 amp, make it sound different from a Plexi, JCM800, Hiwatt Custom 100 or Vox AC50, if I’m making a 6v6 amp, give it a sound different than a Fender Twin/Deluxe Reverb/Champ, or if I’m making a 6l6 amp, sound different from a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.
 

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look up tone stacks [ for all the brandes] and power tube biasing [hot/cold] and their effect on the output
 

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Transformers have different characteristics that translate to different sounds.
 

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That’s a lot of what Garnet’s book covers.

The power supply design, tube or solid state rectifier, how stiff that is, the phase inverter topography, where you put the tone stack, the values in the tone stack.
 

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EF86 preamp tube into a 2 or 3 band tone stack (not a 6 position switch) and then into a parallel SE power section (so no PI), with a variety of power tubes. I don't know if it'll sound any good but I'm not aware of anyone building that config. But maybe there's a reason for that.
 

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EF86 doesn't like traditional tone stacks, loses too much gain. It's either a switch or a few variants of a simple tone knob. I use a cathode follower after the EF86 a la Marshall, Fender Tweed, Vox, then into the tone stack. IMHO what makes amps sound different is in what order the signal blocks are arranged, ie gain, tone, cathode follower, gain, PI or another order. Also which PI is used has a big influence on tone. Orange uses a different PI than Fender and others and sounds unique. Many, many ways to "skin the cat".
 

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If you could have one amp, which would you choose, 'Classic' or 'Unique' with no further qualifiers?
A unique sound that is GOOD would be my choice, Doug.

GOOD = rich, clear, responsive, articulate, variable.

Otherwise, yeah, may as well "go-with-the-usual." I guess.
 

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To a certain extent it's all been done. Depends on how different you mean I guess. For me, to sound completely unique, it's going to be so different that some will think it is broken.
Otherwise, a little different and some will just think 'sounds like a variation of (insert brand & model here)'.

One thing I did think was quite unique were the Philips tube hi-fi units that did not use output transformers but used custom high impedance speakers instead. Now that is something.
 

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I'm not good at recognizing sarcasm sometimes... this is one of those times.
This is a real thing?
Lol. It sure is (a real thing)!

Like JBWelder said:
...to sound completely unique, it's going to be so different that some will think it is broken. Otherwise, a little different and some will just think 'sounds like a variation of (insert brand & model here)'.
 

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This is why the axe fx is fun - you want 6v6 in a SLO 100? Go nuts.
 

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A unique sound that is GOOD would be my choice, Doug.

GOOD = rich, clear, responsive, articulate, variable.

Otherwise, yeah, may as well "go-with-the-usual." I guess.
I have about as plain vanilla gear as possible -- tele and deluxe reverb . I set both tone controls at 5. And I still sound just like me because a) it's in your fingers and b) that setup sounds like me.
 
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