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Thread: Is Building Your Own Tube/SS Amp Difficult?

  1. #11
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    let me ask you this- what is your budget? Maybe we can steer you in the direction of some amps?

    Again I am not trying to discourage you but anyone who made a really awesome DIY tube amp is not a beginner.

  2. #12
    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Well, I'm saving up, and my target is around $200-$250? I've seen a few Peavey's in our country's musician forums, but I can't pull the trigger since from what I experienced from our peavey bandit 112 church amp, I'm still not satisfied with it.. vox don't show up in the classifieds often and fender amps are rare.. since they are expensive and only bought by those who have money, studios and for those who are in the equipment rental business...

    I'm not really aiming for a tube.. I can go with a SS.. but of course if I see a good deal on a tube amp.. I will go for it.. but then again, my priorities are the cleans.. since I'm a minimalist in the pedal territory (reverb, delay, od/dist), I like sparkly, glassy cleans...

    I played through a Fender twin and I'm like blown away. but I can never afford it..

  3. #13
    Axeaholic Teleblooz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsallintheblues View Post
    Well, I'm saving up, and my target is around $200-$250? I've seen a few Peavey's in our country's musician forums, but I can't pull the trigger since from what I experienced from our peavey bandit 112 church amp, I'm still not satisfied with it.. vox don't show up in the classifieds often and fender amps are rare.. since they are expensive and only bought by those who have money, studios and for those who are in the equipment rental business...

    I'm not really aiming for a tube.. I can go with a SS.. but of course if I see a good deal on a tube amp.. I will go for it.. but then again, my priorities are the cleans.. since I'm a minimalist in the pedal territory (reverb, delay, od/dist), I like sparkly, glassy cleans...

    I played through a Fender twin and I'm like blown away. but I can never afford it..
    Don't let the Bandit sour you on Peavey. It's a solid-state amp with all the (in my opinion deserved) baggage that that implies. Their Valveking line has some really nice all-tube combos that sound pretty sweet and are reasonably priced to boot. You owe it to yourself to check one out.

    The Fender Twin is a great amp, but it's not only expensive, but probably much more amp than you need. Fender has some smaller amps that are capable of getting that clean sound you're looking for.

    Whichever way you decide to go - buy or build - go with tubes. You won't regret it (unless you get something either WAY too big like the Twin or WAY too small like a Champ). Solid state guitar amps are a crapshoot at best.

  4. #14
    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teleblooz View Post
    Don't let the Bandit sour you on Peavey. It's a solid-state amp with all the (in my opinion deserved) baggage that that implies. Their Valveking line has some really nice all-tube combos that sound pretty sweet and are reasonably priced to boot. You owe it to yourself to check one out.

    The Fender Twin is a great amp, but it's not only expensive, but probably much more amp than you need. Fender has some smaller amps that are capable of getting that clean sound you're looking for.

    Whichever way you decide to go - buy or build - go with tubes. You won't regret it (unless you get something either WAY too big like the Twin or WAY too small like a Champ). Solid state guitar amps are a crapshoot at best.
    I guess tubes is the way to go..

    another question... all of my peeps told me that tubes require maintenance? like over zealous maintenance? and some of them told me to not crank it up as it will wear the tubes out and the replacement is expensive.. is there such truth about these statements?

    I will try and look for tube peavey amps.. their transtube series amps are not doing it for me.. and yes the twin is more amp than what I actually need.. might be overkill for a three and a half classroom sized church.. hahaha.. but yeah, that's the first time tears welled in up my eye when I heard the cleans I'm getting on this amp...

    another factor is the loudness? how loud can a 15watt all-tube amp get versus a 40-80 watt SS? can a 15w tube keep up? I just can't grasp how much "loudness" I need... sure, I can crank up the amp's volume when I'm testing it in a quiet store but playing it live is a different story... and if I bought that amp.. I can never return it back and tell the store guys, I cranked it up, but it didn't work out...

    another is the speaker size... how much a 15w all tube amp with 8" speaker compare to one with a 10"? is the loudness depends on the speaker or the power(watt) of the amp or a little of both?

  5. #15
    Axeaholic Teleblooz's Avatar
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    I think the claims of high-maintenance are a little "overzealous". Yeah, you'll need to eventually replace some tubes, but some people take it way further than it needs to go. I have two tube amps, a Blues Junior and a Crate V33H. In terms of playing time the Crate is still pretty close to new, but I've been playing (and gigging) the BJr for about 3 years, and have had to replace one pair of power tubes - an investment of about 40 bucks.

    As far as not cranking it, there are a couple of aspects to this. First, tube amps are like cars in some ways - they need to be "played in" a little. I'm told you shouldn't crank brand new tubes right away because it puts an undue strain on the tubes and will cause them to burn out faster. Second, if you're looking for a clean sound you won't be cranking it anyway, so it's kind of a moot point.

    As to the loudness question - when I got the BJr (15 watts), it was to replace a 65-watt solid-state Fender (Princeton 65 DSP). It did the job just fine. For what it's worth, both amps use a 12" speaker, though I occasionally plug the BJr into a 1x15 cabinet when I'm feeling saucy. You don't need to downsize to an 8-incher.

  6. #16
    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    I see… so I buy a tube amp, for average use… like 4x a month use for church at proper volume, and like an 1 hour or so for practice at home everyday at minimum volume, and the occasional large scale concerts… a tube amp will live a long life right?

    Yes, I read about the “cranking new tubes” somewhere too… and yes, I’m looking for glassy cleans, but I would like to have a considerable clean headroom for “clean” licks, and have a little bit more than enough left for those times you need to take the music to the next level... I play my church amp at like 90% volume and just keep my guitar volume down… so that when all my bandmates are in the peak of their music, they tend to get louder, and I would just roll my volume up so I wouldn’t be drowned out… and they use effects pedals, I don’t.. except for the reverb in the amp…

    Would a 15watt tube amp be enough or I need to get like 30watts to be safe?

    Thanks for the help.. I appreciate it... I just a noob in all these things… I never cared about amps, guitars, pickups and other music related stuff back then... I’ve been catching up after 15 years of just “playing”… I’m not just “playing” anymore… Hahaha..

  7. #17
    Axeaholic Teleblooz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsallintheblues View Post
    Would a 15watt tube amp be enough or I need to get like 30watts to be safe?
    My Crate is 33 watts, and I've never been able to turn it up past about 1/4. I gigged the 15-watt BJr with a 5-piece band and volume never became an issue (except on the odd occasions where I had to turn down). To be fair, I do like a little breakup in my sound, so it wasn't running crystal clean. We did mike it after a while, but just so we could get it heard through the monitors while keeping the stage volume down at a tolerable level.

    30 watts will definitely provide you with more than enough clean headroom, and it sounds like that's what you're primarily looking for.

  8. #18
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    For what it is worth I have a Peavey Classic 30 and it is surprisingly loud. I have played at backyard parties and it is already quite loud at volume setting 4.... It might be enough for you but if the band is very loud as you said at the beginning you might need a 50 watt...

  9. #19
    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by die Bullen View Post
    For what it is worth I have a Peavey Classic 30 and it is surprisingly loud. I have played at backyard parties and it is already quite loud at volume setting 4.... It might be enough for you but if the band is very loud as you said at the beginning you might need a 50 watt...
    quite loud at volume setting 4? I think 30 tube watts is enough if that's the case... since all of our church amps are SS.. two peavey transtube amps for guitar and bass, and one roland solid state amp.. I use the peavey bandit 112.. and I find myself wanting a bit more sparkly and glassy cleans.. I guess I need to try out some amps to find the tone I really like...

  10. #20
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    30 watts tube could very well be loud enough- it is for me but again I don't know how loud your band is. I do think 15 watts tube is too small for you though.

    Let me put it this way- I have a 100 watt tube Ampeg head amp and it is so deafeningly loud I can't play with it above 2 volume. I only suggested the 100 watt Fender because it gives you a lot of bang for the buck and it is cheap and guaranteed if you buy new. I personally prefer a tube sound and tube amps are louder than ss- no doubt there.

    You might very well be able to find a used rube amp from Peavey for the money you are looking to spend but yes definitely try out a few.

    On tubes being a maintenance nightmare- I agree that this is an exaggeration and would not let this deter me. Heck if you are worried just buy a replacement tube kit from Eurotubes.

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