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

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Is Building Your Own Tube/SS Amp Difficult?

    Hi guys,

    I just want to know how extensive building your own tube/ss amp.. Ever since I got my telecaster.. I've been looking into amps that is capable of producing outstanding glassy, sparkly cleans and have a dirt channel that is acceptable.. my priority is the clean sound, definitely with a reverb so that I can leave it on and forget about it..

    also, I'm having a hard time finding an amp that can go side by side with an over beater drummer, a guitar and bass with 60 and 80 watts of peavey transtube amps, and keyboards, without being mic'ed, and can take on a three and a half classroom sized room (that's the size of our church and maybe larger) without cranking the amp to the max, and at the same time, can be a nice practice amp at home..

    I'm under the impression that building an amp will be more expensive as building your own partscaster... but if the rewards out weighs the expenses.. then I'm interested..

    don't go into the details, just give me your point of view, on how extensive this project is going to be.. in terms of sourcing of parts, labor, etc...

    thanks!

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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    This is an area that I am out of my depths on, but I'd have to say without a pretty advanced knowledge of electronics I would probably advise you against building a 100 watt amp which is what it seems like you need. You probably could save money if you really put a lot of time into it but sound quality would not be guaranteed to be good. Any good instrument speaker is going to run you $100 each- and you probably want 2. So start there and then add the electronics and time.

    I think of it like this- a 100 watt Fender Frontman 212 will set you back $300 which means $100 for electronics- can you do better yourself? Maybe but I think it isn't worth it.

    That said if making your own amp is your life's calling go for it but I would start small.

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by die Bullen View Post
    This is an area that I am out of my depths on, but I'd have to say without a pretty advanced knowledge of electronics I would probably advise you against building a 100 watt amp which is what it seems like you need. You probably could save money if you really put a lot of time into it but sound quality would not be guaranteed to be good. Any good instrument speaker is going to run you $100 each- and you probably want 2. So start there and then add the electronics and time.

    I think of it like this- a 100 watt Fender Frontman 212 will set you back $300 which means $100 for electronics- can you do better yourself? Maybe but I think it isn't worth it.

    That said if making your own amp is your life's calling go for it but I would start small.
    that makes sense! thank you very much.. then I guess, investing on a good amp, and saving my money, I'll be better off with an already built one... I don't know anything about electronics, and speakers etc... and you're absolutely right.. it isn't worth it.. thank you for talking sense to me!

    cheers!

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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    Other guys might disagree with me but I see it as a relatively small outlay that could allow you to meet your needs with no effort spent. Wait until Musicians friend (or another site) has a 15% off coupon and you are closer to $250 brand new- even cheaper used. Is it the BEST amp out there? Probably not but it probably addresses the need.

    If you want to go tube you will pay more but if cost is really an immediate concern you probably want SS now and trade up to tube later.

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    Axeaholic YeahDoIt's Avatar
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    One of the things that I pay for when I buy things is the research and development that went into it. I can build things but the first try is likely not that good, and I'm repeating the research and development that someone else probably did. I prefer to buy used in good condition for a good price.
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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    All this said- let me make it clear that I would never dissuade someone from trying a DIY amp build to learn how to do it. My opinion was just for this particular case.

    Heck I have a 1950's Avery Fisher tube receiver from my grandfather that I would love to turn into a head amp- problem is I really don't need another amp. Of course I don't know what I am doing in this space either and it would greatly annoy me to get it wrong.

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    Axeaholic Teleblooz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsallintheblues View Post
    that makes sense! thank you very much.. then I guess, investing on a good amp, and saving my money, I'll be better off with an already built one... I don't know anything about electronics, and speakers etc... and you're absolutely right.. it isn't worth it.. thank you for talking sense to me!

    cheers!
    I do have some knowledge of electronics, but I personally would think long & hard before attempting a build from scratch. That said, I would very much encourage you to try smaller-scale projects to get some chops under your belt - there are a number of useful stomp boxes that can be built with just basic soldering skills. Work your way up to it.

    For your situation, I'd recommend you scare up a 30-40 watt tube amp, such as a Peavey or Crate (both of which can be found at very reasonable prices used), and skip the whole solid-state thing unless you plan to use heavy signal processing and get most of your tone from stomp boxes. 100 watts is overkill unless you're playing large venues.

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teleblooz View Post
    I do have some knowledge of electronics, but I personally would think long & hard before attempting a build from scratch. That said, I would very much encourage you to try smaller-scale projects to get some chops under your belt - there are a number of useful stomp boxes that can be built with just basic soldering skills. Work your way up to it.

    For your situation, I'd recommend you scare up a 30-40 watt tube amp, such as a Peavey or Crate (both of which can be found at very reasonable prices used), and skip the whole solid-state thing unless you plan to use heavy signal processing and get most of your tone from stomp boxes. 100 watts is overkill unless you're playing large venues.
    I thought about how much wattage i need to get there...

    when it comes to DIY, I'm a scare-dy cat... when I first adjusted the truss rod of my guitar, I was scared to death.. I was planning to have someone assemble it and I'll just buy the parts... well, at least that's what I was thinking.. I want a fender amp clone or a vox... but I'm seriously thinking of just buying used.... maybe thats the best way to go?

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    Axeaholic Teleblooz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsallintheblues View Post
    I thought about how much wattage i need to get there...

    when it comes to DIY, I'm a scare-dy cat... when I first adjusted the truss rod of my guitar, I was scared to death.. I was planning to have someone assemble it and I'll just buy the parts... well, at least that's what I was thinking.. I want a fender amp clone or a vox... but I'm seriously thinking of just buying used.... maybe that's the best way to go?
    Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to discourage you from the attempt, far from it. I just meant you ought to have a functional amp to use while you're building your "project" so you're not under the gun and pressured to get it done, and you're not screwed if the build takes a long time to get right (or ends up not working at all).

    And don't sweat it - truss rods freak everybody out at first.

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teleblooz View Post
    Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to discourage you from the attempt, far from it. I just meant you ought to have a functional amp to use while you're building your "project" so you're not under the gun and pressured to get it done, and you're not screwed if the build takes a long time to get right (or ends up not working at all).

    And don't sweat it - truss rods freak everybody out at first.
    I have a very crappy Behringer GM108 15watt SS modeling amp.. I just can't get what I want from it, I can't get my telecaster to sound good with it.. maybe it's just me but I really want a quality amp to practice and to use at church... and I've been amazed at the DIY build tube amps and the way they did it for less than fender or vox or marshall, or whatever amp they cloned...

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