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Building a guitar amp.


Runcie
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Just wondering if anyone on here has ever built a guitar amp from scratch before?

Part out of boredom and part out of wanting a beast of a guitar amp for cheap (or so I thought!) I've decided to build a Soldano SLO copy. Having worked with electronics in the past it looks like a doable task, but if anyone has any advice before I fly in amongst it it'd be much appreciated. I'm gonna fire up a blog when all the parts arrive to try and get advice as the build progresses. Should be good fun!!

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I've built a Marshall 18watt clone from an Amp Maker kit. This guy is a great help and is a great source of parts and advice. I built the kit several years ago and a friend built his SE-5a amp and has went to to mod it quite a bit. There're great sounding amps like.

You get really good instuctions plus you can fire the guy lots of daft questions and he'll help out.

I'm currently in the process of turning the 18watter into more of a bass amp and fitting a master volume. Once I get the tone I want I'm going to try and get the noise ceiling right down and then build a high wattage power amp for it to drive. I think the hardest thing with homemade stuff is getting rid of hum and noise.

Good luck with your build! I'll be looking out for the blog! :up:

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Just wondering if anyone on here has ever built a guitar amp from scratch before?

Part out of boredom and part out of wanting a beast of a guitar amp for cheap (or so I thought!) I've decided to build a Soldano SLO copy. Having worked with electronics in the past it looks like a doable task, but if anyone has any advice before I fly in amongst it it'd be much appreciated. I'm gonna fire up a blog when all the parts arrive to try and get advice as the build progresses. Should be good fun!!

Drop Stoney_Stu a line.

He's modded and repaired quite a few amps and is currently building a Torres from scratch.

He'll be happy to advise.

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Yeah he mentioned he was going to start a build when I bought his Hotrod Deluxe a while back. That Torres site looks cool. If all pans out well with the SLO I may give an AC30 copy a bash afterwards.

I've just blown 350 on Onetics transformers so just waiting patiently for everything to arrive now. Affa excited!

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Yeah he mentioned he was going to start a build when I bought his Hotrod Deluxe a while back. That Torres site looks cool. If all pans out well with the SLO I may give an AC30 copy a bash afterwards.

I've just blown 350 on Onetics transformers so just waiting patiently for everything to arrive now. Affa excited!

Where about do you get your parts from? I've used a mix of All Parts, Hotrox and Maplin. I'm also waiting on new transformers in the post!

I was looking for some >100watt transformers for my high power amp but was struggling to find something in the UK.

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Here's a wee list of places I've ordered parts from.

www.uk.mouser.com - (Most electronic parts like caps, resistors, pots, etc)

www.c3amps - (Power transformers, Choke and Output transformers)

Tube amp parts, Guitar Tube amplifier building supplies, Tube amp Information, Guitar amp parts - (Large Caps for power supply board)

Onlineshop Startseite - (Valve mounts, LDRs, LEDs and some cabinet hardware)

Weber Speakers - Making the world a bit louder each day. - (Chassis)

Tubeampdoctor's in Germany and the guy who runs it seems really nice. Most of the parts I reckon could be ordered their. Some decent looking transformers too.

I've been having a bit of a nightmare trying to source resistors and capacitors in the UK. Most people want to just reels of like 1000. Maplin seems a little bit dry on these too (or perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough). Any ideas of a Mouser.com type alternative that ships from the UK??

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Amp Build !

I started in January building my Torres amp... nearly finished it now! 40 hours or so of time spent on it.

The amp is very feature rich and I think that was a mistake for my first amp. Anyway I'm having a blast doing it.

If I were doing it again I'd start with a simple single channel amp .. then add to it as I went along afterwards.

The Torres amp will be good, and the main man Barry is really helpful, however the diagrams have been inaccurate in many places so its been frustrating. Someone who had experience in doing this would have spotted the mistakes easily enough, but I had no real experience in amp builds so a bit of time has been wasted. On the positive side I've learned a lot because of these mistakes.

My next amp build ... (yes I'm already thinking of one) will be a 18W head with an option to go to 5W and 1W ...

Fun fun fun :)

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Here's a wee list of places I've ordered parts from.

www.uk.mouser.com - (Most electronic parts like caps, resistors, pots, etc)

www.c3amps - (Power transformers, Choke and Output transformers)

Tube amp parts, Guitar Tube amplifier building supplies, Tube amp Information, Guitar amp parts - (Large Caps for power supply board)

Onlineshop Startseite - (Valve mounts, LDRs, LEDs and some cabinet hardware)

Weber Speakers - Making the world a bit louder each day. - (Chassis)

Tubeampdoctor's in Germany and the guy who runs it seems really nice. Most of the parts I reckon could be ordered their. Some decent looking transformers too.

I've been having a bit of a nightmare trying to source resistors and capacitors in the UK. Most people want to just reels of like 1000. Maplin seems a little bit dry on these too (or perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough). Any ideas of a Mouser.com type alternative that ships from the UK??

RS Components ?

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I built the ampmaker PP-36 earlier in the year. I really should have bought a much smaller one as it's way too loud - even on the 18 watt setting. It has no master volume so it's difficult to get any form of overdrive without silly volumes. The amp itself is really good. I'm pleased with the results, I just think I should have gone with a lower powered one. I'll probably buy another kit at some point in the future, most likely the 4 or 5 watt model.

Pete

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I built the ampmaker PP-36 earlier in the year. I really should have bought a much smaller one as it's way too loud - even on the 18 watt setting. It has no master volume so it's difficult to get any form of overdrive without silly volumes. The amp itself is really good. I'm pleased with the results, I just think I should have gone with a lower powered one. I'll probably buy another kit at some point in the future, most likely the 4 or 5 watt model.

Pete

How's the 36watt amp in a band situation? I tried my 18watt job veses an 50watt orange and a 3000kJ drummer and couldn't shift any air at all!!

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I built the ampmaker PP-36 earlier in the year. I really should have bought a much smaller one as it's way too loud - even on the 18 watt setting. It has no master volume so it's difficult to get any form of overdrive without silly volumes. The amp itself is really good. I'm pleased with the results, I just think I should have gone with a lower powered one. I'll probably buy another kit at some point in the future, most likely the 4 or 5 watt model.

Pete

Ive been looking at his site for a while, just trying to get some cash together. How hard was the 36 to build?

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Doobie,

I've used mine on the 18 watt setting with a Marshall 1960 with 2x Vintage 30s and 2x Alnico Golds in a band situation. Other stuff on the go was a 50 watt plexi reissue and an Ampeg SVT Classic with 4x10 cab. It was cutting through no bother at all.

Triggs,

I found the build itself to be easy enough. You get a circuit diagram and a layout diagram so between them it's a little like paint by numbers. The problem with this kit is that you don't get the test procedures as it's aimed at experienced amp builders who know how to calculate expected voltages at various points. Barry from ampmaker talked me through the test procedure over the phone/email but it would have been easier with one of the smaller kits where you get a detailed list of expected voltages for each point of interest. The turret boards were easy enough to build but the rest of the build is down to being pedantic and trying to arrange all the internal wires neatly.

If you want to have a look/listen some time, give me a shout.

Pete

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Doobie,

I've used mine on the 18 watt setting with a Marshall 1960 with 2x Vintage 30s and 2x Alnico Golds in a band situation. Other stuff on the go was a 50 watt plexi reissue and an Ampeg SVT Classic with 4x10 cab. It was cutting through no bother at all.

Triggs,

I found the build itself to be easy enough. You get a circuit diagram and a layout diagram so between them it's a little like paint by numbers. The problem with this kit is that you don't get the test procedures as it's aimed at experienced amp builders who know how to calculate expected voltages at various points. Barry from ampmaker talked me through the test procedure over the phone/email but it would have been easier with one of the smaller kits where you get a detailed list of expected voltages for each point of interest. The turret boards were easy enough to build but the rest of the build is down to being pedantic and trying to arrange all the internal wires neatly.

If you want to have a look/listen some time, give me a shout.

Pete

thanks for the heads up!

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Can anyone explain to me just what exactly is going on inside a guitar amp in laymans terms? To me building an amp from scratch means designing it first on pen and paper, not buying a kit (thats like doing a jigsaw puzzle of van gogh and calling yourself a painter)

I know what basic components do (resistors/capacitors/transformers) not entirely sure on what valves are doing, can I relate any of it to transistors? I mean, I know how pretty much how valves work...I just have trouble visualising just what exactly is happening inside an amp....I have only spent the last 15 years trying to understand, but nothing Ive read/seen/heard helps me...

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Can anyone explain to me just what exactly is going on inside a guitar amp in laymans terms? To me building an amp from scratch means designing it first on pen and paper, not buying a kit (thats like doing a jigsaw puzzle of van gogh and calling yourself a painter)

I know what basic components do (resistors/capacitors/transformers) not entirely sure on what valves are doing, can I relate any of it to transistors? I mean, I know how pretty much how valves work...I just have trouble visualising just what exactly is happening inside an amp....I have only spent the last 15 years trying to understand, but nothing Ive read/seen/heard helps me...

If you've got a good idea of the fundamentals, I think your best bet's to have a look at schematics for different amps online and try to get your head round them. They all follow a similar design (pre-amp, EQ, power-amp & power supply) so if you can grab enough schematics you can compare how the big guys go about designing the different sections and it should all click in to place.

Building an amp from a kit seems like a pretty good way to learn more about how amps work so might be worth considering (plus you know how much you'll be spending). I decided to grab schematics for an SLO and try to make one from that. I've found ordering and waiting for parts the most frustrating part of it, and it's going to end up costing a fair whack cause I've used pretty good parts.

In the end though, it will hopefully sound good and I've a much better understanding of how the things work now. It's all good fun.

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Can anyone explain to me just what exactly is going on inside a guitar amp in laymans terms? To me building an amp from scratch means designing it first on pen and paper, not buying a kit (thats like doing a jigsaw puzzle of van gogh and calling yourself a painter)

I know what basic components do (resistors/capacitors/transformers) not entirely sure on what valves are doing, can I relate any of it to transistors? I mean, I know how pretty much how valves work...I just have trouble visualising just what exactly is happening inside an amp....I have only spent the last 15 years trying to understand, but nothing Ive read/seen/heard helps me...

One of the advantages of the Amp Maker kits is, with the basic ones anyway, you get instructions that explain what each section is doing. Plus with Amp Maker you have Barry Amp Maker to call for support when it all goes up in smoke. I originally wanted to just copy a schematic like Runcie but thought at the time I didn't have the faultfinding skills to get it going if it didn't work first time. The kits are a great way to learn.

Since maing my first kit I have now designed a modified circuit baised on my kit, I'm upgrading components and adding circuits I have borrowed from other amp designs. it might not work but its the experimentation that is the fun part! If it does I'll have a 18Watt Orange-Sound-Marshall-City - a parallel pre-amped, master volume, 18watt AB power amp voiced for bass. :up:

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