My Journal



Stepping It Up A Bit

Been waiting on some hole saws and other things I ordered to work on the ammo can amp I saw someone else build on Instructables and decided to go on to the next level of amplifier, the holy grail of amp styles for some: the tube amplifier.

Since this tends to be a difficult, dangerous and very involved type of amplification circuit, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and learning about what I need to know. There are a tone of tutorials out there but if you are going to attempt this, read and understand the basics before you proceed.

Here are a couple of good informational sites to go through:
KarmaSound.com – simple walk through of what a tube amp is and does
AX84.com – massive technical site with most kind of schematics as well as help, info and a lot of tech
Sparkfun.com – of course, you have to know how to read the schematics…

If you are undaunted by all that information, the first place you will likely look is in Google for kits since it’s all prepackaged and ready for you to assemble. As you can see, there are a LOT of them and they tend to be pretty pricey as these things go. Granted, it’s cheaper than buying the name brand from your local store but not that much.

A good site for a rundown of the companies supplying the kits and what they offer can be found on GuitarKitBuilder.com which I read through. Pretty thorough and interesting stuff there so I suggest taking some time to understand what is popular out there.

In the end I’ve decided to go with two approaches to building amps from scratch. The first is to follow along with a really well done example on CircuitBasics.com that details using parts you can get from your local Radio Shack (if it still exists) or MicroCenter (which I love and have a couple near me) and building a small solid state amp. The second is to find a tube amp kit that is for basic distortion and amplification and modify it to be built into my own custom cabinet. I found this great one at OLCircuits.com and am waiting for it’s arrival.

Just a side note for everyone: I have never done anything like this and have only the basics of understanding so don’t feel intimidated! We can work through this stuff together.

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