im wondering what skills would be needed. i know soldering, reading a diagram, working with wires. what else does it involve and what would that persons job title be? im guessing an electrician?
Fernandes Monterey Elite (with older version of sustainer)
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could be, but if you're actually building amps (like a combo) you'll need to know how to cut your plywood etc, mount and wire speakers, and tolex/finish the cab.

For just circuits, though, you'll need to know how to solder, read diagrams, understand the components of an amp (tubes, resistors, capacitors, all that fun stuff), and probably more than my brain can think of right now. I'm not sure of the job title, It's probably assembly line work in the major amp factories (peavey, Mesa, etc.)

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well lots, electrician its just a very small part. You need to know how pre amps, power amps etc that give you that distortion/clean sound.
You need to know how speakers work etc. its very technical. You'd quite easily find someone who knows all this at a university, say a music technology lecturer.
depends on the type of amp, solid state is a challenge, but tube amps are deadly. youre playing around with 3-700v of electricity there. DEATH can occur. i personally have built tube amps, good times, but i did a lot of research, and i am majoring in elec. engineering. i have unlimited resources to just simply ASK. saves lives. hah. im not trying to deter you, i think its a great idea, just some words of advice.

You're confusing the output to the speakers with the amount of power running through the amps. A 1W tube amp is as deadly as a 100W tube amp. They still require high voltages to function.

Hope you take that as it's intended!

A battery powered portable amp shouldnt produce too much power. Try looking at the ruby or little gem on this site here.
No problem. Easy mistake to make, just didn't want you getting fried for Xmas.

Without a doubt the most important factor is patience. Patience and planning.
The two most important factors are patience and planning. Patience and planning and preparation.
The three most...
Last edited by bellerophon at Dec 15, 2008,
+1, extreme patience and planning. Use the carpenters rule "measure/calculate five hundred times, install/wire once", well that's my adapted version anyway!!

Building amps I think falls into two catagories:
1. Just copying an existing design.
For this a basic understanding of electrics, electrical safety and electronics is required as well as soldering skills, metal work, wood work, textiles (for tolexing, it's harder than you'd think!!), extreme patience, meticulous working pratices and being generally good with your hands. There's probably enough info on the first few subjects on line for free to start building and the other skills you either have or don't have.

2. Designing and building an amp of you own design.
For this an in depth understanding of electronics is essential. You need more detailed info than what's for free on the web.
Get some good books.
I'd recommend Valve Amplifiers and Building Valve Amplifiers by Morgan Jones.
The Ultimate Tone series by Kevin O'Connor is also a good one.
Both of these assume some level of electrical/electronic knowledge.
Jack Darrs book is a good one to get some basic knowledge first before tackling these ones.
Then if you really want a challenge Radiotron Designers Handbook 4th Edition is every great amp designers bible. Beware it's heavey going.

Hope this helps,
You're right! An electrician might come in handy! No offense, but good luck trying to make your own amp!