#1
Right so im just doing a bit or research into different amplifiers out there for guitar as im new to this im just seeing whats going on.

I came across tube and valve amplifers which offer have great tonal abilities so im told. Firsty is there a difference between a valve and tube amp? And there were some sites selling kits that you can make you own tube/valve amp and cabinet speaker. Compared to the ones made by say fender or whatever how do they compare in price/quailty of sound and build etc.

The reason im starting this thread is because i like to make/build things as its a good way to learn how things work. Maybe im just wierd be who cares.

Thanks Guys!
#2
Tube and valve amps are the same. Valve is just another way to say tube.

There are plenty of sites that offer kits to make your own tube amps. But it's not as easy as it might seem. Check out the stickies in the gear building and customizing forum.
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#3
ok will do thanks mate. what sort of skills would you need to be able to build a kit version?
#4
I don't know of anything resembling something like a "EZ-TUBE AMP" Kit. There are plenty of schematics around the interwebs but you'd probably have to collect all the components yourself. And if you aren't familiar with electronics and soldering I wouldn't even bother - you may end up wasting a lot of money if you don't know what you're doing. At best you'd work your ass off to complete an amp that probably wouldn't sound anywhere near as good as a commercial brand's product. And no offense, but I'm assuming you aren't too familiar with amps right now based on needing to ask whether there was a difference between valve and tube.
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#5
Quote by bennyboi04
ok will do thanks mate. what sort of skills would you need to be able to build a kit version?
How to solder. Buy a kit that has good instructions and there is little difference between putting together a tube amp and putting together a model airplane.

But if you are a little bit handier you could source parts yourself for cheaper and pull a schematic and layout off the internet. I would usually just buy a kit. To me, sourcing parts for an amp is just too much of a headache, but some people love doing it.
Last edited by al112987 at May 12, 2011,
#6
Quote by bennyboi04
ok will do thanks mate. what sort of skills would you need to be able to build a kit version?

Eh, you know how the saying goes: "If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it."
Except with tube amp kits, it's more like "If you have to ask, you probably can't do it and will likely get yourself killed in the process."

Okay, that was harsh. There are many many sites offering kits, often based on simple, low-wattage amplifiers, which makes the kits cheap and comparatively easy to build. You need to be able to solder, and with some kits, you need to do some metal work, too (drilling holes in the amp-chassis for the most part). You'll also want to have a volt-meter to check if everything is operating within spec.
Most important of all, you need to be able to read a schematic - possibly the most difficult part for a newbie, even if it seems very straightforward.

It's all pretty simple, but add it all together... hm. Also, tube amps operate with fairly high voltages internally, anything up to 500V is common - which is easily life-threatening.
#7
Quote by al112987
How to solder. Buy a kit that has good instructions and there is little difference between putting together a tube amp and putting together a model airplane.

That's like saying you can fly a 747 if you have a good manual. No sir, I will have to disagree.
#8
Yeah I wouldn't suggest building anything with electronics if you don't know how to troubleshoot them. Something always goes wrong (wrong polarity, wrong resistor, wrong capacitor, didn't follow the schematic exactly, wrong part, etc.).
#9
Quote by TheQuailman
That's like saying you can fly a 747 if you have a good manual. No sir, I will have to disagree.
When I was 9, my mother bought me a "build your own radio kit" instead of the Lego Ninja Fortress that I asked Santa for. It had instructions like... "put this resistor here... that resistor there... this capacitor here.. that capacitor there", it was a kid's toy. Putting together a tube amp really is not that different. Especially a simple one like a Fender Champ or Princeton. A complete noob could do it in a few hours with the right kit and right instructions. Most kits that I've seen come with the chassis punched out and everything ready for assembly.

You're right that it IS dangerous and does require a bit of know-how but not really anything that you couldn't pick up in a few weeks of reading...

Troubleshooting is where all the shit happens when you don't know what you are doing. But these days there is so much online help in DIY forums or guitar forums that you can get good answers from people who are really good at it.

Bennyboi04: If you want to try it, I would pick up Dave Hunter's tube amp book and his Two Stroke amp kit. I promise you, read the book and you will be able to put that thing together in no time. And it sounds pretty good too.
Last edited by al112987 at May 12, 2011,
#10
Quote by al112987

You're right that it IS dangerous and does require a bit of know-how but not really anything that you couldn't pick up in a few weeks of reading...

Troubleshooting is where all the shit happens when you don't know what you are doing.

Yah, that's the two points that I'm on about. Trouble-shooting through the internet is close to impossible unless you can measure voltages to get a good idea of what's actually wrong.

And if you do a few weeks of reading, I won't consider you a n00b anymore. I'm saying it's dangerous and too difficult for people who don't know anything at all.
#11
cool guys i wasnt actually gonna build one just interested if anyone has taken this approach and what the outcome was if it was worth doing in the first place. Yep im a noob and proud of it lol : ) thanks for the input definately worth looking into for future preferance. For now im just worrying about learning how to play and hopefully getting a tutor for the summer when in off from uni.
#12
Quote by bennyboi04
cool guys i wasnt actually gonna build one just interested if anyone has taken this approach and what the outcome was if it was worth doing in the first place. Yep im a noob and proud of it lol : ) thanks for the input definately worth looking into for future preferance. For now im just worrying about learning how to play and hopefully getting a tutor for the summer when in off from uni.


It is very possible to build your own tube amp. Manufacturers like Ceriatone offer DIY kits with all the components and assembly instructions to do it.

However, I would advise you to just pay for a quality tube amp, and forgo the DIY route. Putting a tube amp together isn't a hard thing to do, but you will require some experience with electronics and soldering to do a neat job.

Its like playing the guitar, it looks simple when watching others do it. However, when you try your hand at it, it won't seem so simple to do a neat job.
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#13
I can understand the whole research thing but tbh i'm not sure if someone who HAS TO ASK A FORUM what the difference between valve and tube amps should be attempting to build one... I mean if he cant research that...


#14
Quote by coolstoryangus
I can understand the whole research thing but tbh i'm not sure if someone who HAS TO ASK A FORUM what the difference between valve and tube amps should be attempting to build one... I mean if he cant research that...




Exactly this.
If you don't know what the difference between a valve and tube amp is(Spoiler: There is none.), I would not reccomend making your own amp.

Kits are relatively easy to build but you should have prior knowledge of what you're doing. You must be able to read schematics, solder well, have common sense and a whole bunch of other stuff.

As for the cabinet kit, could you share a link?
I'm not even sure how someone could make a cabinet kit other than hardware needed. I'd imagine in this kit the hardware and speakers wouldn't be very good.
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