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Build Your Own Tube Amp Kits


Johnny Foreigner
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Apols this is a little off topic - didn't seem OT enough to go in the OT section tho...

anyone had any experience with build your own tube amp kits? I'm thinking it would be a fun little project - I'm sure it would work out no cheaper than walking into GC and buying a JCM800 or whatever, but seems like it could be fun and informative and stuff.

any experiences to share?

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Apols this is a little off topic - didn't seem OT enough to go in the OT section tho...

anyone had any experience with build your own tube amp kits? I'm thinking it would be a fun little project - I'm sure it would work out no cheaper than walking into GC and buying a JCM800 or whatever, but seems like it could be fun and informative and stuff.

any experiences to share?

I haven't done a kit, per se, but last year I bought an old tube PA amp from the late 50s and modded it rather successfully into a pretty rockin' 35W head. It sounds something like a JCM800 crossed with a more vintage Plexi. Wasn't too hard to do, either. Total cost of the project: ~$150

I've thought about buying a kit from Weber Amps - either the "Heather" (SLO100) or the "8CM100" (JCM100, I think), but never could pull the switch. It just seemed more cost-effective to tool around in an older amp to get the sound I wanted.

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Kits are a great way to go, but start with something simple first, to get the hang of working with high voltage (and yes, it really CAN kill you). A champ is a great starter amp. Something like a JCM800 is a little overkill for a first project. There are actually a ton of fun kits you can build with submini tubes that are lower voltage, compact size, lower power requirements, lower wattage, but still sound awesome. Let me warn you that it is addictive and that there is a ton to learn.

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Kits are a great way to go, but start with something simple first, to get the hang of working with high voltage (and yes, it really CAN kill you). A champ is a great starter amp. Something like a JCM800 is a little overkill for a first project. There are actually a ton of fun kits you can build with submini tubes that are lower voltage, compact size, lower power requirements, lower wattage, but still sound awesome. Let me warn you that it is addictive and that there is a ton to learn.

Yeah, I was actually looking at AX84.com and their kits. Seems a fairly cheap entry point, pretty easy to learn the basics and end up with a decent sounding amp.

I'm interested in as far as it would be a fun project, more than that I'd end up with the killerest of killer tube amps.

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I had (and continue to have) a great experience with a kit from the guys at Brown Note. Homepage here, their well supported building forum here, and their webstore here.

I built their 22W kit, styled tonally after Dumbles, and have been very very happy with the tone and quality. Their support is top notch, instructions and kit completeness exceptional, and my amp is now the envy of other players at every gig I play.

You can see how my turned out on my webpage, in the link in the sig, though I have no sound clips. Still, I'm not much for electronics skills but I'm careful in my building. I had no real issues at all with this build, so I'm confident anyone with a modicum of skill could pull off a fabulous kit amp from these guys.

-Dave

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I have built a couple from plans from the ax84.com website. The kits from them (doberman) are good quality and use high quality parts.

The good part is the forum where they will help you debug any problems you have with your build.

My build started life as a JCM800 type . Then became a SLO . Then a Plexi type . Now it is something else entirely.

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i used to sell diy kits on ebay with my former buisness partner before he went of to college at mtsu.

one thing that sold for us was a simple design based around a single tube so you can understand how it works and with minimal parts investment. we used a 6dx8 or other pentode/triode tubes its not that loud on clean but you get some nice drive with a dirty signal. if you like i could send you a schematic

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I built my first amp about 8 years ago from a "Hoffman board" AC-30 and parts list. It was almost like a kit, but I had to source the parts. Cheaper. Weber amps has some pretty nice kits. Some of the stuff is low grade, but they offer upgrades on the OT and PT if you like (I think). Once you get the hang of it (no squeals, hums, etc...), you can reinstall a new turret board and neaten it up with the same main parts (tube sockets, OT, PT, choke?, chassis, pots).

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