recommended reading

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Skip Jack

recommended reading

Post by Skip Jack »

What books are recommended to learn about tube amps before I jump into building an 18 watt amp kit from GDS.


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rock_mumbles
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Re: recommended reading

Post by rock_mumbles »

Books ???

What are you wanting to read about, how amp circuits are set up and work ... or how to build an 18 watt amp?

Dave Hunter's book is a starting point that does a (kind-of shallow) run through the circuits and differences in some common amps Bassman, AC-30, etc.
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Re: recommended reading

Post by Daviedawg »

Dave Hunter's book is useful for understanding what the parts of the circuit do and seeing examples. Definitely a book for the early stages of the hobby but always there for reference.
Merlin's articles are great for understanding more of the detail in circuit design. They are on line.

Dd
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Skip Jack

Re: recommended reading

Post by Skip Jack »

Thank you both very much

I am a cabinet builder by trade but enjoy playing guitar and jamming with friends.

I can't wait to take on the task of building my first amp.

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Re: recommended reading

Post by CurtissRobin »

The Electric Guitar Amplifier Handbook by Jack Darr is quite good for newbies. There's about 50 pages of basics, 50 pages of service/troubleshooting and the rest is a collection of schematic diagrams. You can skip past those parts that cover transistor amps. It was first published by Howard W. Sams in 1965 and went through several editions and several printings. New editions only happen when a book sells well and technical books only sell well when they have something valuable to offer. This one does. Google it to find a PDF online.

A valuable reference to have around is the RCA Receiving Tube Manual. [N.B. The tubes we use in audio/guitar amps were classified as receiving tubes back in the day when tubes were all the active electronics that there were.] The front chapters give a good introduction to cathode biased, resistor-coupled amplifiers (which are the methods used in guitar tube amps).

Gerald Weber (founder of Kendrick Amplifiers) has published several books on tube amps and while there's a lot of good stuff there it tends to focus on the circuits of Fender-type amps. Even so, the fundamentals of electronics is the same in any tube audio amplifier. I don't recall which of those books would be the best intro; mayhaps someone else can say. Weber's got adherents and detractors and both sides are assertive about their stands.

The Tube Amplifier Handbook by Aspen Pittman is worth perusing as well, though not as a primary learning tool. Pittman was the founder of Groove Tubes and gets vilified for "trying to test quality into tubes" instead of building it in. AFAIK GT didn't built tubes, it bought and matched them. Be that as it may, the book has a lot of good information although it's rather randomly arranged.

The Government Printing Office and the Army Signal Corps and Navy have (had?) old training courses that covered tube electronics succinctly and expertly. I got rid of my old books years ago but when you consider the range of people those books had to train you can bet they were pretty well done. The Army courses were loose leaf, 3-hole punched and the Navy's were bound books. I'd bet that a Google search would unearth PDFs of these.

HTH
KennyO
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Skip Jack

Re: recommended reading

Post by Skip Jack »

Thanks KennyO,

I will see what PDF come up, I will also look at for the others u recommended. I am really excited about this venture. I just want to make sure I am safe working with the high voltage and also to understand what I'm doing and why. I am sure after my first build I will have much better understanding of circuits and what can be changed in the amp to suit my tone flavor.


Thanks again for the information.

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Re: recommended reading

Post by JMPGuitars »

Personally I think Dave Hunter's book is garbage. There's some basic info, sure, but not more, and certainly not as accurate, as what you would get from reading on this website or google for that matter.

The ONLY part I liked about his book was a couple of the interviews at the end. Dr. Z and Tone Tubby were both good, I don't remember if I cared much for the others.

Even worse than the printed book, was the kindle edition (I bought both thinking it was useful...oops). The kindle edition is loaded with more errors than the print book, a LOT more.

The other books they mentioned are likely a much better read for you.

Do you build guitar cabinets?
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Skip Jack

Re: recommended reading

Post by Skip Jack »

No on building guitar cabs. I am a kitchen and bath designer and builder. I will build the amp cabinet once I complete the amp. I wont use any tolex, I will probably build the cab out of walnut or Cherry to get a dark stain furniture finish. I will only be using the amp around my home as I am not in a band. Just play for enjoyment.


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Re: recommended reading

Post by drew »

Here's a link to a thread over on the Hoffman forum that has links to tons of tube amp information and resources: http://www.el34world.com/Forum/index.php?topic=3273.0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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skip jack

Re: recommended reading

Post by skip jack »

Thanks for the link. I book marked it. This all seams a little overwhelming at this point but I know if I take it slow with some help from this forum and others along with a couple of friends I know my first build will be a success.

I have read many articles on safety already and I realize it can be very dangerous and possibly lethal.

I have been reading about different kits and are there some others that you might recommend. I know they say GDS is the cream of the crop. I am thinking maybe of starting with a less expensive kit for the first one but am a little concerned about documentation.

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Re: recommended reading

Post by JMPGuitars »

I'd stick with GDS. His docs are good, and buying a cheap kit just means you will need to buy the GDS kit later anyway. I personally love the GDS/Heboer transformers.

The most important reading is safety, and then basic terminology. After that you need to learn about troubleshooting. You can build the amp and play it before you really need to get into too much theory.

Understanding safety and the basic terminology will give you the most basic tools you need to follow his build docs (besides of course soldering and lead dress skills).

If you need help with soldering, there are plenty of youtube videos that can show good (and bad) techniques.

For learning the heater wiring, check out Gabi's youtube videos: http://youtu.be/7O0_dlKkzSE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Figure these out: AC, HT, HV, B+, PA, PI, OT, PT, Heater, Preamp, Power Amp, Screen, Grid, Cathode, Anode, Plate. :)
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