Planning to build my first amp

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Planning to build my first amp

Postby paw on Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:56 pm

Hi good people of Vintage Amps board! New guy here.

I want to build an amplifier and have never done so before. I have some experience with electronics, constructing, soldering and making circuits. I don't have equipment to etch circuits at this point, but I have a fluke multimeter that handles 600 V. I have soldering equipment but the tip is really thick so I will probably get a new soldering station for this project. Recommendations are welcome.

I'm not quite set on what amp (circuit) I want to make, but I want low wattage (15-40 W) and a circuit that breaks up nicely (the '65 in this video sounds pretty good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI9l7l2eugk). My Mesa does clean and distorted well but isn't as good at low gain breakup stuff. I'm thinking classic Fender right now but classic Marshall may also be good. A circuit with master volume would be practical as I want to use the amp for recording, but I'll be open to scrap it if people think it somehow compromises the amplifier.

I understand schematics but really have no clue how to organize (construct) the whole build, and I have no idea how to make the chassis. Any advice or good links out there?

So could you help me...
1. (suggest) pick an amp/circuit
2. pick a good soldering station
3. understand how to organise and construct the whole thing

Any advice will be much appreciated!
paw
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby stratele52 on Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:45 am

Before you start to build a amp, you should learn how to solder. It is not easy as people think. You have to pratice few hours on a pieces of old wire.
You have to know not to burn( destroy ) resistor or capacitor when soldering
Too many kits build by a beginner do not work or are noisy because bad solders.

You also have to know how to make a good lead dress. Bad wiring routing can generate lot of noise in amp.

You never solder and never built electronics kit, start by something easy and not expensive like a small effect pedal. If you like that, you can bought a amp kit.
Don't start from scratch for a first amp, buy a good kit.

You will not save money but it is a good hobby if you learn how too before and not after you damage the amp.

Soldering station ;I use Weller brand
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby keithb7 on Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:55 pm

OP, what part of the world are you in?

Based on your initial comments, I am thinking Tweed Deluxe 5E3. It was my first amp build. Tuned out great and sounded great too. It was not my first try at soldering though. I had built a few pedals first.
I ordered my kit from Trinity Amps here in Canada. I was very happy with the kit and instructions. As mentioned though, little to no money savings but it is fun and rewarding. I have moved on to build 4 amps,
and repair and maintain many others.
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby paw on Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:01 pm

stratele52 wrote:Before you start to build a amp, you should learn how to solder. It is not easy as people think. You have to pratice few hours on a pieces of old wire.
You have to know not to burn( destroy ) resistor or capacitor when soldering
Too many kits build by a beginner do not work or are noisy because bad solders.

You also have to know how to make a good lead dress. Bad wiring routing can generate lot of noise in amp.

You never solder and never built electronics kit, start by something easy and not expensive like a small effect pedal. If you like that, you can bought a amp kit.
Don't start from scratch for a first amp, buy a good kit.

You will not save money but it is a good hobby if you learn how too before and not after you damage the amp.

Soldering station ;I use Weller brand


Like I stated in the post I have soldered before, including capacitors. I will take your advice on good lead dressing and wiring routing though. That is something I need to learn more about.

I want to make something I'll use and I'm not sure if I want to build a pedal just "to get started" and generate "junk". I do have experience with electronics but haven't made an amplifier yet, and that is why I need some guidance.

Weller brand noted. Thanks!

keithb7 wrote:OP, what part of the world are you in?

Based on your initial comments, I am thinking Tweed Deluxe 5E3. It was my first amp build. Tuned out great and sounded great too. It was not my first try at soldering though. I had built a few pedals first.
I ordered my kit from Trinity Amps here in Canada. I was very happy with the kit and instructions. As mentioned though, little to no money savings but it is fun and rewarding. I have moved on to build 4 amps,
and repair and maintain many others.


Is my English that bad? :lol: I live in Norway.

Initially I thought of ordering parts picked for the project and making a "custom" amp but that may just make this build unnecessary troublesome. I recon a kit might be the sensible choice, and instructions should help me understand the whole amp building process better. I'll look into Trinity Amps as well as European suppliers.

Thanks!
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby stratele52 on Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:06 pm

paw wrote:
Is my English that bad? :lol: I live in Norway.

Initially I thought of ordering parts picked for the project and making a "custom" amp but that may just make this build unnecessary troublesome. I recon a kit might be the sensible choice, and instructions should help me understand the whole amp building process better. I'll look into Trinity Amps as well as European suppliers.

Thanks!


Nobody write your English is bad, to me you speak very good english.
Most of us can't speak one word in Norvegian :laff:
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby paw on Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:11 pm

stratele52 wrote:Nobody write your English is bad, to me you speak very good english.
Most of us can't speak one word in Norvegian :laff:


Just kidding with you mate :lol: Thanks for the recommendation though, the 5E3 sounds great in most youtube clips.
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby OldSchoolDave on Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:25 am

paw wrote:
stratele52 wrote:Thanks for the recommendation though, the 5E3 sounds great in most youtube clips.


I second the 5E3 recommendation. It's a straight-forward build and a very useable amplifier. As there are only a couple of tone capacitors, buy some really good ones (I have Sozo mustard-style in my 5F2 Princeton clone - which is also a good project amp).

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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby keithb7 on Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:20 am

First amp I ever built. Trinity Clone 5E3. Clip here that I made back in 2012.

https://youtu.be/mDndZXa3Xek?t=6

Go for it. Fun usable amp to play.
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby drewleslie on Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:20 pm

it's probably cheaper to buy a kit ... single sourcing parts gets expensive quickly. The 5E3 is a great start, very versatile. drew
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby paw on Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:12 am

OldSchoolDave wrote:I second the 5E3 recommendation. It's a straight-forward build and a very useable amplifier. As there are only a couple of tone capacitors, buy some really good ones (I have Sozo mustard-style in my 5F2 Princeton clone - which is also a good project amp).

Dave


Cool, maybe I'll get some extra caps along with a kit.

keithb7 wrote:First amp I ever built. Trinity Clone 5E3. Clip here that I made back in 2012.

https://youtu.be/mDndZXa3Xek?t=6

Go for it. Fun usable amp to play.


Sounds great! A little too bassy for my preferences but that may just be miking and tone settings.

drewleslie wrote:it's probably cheaper to buy a kit ... single sourcing parts gets expensive quickly. The 5E3 is a great start, very versatile. drew


Yeah, and I think that's the way I'm gonna go. Sounds like the 5E3 is the favorite candidate here. I'll check out more amp demos on youtube and decide what I want.
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby OldSchoolDave on Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:07 pm

paw wrote:
Sounds great! A little too bassy for my preferences but that may just be miking and tone settings.

Yeah, and I think that's the way I'm gonna go. Sounds like the 5E3 is the favorite candidate here. I'll check out more amp demos on youtube and decide what I want.


Keep in mind that speaker selection represents a big part of the final tone. What tube is running in V1 also makes a difference. So, take the clips with a grain of salt.

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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby paw on Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:08 am

OldSchoolDave wrote:Keep in mind that speaker selection represents a big part of the final tone. What tube is running in V1 also makes a difference. So, take the clips with a grain of salt.

Dave


Noted. I would like a 1x12 or 1x10 cabinet to go with the amp as well, but later maybe. Any recommended speakers for the 5E3?
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby OldSchoolDave on Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:56 pm

paw wrote:Any recommended speakers for the 5E3?


That all depends on what tone (and range of tones) you're seeking. Search this forum - there has been a lot of discussion on this topic.

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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby paw on Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:51 pm

OldSchoolDave wrote:That all depends on what tone (and range of tones) you're seeking. Search this forum - there has been a lot of discussion on this topic.

Dave


I'll check it out. Thank you.
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Re: Planning to build my first amp

Postby Unit_1 on Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:31 am

I have an Avatar 4x12 cab with 2 Celestion G12M and 2 G12H that I use with mine. The sound is very nice and full - super sweet tones...

btw, if you want some really incredible caps for your build, I have some NOS Astron paper in oil caps that are the least noisy caps you can get. Normally I don't let any of these go, since they are really unobtainium

But I have hundreds of them and I'm just not building amps anymore like I used to, so I think I could spare some for one build. :mrgreen:

PM me if you're interested!
:cheers:

Pics of one of my 5e3 builds

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