Want to build your own tube amplifier for guitar? There are many options: build a kit, build from an existing schematic, or branch off like I did, and try something different.
Maybe, like me, you'll design and build from scratch...
Check out the last steps
-- information's been added since this guide was first published.
Among the goals for this build:
--Build an amp with that MMM-good
--Design it myself.
--Reuse salvaged and vintage components whenever possible, and save good stuff from the landfill.
--Make something unusual (6DG6GT's in a parallel single-ended configuration qualifies as unusual...as does the tone control....)
A whole lot of tweaking later, I've got an amp that pleases me. A small, but surprisingly LOUD amp that outputs something in the neighborhood of 8 watts
(see the Power Amp Stage
step for more info.) And the combination of 12AX7 and 6DG6GT tubes, though unusual, works quite well...
Oh, and this is a fairly hi-gain amp--i.e., it has a good amount of natural tube clipping and distortion, and a decently "dirty" sound. However, hi-gain
and high volume
are not the same....this amp is
loud for it's wattage, but it's not a Marshall stack. It remains a studio type amp, but it is louder than all those Valve Jrs.
, etc. which are so popular today....
Clean signal, no F/X.
Settings: volume 50%, tone 60%, presence 30% :
Clean signal, no F/X
Settings near max :
(Some "ghosting" on the highs is a resonating glass-door china cabinet about 5 feet from the amp...)
In fact, there's a little too much gain
One thing's for sure...tackling such a project means many happy hours pouring over data sheets, studying schematics, checking output transformer specs, and tracking down NOS tubes....
: there's a certain aspect to this build.... I wanted to retain the feel and budget of the radio-amateurs and home-builders of the past. You can easily spend in excess of $1000 USD for a small
tube amp kit
alone (nothing but the best audiophile
components.) There's an elitism about modern tube amps I tried to avoid (or maybe I'm just cheap ;0)