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Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Power Amps Paperback – January 22, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Power Amps + Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Preamps, Second Edition + Circuit Analysis of a Legendary Tube Amplifier: The Fender Bassman 5F6-A, Third Edition
Price for all three: $105.32

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Amp Books LLC (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976982242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976982241
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Greg Smith on June 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are like me, a life-long guitarist and an Electrical Engineer who earned his degrees long after vacuum tubes were taught at universities, this book is definitely for you. Frankly, I was hooked once I read his other book that focused on the analysis of the Fender Bassman. I have read other books on the subject that seem to take much more of a survey approach to the study of guitar amps. I am a serious musician and have always loved the tone of a good tube amp. So, it only stands to reason that as an engineer I would want to learn how to build my own. Unfortunately, the great texts like "The Radiotron Designers Handbook", aside from being hard to find in good condition, are traditional technical treatments of amplifier design and therefore stress the importance of designing "nice", linear, clean, and well behaved amplifiers. That's fine for HI-FI equipment but just plane antithetical to guitar amplifier building. ...anyway, Mr. Kuehnel's books (all three of them) treat the tube guitar amplifier as it should be. That is, as half of the musical instrument. The half that produces all the great warmth of tone and musical rich distortion that all modern guitarists crave. His works come from an understanding that distortion and non-linear behavior is exactly what a good guitar amp is about and he presents the circuit analysis needed to understand how to capture that behavior in your own designs. Also, while he takes the time to illustrate a particular design choice by highlighting similar circuit blocks from famous amplifiers (like the Bassman,) his books fully explain the design trade-offs involved rather than just parroting existing designs. I have added each of his books to my library and hope to see them in hardcover some day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gnobuddy on October 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vacuum tubes have been around since the *first* world war, and for most applications they became obsolete by the mid 1960's, some fifty years ago now. However, to this day, deep into the 21st century, vacuum tube based amplifiers and electric guitars remain a match made in heaven - nothing else sounds quite as good with an electric guitar.

So we electric guitarists have an odd situation. We're stuck with these ancient devices that still sound great, but the engineers who invented and built these things and developed the technology are all long gone. Nobody teaches tube theory in engineering college today, either. And guitarists regularly use tube amps in ways their original designers never anticipated, pushing them deep into screaming distortion - so whatever old theory existed is only marginally applicable to guitar amps as they are used today.

All this means we have very little solid, accurate engineering knowledge about tube guitar amps available today. Instead we have a lot of myth and legend and misinformation, and a great deal of worshipping of ancient tube amp designs from half a century ago. We do have reproductions of ancient tube manuals, but those were written before electric guitars existed, and certainly before contemporary electric guitar playing techniques evolved, so they are of very limited use.

Richard Kuehnel steps into this enormous gap and attempts to fill it with this book. The book is a treasure-trove of information, complete with plenty of mathematical equations, graphs, and electrical schematics. You need a fairly solid background in analogue electronics theory to really understand the book, so it's not really for the casual reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Salvatore Gambino on July 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I wanted to increase my abilities when it comes to customizing guitar amps for my clients. If your looking to further your knowledge or if you are just starting out, Dave Funks book is so much better. Here is the link to buy Dave Funk's workbook here on Amazon Dave Funk's Tube Amp Workbook: Complete Guide to Vintage Tube Amplifiers Volume 1 - Fender
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Fackler on January 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My background is in the transistor world using BJTs, JFETs, and MOSFETs for low level and power amplification. I've used a few OP-AMPs for active tone controls as well. This book, along with his other tube pre-amp book "Guitar Amplifier Preamps", gave me all the information I needed to build both low level tube distortion pedals and tube based power amps. I believe a person without an electronics background could use these books to begin building a useful amp. However, you will not learn about the fundamentals of voltage, current or reactance and these books do assume you have that knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James R Hissem on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you really want to understand guitar amplifier power amps, this is the book to get. I would also recommend Kuehnel's pre-amp book, and Bassman book. There is so much garbage information on the internet about guitar amp circuits, this is refreshingly correct. There are many great engineering books about tubes from the 40's-50's, but there are all about reducing distortion and increasing snr etc. This book reminds me of those classics, but it's filled with info relevant to guitar amp applications, which makes it the best available on the topic. It also reminds me of an engineering textbook, no differential equations or matrices, but it has some math and it's very objective and thorough, which I appreciate.

I did recently pick up Merlin Blencowe's book on guitar preamps and I would say it's nearly equal to Kuehnel's book, if only slightly less mathematical. I look forward to getting his power amp book as well.
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