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Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Preamps, Second Edition Paperback – September 8, 2009


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Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Preamps, Second Edition + Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Power Amps + Circuit Analysis of a Legendary Tube Amplifier: The Fender Bassman 5F6-A, Third Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Amp Books LLC; 2nd edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976982269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976982265
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Kuehnel is a member of the Circuits and Systems Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

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Customer Reviews

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If you only want to buy one tube book, buy one on the complete amplifier design.
E. Jonatan
I recomend this book to anyone trying to make their own amp or just wanting to change the sound of an existing to your likes.
Strider
This is a book for those that have a good back ground in circuit analysis and a serious interst in tube guitar amps.
Nathan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard Christie on June 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many discussions on tube musical instrument amplifier design descend into subjectivity and waffle. Some books, in attempting try to appeal too widely, lose rigor in explanation.

Kuehnel's volume manages to avoid becoming mired in theoretical detail yet remains analytically rigorous. The reader is expected to have a firm grasp of basic electronics and electronic components but explanations do not extend into the realm of system-function in frequency domain, laplace and fourier analysis. This contrasts with Kuehnel's seminal volume on the Fender Bassman 5F6-A, which is mathematically much more demanding.
The reader here is led quickly through basic triode operation and resistive divider networks. A reasonably comprehensive chapter on guitar pickup characteristics is included, this is extremely welcome as many works on similar subject neglect this topic, which is of fundamental importance. Further chapters cover topics of Miller capacitance, pentode operation, headroom, distortion, noise, cathode degeneration and parallel operation of triodes. The Ampeg B42X pre-amp is analysed, chosen because it does differ somewhat from the more familiar Fender Marshall circuits.

In keeping with the desire to use an engineering approach rather than that of a 'guru', Kuehnel includes data on real-world capacitor and resistor performance. He resists the temptation to pontificate on the vintage-component-tone-mojo debate and leaves it to the reader to assess the implications.

Tube gear is currently making a bit of a comeback in hi-fi, but it never really went away for guitar amplification.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on April 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book for those that have a good back ground in circuit analysis and a serious interst in tube guitar amps. If you want to build an amp of your own and fully understand all that is going on (not just copy a popular circuit and pass it off as yours just cause you wired it up)This is a good book to help you along with that. There was actually lots of information and analysis that was almost verbatim from my University Electrical engineering courses along with examples of actual guitar amp circuits that make me wish I would have found this book when I was still in school (would have held my interest and encouraged me to learn more). It is not for those who want a light read, this is a "break out your pencil and calculator" kinda book, which is exactly what I was looking for. I'm sure I'll be reading it at least 9 more times (I'm crazy that way) to fully understand everything and compare content with other books. Worth the money to me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Strider on July 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in hopes of understanding the preamp section better. This book really delivers in that area. It tells you in detail what each component does and how to select values with the formulas. It's more technical than other book I've read, which is what I like. I recomend this book to anyone trying to make their own amp or just wanting to change the sound of an existing to your likes.

Now going to buy the power section book......
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vaughan Otter on May 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rating: 4.5/5.0

This volume takes a unique place in a growing field of books about tube-driven guitar amps at various levels of geek-speak. Kuehnel's text manages to be clear and advanced at the same time. It's the only book I have with a complete and accurate analysis of AC behavior in guitar amp circuits, especially in the grid and coupling circuits, with exact equations that can easily be speadsheeted.

Unfortunately, Kuehnel saves his tone stack analysis for his Bassman book. Instead we get almost 25 pages of input "channel" circuits, and over 40 pages on non-linear impedence factors in circuit components, a tradeoff which seems disputable. The book also comes at a steep price, the page count is deceptive, printed with large page margins, and the softcover binding has a tendency to curl just after the shrinkwrap is removed.

In comparison, Blencowe's preamp book makes a worthy companion to this one, directed more at modifications, and includes an entire chapter on tone circuits. But Blencowe's 3-band stack analysis is limited to f~1/2piRC estimates, his editing is shabby and generally his books are loaded with errors. Just check pages 3 and 4 of his power supply book for typos you can howl about.

Kuehnel is far more careful and often succeeds with a *less is more* voice of experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Travis Walker on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
There are a lot of good resources out there for the hi-fi audiophile, but not nearly as many for the guitar amplifier enthusiast. Imagine in your head the "perfect" guitar amplifier tone and you can understand why you would not want to design it the same way as a hi-fi home audio system. I've been searching for a book with detailed coverage of tube circuits for guitar amps and this is exactly what I was looking for.

If you want a book that will help you understand how each part of a guitar amplifier affects tone, then this book is for you. The author describes the different circuits involved throughout the preamp and how to analyze them, giving examples from classic amplifiers along the way. [...]

If you want to design your own amplifier and also want to understand the inner workings of the circuitry rather than just following a cookie-cutter design, then I strongly recommend getting your hands on this book. It will give you the confidence you need to design your own amplifier.
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