Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Design and Construction of Tube Guitar Amplifiers Paperback – September 1, 2009
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
I've been involved in music and electronics since the 60's, when I electrified my ukulele. My parents had a Magnavox record player, whose ceramic cartridge plugged into the amplifier via a RCA jack. I bought a contact microphone from the local electronics store, attached it to my ax, plugged in to the Magnavox, and counted off Memphis. That seemed to get my parents attention, so they bought me a Heathkit shortwave radio kit for Christmas, along with a Weller pistol-grip soldering iron. I assembled the radio, attached the antenna, turned it on, and it started howling. I couldn't get it to work right until I resoldered every joint. By this time we'd moved to Jersey, and I started buying my own equipment. First up was a Lafayette amplifier, which, if I recall correctly, used two 6BQ5's in its push-pull output stage. I connected the amplifier to the 12" speaker in the console TV in my bedroom, and plugged my uke into the phono input. I had no idea why it sounded so bassy... I upgraded to electric guitar in '67, when my folks bought me a used Fender Jazzmaster. I joined a band with my friends, but I needed an amp, so I emptied my savings account and bought an Ampeg Gemini II at the local music store. Luckily, it included the dolly, since I had to push it all the way home. I took that rig to Cornell University, where I studied Electrical Engineering, including a couple of courses on electronic music taught by Robert Moog. I also took every music class I could, and worked part time as an electronics technician at the Cornell Synchrotron. My guitar never sounded quite right to me, so I started by changing the speaker in the amp, and then, in '70, I sold the Jazzmaster and bought a Gibson ES-335, which I still play today. The Ampeg went next, first for a Marshall Major, then a long string of other amps. After graduation I headed out to Santa Barbara, where I worked for a couple of years testing integrated circuits for Burroughs. I was still playing in bands, and I started building my own equipment, both amps and speaker systems. I then moved to San Francisco, where I eventually ended up working at Dolby Laboratories as an audio engineer. I learned much of what you will read in Chapter 1 at Dolby. In the last decade or so I have been taking a more orderly and comprehensive approach to amplifier design. I began, like most designers, by repairing and modifying various Fender, Ampeg, Marshall, and other designs. Later, I began constructing new amplifiers, first using existing units, such as Fender Bassmen, as platforms, and then designing and constructing all electrical and mechanical parts of the amplifier. Each amplifier was used in performances with various guitars, speakers, and effects systems.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
With that background I have to say this book is incredible. While no book will satisfy every reader, and every book will have some who think its too elementary and some who think its too advanced, I think this book has something for every level to learn.
If you are a newbie I recommend it for the first section on basic electronics, the last section that has a short overview of actual building, and the great "start up testing" guide, which is a must read for all beginners. The main section of the book which goes in excellent detail about the workings and design of each part of a guitar amp, just blew me away. For the beginner this may be info overload, but you will still start to understand what each section does, and why that resister is over there. As you build more amps over the years, this will be a book you then "rediscover" as your knowledge base grows.
For the more advanced builder, you will find the last section on construction a bit elementary and uninformative, but it wont matter because the design section will have already blown you away. Its all there in plain English and some easy math; no over opinionated speeches, no vague handwritten diagrams, no bogus untested circuits. The author is giving you real, true information that you can use, written in a professional manner, rather than just trying to impress you with "cocktail talk" that has no relevancy.
I am also currently reading another new book, Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass, by Merlin Blencowe. I also recommend this book and will do a review when I am done, but looking it already has some great reviews.
The Dan Torres book, Inside Tube Amps, although quirky, opinionated sometimes, and scatterbrained sometimes, is also to me a great book to pick up when you are starting out. He does a great job of going over each section of the amp in detail, and has some great charts to show differences in tubes, rectifiers, etc. Its also a book I kept discovering new info in every time I picked it up.
The books I dont recommend,(hate to make this a bash session) are the Kevin O'connor series of overpriced books, and the Weber books.
The O'connor series was almost ok, cause there wasnt anything else. Megantz' book does in one book what O'connor sort of does over 5 books at a total cost of over $400. Yes, I have some of them, and I got a little bit out of each of them, but most of each book was fluff, opinion, and less than worthwhile info. The whole series could be distilled down to one book with useable info. Having said that, maybe I'm the dummy and the really smart people out there get these books more than me. For this simpleton they didnt cut the "smell test".
Another series to stay away from is the Gerald Weber set of "books", if you can call them that. Write enough magazine articles and I guess you too can put together your own book. Again, I am sure there is wonderful info you can sift through to find in there, and if you are rebuilding old Fender and Marshall amps they are the best to read. If you are doing your own builds and even designing something new, then keep your money.
Having said all that, even the books I bash above have good info if money is no object, just trying to point out the books with most bang for the buck.
Anyway, I have recently acquired a 1939 RCA/Victor amplifier that is (unfortunately) not repairable without replacing most of the original circuitry... so, I purchased this book with the intention of using it to help design the perfect amplifier for me by allowing me to re-purpose every part that I can from that amplifier. I found this book to be perfect for me as a beginner and was pleasantly surprised to find that it literally described the exact front-end circuit that I have always wanted in a tube amplifier; a preamp section with a switchable overdrive! That schematic alone was worth the price of the book to me.
I have a good friend that is a very knowledgeable amp technician and I have had to clarify a few things about this technology that I didn't find in the book, so it won't teach you everything - but it certainly does answer most of a beginners questions.
This is a great book. Definitely worth the money.
I'll be using two books from now on for design and construction. This will be first on the list. Esp since it includes tube data as well. I couldn't be more pleased.