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Tube Guitar Amplifier Essentials Paperback – December 1, 2005
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On the positive side, the book is highly readable with only a few copyediting errors, and I'm reasonably certain that I now know more about guitar amplifiers now than I did before.
Even though I am glad to have read this book, I do agree with many of the criticisms made by other reviewers. It is a compiled collection of magazine articles from over a 20 year period, and therefore is not organized as helpfully as a textbook would be to an independent learner. The compilation format leads to it being somewhat redundant too. A few of the articles are almost useless because they are not dated - for example the tube reviews: Sometimes a manufacturer's tube quality changes a lot over the years, so it would help to know the year the review was written. My own biggest frustration was with the index, which is close to useless: The entries are at a single level of depth, so there are frequently dozens of page numbers with absolutely no context. For example, look up "cathode" or "Blackface" and you will see roughly 70 or 100 page numbers for each with no explanation. Which page do you turn to first? The copyediting errors have already been mentioned, and they only bothered me because 1) they show a lack of quality control, and 2) they suggest that there was little editing or independent review. I'm not sure why, but many tube amp gurus seem to come across like they were the last Coca Cola in the dessert and don't need to consider critiques from anyone else.
Regardless, and even if Gerald Weber is perhaps the next to last or even the 3rd from last Coca Cola in the dessert, he is both informative and entertaining, and I am likely to read more of his work.
This material was not written as a book but is a collection of separately written articles that have been published as a book. Therefore, there is repetition of the same material several times in different sections. This is annoying, because you are wasting time reading almost exactly the same sentences, which is a waste of time. However, you feel you must read them for fear of missing something added in the section. A good editing of this material into a logically organized, non-repeating flow would make a much better book.
There are references to the author's other books to get information referred to in this book. Why not just include that material? Like how to bias an amp. Bias is discussed several times in different sections and explained over and over, but the actual process is never described.
There are many photos but none are illustrations. They appear to have been added simply to fill blank pages. Many are repeated over and over in different sections but none of the photos have captions or are associated with the text. Why waste the money to publish unneeded photos. Why not leave out the photos or include photos of actual subject matter and caption them or refer to them in the text.
There are some schematics, and some component layout images, however, many of the sections could benefit greatly from before and after schematics or even photos of the circuit board; particularly the sections on modifications and rectifier designs.
The cover is poorly designed and does not do justice to the value of the contents. A good book but needs a good editing for poor sentence structure and material flow.