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Guitar Amplifier Handbook - Understanding Tube Amplifiers and Getting Great Sounds (Softcover) Paperback – October 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''The Guitar Amp Handbook by Dave Hunter (who has written many a book on guitars) covers everything you need to know about the sought after tube amplifier. There is a very heavy warning on page seven about the danger of opening up an amplifier so I read this book for interest only, rather than intending to get a screwdriver out. Well laid out with detailed chapters on how an amp works plus an assortment of classic amp descriptions, the book then continues on how to choose the best amp for you and how to look after it. Essentially, a one-stop shop for all things Marshall, Fender and Peavey.'' --Fireworks Magazine

About the Author

Dave Hunter is an author, musician, and journalist. He is the presenter and co-author of the "Totally Interactive Guitar Bible" and its two follow-ups, "Interactive Fender Bible" and "Interactive Gibson Bible". Among his other books are the popular "The Guitar Amp Handbook", " Guitar Rigs", and "Guitar Effects Pedals". He contributes regularly to" Guitar Player "and" Vintage Guitar "magazines.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087930863X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308636
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are not a lot of books specifically about guitar tube amps, and while there are certainly some great texts out there, nobody had written a comprehensive, plain-english, yet technically in-depth resource explaining how all the different parts of a guitar tube amp add up to great tone... Until now. I think there are many people like myself who don't have any kind of engineering background (i.e.; no math) yet who have a deep interest in understanding exactly what makes their vintage amp tick, and who might just want to build one from scratch one day. This book is for us. Dave Hunter has done his homework and put together a manual that covers a great sampling of makes and types, explaining things that many of the other books assume you already know, and in a non-condescending manner. The Guitar Amp Handbook is from the same publisher that put out the latest edition of The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman, and it is a perfect complement to that book which, while rich in schematics is pretty lacking in technical explanation... Actually, The Tube Amp book has a similar problem that plagues most existing tube amp books; it has great tips and tricks, but no real fundamentals. Dave Hunter has given us the foundation that will finally allow us to actually benefit from the other books.
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Format: Paperback
Buy it! If you have any interest at all in how your guitar amplifier works, you need this book - I can't recommend it anymore than that! Dave has authored more books from Publisher Backbeat Books, and they're all killer productions - great/informative writing, superb binding, covers and great detail in the publishing aspects of these books.

Dave Hunter is well versed in all things guitar, as I have learned through buying and reading all of his works to date. He's got a unique book here in his approach and honesty on the subject, and it's worth every penny. Loaded with real world, no BS information - great sections on signal chain, components, how to select the right amp for you and at the end, a fully documented amplifier kit (which is now available through the publisher's website) which you can either buy direct, or put together with your own parts!

Highly recommended, and I highly recommend Dave's other books as well!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you are done reading this - you will understand tube-based (and let's face it those are the only kind any of us really care about) guitar amplifiers. Hunter writes clearly, and concisely, my only objection to his style is that he's a little bit too sympathetic to people's feelings. I'd rather he just apologize once for his opinions and level his criticisms.

But that's me.

I've been playing guitar for going on 30 years, and I managed to learn practical service information about tubes and controls as well as effects set up.

The great thing about this book is it will actually teach you how to build an amp! I haven't tried it as I've not got the money for the kit, but I feel more than encouraged by the clean layout and direct explanations.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted a good introduction to guitar tube amplifiers. This book got me only part of the way there. Some of the information is very interesting, and the writing is readable. However, what I wanted most was a basic idea of how amps work, and the book does not succeed on this score.

The author attempts to explain how amps work by explaining his way through schematics of several classic amps. This approach had several problems.
--The author does not provide a good general description of what role each component (resistors, caps, etc.) is meant to play in modifying the signal. He should have defined each of these concepts better at the outset.
--The author does not provide a good general description of the functions of major sections of amplifiers (for example, what a rectifier is for and how it affects sound)
--The author's approach of describing specific cases (specific amp schematics) to illustrate a general point (how most tube amps work) is ineffective. This approach leaves the user trying to figure out the general principles from the specifics provided -- not a good tactic for an introductory text.
--The schematics used are tiny copies of the original, often hand-drawn, originals. They are difficult to read. Each schematic should have been reproduced in a standardized, computer-generated, readable format.
--The author's descriptions of the amps' workings are large blocks of prose. Schematic design begs to be described part-by-part, function-by-function, in a numbered list. Formatting the descriptions as lists would have been much easier to follow.

The book isn't a total loss. The chapter on the importance of speakers and speaker cabinets is a valuable introduction to an often-overlooked facet of tone, and the interviews with amp builders (a standard section in this series of guitar tech books) is enjoyable.
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First off I am a guitar nerd and have owned over 40 guitars in the past 16 years along with other items... but have only owned 10 amps or so and have recently come to release how wrong my focus has been as the guitar amp is more important in determining sound then the guitar. This Book covers and gave me information that I haven't been able to find out any where else including google searches which end up giving bad recycled advice... 6l6's aren't the cleanest tubes, you don't drastically change the sound of the amp by a tube swap as much as a speaker change and so many other tidbits of information that help dispell false ideas prevelent in any the many guitar magazines...

But this book is a bit all over the place and doesn't have the best flow. ALSO if you want to build the amp mentioned in the book there are some dead links and finding the kit is a pain in the butt! And to spend close to $1,000.00 for a kit for you to assemble for an amp with LESS then 15 watts!??! It's crazy as you can get a used DR. Z, Swart or other for about the same. The kit is WAY overpriced and not a good venture for a first time amp builder. BUT this book was a very interesting read, the amp diagrams were done cheaply by hand (could have used a computer)... But no one else is doing a book like this. I read about 40% of the book in 2 days and it sits nicely on my shelf with my 100 or so other music books now.
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