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The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier  Series

The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Series

This article is a guide evaluation on a collection of 6 textbooks that is the most thorough and lucid explanation of guitar tube amp architecture, circuits, tone, parts and building strategy for DIYers I have at any time located. The critique promotions with each and every reserve separately and recommends obtaining them in a unique purchase to mature your know-how in phase with your creating practical experience.

Kevin O’Connor of London Power has established a sequence of publications under the main title of “The Top Tone.” These textbooks are genuinely unique and thoroughly tailor-made for the Do-It-Yourself (Do-it-yourself) guitar tube amp hobbyist and boutique amplifier builder. The books have a dwelling-produced ‘feel’ as very well… all the illustrations are completed by hand and the books are photocopy-printed on 8.5″x11″ paper and certain with plastic spines and crystal clear plastic covers. There are 6 publications in the sequence now with the most modern being unveiled in the late spring of 2008. You may perhaps want to get the total sequence all at as soon as and get a modest cost savings, but I think you really should contemplate obtaining them a single at a time and digest as you go, creating jobs along the way. A critical point however… you don’t essentially want to obtain them in numerical order. I suggest the adhering to sequence:

  1. The Greatest Tone Volume 3 – Generations of Tone
  2. The Supreme Tone Quantity 5 – Tone Seize
  3. The Top Tone Volume 2 – Devices Strategy to Phase Seem Nirvana
  4. The Final Tone Volume 4 – State-of-the-art Approaches for Fashionable Guitar Amp Style
  5. The Greatest Tone – Modifying and Tailor made Creating Tube Guitar Amps
  6. The Ultimate Tone Quantity 6 – Timeless Tone Developed for the Long run Currently

The Best Tone Volume 3 – Generations of Tone

This is the most critical guide in the collection for the commencing tube amp builder.

Chapters 2 by means of 4 lay down the basis of good Diy tube amp design, filling you in on fantastic electrical connections, grounding method, lead dress and other wiring methods, and mechanical format including assembly approaches like terminal strips, turret and eyelet boards.

The subsequent chapters every single select a certain ‘iconic’ amplifier, every legendary amplifier currently being a prototypical illustration of amplifiers of its class, and they are examined in depth as to the circuit topology, peculiar tonal characteristics that final result and lethal flaws that the product or service is infamous for. Kevin gives the initial schematics and then shows how you can implement the procedures specific in the earlier chapters to increase the effectiveness and trustworthiness of the icon without having harming the tone. The schematics are redrawn, layouts are presented and mechanical options are labored out to make every single chapter a entire, self-contained, make-it-by yourself amp challenge.

This procedure is repeated for various versions of the Champ in chapter 5 (this chapter drastically affected my very own solitary-ended amp task), then in quick succession: the Bassman, Plexi, 800, Bull Doggy, AC-30, Portaflex, SVT, Bass Master, Customized Specific, Guitar Mate, Herzog and Laney amplifiers are dealt with.

If you can only invest in just one e-book for your Diy guitar amp pastime I would heartily recommend this a person.

The Greatest Tone Volume 5 – Tone Seize

Volume 5 picks up where by Quantity 3 remaining off, with a task-oriented technique and some subtle Diy tube amp remedies for guitar and bass.

The guide begins off with a chapter overviewing vacuum tube operation known as ‘tube tone,’ adopted up by a chapter on guitar electronics and pickup properties.

The subsequent two chapters are modest projects: Sigma for outcomes switching and Triple-X for amplifier switching.

Chapters 5 & 6 are on transformers… essential parts but it designed me yawn, sorry.

Commencing with chapter 7, all the stops are pulled out and you are in task heaven… Major (200W), Soma 84 (EL84 amp), Regular (the London Ability Common Preamp from 1995 coupled to a 50W amp working with 4 electrical power tubes), Doppelsonde (mixing ability tube types), AX84 (discussion on the authentic aim of a very low output electric power amp), Kelly (50W from 4 6V6s), and a number of other jobs of lesser scope.

A person favourite project I did was based on Kevin’s remodeling of the HotBox tube preamp pedal from Matchless in chapter 16. I developed this pedal in a genuinely “real stage-to-stage type” (this means terminal strips) in a tube pedal enclosure from Doug Hoffman, substituting a Baxandall tone stack and reworking the preamp values to be much more Dumble-esqe (non-HRM sort).

What would you do to match an amplifier to Yngwie Malmsteen’s type? See chapter 18, ‘Swede.’

The Supreme Tone Quantity 2 – Systems Strategy to Stage Sound Nirvana

Volume 2 is not undertaking oriented. The bulk of the guide, chapters 2 through 5, promotions with energy offer tricks and a complete overview of power amplifiers, such as tube, good-condition and hybrid electric power amps. Chapter 3, on tube electric power amplifiers, has some extremely sensible info on mods and fixes to Marshall and Fender bias circuits.

I like the 1st and last chapters of Volume 2 the best. The 1st chapter is a small dialogue of seem levels and how you could setup your gear on phase for the finest audience/band expertise. The previous, chapter 6, is referred to as “Pillars of Tone” and in this chapter the important contributors tone at the block-degree of a guitar tube amplifier program design and style are reviewed one particular by just one and Kevin delivers some incredibly valuable insight into tone shaping all over the preamp/amplifier.

The Supreme Tone Volume 4 – Advanced Strategies for Modern Guitar Amp Style

This is the book you can expect to want to purchase if you sense the have to have to get deeply included with the electric power scaling technological know-how that Kevin has designed. Power Scaling, coined and trademarked by Kevin, is the way you can get factors of electric power amp distortion (as opposed to preamp distortion) into your tone at bed room quantity amounts. Quantity 4 is not Do it yourself project oriented but explores the issues, including attenuation, electric power scaling (each down and up), sag, and electrical power management, tackled by present day guitar tube amp designers.

That explained, the 2nd-to-final chapter in Quantity 4 might be critical for a broader group of enthusiast builders… design and style philosophy. In this chapter Kevin delivers a hierarchical design and style course of action that could be made use of to make vital decisions on how you strategy your up coming challenge.

The Supreme Tone – Modifying and Custom made Constructing Tube Guitar Amps

There is no quantity selection in the title of this guide, it was the 1st. Personally, I bought it for completeness. I exclusively wished to have the ‘perfect results loop’ data, whilst the loop alone is incorporated into a task in Volume 5. TUT also has some exceptional substance on reverbs and sign switching approaches that is not defined in the other volumes. The first 50 % of TUT introduces/overviews tube amp units, electric power supplies & grounds then focuses on preamp and power amp modifications to business amplifiers (e.g. Marshall / Fender)… if you are completely new to tube electronics you might want to purchase this 1st volume at the similar time as Volume 3.

The Ultimate Tone Quantity 6 – Timeless Tone Designed for the Long run Now

In many methods, Quantity 6 is a continuation and extension of the materials in Volume 4, in which Energy Scaling is introduced.  In Volume 6 a new ‘direct control’ version of Powerscaling is highlighted which was launched in Vol 4 but flushed out with thorough circuits and applied to ‘sag’ and maintain command as perfectly in Vol 6.  The new scaling circuits have quite a few benefits for a DIY builder like larger noise immunity and a lot less sensitivity to structure, and so on.

I utilized the new DC Power Scaling to a Trainwreck clone challenge and was genuinely amazed with the enhancement in ‘playability’ at lessen volumes… the unmodified Trainwreck Specific circuit is just as well loud for domestic use, needing to be cranked to get the sweet tones it is renowned for.

Just one of the chapters in Volume 6 is dedicated to the Dumble amplifiers… a little something I was seriously seeking forward to considering the fact that many of my pastime assignments aim on people circuits.  I uncovered this shorter chapter to be a fantastic introduction to the general architecture of the Dumble amps, composed from the stage of see of the evolution from the early modified regular amps that Alexander Dumble started out out accomplishing, but I felt the chapter fell brief in speaking about some of the much more vital subtleties of the later on Dumble designs.

Quantity 6 also has a lot of other content in it, like a good tutorial on coming up with actually higher output electrical power amplifiers and a great chapter on significant acquire amplifier types with serious-earth circuits referenced and in depth.

In Summary…

Kevin’s guides have a extremely empirical approach. He encourages you to established apart convention in some instances or not be concerned to try combos of tubes or even pulling tubes and in all cases clearly explains why it is o.k. and factors out any explanations why it would not be o.k. All the illustrations in the books are very simple and he definitely has the DIYer in brain as he is creating.

Kevin’s human body of perform is truly encyclopedic in nature, and contemplating that, one particular aspect sorely lacking from his guides is any sort of indexing… this is aggravated by the truth that Kevin constantly refers to past writings fairly than repeat himself in a new quantity, and it is pretty difficult to place your finger on the reference even with the other reserve in hand. Maybe lookup motor technological know-how, like Google’s capability to lookup shielded material, could be put to very good use in this circumstance and deliver a type of ‘auto-index’ on the internet of all of Kevin’s publications without having truly supplying absent the ebook itself. Or superior but, how about an e-e-book structure of Kevin’s complete selection of TUT textbooks… I imagine all of the e-ebook viewers contain hunting capabilities… and Kevin’s hand-drawn schematics would in all probability scale adequately and be very readable on the e-paper displays these units function.

In the meantime, how do you get Kevin’s textbooks right now? The ideal way to get the textbooks is to straight get them from London Electricity Push. They now have a shopping cart on http://www.londonpower.com.