Amps for Idiots.

Robert1950

Member
Messages
3,382
Is there a book/site out there that is the equivalent of "Amps for Idiots?" I'd like to be able to talk to an amp technician or builder and understand him, other than just saying I'd like to get a sound like Mick Taylor on the Bluesbreaker LP 'Crusade' or whatever.

Thanks,...
 

Richard Guy

Member
Messages
1,182
A nice 'teaching' book is "Inside Tube Amps" by Dan Torres.

Another one is Tom Mitchell's "How to Service Your Own Tube Amp"
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,864
A guy that gets hammered a bit but I still like his books is Gerald Weber. He has 2 books out plus I think he still does the Vintage Guitar columns. You can learn a lot from them.
 

QuickDraw

Member
Messages
1,354
+1 on Gerald Weber

there's some really good info in those books for a beginer.

and the Aspen Pitman book too
 

Wakarusa

Member
Messages
1,459
Which part of the discussion with your tech do you want to understand? (I mean, sure, all of it, but some focus would help). The books already mentioned do contain a wealth of good info, but some may also have a bit of misinformation and/or bits of opinion that are presented as fact. The problem, of course, is being able to tell the difference.

So I suppose my first suggestion would be to not rely on a single text (or web site, or tech), but to read as much as you can stand.

The next trick is to read some basic electronics texts (the Navy NEETS series is a good start) and then pore over some schematics for simple amps (like a Fender Champ) and see if you can apply the basic theory to figure out what's going on in the schematic.

The other suggestion is to find and play as many different styles and brands of amps as you can -- so when your tech says he's going to make yours more like a Brand X, you've got an idea what Brand X sounds like in your hands, not necessarily in your personal guitar hero's hands (who'd sound great thru anything anyhow ;))
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,943
Originally posted by Richard Guy
A nice 'teaching' book is "Inside Tube Amps" by Dan Torres.

Another one is Tom Mitchell's "How to Service Your Own Tube Amp"
Is Tom Mitchell's book the one with the "Morley ad-like" b 6 w cartoon of the guy playing?

If it is, I just bought it. It is geared more for beginners, but I think they dropped the ball on not using enough drawings inside to explain important points.

Also, just browsing so far, was dissapointed to read in the "Heater filament" voltages section the statement "virtually all amps have AC heater filament voltages, and they should read at 6v. Set your meter for AC..." (paraphrased...I read it last night but don't have it here).

I own two Carvin amps (as do many folk) and these amps have two of their preamp tubes getting AC heater filament voltage, and 3 (on the MTS) inside a rectifier circuit that is supplying them with DC VOLTAGE...I know of other amps that also do.

That kind of sloppy writing will get some poor guy thinking his voltage there is off (because he is reading DC voltage on an AC setting) and could have been avoided by simply mentioning that a few amps DO have DC heater voltages, and maybe how to see on a schematic which you have.

Wrong information (or incomplete) in cases like this is worse than no information. This is the kind of thing that really bugs me. And the book seems to be a hybrid, giving too much info to a guy that is a new to amps or electronics, possibly letting them think armed with the book they can check voltages, etc.

Seems irresponsible.
 

Richard Guy

Member
Messages
1,182
Hello SBB,

I understand your concerns and agree. There are holes in most books regarding this subject. It is good that you are able to point out the incomplete information.

There are statements in almost every book that I have read on this subject that I have also questioned or have found to be 'half-truths'. There is no absolute bible.

The two books that I pointed out earlier are interesting for stimulating thought and discussion for those who are new to the subject, even though there may be some 'rubs'.

A series of very nice books about Basic Electronics, five volumes, (Van Valkenburgh, Nooger & Neville) are very accurate (circa 1955), but they are not specific to Guitar/Bass amps but have a lot of info about tube aplication/understanding.

Another Guitar Amp related book that I like is Dave Funk's Tube Amp Wookbook.
 

Blue Strat

Senior Member
Messages
30,151
Alll of the above, plus The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pitman, offer valuable information. None is completely comprehensive and all have some information overlap.

Read as many as possible. And yes, basic electronics is very important and something rarely covered in these books.
 

outtahear

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,329
Amps for Idiots. Think we got a winner for next years shop tee back script....
 

hasserl

Member
Messages
4,711
Originally posted by StompBoxBlues
Is Tom Mitchell's book the one with the "Morley ad-like" b 6 w cartoon of the guy playing?

If it is, I just bought it. It is geared more for beginners, but I think they dropped the ball on not using enough drawings inside to explain important points.

Also, just browsing so far, was dissapointed to read in the "Heater filament" voltages section the statement "virtually all amps have AC heater filament voltages, and they should read at 6v. Set your meter for AC..." (paraphrased...I read it last night but don't have it here).

I own two Carvin amps (as do many folk) and these amps have two of their preamp tubes getting AC heater filament voltage, and 3 (on the MTS) inside a rectifier circuit that is supplying them with DC VOLTAGE...I know of other amps that also do.

That kind of sloppy writing will get some poor guy thinking his voltage there is off (because he is reading DC voltage on an AC setting) and could have been avoided by simply mentioning that a few amps DO have DC heater voltages, and maybe how to see on a schematic which you have.

Wrong information (or incomplete) in cases like this is worse than no information. This is the kind of thing that really bugs me. And the book seems to be a hybrid, giving too much info to a guy that is a new to amps or electronics, possibly letting them think armed with the book they can check voltages, etc.

Seems irresponsible.
Just to clarify, your MTS uses DC on just two tubes, V1 & V2. The Legacy runs V1, V2 & V3 on DC, the Vintage series amps run just V1 & V2 on DC like the MTS.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,639
Aspen Pitman's book is more of a cheerleading manual for guitar amps, nice but not much nuts and bolts.

Weber's books have some opinion stated as fact and aren't too in depth but are an easy read.

Torre's book is OK, but some of the details are wrong or unhelpful.

Dave Funk's book is a very good resource, although it only covers Fender amps. It's readable, mostly understandable for a beginner and goes far enough to satisfy a non-novice. No real downside I can see, except it's harder to find (check Thunderfunk website).

Kevin O'Connors "The Ultimate Tone" I-IV have a LOT of detail, but are a bit over my head.

A good (older) electronics text is a great idea-again not definitive (mine gets a bit confused about some things, obviously written after solid state had mostly taken over) but very helpful and often written for beginners. I wish I'd kept my Radio Designer's Handbook!
 

Richard Guy

Member
Messages
1,182
OTM,

Yes, very good material regarding the Jack Darr Book. He also co-wrote some others for HWS. These books are not easy to come by.
 




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