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Ceriatone: Planning to build??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Julia343, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

    Oct 31, 2007
    I'm either crazy or just a masochist. I'm actually considering building a Ceriatone kit. Yes, I know Nik can assemble one pretty cheaply and it's worth paying him. But what I'm wondering about is how hard is it to build these things? How easy is it to screw up building? How long do they take? I've never built a kit before so I'm figuring taking the time for an experienced builder and multiplying it by Pi. Is that enough or do I need another constant?

    Given that I have a JVM, a 6505+, and a Fender, which kit?

    Can I get a cab with the kit? Should I go 18W or go for the 1987? Or the Superlead100? Or the JTM 45?

    Am I insane??:bong -- don't answer this.
  2. bgood

    bgood Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    In transit from Jersey to Montana
    Easy to do but easy to screw it up. If you can be very meticulous and plan ahead, it's not hard. I would start with a simple design though - like a Tweed Deluxe. I did my Deluxe in about 12 hours - it was my second build. It's fun.
  3. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2004
    Area 51
    I definetely wouldn't start building a Wreck or Matchless circuit, or anything blackface with reverb.....start with a champ or deluxe
  4. dk123123dk

    dk123123dk Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    As much as I love Nik's amps, I don't think the kits come with any instructions or anything. So I'm not sure I would go with Ceriatone if it were my first build... But that depends on how much you know about amps, and wiring in general. For a little more money you can get a kit that comes with instructions, etc.

    Then once you build a kit or two, you will be addicted, and can grab some of the Ceriatone stuff!

    Good luck.

  5. Flux

    Flux Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    The Weber site has a difficulty scale on each of his kits, you could use it to help choose which Ceriatone (or Weber) kit you build. Although I'd say some kits (like the ODS) are 'challenging', don't be intimidated. If it's an amp that you really want, and you really want the sense of accomplishment from building your own, go for it. OTOH, if you've never used a soldering iron before and you're not technically inclined, I'd say maybe start a little slower e.g. 5E3's are great amps and are pretty straight forward. Either way, building an amp is a gas.
  6. roadapple

    roadapple Member

    Mar 17, 2009
    A couple of things are involved. First there are no instruction per se. You get a layout and can get photos online. If this is your first amp build, I would pick a simple design, not something like the OTS. When you are faced with hundreds of parts, rolls of wire and no instructions, the task is daunting.

    Secondly, wiring dress is exacting and extremely important to prevent hum in an PP amplifier. Some wires must be twisted, some not, the layout of the wiring must be followed exactly as in the layout diagram.

    Wiring lengths are also very important. Doing a good soldering job is just as important.

    It is not a quick process, but building your own amp is a very satisfying experience, when it is up and working properly, but can be extremely frustrating when you you have squeals, hums, rattles, etc..

    Nik makes a GREAT amp, but his cabinets are mediocre. I would buy the chassis kit complete, and then go to one of many sources in the US to get the cabinet. I used Sour Mash and it is a decent cabinet. Seen better, seen worse.
  7. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    The Twilight Zone
    I did an OTS as my first build ,It isn't harder to do there is just more of it .Take your time and look at each small bit as a project in it's self and before you know it you'll be playing through it. Great fun. Oh and the OTS cabinet is very good .
  8. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

    Dec 22, 2005
    Left Coast
  9. Travst

    Travst Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Birmingham, AL
    I've enjoyed some success with builds. If I can offer a couple of practical suggestions:

    1. You won't get instructions. Become very familiar with the layout and study up on the amp before you start.
    2. Debugging is going to be the hardest part of your build. Have a good multimeter on hand, and you'll also need to know the target values you need to reach.
    3. Have a good tech look over your build before you crank her up. Of course, this is going to cost money... If you decide to proceed on your own, have a bulb limiter or similar on hand to protect your investment.
    5. Read #4 again... and again.
  10. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

    May 5, 2003
    Just a couple of suggestions....don't do a C-Tone kit to save money or time. Do it if you want to learn. Ceriatone will sell populated boards if you only want to do a partial build, and at the cost difference you'll find it hard to justify the time you'll spend doing a full build. Second suggestion is to buy a cab locally. The shipping cost often eats up any savings. Good luck!

  11. M Fowler

    M Fowler Member

    Sep 21, 2008
    Even with a layout you need to reference to the schematic to be sure you are wiring the amp correctly. By joining a building forum you will also learn a lot that way.

    I say get a kit, anyone's kit, and get started. When they tell you to discharge the caps do so each and every time you power the amp up. Be extra careful when working inside the chassis when you are taking readings to fill out your voltage chart and during bias adjustment if your amp is has adjustable or fixed bias vs cathode bias.

    Have fun, but be aware amp building is addicting just ask the famous amp builders that advertise on this forum.

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