Hi, new member here! Just thought some of you might be interested in the incredible experience I had at the Egnater Amp Seminar this past weekend learning to build amps from Bruce Egnater himself... First, let me say that Bruce and his wife Terri are just the coolest, nicest folks - I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with them! They do a great job of making everyone feel at home and make sure you are comfortable throughout the class weekend... It was just an incredible way to spend a weekend and I learned an incredible amount! With Bruce, there are no secrets - he'll tell you whatever you want to know and will help with anything. I mentioned a parallel efx loop and a line out to him and he drew up schematics and brought them in the next day so I have a way to mod my amp to put those in if I want! How cool is that! Like most folks here, the only soldering I'd ever done was guitar pickups. I had a good knowledge of how amps work from reading several tube amp books including "How To Service Your Own Tube Amp" by Tom Mitchell and "Inside Tube Amps" by Dan Torres. The Torres book is incredible - if you want to build you own tube amp after the class, I highly recommend you read it. Let me say that no preparation is necessary for the class, especially if you don't plan to build another amp and just want to be able to service or mod the one you build in the class. However, if you want to build a different amp and you really want to get the most out of the lecture on Sunday, I recommend you do a bit of reading before the class. Having read a bunch before and even designed a 100W amp I want to build, then physically building the amp on day 1 and then hearing the lecture on Day 2, I feel I understood and could ask intelligent questions that gave me the knowledge I need to take on the amp I designed and want to build... So Day 1 starts with... well... jumping in and building the amp! As most know already, it is a 50 watt hi-gain Marshall-esque circuit. Sort of like a 2204, but with way more gain due to a better layout and different component values rather than an additional gain stage. It has some other additions, like a density control, 3 different inputs, series efx loop and a footswitch input so you can kinda change between rhythm and lead sounds. Some of the work is already done for you before you get there. According to Bruce, it would probably take us amateurs an extra 6-8 hours to do it, so you can see why you don't start completely from scratch. Basically, the circuit board is pre-done, the controls are grounded together and a bit of the tube socket wiring is done for you. Believe me there is still an incredible amount of work to do. Some people start their amp at 9:30 and are finishing at 10 or 11PM, although everyone in my class finished right around 5PM ( a record according to Bruce). So, I tried to document the whole process for those interested. Here are the pics with descriptions of where I was in the process. Throughout, whenever you take a break, Bruce sits down and checks out your amp and makes sure you are on the right track. He also helps out whenever you ask. While we worked, he told stories about Stevie Ray and Lynch - cool stuff! He also looked at my circuit and helped me out with it. More on that later: Here is how the kit looks when you start. You can see on the right in the plastic box that the circuit board is pre-done. Now I have the power and output transformers screwed in. Circuit board is now screwed in. Now most of the circuit board is wired in to the preamp tubes. Put in the front panel and controls and started to wire into the amp. Pic of the front panel and controls after installation. Controls are now fully wired. Parts of the power and output transformer are now wired in. Now things got serious and I stopped taking pictures. At this point, I had the amp pretty much fully wired except for the side filter cap, These things are mechanically hard to screw in. Anyway as I'm doing it, I manage to drop the bolt for one side of the cap inside the power transformer!!! See the transformer that has the cardboard center? On either side there are slots that go all the way to the bell cap. Anyway, I tried to get it out with the needle nose pliers and it fell all the way inside and flat to the bell cap!!. Now I'm bumming, thinking I'm going to have to completely unsolder the power transformer and take it apart to get the damn bolt out. Bruce say, nah - we can just take the transformer apart and shake it out wired in place. So I had to waste 30-40 minutes unbolting the transformer from the chassis, taking it apart (still wired in), taking the bell cap off and finally the bolt falls out... Now I can re-assemble and finish the amp. It was quite a hassle - the chassis and transformer weigh alot and at times your awkwardly holding it up trying to unbolt. Bruce had to help me out to get this done... Don't let this happen to you! Put a piece of cellophane or plastic over the slots when putting this cap in... Here is what the amp looked like when I finished. Another shot when I finished. Finished amp back. Finished amp front. Now here is what it looked like after Bruce made a few small changes to the lead dress to clean it up a bit: Finished amp from front, rightside up... Now my amp is ready for bias setting and testing and then I get to play it! Bruce testing the amp. He explains exactly what he is doing/looking for so we can do it ourselves if we get the necessary equipment. Another Bruce testing shot. MIne works with no problems right off. Whoohoo! Some of the other guys amps didn't work right off, but in all cases except one it was bad tubes and not a problem with their builds... Now off to the jam room to check it out... It sounds really, really good. Great amp. Clips next week... Amp w/tubes in after I got to play it.