Egnater Seminar Fun (w/Pictures!)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by sah5150, May 30, 2008.

  1. sah5150

    sah5150 Gold Supporting Member

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    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.

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    Now I have the power and output transformers screwed in.

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    Circuit board is now screwed in.

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    Now most of the circuit board is wired in to the preamp tubes.

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    Put in the front panel and controls and started to wire into the amp.

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    Pic of the front panel and controls after installation.

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    Controls are now fully wired.

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    Parts of the power and output transformer are now wired in.

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    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.

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    Another shot when I finished.

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    Finished amp back.

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    Finished amp front.

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    Now here is what it looked like after Bruce made a few small changes to the lead dress to clean it up a bit:

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    Finished amp from front, rightside up...

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    Now my amp is ready for bias setting and testing and then I get to play it!

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    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.

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    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...

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    Amp w/tubes in after I got to play it.

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  2. sah5150

    sah5150 Gold Supporting Member

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    CONTINUED

    Another shot.

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    Now when you come in on Sunday, Bruce has already been there ahead of you and he cleans up the wiring more by tying off some of the wire bunches to give the amp a clean look. I asked Bruce why we just didn't do it and he said it was just a matter of time. Looks killer!

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    Another shot of the cleaned up amp.

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    Voila! Front shot after I put it in the cab.

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    Back shot it the cab.

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    As I said, Day 2 is a lecture where you go through the entire amp and Bruce explains the design and why things work the way they do from the actual schematic diagrams. He also explains how to mod the amp for different tones. At then end of the day, Bruce took one of the seminar amps he had sitting around and changes a single cap here or there as I was playing and you wouldn't believe the difference in the tones! One cap value changed in the right place can completely change the character of the tone of the amp... I can say that the lecture was the best day for me as I want to build my own amp. I could tell some of the other guys were just glazing over and one guy was just completely disinterested (he just wanted to "paint by numbers" and build the seminar amop 'cause he liked the way it sounded in clips - he never intends to build another amp). If you want to build or mod your own amps, this day gives an incredible amount of cool information. I found several problems with my amp design that need to be addressed before I can build it. This class saved me alot of time and grief and I have no idea where else I could have gotten this information.

    Now here is the really cool part. As everyone else was leaving, I asked Bruce if he saw any major problems with my design. He said he would stay after everyone left and we could go through the circuit and he'd give me feedback! So after everyone left, we went through my circuit diagram and I explained what I was trying to achieve and he gave me so many tips and so much solid information to make the design work. We just hung out talking about the amp and design for about 45 minutes. Bruce also agreed to help me finish the switching circuit so I can footswitch the different options. He even took my circuit diagram and said he would use his circuit program to design the switching circuit for me! He went WAY beyond the call of duty to help me and I can't even say how much I appreciate it. He spent extra time with me on Memorial Day weekend to help me out. That is what kind of guy he is... He said he'd shoot me the finished circuit with the switching in in about a week!

    For right now, I've been playing my new amp and I really dig it. Right now, I'm putting the Egnater logo on my amp... I'm going to add an adjustable line out in the next couple weeks as well. All in all, one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. I now know what I need to know to get started on my own custom amp (completely different from the seminar amp) and continue the learning process. I recommend anyone who is interested in getting to know what really goes on inside their amps GO TO THIS CLASS!!! Great fun...

    Steve
     
  3. sah5150

    sah5150 Gold Supporting Member

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    Got my logo on... Some updated rig pics as well:

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    Steve
     
  4. drgonzoguitar

    drgonzoguitar Member

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    Thanks for posting this photo essay! It looks like you had a blast! Amp building is tedious, but really fun work. Just looking at your photos has me staring at my soldering iron in a lustful way.....

    :hide
     
  5. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    I gotta get to one of those classes, the technician/Electrical Engineer in me has been dieing to build an amp for years!

    Great pix!
     
  6. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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  7. digital jams

    digital jams Member

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    Great stuff Steve and thanks for taking the time to document your time with Bruce!
     
  8. bruce egnater

    bruce egnater Member

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    Thanks for the amazing review Steve.

    Last class for the season is June 28/29th. Still room if you want to sign up but......better hurry. No classes during the summer. We start up again sometime in September. Watch egnater.com on the modular side for future class date announcements.

    begnater@aol.com
     
  9. BluePowder

    BluePowder Member

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    Cool story and thanks so much for sharing it through both your write up and those great pictures!

    It must be a real honor learning from a guy who makes such great amps!

    Very nice amp build!
     
  10. dk123123dk

    dk123123dk Member

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    wow thanks for taking the time to post this!

    I have always been interested in Bruce's class. I will have to save up for it one day. He seems like a total pro!

    Good luck on your own custom amp. Ha! Who knows you may have given Bruce a few new ideas!?!

    dk
     
  11. bikerdude2

    bikerdude2 Member

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    I know you a little from HC. I almost sold you some Bogner Cubes. Anyway, Great writeup and killer pics! Thanks for sharing!
     
  12. paulg

    paulg Supporting Member

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    It would be interesting to see the schematic. If it's propritority info, That's understandable. A description would be cool. It's got four 12ax7's , so there lots of gain stages there to utilize. Amazing that you could do all that in a weekend.
     
  13. daveS

    daveS lefty dude on hiatus Gold Supporting Member

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    Awesome ! I've been wanting to take this class for a long time. Sound like a blast.

    I've heard great things about the way the finished product sounds too....how do you like the amp ?


    Questions:

    1. What are the "FS" & "CLN" inputs on the front of the amp ...is one of those a footswitch ?

    2. What does"Density" knob on the back do ?


    Thanks for the stellar review.
    -Dave
     
  14. ecbluesman54

    ecbluesman54 Member

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    Thanks for the write up, looks very interesting. The Amp looks great! Congrats!
     
  15. bruce egnater

    bruce egnater Member

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    In fairness to the guys who did attend the class, we don't give out the class information (schematics, assembly diagrams etc.) I would think a savvy amp person could easily figure it out from the photos.

    Last class for the season is June 28/29th. Still room if you want to sign up but......better hurry. No classes during the summer. We start up again sometime in September. Watch egnater.com on the modular side for future class date announcements.

    begnater@aol.com
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  16. mockoman

    mockoman Member

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    FS-footswitch,switches between hi & lo inputs.

    CLN-clean input.

    Density knob-adds lowend,lower than bass knob on the front. Uses negative feedback.
     

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