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I want to build a '57 mini tweed from scratch

Messages
2
So I came across Stew Macs kit for the '57 Mini Tweed 5W Amp (link at bottom) and thought to myself that I'd like to build one of those. I'm wondering, if I got my hands on the schematic and purchased all the parts myself and made my own cabinet would I save much? I've never done it before so it would also be a learning experience.

Any thoughts on how much something like that might cost by not going the kit route?

TIA!

 

Jeff Gehring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,810
Typically, you do better --price wise-- by getting a kit with all you will need included than you would going a la carte. Plus, if you've never built anything before, there is much to be said for good instructions, and some tasks already completed for you (like making the eyelet boards). The Weber kit is probably the cheapest complete kit you can buy, although some parts are not of the first quality.
 

Dan40

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,231
As Jeff said, having a premade eyelet board is so much easier than having to lay one out for yourself and building it. A kit with a pre-punched chassis is also a wonderful thing if it is your first build. Just buying the extra tools to make the eyelet board and drill the chassis can cause your cost to go up. A good set of build instructions and startup instructions is also nice to have on your first build.
 

HotBluePlates

Member
Messages
9,889
So I came across Stew Macs kit ... I'm wondering, if I got my hands on the schematic ... would I save much? ...
Typically, you do better --price wise-- by getting a kit with ... some tasks already completed for you (like making the eyelet boards). ...
As Jeff said, having a premade eyelet board is so much easier than having to lay one out for yourself and building it. ...
Short Answer: If you're looking to save money, buy a used Fender 57 Custom Champ. If you're very excited about the idea of building your own amp and care about the experience more than the cost, get the kit.
______________________________

There is a tooling-expense for doing some of the tasks the guys mentioned, like punching/drilling the chassis and making eyelet boards.

This being your first build, you will find out "getting all the other stuff" to build a kit will cost more than just buying the amp. Fender sells the handwired Champ (w/ cover) for $1k, Stew Mac's kit is $276 cheaper (but down to ~$200 cheaper once you source a cover separately).

- If you have to go buy a soldering iron, solder, wire strippers, screwdriver(s), and nut driver(s)/wrench(es) separately because you don't already have everything needed, the price difference is eroded.​
- Even more so if you were looking to buy a used amp, like this used 57 Custom Champ for $850.​
- As @Jeff Gehring points out, you can sometimes find "cheap kits" but you're not getting the same-quality finished product (what sonic difference exists is subjective and debatable).​
When you go to make your own eyelet or turret boards, there's additional tooling ($$$) needed. And the single-board cost doesn't really get below the price of buying a pre-made board from others until you're making a bunch of boards (and getting wholesale material prices, while also reducing your manufacturing time-per-board). Once upon a time I made & sold board kits... ;)
 




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