What would be a good Kit/Amp for a first build?

anais

Member
Messages
566
I kind of have the itch to build my own amp, but I dont want a cheesy 15 watt kit- I want something I can use live.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a first build?
 

TweeDLX

Member
Messages
3,756
I kind of have the itch to build my own amp, but I dont want a cheesy 15 watt kit- I want something I can use live.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a first build?
I built a Mission 5E3 for my first build, and it was far from cheesy. I gigged with it for a number of years as my main amp. After learning a bit more, I modded it to run 6L6GC's and added a 40 watt OT (among other things). Now it's a much louder version of the Deluxe, and very usable in any room that I play in. Of course, if you want an amp to play in an arena... :)
When you're starting out, the simpler builds are best. There's a lot that can go wrong. My second build was a JTM45. That might fit your requiremnets.

Mike
 

kennethkofler

Member
Messages
78
I built a MOD101 from Antique Electric Supply not too long ago. Fairly simple build that can be modded into 32 different vintage copy circuits. Good learning tool, and plenty of stuff @ 60 watts. Can be built w/2 el34's or 2 6l6gc's. You can also get tonestack, normal to bass, and tremolo mod kits for it. Umm... It was kinda spendy though. 600 for the base kit, but all you have to buy is screwdrivers and a soldering kit once you have it.
 

5881

Member
Messages
1,112
My first build build was a 5E3 Mission also, great parts, good documentation on the Web, Bruce provides great support. Not a lot of headroom though. I did a EL34 upgrade wth a larger tranny, plenty of headroom. If you talk to Bruce when you order I am sure he can provide the parts to build with '34s or 6L6's without having to do a conversion later. Also ask about the "Paul C" mod. I would avoid kits using imported parts, especially trannys.
 

jbever

Member
Messages
339
Mine was the 5E3 from Mission also. Can't say enough good things. Still have it, still love it. Parts, fit, documentation and support was great. Bruce was a great guy to work with. You'll never look at amps the same way again.

+1
 

Prairie Dawg

Member
Messages
1,928
I kind of have the itch to build my own amp, but I dont want a cheesy 15 watt kit- I want something I can use live.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a first build?
I've got an amp here a guy made, it is a Weber kit built 5E3P, which is a tweed deluxe front end grafted onto a 40w power section. It's relatively simple but has a lot of power for its size. I'd recommend it. I've been thinking I ought to make one of his Pro kits one of these days because of my love affair with 15 inch speakers.
 

phsyconoodler

Member
Messages
4,305
Quote:"but I dont want a cheesy 15 watt kit- I want something I can use live. "

It depends on what kind of music you play.If you play hard rock then a 5E3 kit is not for you.You need something like a 50 watt 2204(JCM800)
or a marshall plexi.
Neither are entry level kits.
Anyone who plays live knows that you can always mic a small wattage amp to the front and it'll sound huge,but it seems no one wants to do that for some reason.They 'think' they need 50 watts or more to be happy.
Take a 'cheesy 15 watt amp' mic it,and put some signal in your monitor and you are in heaven.Too much trouble for your sound guy?
Then build a 50 watter.

metroamps
ceriatone
mojotone
weber vst
marshamps
 

VanR

Senior Member
Messages
1,591
I gig with my home-brewed ax84.com High Octane. 2-EL84's in self-split (no phase inverter) PP. Maybe 8 watts. Nothing cheesy about the amp at all. It's a monster. Turn it up to about 2 o'clock and it will keep up with almost anything. Don't need 50 watts these days.
 

3th3r

Member
Messages
1,249
I kind of have the itch to build my own amp, but I dont want a cheesy 15 watt kit- I want something I can use live.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a first build?
There is really not enough info you provide to give an effective suggestion. Having an itch could mean you need a backscratcher or it could mean you need a surgeon.

What king of music do you play? What types of venues do you play? How much knowledge of electronics do you have? Do you prefer combos or heads? Any experience with vacuum tubes or high voltage circuits?
 

phsyconoodler

Member
Messages
4,305
A Marshall 18 watt is above the cheesy level by 3 watts.
2-12's and 18 watts is way beyond cheese.

Maybe your are thinking 'blues jr' cheese?
 

anais

Member
Messages
566
There is really not enough info you provide to give an effective suggestion. Having an itch could mean you need a backscratcher or it could mean you need a surgeon.
What king of music do you play? Blues, Jazz Fusion, Prog Rock, etc

What types of venues do you play? Clubs, Theaters, and Festivals

How much knowledge of electronics do you have? I would call myself a beginner

Do you prefer combos or heads? A combo would be nice but who doesnt like head?

Any experience with vacuum tubes or high voltage circuits? Yes

I also wanted to ad that I love long walks on the beach, romantic dinners and DR Tite-Fit strings. Sometimes I can get wild and play a few different guitars in one night, and I am looking to build a nice amp to use for my lap and pedal steels.
 

cugel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,565
an 18 watt build is not really entry level imho ie dont know how to solder good at schematics, troubleshooting etc.
i think the ax84 hi octane maybe a good choice. the more moving parts the more chances of trouble
 

Keyser Soze

Member
Messages
1,472
Check out David Allen's amp kits. If you can follow directions and solder they are well within your grasp, and all will yield a professional grade amplifier.

http://www.allenamps.com/kits.php

For a first time build choose one of the 'ultimate' not a 'bare bones,' but once you've built one a bare bones becomes a snap.
 

5881

Member
Messages
1,112
I gig with my home-brewed ax84.com High Octane. 2-EL84's in self-split (no phase inverter) PP. Maybe 8 watts. Nothing cheesy about the amp at all. It's a monster. Turn it up to about 2 o'clock and it will keep up with almost anything. Don't need 50 watts these days.
The High Octane was my third build, and frankly I found it much tougher than my 5E3 and Champ. The documentation was not great (I recall having to follow a schematic, as opposed to a layout), and due to the amount of gain lead dress was really critical. I am not sure about this for a first build.
 

VanR

Senior Member
Messages
1,591
The High Octane was my third build, and frankly I found it much tougher than my 5E3 and Champ. The documentation was not great (I recall having to follow a schematic, as opposed to a layout), and due to the amount of gain lead dress was really critical. I am not sure about this for a first build.
I hear you. On top of that I built both of mine way before Chris Hurley starting selling kits. So I sourced my own parts. There are layouts for you to print out on ax84.com now for the Doberman kits. So it should be a piece of cake. If I were to build another one I would just use the same tried and true layout I already have. It's like Rev. 4 or something like that. Both of my HO builds fired up first time and I never had a problem with them except I could never figure out why the first amp sounds so much better than the second being they are identical except for the caps used. OD 225P's in the first and 715's in the econd.
 

jbever

Member
Messages
339
I want to do an Old Flame from Allen, that's next for me! I found his Brown Sugar a gas to build and I absolutely love that amp! David Allen is a great guy with a great product and great support!
 

stu2

Member
Messages
89
If you want to build an amp to learn how amps work, I'd go with simple. I built an Allen Old Flame and still don't understand very well even though the amp worked fine at the initial power up. If you understand what your doing then you can mod it or build another amp, that is if it still interests you to do so and if not then you haven't spent more time or money than necessary.
 






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