How to built a Tube Amp on ur own?

Discussion in 'Guitar Gear Talk Forum' started by rickkkyrich, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

    Hello guys
    I want to built a tube amp on my own and i donno how feasible it is.
    I want you guys to share watever information you have. From where to order the kits in India..whether to order or built yourself..
    The prices of the stuff involved..
    Links to websites will be good as well..
    Do's and Dont's

    And can we convert a solid state amp into a tube amp?

    I just wanted to give it a shot once..
  2. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

  3. ironman12

    ironman12 New Member

    search for DIY kits...u'll find loads of them...jus order one of them n follow the instruction (wit a lot or research behind u)...n they r fairly inexpensive..
  4. flood

    flood New Member


    before you proceed:

    1. do you have any experience with electronics whatsoever? do you know how to solder?

    2. can you read a schematic and correspond electronic symbols with parts? do you understand how basic electronic components work - resistors, capacitors, diodes, transformers? do you understand wires and signals?

    3. do you REALLY understand how to work around high voltages and the dangers and risks of high voltage electricity? and the implications on your circuit design?

    if you answered more than 2 with "no", i would strongly discourage you from building a tube amp on your own. while tube amps are not too complicated to build, there are some very real risks involved, and the voltages inside tube amps are FATAL.

    if you have at least some background in electronics, you may be able to get a bit further without a problem.

    you can't convert a solid state amp to a tube amp, the only part you might be able to use is the chassis. all the electronics will have to go, including transformers.

    to understand simple DIY tube amps, you can go to and read up there. you MUST read up on basic electronic theory if you have no idea, it will be essential. you're asking for trouble if "Ohm's law" means nothing to you.

    if you have the basic knowledge, go to
  5. flood

    flood New Member

    also, i'm not going to write a "how to" here and if anybody else does, please disregard it. i researched tube amps on the net and in books for - no jokes - 8 years, and have been building them for about 2-3 years now. there's more to it than a forum post.
  6. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

    answers :
    1) Yes
    2) Yes
    3) No, as i donno how to handle high voltages and i don have any idea bout how high voltages a tube can generate..

    also i know its really really difficult to describe "how to" stuff in a thread.. all i wanted was correct information from right people in the right direction.. which i'll get as long as flood is there...
    for which i thank you for the links provided...
  7. flood

    flood New Member

    try to get your hands on old electronics text books that have sections on "valves" (leftover from the british raj) in them. it's not the easiest theory to wrap your head around, but if you have a fair knowledge of physics and electronics, it becomes easier.

    the one thing you really have to be careful about in india is finding parts that have the right specs for your requirements. like wires, for example. you need to make sure that high voltage wires have high-voltage insulation (600VDC and above). also, buying tubes here can be a messy affair, at least in bombay. people regularly reprint tubes with other numbers, and even though the base is same the pinout and characteristics are not.

    the other problem is finding high quality components, like potentiometers and capacitors. you might argue "i don't need those, i'm just a beginner" - precisely why you need them even more - you want to build the amp and get it working, not spend time troubleshooting it, and defective component problems are usually the hardest to identify for a newbie.

    luckily, you're in bangalore, and you should be able to find a fair amount of stuff over there (SP Road i think), including people who can guide you the right way. STILL: i would still advise you to begin with the ultra champ kit from ceriatone, good components and a lot of the difficult stuff (chassis making, layout, design) already taken care of. the shipping is a problem though.

    i'm afraid i don't have any suitable amps for you to cannibalize; my ice-cream tray amp is true point-to-point and i built it without a schematic as such, so it's a bit dangerous for a beginner. the firefly is built much better, but is not a suitable first-time build, as i learned. too much gain.
  8. flood

    flood New Member

    also, there is a LOT of information on the net. TONS. browse other forums, there are way too many out there with people who have been building amps for years.

    don't even bother with this one, there is not one single truly competent person here. i've only been doing it for 2 years and my amps still have to prove themselves over longer periods of time.
  9. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

    thanks for the info dude.. i know this forum is not that good but its good to get things started..
    I need to buy some stuff before i get things started.. i dont have a solder rod.. which is a must.. it may take while till then i'll research some more.. a lot more.. been i looong time since i touched a solder rod.. 4 yrs i guess..

    one more thing regarding the tubes(valves) in the amp... are there some specific model numbers which i should look at? how much do they cost approx..
  10. gamebore

    gamebore New Member

    Hi rickkkyrich. I'm just curious as to why do you wanna go down this road of DIY tube amp? Is it some kind of project you have to submit, or you really wanna get yourself a tube amp to play along with your guitar.

    Since you mentioned it's been 4 years you've touched a solder rod, it seems more likely that you're quite mesmerized by them tube amps and wanna try making them on your own out of curiosity, or short term fervor maybe. Because if you haven't seen the whole thing through, it could be very risky, financially and otherwise.

    On the other hand, if you wanna use it to play and stuff, how reliable do you think your amp will be for long term(or even short term in your case). I think you would be better off spending your hard earned cash on tube amps available in the market.

    If neither is the case, then maybe you wanna do it just for fun, maybe see if you can shuffle some feathers around this thing, and if successful, maybe start making some on your own in the future. In which case, it makes sense to give it a try, assuming you have thought it through too.

    Don't get me wrong or anything, i am just trying to understand the reason behind this time consuming, money absorbing activity, as it is a huge commitment, not to mention (god forbid) any failures that might occur after giving all your time and money into the project.

    Just my 2 cents.
  11. rickkkyrich

    rickkkyrich Guest

    haha.. its not a project i have to submit.. i wanted to do it jus for fun.. though i have not done enough research on this to give any comments on how costly this thing's gonna be.. thats why i was here to ask ppl how to proceed and to know the stuff involved.. i donno how feasible it is for me.. i may give up soon as well after knowing how hard it's gonna be.. so i'm still at step zero..
  12. flood

    flood New Member

    i don't think the financial risk should be a factor. there are no parts that you can destroy too easily as such. the question is whether you have the time to research and also to build something from scratch.

    it becomes seriously addictive, be warned.

    i think the bigger problem is your lack of knowledge. do some heavy reading, go to other forums, etc. before attempting to build. like i said, i spent some 8 odd years just reading up on them before i built my first one. it gets easier after you do the first 2-3 and establish a method.

    doing the kit way is more expensive financially but has some excellent benefits - the planning and handcrafting has been done for you, as well as the layout.
  13. flood

    flood New Member

    tubes are cheap in bangalore. ask around sp road and bargain a bit. what tubes you need depends on what amp you build, although practically every guitar amp has used the 12AX7 dual triode. that shouldn't cost you more than 50-100 bucks in bangalore.

    bharat electronics ltd. (BEL) is based in bangalore. they manufactured tubes, very good ones too, till the early 80s before closing that section down. so finding tubes in bangalore is not much of an issue.. you can also import them, JJ tubes are current production and good and cheap.
  14. ironman12

    ironman12 New Member

    ^12AX7 is a preamp tube right?
    is it fine to run it in the power amp?
  15. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    ^Wtf. I'm sure the answer is no.
  16. flood

    flood New Member


    yes and no....

    the 12AX7 was never designed to be run in power stages. however, the thing about tubes is that they can be run in a number of different ways; e.g., you can use VHF tubes in audio applications (although performance may suffer drastically), or preamp tubes as power amp tubes, like the 12AU7, which i used in my "firefly" and is REALLY. FUHCKING. LOUD.

    the 12AX7 however has too high a plate resistance to let any appreciable current through, so while there is a large output swing, it is less than suitable to drive small loads. i guess it would work as an audio power amplifier with a 45k primary on the output transformer, but you wouldn't hear it at all. i'm guessing the power would be in the mlli or microwatt range.

    however - this is exactly why the vox valvetronix systems use (if one is to believe the claims) the 12AX7 as a power tube. at the very low power levels it is safe to use an "emulated" load (possibly even digital) and then let DSP handle the speaker cabinet etc.

    so for all practical purposes, you cannot use the 12AX7 as a power tube.

    EDIT: what do you mean by "THE power amp"? in a specific power amp? do not use your 12ax7 in place of an EL84, you definitely will kill the tube and possibly the output transformer too!
  17. ironman12

    ironman12 New Member

    ^ya tht wat i thought...ya n the el84 have 10w per tube power i guess..n obviously i wont use a preamp tube in power...but u should look at the randall xl series if u can...they have 12at7 in power amp section..maybe to add warmth to the otherwise solidstate poweramp..
    don exactly know wats the logic thr..

    and one more thing...i will be getting the engl840/50 poweramp next thts got 6l6 tubes..i was wondering if its possible to mod it to house KT88 tubes...they r supposedly more powerfull n fuller sounding...and do u know how to do it??
  18. flood

    flood New Member

    the EL84 does not have 10W power output. it has a maximum anode dissipation of 12W and a max output power of 6W in class A single ended (just one tube in operation). that too at very high grid currents... output power of 4-5W is more common with siingle EL84 amps.

    the 12AT7 used in the randall is used as a phase inverter section. some consider the phase inverter to be the most important tube, tonally, in the amplifier, and that a lot of power section distortion derives from the phase inverter breaking down and overdriving. the 12AT7 is a great match for this section,, because it provides much better current gain. i first saw this arrangement on some "name" bass amp, i think markbass or eden or something nice like that. solid state preamp and power amp, but a tube phase inverter.

    the KT88 swap depends on the amp.... going to have to read up on it first.

Share This Page