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What should be my first build

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  • What should be my first build

    I want to try to build a tube head. I want to aspire to build a jcm 900 or a jtm 45 clone. I have seen kits for each one, I was just wondering how difficult they are to build. I am not a professional but I can solder very well. most of my experience has been moding guitars, . also can anyone recommend any books or material to help. also I do have experience as an electrician which may not help much since most of what I have worked with was alternating current. any suggestions will be appreciated

  • #2
    Hi Shaggy:
    I think you mean JCM 800.
    I haven't seen 900s in kit form.
    I went through your deal a few years ago.
    I read everything I could find, and looked at Layouts and schematics galore.
    If you can solder and read layouts, and schematics, you're well on your way.
    The important thing is to learn how to work with and around the high voltage.
    How to discharge Caps, and how to know if the circuit is safe to work on.
    This site has a section on Electric Safety. At the top right.
    Home Index Page
    Here are some of the sites with layouts.
    CeriaTone.Com - DIY Guitar Tube Amp
    Good Luck, and be safe!

    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s


    • #3
      Most kits use an eyelet or turret board for the components. There are a few that use a printed circuit board. If you can solder the small wires that come out of a split coil humbucker, you shouldn't have any problem with any type board, but you may need a slightly larger soldering iron. Something just large enough to solder to the back of a pot will do. You will need to identify the components and install them on the board. This isn't too difficult, just take your time to do a neat job. The tools required are somewhat smaller than those typically used by an Electrictian, you may already have them if you worked on guitars.

      The next big hurtle will be cutting wires to the proper length, stripping the ends and connecting between the board, the tube sockets and the pots. You need to be careful not to nick the wire, it may break and then be too short. You have to be especially careful when you cut and strip the wires that come out of the transformers. If you cut one too short, it's not the end of the world, but the fix won't be pretty. You should use Heat Shrink tubing to insulate a splice in the wire, NOT electrical tape!

      The rest of the build is mechanical assembly. You'll need screwdrivers, nut drivers and possibly an allen wrench (maybe metric, maybe US) or small screwdriver for the knobs. Nothing too difficult here. The main thing is the scale of the project. The JCM900 with 3 preamp tubes or the JTM45 are about the same. Take a look at Weber kits, they have little bargraphs to indicate kit difficulty.
      WARNING! Musical Instrument amplifiers contain lethal voltages and can retain them even when unplugged. Refer service to qualified personnel.
      REMEMBER: Everybody knows that smokin' ain't allowed in school !


      • #4
        Best is just to buy a kit and go from there


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