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Thread: Why buy and build amp kid which is very expensive?

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    Why buy and build amp kid which is very expensive?

    I have been thinking about getting a Fender vintage amp as a platform. Then I look at the kids from Mojo, Circa? etc. They are not cheap!!!! Why spend so much money to build an amp that I don't think the resale value can compare to the true vintage amp later when you want to sell it.

    So the question, is a good amp kid better sounding than the vintage amp it emulates? From one member Twin here, he said it sound better and it sure looked pretty.

    Also, I saw a lot of Fender VM amp on ebay, what's the deal with that?

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    Last edited by Alan0354; 02-16-2012 at 06:55 PM.

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Probably not. But the desirable vintage amps (5E3, Twin, Plexi, Bassman, AC30) are far more expensive than the kits. You'll pay a few thousand bucks for even a ratty example of any of the above.

    Of course one solution is to get an undesirable vintage amp like a later silverface Fender, Traynor, Silvertone, Selmer etc. and modify it to your taste. That has always worked well for me.

    The cork sniffers will of course tell you that it'll never sound the same because the transformers are wrong, to which I say shut up and play yer guitar!

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    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

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    Senior Member Resonator Guy's Avatar
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    I have to agree with everything Steve conner said, but to me the most important thing about building kit amps or scratch builds, which can be even more expensive, is that it's fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
    Probably not. But the desirable vintage amps (5E3, Twin, Plexi, Bassman, AC30) are far more expensive than the kits. You'll pay a few thousand bucks for even a ratty example of any of the above.

    Of course one solution is to get an undesirable vintage amp like a later silverface Fender, Traynor, Silvertone, Selmer etc. and modify it to your taste. That has always worked well for me.

    The cork sniffers will of course tell you that it'll never sound the same because the transformers are wrong, to which I say shut up and play yer guitar!
    When I talked about vintage amp, I literally implies the Fender silver face of the late 60s and 70s. In fact, that's about the only one I am familiar with.

    I particularly am looking for one with sweet clean sound, which to me rule out Marshall in my book. Fender seems to fit the bill. I have a Bassman 100 head, I got it because it was cheap. I did modification and it is not sounding that great. I think the transformers are too big and the OT is not designed for over driven guitar. You think it might be more worthy to just buy the transformers of say a Vibrolux to replace those and build on it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan0354 View Post
    When I talked about vintage amp, I literally implies the Fender silver face of the late 60s and 70s. In fact, that's about the only one I am familiar with.

    I particularly am looking for one with sweet clean sound, which to me rule out Marshall in my book. Fender seems to fit the bill. I have a Bassman 100 head, I got it because it was cheap. I did modification and it is not sounding that great. I think the transformers are too big and the OT is not designed for over driven guitar. You think it might be more worthy to just buy the transformers of say a Vibrolux to replace those and build on it?
    hmmm, I think a Bassman 100 even with the stock OT and PT should make a great guitar amp. It's not going to be like a Tweed Deluxe, but for clean guitar should work fine, something more akin to a Twin Reverb or Showman. Your statement 'looking for one with sweet clean sound' and 'the OT is not designed for over driven guitar' seem somewhat contradictory. Which do you want?

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Fender Deluxe should suit your needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    hmmm, I think a Bassman 100 even with the stock OT and PT should make a great guitar amp. It's not going to be like a Tweed Deluxe, but for clean guitar should work fine, something more akin to a Twin Reverb or Showman. Your statement 'looking for one with sweet clean sound' and 'the OT is not designed for over driven guitar' seem somewhat contradictory. Which do you want?
    I want a sweet clean sounding amp to start with, but I am interested in doing a distortion amp. I don't want to start with like a Marshall platform as the clean sound is not as good. Actually the clean sound of plexi is not good at all. It's there distortion that's second to nobody.

    My guess is very linear amp with a lot of headroom like the Bassman 100 don't sound particular good clean. My baseman sound's ok, nothing to write home clean, that's what I am referring. I actually got the front end of the cascade channel sounded very good under low volume, but the sound don't get better when crank up, it just missing something. I don't know how to better put it, it's just didn't jump out. You know how power amp usually sound better when cranked? The power amp section had not been modified, just stock. So I tend to think the power amp is not very suitable for crank guitar. Maybe the OT is would from base frequency.

    I don't want Twin or Showman either because the transformer is too big and you can't get the best until you crank it very loud. My Ideal is like a Vibrolux or Tremolux.

    lastly, have you ever pick up a Bassman 100 head? It is HEAVY!!!! man that thing is so heavy. I don't think it's much lighter than my JCM900 with the huge speak magnet and all.

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    I dont get it. I've played through Twins and Showmans and they sound great. (I like clean.) But if you want an amp to crank up and have a nice overdrive sound, it's not the best way unless you can stand ridiculous volume. If you want something that breaks up, sell the Bassman and get something else, you've already mentioned a Vibrolux or Tremolux.

    Heavy? Of course, try lifting a Twin with 2 JBLs. Or even my SFSR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    I dont get it. I've played through Twins and Showmans and they sound great. (I like clean.) But if you want an amp to crank up and have a nice overdrive sound, it's not the best way unless you can stand ridiculous volume. If you want something that breaks up, sell the Bassman and get something else, you've already mentioned a Vibrolux or Tremolux.

    Heavy? Of course, try lifting a Twin with 2 JBLs. Or even my SFSR.
    As I said, want to start with good clean and then work on the distortion. I want to be able to back off and get good clean two. Yes Twin and Showman is very good clean.

    Yes, that's why you never see me mention about Super Reverb!!!! It is real big also on top. If you are married, you'll know wife and big amp don't get along!!!! Mine make me hide even my little JCM900 behind the closet!!!

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    I have an amp I built that is a 5F6A clone, but I used a Weber 5E7M chassis (mid pot but no presence), and the 5E7 cab. This has 3X10s instead of 4, and I used the stock iron, and use a 5U4 for slightly less B+ (compared to a Bassman OT and a GZ34). There were guys that would unplug one of the speakers on their Bassmans, I guess to drive the remaining 3 10s a bit harder. The amp gets a nice clean, and I can get a decent 'just barely' broken up sound at louder levels, but still not crazy like you would have to do with a Twin (forget about it!). Also, with the smaller cab and 3X10s, not quite as big iron, the amp is not real heavy either.

    Yeah, I don't play the SFSR hardly at all, it lives mainly in the closet, but I do get it out every so often just to keep the caps working. But my wife doesn't seem to mind too much!

    As mentioned above by Jazz P Bass, a Deluxe (reverb, I presume?) is nice, still a great clean, but at 20 watts or so, you can crank it up too. I have a DRRI which is nice, but still in the tweaking stage for me. (Upgrading stuff mainly, not too fun on a PCB board amp)

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    Another reason to build a kit is that you are starting out with all new components. If you buy a vintage amp, some of the components may have already reached their end of life, and others may have drifted way out of tolerance. I built myself a collection of amps for a lot less money than the originals would have cost. There are a lot of classic designs out there worth building.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    I have an amp I built that is a 5F6A clone, but I used a Weber 5E7M chassis (mid pot but no presence), and the 5E7 cab. This has 3X10s instead of 4, and I used the stock iron, and use a 5U4 for slightly less B+ (compared to a Bassman OT and a GZ34). There were guys that would unplug one of the speakers on their Bassmans, I guess to drive the remaining 3 10s a bit harder. The amp gets a nice clean, and I can get a decent 'just barely' broken up sound at louder levels, but still not crazy like you would have to do with a Twin (forget about it!). Also, with the smaller cab and 3X10s, not quite as big iron, the amp is not real heavy either.

    Yeah, I don't play the SFSR hardly at all, it lives mainly in the closet, but I do get it out every so often just to keep the caps working. But my wife doesn't seem to mind too much!

    As mentioned above by Jazz P Bass, a Deluxe (reverb, I presume?) is nice, still a great clean, but at 20 watts or so, you can crank it up too. I have a DRRI which is nice, but still in the tweaking stage for me. (Upgrading stuff mainly, not too fun on a PCB board amp)
    What do you mean by iron? Is 5F6A the schematic number of the amp of Fender? I don't know what is 5E7M chassis and 5E7 cabinet, are those after market stuff, Weber brand? 5U4 is rectify tube? I am not familiar with these!!!

    DRRI is Deluxe reissue? Yes I avoid buying one with pcb. It would be hard to modify.

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    Iron= transformers and choke. 5F6A= Fender Tweed Bassman (model #). 5U4(GB) = tube rectifier.

    5E7M is a kit available from Weber VST. Based on the Fender Tweed Bandmaster.

    DRRI= Deluxe Reverb ReIssue

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    Iron= transformers and choke. 5F6A= Fender Tweed Bassman (model #). 5U4(GB) = tube rectifier.

    5E7M is a kit available from Weber VST. Based on the Fender Tweed Bandmaster.

    DRRI= Deluxe Reverb ReIssue
    Thanks

    BTW, I was just on the amp kids section and look at the old Marshall boards, can I buy those little posts and crimp onto a fiber board with pre-drilled holes. Also like the Fender boards, is there a tool to crimp that ring on. I remember I had seen people crimp a metal ring onto fabric so they can thread thin ropes, something like the holes on shoes where you tie shoe lace.

    If so, what do they called and any site I can buy those?

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    Try here for the eyelets, staking tools, boards etc:

    Watts Tube Audio ~ Everything Tube Amps!

    (oh it's Kits not Kids)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    Try here for the eyelets, staking tools, boards etc:

    Watts Tube Audio ~ Everything Tube Amps!

    (oh it's Kits not Kids)
    Thanks.

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    Alan,

    If you want to start from scratch with an "all inclusive" package, I recommend the Weber kits for the $. If you want to pick & choose your own custom amp I recommend figuring out a desired wattage & specific tube compliment then going from there.
    You said you like Fender clean, so go after the tone you desire in the wattage scale your wife won't kill you over...! If you love cleans at lower volume & a bit more grit at higher volume the Princeton Reverb is a great lower watt combo! If you want a bit more balls to keep up with say a loud rock band without breaking your back the Deluxe or Tremolux would be perfect(that 15" in the Vibrolux combo aint super light either). In my opinion the 4 6L6GC's in a Twin are the benchmark of clean headroom, but you'd be surprised just how loud a 1x12 Deluxe can get! Also the 6L6's do add a bit of desirable "dirt" to the amp when it's cranked...

    For mid-sized clean this may be what your looking for:

    Weber 6A20HP2 - 2 6L6 in a 1x12 combo cab with MM transformers

    If you want a bit more tube breakup at lower volume the 6A20(2 6V6's) is the way to go.

    Another huge thing to consider is the speaker(s) you put in the amp. The Bandmaster is known for great cleans but it does matter what it's driving... Crappy or improperly matched speakers can make a great amp sound not near as good as it could.

    Happy tone hunting!

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    Last edited by Twin; 02-17-2012 at 07:44 AM.

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    (oh it's Kits not Kids)
    Kids are even more expensive than a Plexi!

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    Here is what the Watts eyelet crimping tool looks like. It's just a milled stamping die that you smack with a hammer. It works really well and relieves stress!



    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
    Kids are even more expensive than a Plexi!
    Yep, and I've got two teenagers!!

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    The wife makes you hide a little 1-12 combo? Sell the wife and buy more amps....

    Sounds like she wants to live in "knick-knack town" and guitar amps don't compliment the decor. Suckage...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtr_tech View Post
    The wife makes you hide a little 1-12 combo? Sell the wife and buy more amps....

    Sounds like she wants to live in "knick-knack town" and guitar amps don't compliment the decor. Suckage...
    Hey, if it is not because of my big boss, my place will look like a disaster zone.

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Yes, it would look like my house. A spectrum analyzer for a coffee table and so on.

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    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan0354 View Post
    I want a sweet clean sounding amp to start with, but I am interested in doing a distortion amp. I don't want to start with like a Marshall platform as the clean sound is not as good. Actually the clean sound of plexi is not good at all. It's there distortion that's second to nobody.
    Have you actually played a Marshall? A plexi played cleanly is one of the sweetest sounding amps ever IMO. Of course that is subjective, but it surprises me to see someone say that the clean sound of a plexi is not good at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hasserl View Post
    Have you actually played a Marshall? A plexi played cleanly is one of the sweetest sounding amps ever IMO. Of course that is subjective, but it surprises me to see someone say that the clean sound of a plexi is not good at all.
    I think this comes from a 100 watt marshall being turned up to .03 (so its not too loud) sounds horrible. A plexi/jmp turned up to 3 for clean sounds great (and also too loud for the 21st century!)

    As an aside, I HATED marshall cleans for years based off my friends vs100, which was my first exposure.

    Also back to the initial question, apart form the FUN of building and learning, I also would not feel comfortable dragging around an amp worth more than my car to all the crappy dives I play at. And I know if I blow something up (which happens from time to time) I havent desecrated a holy relic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxbie View Post
    Also back to the initial question, apart form the FUN of building and learning, I also would not feel comfortable dragging around an amp worth more than my car to all the crappy dives I play at. And I know if I blow something up (which happens from time to time) I havent desecrated a holy relic.
    You contradicted yourself.
    If you are building a amp for fun, how would it be worth more than your car.
    Also how are you descecrating a holy Relic, if it is something You built.
    It's a clone not a vintage Marshall amp!
    I agree with hasserl, have you ever heard a true vintage Marshall Plexi?
    They sound great clean!
    The JTM45 really sounds good Clean.
    BTW the Valve State 100 is not a Vintage Tube Marshall.
    B_T

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I think what he was saying was that aside from the fun of building and learning by making a kit amp, you also don;t have to feel the discomfort of hauling around a commercial, expensive amp, and if you break it, you have only broken your clone and not some $1500 fancy amp.

    At least that is how I read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    You contradicted yourself.
    If you are building a amp for fun, how would it be worth more than your car.
    Also how are you descecrating a holy Relic, if it is something You built.
    It's a clone not a vintage Marshall amp!
    I agree with hasserl, have you ever heard a true vintage Marshall Plexi?
    They sound great clean!
    The JTM45 really sounds good Clean.
    BTW the Valve State 100 is not a Vintage Tube Marshall.
    B_T
    You seem to have completely missunderstood my post.
    And yes, I have played though real vintage plexi's, tweeds, oranges, voxs, selmers etc.

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    Last edited by Boxbie; 04-20-2012 at 02:39 PM.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxbie View Post
    You seem to have completely missunderstood my post.
    And yes, I have played though real vintage plexi's, tweeds, oranges, voxs, selmers etc.
    Sorry:
    I just quoted what you said.
    I understand that you don't want to drag a relic around, I wouldn't either.
    Read your own Post again, It Probably didn't come out right.
    We can't guess what Your thinking, just what you say!
    I'm not Picking on you!
    BTW, Welcome to the Forum!
    B_T

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    I worked on a JTM45 with Mercury iron in it. I was really surprised at how great the clean tone was. The best clean tone I've ever heard.

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Sorry:
    I just quoted what you said.
    I understand that you don't want to drag a relic around, I wouldn't either.
    Read your own Post again, It Probably didn't come out right.
    We can't guess what Your thinking, just what you say!
    I'm not Picking on you!
    BTW, Welcome to the Forum!
    B_T
    No worries. I certainly wouldn't promote anything I made to relic status!
    And I love an old marshall clean, soundies just alsways tell me to turn down, which has led me to tweedland.

    Thanks for the welcome! : )
    I will be relying on your collective wisdom for builds to come!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan0354 View Post
    I have been thinking about getting a Fender vintage amp as a platform. Then I look at the kids from Mojo, Circa? etc. They are not cheap!!!! Why spend so much money to build an amp that I don't think the resale value can compare to the true vintage amp later when you want to sell it.

    So the question, is a good amp kid better sounding than the vintage amp it emulates? From one member Twin here, he said it sound better and it sure looked pretty.

    I would.... Those amp kits give you all the parts you need..... Sourcing parts yourself can be a real pain....so, building up an amp from a kit is probably a lot cheaper, in the long run... You want to tool up to do a full scratch build yourself ? Do the math, and let these guys do all the hard work for you.......

    -g

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    You can actually save some money doing a scratch build!
    But, Is it worth all the Aggravation?
    T

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    if your looking to build an amp because you really want a hard to find or expensive vintage amp and think it'll be cheaper to build one...

    you should probably just buy the vintage amp you want.

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  35. #35
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    You can always find an old Bogen or similar for little or nothing and rewire it to your taste. That is about the cheapest way.

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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