The Final Tone – A Guide Evaluate of the Finest DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Sequence

This text is a ebook evaluation on a sequence of six books that’s the most complete and lucid rationalization of guitar tube amp structure, circuits, tone, elements and building approach for DIYers I’ve ever discovered. The evaluation offers with every ebook individually and recommends buying them in a particular order to develop your information in keeping with your constructing expertise.

Kevin O’Connor of London Energy has created a sequence of books underneath the principle title of “The Final Tone.” These books are actually distinctive and punctiliously tailor-made for the Do-It-Your self (DIY) guitar tube amp hobbyist and boutique amplifier builder. The books have a home-made ‘really feel’ as properly… all of the illustrations are completed by hand and the books are photocopy-printed on 8.5″x11″ paper and sure with plastic spines and clear plastic covers. There are six books within the sequence now with the latest being launched within the late spring of 2008. Chances are you’ll wish to purchase your entire sequence all of sudden and get a modest financial savings, however I feel it is best to take into account shopping for them one after the other and digest as you go, constructing initiatives alongside the best way. A key level although… you do not essentially wish to purchase them in numerical order. I like to recommend the next sequence:

  1. The Final Tone Quantity 3 – Generations of Tone
  2. The Final Tone Quantity 5 – Tone Seize
  3. The Final Tone Quantity 2 – Techniques Strategy to Stage Sound Nirvana
  4. The Final Tone Quantity 4 – Superior Methods for Fashionable Guitar Amp Design
  5. The Final Tone – Modifying and Customized Constructing Tube Guitar Amps
  6. The Final Tone Quantity 6 – Timeless Tone Constructed for the Future At this time

The Final Tone Quantity 3 – Generations of Tone

That is crucial ebook within the sequence for the start tube amp builder.

Chapters 2 by Four lay down the muse of fine DIY tube amp building, filling you in on good electrical connections, grounding approach, lead gown and different wiring methods, and mechanical structure together with meeting strategies like terminal strips, turret and eyelet boards.

The following chapters every choose a specific ‘iconic’ amplifier, every iconic amplifier being a prototypical instance of amplifiers of its class, and they’re examined intimately as to the circuit topology, peculiar tonal traits that outcome and deadly flaws that the product is infamous for. Kevin offers the unique schematics after which exhibits how one can apply the methods detailed within the earlier chapters to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the icon with out harming the tone. The schematics are redrawn, layouts are offered and mechanical options are labored out to make every chapter an entire, self-contained, build-it-yourself amp challenge.

This course of is repeated for a number of variations of the Champ in chapter 5 (this chapter enormously influenced my very own single-ended amp challenge), then in fast succession: the Bassman, Plexi, 800, Bull Canine, AC-30, Portaflex, SVT, Bass Grasp, Customized Particular, Guitar Mate, Herzog and Laney amplifiers are handled.

If you happen to can solely purchase one ebook to your DIY guitar amp passion I might heartily suggest this one.

The Final Tone Quantity 5 – Tone Seize

Quantity 5 picks up the place Quantity Three left off, with a project-oriented strategy and a few refined DIY tube amp options for guitar and bass.

The ebook begins off with a chapter overviewing vacuum tube operation known as ‘tube tone,’ adopted up by a chapter on guitar electronics and pickup traits.

The following two chapters are small initiatives: Sigma for results switching and Triple-X for amplifier switching.

Chapters 5 & 6 are on transformers… necessary elements nevertheless it made me yawn, sorry.

Beginning with chapter 7, all of the stops are pulled out and you’re in challenge heaven… Main (200W), Soma 84 (EL84 amp), Commonplace (the London Energy Commonplace Preamp from 1995 coupled to a 50W amp utilizing 4 energy tubes), Doppelsonde (mixing energy tube varieties), AX84 (dialogue on the unique aim of a really low output energy amp), Kelly (50W from Four 6V6s), and a number of other different initiatives of lesser scope.

One favourite challenge I did was based mostly on Kevin’s transforming of the HotBox tube preamp pedal from Matchless in chapter 16. I constructed this pedal in a very “true point-to-point fashion” (which means terminal strips) in a tube pedal enclosure from Doug Hoffman, substituting a Baxandall tone stack and transforming the preamp values to be extra Dumble-esqe (non-HRM sort).

What would you do to match an amplifier to Yngwie Malmsteen’s fashion? See chapter 18, ‘Swede.’

The Final Tone Quantity 2 – Techniques Strategy to Stage Sound Nirvana

Quantity 2 shouldn’t be challenge oriented. The majority of the ebook, chapters 2 by 5, offers with energy provide tips and a complete overview of energy amplifiers, together with tube, solid-state and hybrid energy amps. Chapter 3, on tube energy amplifiers, has some very sensible info on mods and fixes to Marshall and Fender bias circuits.

I like the first and final chapters of Quantity 2 one of the best. The primary chapter is a brief dialogue of sound phases and the way you would possibly setup your gear on stage for one of the best viewers/band expertise. The final, chapter 6, is known as “Pillars of Tone” and on this chapter the key contributors tone on the block-level of a guitar tube amplifier system design are mentioned one after the other and Kevin offers some very worthwhile perception into tone shaping all through the preamp/amplifier.

The Final Tone Quantity 4 – Superior Methods for Fashionable Guitar Amp Design

That is the ebook you may wish to purchase if you happen to really feel the necessity to get deeply concerned with the facility scaling expertise that Kevin has developed. Energy Scaling, coined and trademarked by Kevin, is the best way you may get facets of energy amp distortion (versus preamp distortion) into your tone at bed room quantity ranges. Quantity Four shouldn’t be DIY challenge oriented however explores the problems, together with attenuation, energy scaling (each down and up), sag, and energy administration, tackled by trendy guitar tube amp designers.

That stated, the second-to-last chapter in Quantity Four is likely to be necessary for a broader group of fanatic builders… design philosophy. On this chapter Kevin offers a hierarchical design course of that could possibly be used to make key choices on the way you strategy your subsequent challenge.

The Final Tone – Modifying and Customized Constructing Tube Guitar Amps

There isn’t a quantity quantity within the title of this ebook, it was the first. Personally, I purchased it for completeness. I particularly wished to have the ‘excellent results loop’ info, though the loop itself is integrated right into a challenge in Quantity 5. TUT additionally has some glorious materials on reverbs and sign switching strategies that isn’t defined within the different volumes. The primary half of TUT introduces/overviews tube amp methods, energy provides & grounds then focuses on preamp and energy amp modifications to business amplifiers (e.g. Marshall / Fender)… in case you are completely new to tube electronics you could wish to purchase this 1st quantity similtaneously Quantity 3.

The Final Tone Quantity 6 – Timeless Tone Constructed for the Future At this time

In some ways, Quantity 6 is a continuation and extension of the fabric in Quantity 4, the place Energy Scaling is launched.  In Quantity 6 a brand new ‘direct management’ model of Powerscaling is featured which was launched in Vol Four however flushed out with complete circuits and utilized to ‘sag’ and maintain management as properly in Vol 6.  The brand new scaling circuits have many benefits for a DIY builder like larger noise immunity and fewer sensitivity to structure, and many others.

I utilized the brand new DC Energy Scaling to a Trainwreck clone challenge and was actually impressed with the advance in ‘playability’ at decrease volumes… the unmodified Trainwreck Specific circuit is simply too loud for home use, needing to be cranked to get the candy tones it’s famend for.

One of many chapters in Quantity 6 is devoted to the Dumble amplifiers… one thing I used to be actually trying ahead to since lots of my passion initiatives concentrate on these circuits.  I discovered this brief chapter to be a very good introduction to the general structure of the Dumble amps, written from the perspective of the evolution from the early modified commonplace amps that Alexander Dumble began out doing, however I felt the chapter fell brief in discussing among the extra necessary subtleties of the later Dumble fashions.

Quantity 6 additionally has plenty of different materials in it, together with an incredible tutorial on designing actually excessive output energy amplifiers and an incredible chapter on excessive achieve amplifier designs with real-world circuits referenced and detailed.

In Abstract…

Kevin’s books have a really empirical strategy. He encourages you to put aside conference in some situations or not be afraid to strive mixtures of tubes and even pulling tubes and in all instances clearly explains why it’s o.okay. and factors out any the reason why it would not be o.okay. All of the examples within the books are very sensible and he definitely has the DIYer in thoughts as he’s writing.

Kevin’s physique of labor is actually encyclopedic in nature, and contemplating that, one characteristic sorely missing from his books is any sort of indexing… that is aggravated by the truth that Kevin continuously refers to earlier writings moderately than repeat himself in a brand new quantity, and it is rather troublesome to place your finger on the reference even with the opposite ebook in hand. Maybe search engine expertise, like Google’s potential to look protected content material, could possibly be put to good use on this case and supply a sort of ‘auto-index’ on the internet of all of Kevin’s books with out truly gifting away the ebook itself. Or higher but, how about an e-book format of Kevin’s complete assortment of TUT books… I feel the entire e-book readers embody looking out capabilities… and Kevin’s hand-drawn schematics would most likely scale adequately and be very readable on the e-paper shows these gadgets characteristic.

In the meantime, how do you get Kevin’s books at this time? One of the best ways to get the books is to straight organize them from London Energy Press. They now have a purchasing cart on