Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Scratch build? New respect for kits...

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by King Fan, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    373
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    I like those bins! I've been getting Walgreens pill bags to keep small components in. They're little 1-1/2" X 2-1/2 or so zip lock bags with a white place to write on and they're handy, especially for resistors but the bins would be much handier.
     

  2. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    I was in a $100 Amp Challenge years ago and we tried to design amps with the parts coming in under $100. I wanted my build to be practical, I limited my sources too two venders. It is an artificial savings if the part cost is $2 but the shipping is five times the amount. In the end I managed to put together a list for a non-tremolo cathode biased 6G2 amp, jacks to knobs to tubes but no chassis under the limit. Was a good exercise.
     
    King Fan, bparnell57 and tombob like this.

  3. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    373
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    Even buying parts for mods and repairs it ends up being a problem trying to get all your parts from as few venders as possible. If you only buy a few dollars worth of parts from several vendors it ends up costing a lot more in shipping than the parts costs.
     

  4. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Georgia
    I just love the community we've built here where you make sure to point out that isn't your solid state amp.:lol:
     
    keithb7 likes this.

  5. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Jan 9, 2010
    Western Canada
    Hey it's important. We need to know our Shock Brothers are united and strong, never waning for our love of tube amps.
     
    jsnwhite619 likes this.

  6. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    373
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    Well I'm not ashamed to say I have a SS amp, as long I can make sure everyone knows it's a Roland JC-60...
    I like it for acoustic/electrics.
    See no shame there. LoL
     

  7. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Holic

    SS amps have their place! I have a couple of Peavey Bandits at rehearsal locations, and I had a Lead 12 that I used to take to rehearsal. My sister in law fell in love with it, so I gave it to her.
    (I,m sure most all of us have SS PA's!)
     

  8. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    I have 3 very similar cabinets from Canadian Tire. Two are indexed and loaded with parts but mostly only useful for pedal making. The 3rd is still waiting for me to find a spot for it.

    When I scratch built my Tiny Terror Clone, I realized I had no (or very nearly no) adequate parts for tube amps. I ordered everything online from Mouser & Digikey. The EL84’s came from Amazon. It took me 3 nights to come up with a BOM and most of the parts were an overnight delivery. Everything arrived by the end of the week. It’s an amazing time we live in for sourcing and buying parts. Mine is P2P, so no turret board required; the components I ordered are audio quality, fine tolerance modern parts which are a little pricey but regularly stocked and easy to find at places like Mouser or Digikey. I’ve just got to build the cabinet and I’m raring to get on with the next one.
     
    Axis29 likes this.

  9. rocksmoot

    rocksmoot Tele-Meister

    159
    May 6, 2012
    Rogers, Arkansas
    I just finished a scratch build, I feel your pain!
     

  10. jhundt

    jhundt Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    63
    Mar 23, 2003
    Netherlands
    I built several amps from scratch. When I started there was no kits, no internet, only mail-order or phone order. Luckily there were 3 or 4 electronic parts places within easy driving distance. My favorite was an old quonset hut out by the Oakland Airport. It was just piled high with old electronic stuff - military surplus, and just plain old junk. You had to poke around to find things you needed, like transformers and tube sockets. Mostly had to disassemble something to get to the part you wanted. A lot of times I couldn't find what I needed, but I found lots of other crazy stuff and had a fine time looking through it all, and chatting with the other crazy guys who were doing the same.

    Through this experience, I have developed patience! I spend a lot of time planning and making lists. I buy double the amount I need, so I'll have extras. I fully expect to make two orders for each project. The initial order, and the 'oops, I forgot' follow-up order. I also expect to take several weeks building anything, so I don't feel too bad about making the second order. Delivery times are amazingly fast these days!
     

  11. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Tele-Holic

    985
    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Its funny how amp building seems to require theoretical and practical knowledge of electronic circuitry and all the pack-rat skills of a veteran garage sale commando. Sanford & Son meets McGuyver.

    I don't know if I'm going to stick to building after my next project is done (I think I enjoy playing guitar more than I do soldering and being in a constant state of worry/confusion) but if I do, I'm going to buy something like this:
    https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/resistor-kit-1w-carbon-film-5-each-value

    This seems like it would check a lot of the boxes when it comes to several amp brands and as a plus, you'd have other odd values for "just in case" and you'd get enough resistors that you could bin them to select the closest values to what you need.

    Seems like you could do the same for caps, just get a few of the common values and a couple of oddballs. But I could see that getting a little more pricey.

    Of course death and taxes and shipping, rinse and repeat. Your mileage will not vary.
     
    awasson and Bill Moore like this.

  12. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Holic


  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    @King Fan, your first few posts in this thread hit home. I'm finally digging into my Weber ReVibe kit after literally three years of it sitting on the shelf. It took me that long to feel like I had a decent chance at pulling off a noise-free build of this thing. Still very much fingers crossed.


    From the start, the kit schematic, layout, and eyelet board were missing one key feature that was apparently added immediately after the initial build. Also, trying to suss out the details, I encounter other derivative designs, that really are nearly identical. Where's Waldo to figure out the two little differences. Or wait, are there more? And why? I've found myself enlarging the few gut shots I've found, way past resolution, hopelessly blurred, trying to confirm that one critical bit that should have been the whole point of the photo. Argggh. Grumpy...

    Some parts were missing, others were confusingly duplicated, and a few are just plain weird looking little unmarked things that have no place here, even after the process of eliminating every other known part (or they're absolutely key to a successful build, and mine will never make a sound). Also, a few parts were total garbage, and got flagged for preemptive replacement. And that's without trying to get picky about component types, brands, and values.

    The chassis is so cramped, that after finally settling on a plan, I felt it necessary to draw a full scale layout, and do a couple of dry fits, to see if everything could possibly fit, and to determine the ordering of build steps (like no pots until after the board is in place.)

    I did at least three runs through of parts, ticking them off my layout, working with a meter, double checking everything. Again, a few components missing, a few extras, etc. Sometimes I think how much evil fun it must be to assemble a perfect kit bag for shipping, but last minute, toss in three extra parts, and take one out, to put in the next kit.

    Finally, I'm on to where to find the parts, minimize shipping, etc. Hateful work. I am beginning to understand that if I want to do much of this, I'll need to get used to Doug Hoffman's site. So much goodies there. But as a former software guy, and inadvertent website designer in the later years, that site drives me up the wall. It's buggy, too. I had a whole bunch of all these little parts in the cart, or list, or whatever, and then one more click, and it's all gone, replaced with what appeared to be someone else's list. A few more clicks, and mine's all back again. I think somehow his cart ids are getting duplicated or something. It's the kind of thing that I'd happily rewrite the whole server before I'd try to use it again. But I'll probably have no choice. Lots of goodies.

    I did avoid Doug for this one, since I didn't need much. Most from AES, and ONE part from mouser. Then a half hour after the orders are placed, I'm soldering the heaters to a 9-pin, and discover a hairline crack in the ceramic. Wound up using Amazon for that one. $2.00 part, $5 to ship (ineligible for Prime).

    Got my stuff yesterday. Wait. There are only two long bushing 1/4" jacks. Should be a third, a L12A, or is it B.

    I'd sum up by saying, yeah, kits may be worth the while to save all this trouble, but then I remember... this was a kit!
     
    King Fan likes this.

  14. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    Hey Bill,
    I can’t seem to load that page correctly. Are those useful values? If so, that’s a substantial savings. I bought a load of 1% metal film resistors from Digikey and it was reasonable but probably 10x that price.

    I also found the 1% metal film resistors disturbingly Tiny compared to a typical carbon resistor of the same wattage. I chose them because of the lower noise and higher accuracy but when they arrived, I thought I had ordered the wrong power rating. They turned out just fine.
     

  15. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Holic

    Aren't carbon resistors always larger? My first build I used carbon comp, but have since decided no-one will be looking inside my chassis to deride me for non historic parts in my clone.
    I've gone to 1W vs the 1/2W Leo, and Jim recommended so I have enough lead length, (I like turrets!)
     

  16. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    :lololol:

    Moosie, you win! You're now the official owner of the world's worst BOM experience. In fact, the difficulty of your whole build planning process boggles the mind. It's almost like you have to re-invent the Re-Vibe. Or maybe that would actually be more straightforward.

    All this makes me think back to starting my first build, a simple 5F2a. Before I began (and you hear this a lot on TDPRI from folks planning a first build) I was expecting to find a boxed Revell model kit, where they walked you through every step in the instructions. Before I was done I had to cobble together two separate kits, a different board, extra caps, revised wire, pots, jacks, and switches, and then hunt up a replacement chassis and cab after the ones I'd ordered never got shipped. And having finally built the amp, I then chose to 'upgrade' some parts (vanity? expert advice?) and after that chose to mod in an NFB footswitch with cap/resistor/jack/wiring. The UPS guy was here so much he offered to pay rent.

    For better or worse, no one makes a kit for the next amp I'm planning. so I'm enjoying all these tips on better planning, combining orders, saving on shipping, and, yeah, bigger parts bins. :D
     
    moosie likes this.

  17. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    404
    May 4, 2017
    Orlando, FL, USA
    FWIW I started ordering nice 1W carbon film resistors off Mouser , for each build however many are on my BOM I multiply x10 and buy that many. I eyeballed those resistor kits for a while but once you start using these Xircon carbon film with the nice leads it's hard to go back to using those little blue metal films.

    The AES carbon film variety pack deal looks nice but at > .14 per resistor.

    At 10+ the price per resistor on Mouser is < .04. I figure after a few contrasting builds (Marshall, Fender, etc) I'll have a nice variety.

    Again, FWIW.
     
    moosie likes this.

  18. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    :D

    My first build was an Allen kit. This is exactly what you describe as the Revell model kit. BOM was perfect. Instructions were perfect. I even got a photograph of David's own build of the same amp, so I could match the lead dress. I sent him pictures of mine, and he offered advice like "if you shorten this lead by 1/2 inch, and move it an inch to the side, you'll avoid blah blah." VERY detailed. The amp worked first time, and is so quiet if it weren't for the pilot light, you'd never know it was on.

    After that experience, I was ready for the equivalent of a 5F2a. Nice and simple "kit" where kit means bag of parts only. I'd handle the rest. I was ready. Hmm, I don't really need a 5F2, though. Oh look over there! That's a nice little one, that ReVibe. So small, how hard could it be?

    :lol:

    "Like stuffing an angry porcupine into a cereal box" was the designer's build comment.

    I didn't reinvent it, but I did make a bunch of mods to chassis, and redesigned the layout for better DC ground management.

    If I do another (for my son), I'd do a scratch build, possibly making it a bit more spacious. I can make a cab, but I have no idea where to buy blank chassis for something like that.

    Oh, and after my initial frustration with Doug Hoffman's 1990's tech website, I did smoothly place an order for some nice looking solid core cloth wire. Extremely fast shipping.
     

  19. tubeswell

    tubeswell Friend of Leo's

    Jul 1, 2008
    NZ
    I always assume that I will have to modify any kit to get it working to my satisfaction. Its either that or totally scratch build
     
    moosie likes this.

  20. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    373
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    I've had good luck putting together a fair assortment of carbon film resistors, silver mica caps and poly "generic" OD caps through a eBay store that sells from China. It's not very good if you need it right away, it might take a month to get your order but it's good quality and dirt cheap. I order things I think I might need for future mods/repairs/builds when I see them or think about it.
    By the way, if you completely gut a old amp chassis and use it to build a totally different amp from what it was could you call that a scratch build? I'm always looking for junk store SS amps, dead or alive, for the chassis and anything else I can scavenge (knobs, switches, T-nuts, handle, etc.). Sometimes dead SS amps even show up in trash dumps! ;-)
     

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