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Amp With No Knobs?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by The Ballzz, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. RockerDuck

    RockerDuck Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
     
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  2. enorbet2

    enorbet2 TDPRI Member

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    Joe Walsh once asked me why amp builders couldn't build amps "with just a big Louder knob" and I replied "I could, but you would need one for each guitar". I thought about that for a long while and decided to at least get close but make it at least possible to dial in for different guitars, even acoustic-electrics. So I gutted an old Silvertone amp that basically started as a Champ clone but with a 10" speaker, added another preamp tube socket, beefed up the power supply and converted the output to a single-ended EL34 (Class A, obviously). It has just 2 volume controls - the first a typical gain staging control and the 2nd essentially an FX Return/Master Volume control (yes, it has a buffered FX loop for adding... well, anything). It's pretty amazing, simple AND flexible.
     
  3. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Holic

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    Guitars and amps are organic. Never the same twice. Look it up.
     
  4. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I just looked it up. Turns out, though amps are partially carbon based, they are largely inorganic. Some of the do host small organisms, though.
     
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  5. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    My 5f1 might as well not have a knob. That things been dimed for 8 years.

    After all theres a knob (2,even!) on the guitar
     
  6. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    Try telling that to a blonde piggyback bassman and it will kick your a*s
     
  7. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    That works for blondes in general, mostly.
     
  8. HF1600ie

    HF1600ie Tele-Meister

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    Atually, one of my best amps is a Vox AC30CCH (2007 model). It has the top boost and normal channels.

    Once I modified the amp internally to my specs (the old Vox specs) I find my self turning it ON, adjusting volume and playing. No really need to fiddle with anything else. Top boost channel with tone controls at noon. Adjust volume/gain to taste.

    The Normal channel is even more simple : A volume control and a "brilliance" or "more" brilliance" switch. Choose the switch position and that´s it. Play! Have fun ! I focus more on my playing and my guitar.
     
  9. Guitarzan56

    Guitarzan56 TDPRI Member

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    OK I know this isn't what you were referring to but I couldn't resist showing you this.
    I've had an amp with no controls for years. The lap steel it came with had V & T and I suppose that was where they expected you to control it. But not even a power switch? That's taking simplicity to a crazy level. It has a surface mount fuse on the inside. When I recapped it, I added a vintage looking but safe (grounded) power cord and an inline switch I got from Vintage Wire and Supply. I just didn't want to be the first to drill any new holes in it after it survived maybe as many as 80 years as pictured.
    Oahu Amp 2.jpg
     
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  10. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

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    Gotta name for your new amp company: ULONTRIPON Amps (ULtimate ONe TRIck PONy).
     
  11. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My curiosity is how do you get to the set-it-and-forget-it point without knobs?
    It seems pretty straightforward to get your signal up to line level for a power amp to process, but where is the assurance it will produce the sound you are looking for without manipulating the preamp?
    Not damning the OP's idea. I like it, actually. Complicated is fun...for awhile. But, simplicity is always a welcome return.
     
  12. zeppelinofled69

    zeppelinofled69 Tele-Meister

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    I see your valve junior and raise you a marshall 18W clone in a valve junior...
     

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  13. zeppelinofled69

    zeppelinofled69 Tele-Meister

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    I would expect during the build and design process the OP would breadboard the amp and use pots to get it where he wants it and then measure the pots to get the resistor value needed.

    Tedious, but totally doable.
     
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  14. OneOcean

    OneOcean TDPRI Member

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    The VHT Special 6 would be a good amp to start with since it already has a Fender style tone stack with fixed resistors & caps you could easily mod to taste. The Volume and Tone pots could also be easily replaced with fixed resistors if you wanted. You could leave the 3-way power switch as-is which would give you two output tube volumes and different tones, High (Pentode) and low (Triode), and the amp also has Hi and Lo inputs which could handle switching to guitars with different pickups. So that is 4 different volume/tonalities without needing to turn knobs. The amp also has a Boost footswitch, which adds an additional mid resistor to the tone stack, which offers another volume/tone level, so potentially eight different volume/tones without ant pots!
     
  15. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    A master volume allows adjustment for psychoacoustic balancing in different environments.

    My champ build has a variable B+ control... all the magic is in that control. There is a sweet spot.. BUT only for one environment. I need to adjust both gain and power to get same feel somewhere else that soaks the sound differently. So ultimately it would frustrate.

    get a simple multifx and a power amp. Then make it a patch.

    i could imagine a 5 way rotary, varitone like selector changing a resistor array for two controls altering the gain and power on my champ though for 5 presets. A good middle ground.
     
  16. oldunc

    oldunc Tele-Meister

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    I have a little Kustom tube amp that only has a volume control, which is fine by me. But I'm not much of a knob twiddler anyway, I like to concentrate on sounds I can make with my hands.
     
  17. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  18. thechad

    thechad Tele-Holic

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    In theory you could do it, but it’s kind of like opening up your pantry and throwing out all of your herbs and spices except for salt and pepper.
     
  19. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Some amps have Tabasco built in.
     
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  20. jsiddall

    jsiddall TDPRI Member

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    I am building my own with exactly 0 knobs:

    [​IMG]

    Technically it has a power switch on the back, but normally it isn't used and the power is controlled by USB:

    [​IMG]
     
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