suggested reading

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by Mongo Park, Jan 24, 2020.

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  1. Mongo Park

    Mongo Park Tele-Holic

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    This forum is an excellent way to learn about tube amp building with its wide range of opinions and knowledge it is a a concentrated center of knowledge. I have noticed that the top drawer posters have a quantum level of knowledge above mine. So I am asking what books or sites or whatever would up my level of understanding. I can read a schematic, order the parts, solder an amp together and make it go most times, and add in some tweaks. However. I would like to be able to put together an amp that is not a copy, as in just following the schematic.
    Any direction towards books/sites that would give me that knowledge would be much appreciated. The problem with hobby learning is it is disjointed and big knowledge gaps occur which limits what I can do.
    Cheers Ron
     
  2. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Here's another good one:
    http://www.aikenamps.com/index.php/white-papers

    And Doug Hoffman's forum is great. https://el34world.com/. His amplifier tube forum can be accessed through the link.

    The Amp Garage is good too, but YMMV re; interacting there.

    Rob's website is great, but also pay attention to his bibliography. He links to a bunch of books on the subject.

    If you are more of a visual guy, then Uncle Doug's channel is awesome. He methodically walks you through proven circuits and does a good job of explaining the "why" as well as the "how."
     
  3. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Holic

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    Get the PDF for the Jack Darr handbook. Electric Guitar Amplifier Handbook.
     
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  4. Mongo Park

    Mongo Park Tele-Holic

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    Thanks all of you for the list. I will get on to. Love Rob’s site but I never looked at the end for books. Cheers Ron.
     
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  5. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  6. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    Ron, this is a good idea and a worthwhile endeavor.

    I'll add the useful and accessible FAQ articles from R.G. Keen on his Geofex site:

    http://www.geofex.com

    Rob's excellent book list is, as you say, at the end of one of his many great pages.

    I strongly recommend everyone go to his original page, which includes notes and prices and *links* to find each book, mostly from Amazon. Being Rob, he does almost all the work for us. For purposes of this thread I digested out his text and notes:

    Rob's suggested tube amp reading list

    Merlin Blencowe: Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass, 2nd ed.
    My favorite tube amp book​
    Merlin Blencowe: Designing High-Fidelity Tube Preamps
    More great info from Merlin. This book is thick with an incredible amount of material. {Rob’s Amazon review: I'm a guitar tube amp guy but Merlin's writing is so good I had to have this book. It is absolutely jam packed with great information but it's not nearly as easy to read as his signature tome, "Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass." I still highly recommend the book but it's not a casual read. It seems Merlin has poured the entire contents of his tube preamplifier knowledge into the book. He dives deep so hold on and he'll get you back to the surface with an increase in tube amp understanding and an appreciation of the depth of the subject. The book also serves as a great tube amp reference book.}
    E.J. Jurich: Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics
    Not specific to guitar amps but well written​
    Robert C. Megantz: Design and Construction of Tube Guitar Amplifiers
    Another favorite for beginners​
    RCA Receiving Tube Manual, RC30
    An oldie but goodie, filled with a wealth of tube circuit information
    (note this can be found online in PDF form}
    Richard Kuehnel: Circuit Analysis of a Legendary Tube Amplifier: The Fender Bassman 5F6-A, 3rd ed.
    If you're a 5F6-A Bassman fan, you need a copy​
    Richard Kuehnel: Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Preamps, 2nd ed.
    Another good book on tube preamp circuits​
    Richard Kuehnel: Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Power Amps
    The best book currently in print about tube power amps​
    Neumann & Irving: Guitar Amplifier Overdrive, A Visual Tour
    If you want to really understand what's happening in tube amp circuits when overdriven… fairly technical but the only book written specifically about guitar amplifier overdrive; includes many graphs to help make the material easier to understand​
    Morgan Jones: Valve Amplifiers, 4th ed.
    A good, and thick, reference volume​
    T.E. Rutt: Vacuum Tube Triode Nonlinearity as Part of The Electric Guitar Sound
    {Rob provides a link to this online}
     
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  7. trxx

    trxx Tele-Holic

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    I'm currently reading on Guitar Amplifier Electronics Basic Theory - Richard Kuehnel. I would say so far that it is overall good, although there have been some rough spots with some of the explanations. And I think that for someone who hasn't already held an interest in basic electronics and guitar amps for some time, it might move too fast and linear.

    But I think there has been no great absolute beginner book ever written on guitar tube amps. And that situation isn't unique to books on guitar tube amps. Apparently, technical writing is a difficult thing to pull off in general. I have read very few technical books that were a good experience. And lots of false starts and abandoned ships to find very few gems in the piles. Lots of money spent too. Coincidentally, the problems with technical books seem to mirror the problems with guitar amps: Finding and maintaining a good balance of clarity, liveliness, warmth, and character.

    But then again, books are no replacement for back and forth personal interaction. Maybe it would be a good thing to have discussions, topic by topic, of guitar tube amp concepts and circuits, according to a predefined table of topics.
     
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  8. TobyZ28

    TobyZ28 Tele-Meister

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  9. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Tele-Holic

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    All of the above posts are excellent sources.

    Rob Rob's internet articles and tools are inspirational, and Uncle Doug's use of youtube is impressive.
    RIP Rusty. Good dog.
    Another thing that has helped raise my level of understanding is building effect pedals.
    Specifically:
    High, low, and band pass filters.
    Impedance to next stages.
    Stacking gain stages.
    Creative use of all kinds of switches and relays.

    This knowledge has been very useful, both when voicing an amp, and figuring out switching options.

    For me, this hands on approach makes a difference, and the cost is reasonable.

    You end up with some pretty cool pedals too.:cool:
     
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  10. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    MERLIN IS GOD.
     
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  11. Junior Little

    Junior Little Tele-Meister

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    All of the above!
    I would also add that Van Valkenburgh's books are a great beginner series to vacuum tube electronics in general. Very easy to understand.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
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  12. Mongo Park

    Mongo Park Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the list, most excellent.
    I ordered Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass, and Guitar Amplifier Electronics Basic Theory.
    Quite a few others are available on line so they are on my list to read.
    Uncle Doug and Rusty taught me a lot and needs revisiting as well as watching the ones I have not.
    You all are very helpful and supportive, very kind of you to lend your time point me in the right direction.
    Could take some time to get it all in my head but I enjoy this sort of stuff so it will be fun learning, as well as reading the forums here and el34world.
    Cheers Ron
     
  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Aiken, Merlin, Robinette are my go-to places.

    Uncle Doug is good for another perspective, however not always entirely in line with mainstream thinking. But I'd rather read a transcript. Watching reminds me of how bored I got by the slow pace of my 8th grade Algebra teacher. :lol:

    I actually found Falla's How to Hot Rod Your Fender Amp useful, since one of the ways I started was trying to mod/service/understand SF amps. More direct to the task, less theory, but enough insight that I could choose to learn more on my own. Probably helped me to ask the right questions.

    At the other extreme, I often have to read Blencowe.... go away, take an ibuprofen... read again... go away and think about it for a few months, read again... and finally the light clicks on. And I suddenly know a LOT more than I otherwise would have. But for me, at least, it's not easy work.
     
  14. TobyZ28

    TobyZ28 Tele-Meister

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    Moosie Youtube will let you adjust playback speed (Gear Icon lower right hand corner) by up to 2x... it'll change your life! :)
     
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  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I just hit the arrow, spacebar whatever, to advance 10 seconds. Tap, tap, tap...

    Increasing the playback speed won't do much for listening to a droning voice...
     
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  16. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Well, as a dog lover I an hesitant to chime in one more time in this thread. But I think its important that the written record includes more than one perspective; And from where I sit, Rusty's contribution to the channel was always sorta overblown.

    On the continuum between Ed McMahon and Paul Shaffer, I'd categorize Rusty somewhere toward the former rather than the latter. At times, before his passing, it seemed that he was mostly just phoning it in.

    I can't think of a single thing he taught me. I'm sorry, but its true.
     
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