Where to start if I want to get a DIY kit?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by ColdEye, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. ColdEye

    ColdEye TDPRI Member

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    I recently played on a 1/4 watt Plexi and a 5f1 clone that my fried bought. I loved the 1/4 plexi. I want to start on a DIY of my own, either the 1/4 Plexi, a 5f1 clone, or 5e3 clone. Pretty much any low watt tube DIY kit. I browsed on ebay and there seems to be quite a few of them available. Are they a good bet on what to start on?
     
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  2. swervinbob

    swervinbob Friend of Leo's

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    Watching because this is something I’m interested in.
     
  3. corliss1

    corliss1 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    5e3 might be low watt, but it's LOUD. It doesn't really get more loud as you turn it up either, just more distorted.

    5F2 is always my first recommendation if possible. Bigger chassis size = easier to work in, and the tone control can really help depending on your guitars.
     
  4. NSB_Chris

    NSB_Chris Tele-Holic

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    I think you will get a lot of advice on this post!
    +1 for a first build. Just a nice sounding amp and a very good pedal platform.

    What kind of music do you play and what would you like this amp to do? You want a relatively uncomplicated circuit to cut your teeth on, but you also don't want the amp to just gather dust after it is built. Do you play a lot of distorted stuff that you want that tube distortion that SS just can't replicate or do you like the warm clean tone of a clean tube amplifier to put pedals in front of?
     
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  5. ColdEye

    ColdEye TDPRI Member

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    I currently have a Marhsall Origin 20 and a Dark Gene Kowalski. I like the cleans I get fom the Marshall Origin and how good it takes pedals, but I also LOVE the half watt goodness from the Dark Gene. I play classic rock and the more modern offerings like Black Keys. Between the 5e3 and 5f2, which would be a good candidate to add a Master Volume? The most I play it is small coffee shop/small bars and jamming with the friends at a garage. I am aware how loud 5w is, so having a Master Volume would be a plus. I play 70% over driven/distorted and 30% clean with my archtop.
     
  6. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    Ime, a 5F2 or if you feel your solder skill and knowledge is adequate a 5E3 or 18W Marshall.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I would consider an attenuator before a Master Volume. OMMV.
     
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  7. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Afflicted

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  8. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    ^^^this^^^
     
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  9. willholt92

    willholt92 Tele-Meister

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  10. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Lot of good kits out there, the 5E3 was my first kit (boothill kit) the advantage of the 5E3 so many people have built them you always get questions answered. The 5E3 is 12 watts +- it is as mentioned very LOUD and it likes to be pushed. Best advice Post pictures of your progress and don't be afraid to ask questions. I've seen so many post I just built this amp what's wrong? Also read up on the safety aspects of building an amp.
     
  11. ColdEye

    ColdEye TDPRI Member

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    I think its either gonna be a 5f2 or 5e3, will do some more research into it as I am not in a rush. Thanks for all the input!
     
  12. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Friend of Leo's

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    @ColdEye
    Personal experience and reading of others' successes, tell me to recommend a kit from MojoTone also. 5E3 or 5F2.
    Just Sayin'
    Gene
     
  13. adolphe

    adolphe TDPRI Member

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    I'll second Mojotone for kit options. I built a Deluxe Reverb as my first kit. Everything worked out well but I do have experience building other electronic projects. I recommend doing a parts inventory when the kit arrives comparing the kit to the schematic and also to the wiring diagram part by part to make sure there are no discrepencies. I did find a couple problems where they kitted the wrong parts and also I found errors in the drawings. I know that doesn't lend confidence, but following that process will also help you learn the circuit inside out and plan your steps for building.
     
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  14. adolphe

    adolphe TDPRI Member

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    I'll also add that Mojotone was really quick and helpful in resolving the parts issue and also good at answering questions in general. I'm not saying they're better than any other kit out there, because i don't have experience with any other one, but I'd recommend them as a good experience.
     
  15. Linkjr

    Linkjr Tele-Meister

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    If you go mojotone you get components in a great plastic Box all labelled nicely

    But remember to check the components sooner rather than later as we're all only human and I found out the packer for mojotone is too
     
  16. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

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    Allen Amplification has some nice kits (Blackface Fender style) and the instructions are very good. Support is good too. I built the Accomplice Jr. (Deluxe Reverb) and love it.
     
  17. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    All good advice here. But I wanna back it out a few paces. *IF* you're electronically adept, good at wiring and soldering and precision work, and can build and understand a circuit from your *own* ability to combine and draw out vintage and modern circuits, you can maybe build a first amp that meets all your amp wishes.

    But if you don't have all those skills already, you really want to build a "first amp" from a standard kit before you build a "dream amp." Do you want a complete kit put together and shipped to you? Do you want step-by-step instructions, or even without instructions want to follow a *single* drawing, and don't want to waste time, money, and a lot of frustration? If so, you also want to build a 'first amp'. Mojotone's 5E3 is as close as I know to all these qualities -- the instructions and drawings need only a little editing -- but you won't end up with either a low-power amp or a modern MV amp. Dave Allen amps are famously nice and well documented -- look through his current offerings, as supply issues are hitting everywhere. Trinity Amps also has kits with well-liked instructions, and some great circuits -- but many are too complex to be ideal first builds.

    As noted above, the 5F2a (technically the 'a' matters) is really an ideal first build. Still actually gets pretty loud, not usually, usefully fitted with MV, but Mojotone does a kit -- I *think* without instructions, an approach that still worked for many of us. Do you think with some help from a build thread you could wire up something from this drawing? With (heh) maybe just a couple changes we'd suggest?

    upload_2021-7-18_9-17-1.jpeg


    I'm glad you mention micro amps. A simple micro amp (Rob's micro Champ, or micro Deluxe, or mmmmaybe Blackvibe micro?) might hit some of your targets -- some even have an MV -- but be warned, you'd have a *lot* of work to do to source everything from chassis to transformers, and it requires a *lot* of understanding to choose among a lot of build options. All these issues seem to cause a *lot* of trouble on many first builds.
     
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  18. Greg70

    Greg70 Tele-Holic

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    I recently completed a Mojotone Princeton Reverb as my first build. There were a few minor hiccups but they are a class outfit with great support and I would buy another kit from them. And honestly, there's a ton of support right on this forum if the kit instruction are missing some details. Aside from the Tweed Fender clones, Mojotone have a 1 Watt MV Marshall style amp and a few other low output ones if you're looking to build something with high gain.
     
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  19. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Whatever you build, build it as a head, not a combo. For anything <15W a 10" speaker in a good cabinet is a good bet. By building heads, you get to build more for the space available. This matters.
    Be warned though, it does get addictive.

    Whatever kit you go with, ask questions as you go.
     
  20. jman72

    jman72 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've built multiple 5e3's and a 5f1 kit from Boothill Amps. I used an upgraded output transformer on the 5f1 and it is an AMAZING little 5 watt amp (paired with a 12" speaker). Honestly, it's the perfect size amp for jams or coffee house gigs- no master volume needed. I love my 5e3, but I play the 5f1 most of the time now. I know the 5f2a has a tone control, but honesty I love the simplicity of the Champ.
     
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