Which small amp to build?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by disorder, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. disorder

    disorder TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    I'm looking for a really nice bedroom practice amp. I always end up writing something and wondering how it would sound through a proper tube amp. I figured I'd look into building a smaller Fender design. Before I think about which model here's my concern. I need to be able to have both clean and overdriven tones at similar volumes. Would a Champ or 5F2 kit be pointless then with just the single volume control? I can think of a few different methods for implementing a Master Volume or even a VVR attenuator of sorts.

    Next question :D .

    Which model would you recommend? I play a lot of ambient stuff and live in a city so it can't be too loud. What are the major differences in the 5F1 and the 5F2A?

  2. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    If you need clean and dirty at the same volume buy a low buck practice amp that does what you want.

    Everyone looks at the tweed Champ, no tone control and we need a tone control, right? Let's put it this way. A 5F1 is a one trick pony but oh boy what a trick.

    The amp doesn't get louder above around halfway on the volume knob so much as it gets dirtier. It's an excellent opportunity to work the volume and tone controls on your guitar. Neck pickup, roll off volume and tone for clean. Bridge pickup all the way up for dirty.
  3. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    San Benito County, California
    I think you should skip the tube amp and get a roland cube or vox modeling amp. They sound good clean and they have some decent models for dirty, you can play them at whisper levels and you can get them cheap on craigslist.

    I own one of each and I built a 5f2a and I've owned two champs. I don't know what ambient is... but, if you need clean and dirty at apt levels... the little tube amps will be too loud (If I'm your neighbor) when you want it dirty.. Those little guys make a lot of noise...

    The modelers can go loud, but can be adjusted more easily.

    I love tube amps, but I think you'd be better served with the others... or not.
  4. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2007
    My mom's basement.
    I am about to start a Gilmore Jr. .5 and 2 watt with tone stack mod. I've been impressed with Mr. Guy of Guytronix. I'm getting pre-broken in Weber speaker and having a custom amp cab made to have a 10" speaker, low watt amp in small physical size.

    Unfortunately (just joking) my business has been strong lately so time at my bench and guitar is suffering. I hope I can get it all together when I get the chassis, cab and speaker all back or here.
  5. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 3, 2005
    I'll agree with the other guys in that a Champ or 5F2A can be surprisingly loud when you don't want it to be. Still, if the desire for toobs is strong enough, you could look into building a Firefly. It's a ~1 watt amp using a 12AU7 for the output section. There's more DIY work in planning the thing, as compared with a Weber/Ceriatone/Marsh/etc kit, but if you google it, there are PCB's and other pre-fab parts available. Some awesome-sounding clips are on YouTube. :cool:

    - Scott
  6. celeste

    celeste Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2006
    Like everyone has said, 5 watts unless through a really inefficient speaker is really loud in a home. 5F2A with a 6K6 might do it but that is likely to still be 3 watts.

    There are a number of 2 and less watt designs around. Gilmore, Firefly ( this one is pretty dirty) moonlight, heavy watter ( again quiet dirty) October Studio.

    The October is available as a kit and the Firefly may still be as are bare board.
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