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Who are your fave amp parts vendors?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by King Fan, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Please add your favorite suppliers to this list. We all know DIY saves you lots of money, :D and my recent build gave me the chance to do so by ordering lots of different parts from lots of different places. UPS company stock went up, and the USPS will now stay solvent for another year… Seriously, I was really happy with the fast service and amazing parts I got from a bunch of vendors.

    I don't include the biggest electronics guys, cuz I didn't use 'em as much and you all likely know them better than I do. *In no particular order*:

    Triode: Beautiful 5F1 kit, cloth wire superb, rapid service on small orders, friendly email support on even small shipments.

    Weber speakers: Although I had a bad experience with their (outside and separate?) cabinet shop, the Weber speaker showed up in beautiful shape exactly when promised and I can now say it sounds amazing. CJ Weber answered my questions quickly and clearly. Two thumbs up for Weber speakers.

    AES: Very fast and professional. The fact they're one state away from me made USPS both fast and affordable. Nothing but good things to say.

    Hoffman: Wow, instant fast, great items, shipped Priority Mail in 2 days, strong quality and knowledge, website unusually easy to use.

    TubeDepot: Nice tools and some items that were hard to source anywhere else. They still have polystyrene caps, which many vendors are out of or never carried.

    Boothill Amps: TDPRI knows and loves Dave. I wasn't smart enough to start with him, but I will in the future.

    Mojotone: Did and delivered just what they said they would. Will go there again.

    Watts Tube Audio: Great turret board. They have some items that are hard to source, and service felt family-run and helpful.

    Allen Amps: Didn't end up ordering anything, but helpful personal email instantly answering 'I'm looking for' questions. I'll go there in future.

    John Mergili cabs: Recommended to me from folks at TDPRI, good guy. Although he couldn't build my cab for reasons outside his control, he answered my email so quickly and helpfully that I'd definitely go to him in the future.

    I'll think of some more (no doubt when my wife reviews the credit card bills) but just put these out there to start the love flowing. Who do you like?
     
  2. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    AES
    Tube Depot
    Angela Instruments
    Parts Express
    Edcor
     
  3. chas.wahl

    chas.wahl Tele-Meister

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    AES
    Hoffman
    Mouser

    My son has built two amps from Allen kits, and they're his favorites (he has 6 or so).
     
  4. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    AES (aka, Tubesandmore.com, Amplified Parts)
    TubeDepot
    Triode Electronics

    i've ordered a bunch of stuff from AES and TD, and they've both been awesome. i also live one state away from AES, so i get orders in just a couple days. TubeDepot has great prices on shipping, plus they carry the Tefzel wire i like. both places have answered my emails quickly and been very helpful. i haven't ordered my transformers yet, but i've heard nothing but good things about Triode and they have a solid reputation, so i don't expect any problems.

    i'll give a shout out to Boothill too: i haven't ordered from them, but Hackworth has been great with offering help and info on my Melodier build! if i were to order a kit, i'd definitely go with Boothill!
     
  5. tresspassor

    tresspassor Tele-Meister

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    Can't forget your local suppliers. There's always that one item that I forget to order for a project. And it's usually some nut, bolt, or something like that. I've resorted to visiting places like Radio Shack, Frys, Lowes, and Fastenal for some odds-and-end parts.
     
  6. guitjopicka

    guitjopicka Tele-Meister

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    Fastenal is way better for anything that fastenal would carry than a supplier of amp related stuff.
     
  7. Wyzsard

    Wyzsard Friend of Leo's

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    Had good luck with Tube Depot
     
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    AES is first in line. If I can get it there that's where the search stops and the order gets placed. I usually get my orders in two days. They're very efficient down there.
     
  9. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    just the other day i was lamenting on Facebook how there are no cool independent electronics parts places in Denver anymore. i use to love going in and picking through bins and bins of all sorts of different components. lots of NOS stuff, a little dusty but brand new and dirt cheap! the last place (Fistell's) closed a couple years ago. of course there's RadioShack, but they barely count for that sort of thing anymore: two head-high stacks of drawers, and that's it for the components. the rest is all cellphone accessories and that kind of thing. oh, and overpriced, low-quality batteries of course (and at least they don't ask for your ZIP code anymore:lol:!)

    Home Depot and Lowe's can be great for certain kinds of hardware, like screws and standoffs and things. they also carry sheets of thin aluminum, which are great for making EMI shields (for amps and guitar pickguards too.) Harbor Freight can be good for some things on the cheap, but you have to know what you're looking for. they have big bags of good heatshrink tubing for a dollar or two, and their T-style wire strippers are a pretty good deal at $4. they're also great when you need an odd tool that you'll only ever use once or twice and don't need the highest quality.

    one more cool thing about AES: they've got an Amazon store (under their "Amplified Parts" name) and sell most of their stuff through there as well. if you've got Amazon gift cards or credits, you can use them for amp and guitar parts. if i want to order something from AES and only have cash, i'll run over to my grocery store a block away, get an Amazon gift card (there's no purchase fee) and order that way. it's nice for people like me who otherwise hate using credit cards. it's also pretty great around the holidays when i get the inevitable Amazon gift cards and need to get some guitar stuff. oh, and AES also just started taking PayPal too, for people who roll that way (TubeDepot takes PayPal too.)

    one place that i haven't checked out yet but have heard good things about is Mission Amps. they're near Denver and you have to make an appointment to visit in person, but i need to check them out one of these days.
     
  10. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    over here.. Evatco... ma and Pa.. valve geeks...:)
     
  11. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If you ordered from all those places, you saved about $200 by doing it yourself, and spent about the same amount in shipping charges.:)
     
  12. halfmassive

    halfmassive Tele-Meister

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    I don't think anyone mentioned watts tube audio www.turretboards.com Great stuff. I try to order all my major components from mouser and then I usually go with weber/Hoffman/ or turretboards.com for the stuff I can't get from mouser.

    I've had great experiences with triode as well. I went into their shop before they went online only, that was really cool. Just what you'd imagine an old radio shop would look like with stuff everywhere. There was a small path chiseled out of the gear lying around so you could make it to the front counter - but I think that was when they first took over the business from the previous owner or something similar.
     
  13. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tales from the time machine

    When I used to live in College Park, MD (circa mid 80s), I lived about a mile north of this old cinder block warehouse on US 1 south.
    From the outside, the place looked like a dump.
    Come to think of it.....the inside looked like a dump too! :lol:
    Wooden shelves with cardboard boxes lined the walls, filled with capacitors, heat sinks, resistors, diodes, cable, etc.
    NO prices listed it all, it was almost like a flea-market atmosphere........

    "How much for this aluminum chassis"?......holding it up high in the air.

    The cashier/clerk would look up from the Sports Page of the Washington Post:

    "five bucks"

    Gawd, I'd KILL to find a place like that, here in New Mexico!

    Steve :D
     
  14. rghill

    rghill Tele-Afflicted

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    AES - free shipping over $99, local
    Hoffman - fast shipping
    Triode - source for classictone transformers
    Watts - great for blank chassis and turret boards
     
  15. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    :D Oh, yeah, I probably spent more than that! And that's before the soldering station, DMM, various parts it turned out I didn't need or couldn't use, parts I broke or wasted, jewel lamps I changed my mind about, and non-build items I came across while shopping for my build.

    But I didn't order from all those places to save money. I had a pretty complete kit the day my first box showed up. The more I learned, the more I customized or revised my plans. Tube upgrades were expensive, but subbing in carbon films for some of my carbon comps and metal films for others while leaving some as comps, putting in polystyrene bright cap for silver mica, trying out different NFB resistors or v1b bypass caps? The parts were cheap, the shipping doubled the cost, but the fun was priceless. :D

    And then you start to learn you need a stable of suppliers to find each dinky little component you just really really need. And I'm sure the shipping to part ratio will go up even more as I start to mod a bit...
     
  16. rsi106

    rsi106 TDPRI Member

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    Most of them have already been mentioned. Here's a couple that have not:

    Apex Jr. - For wire, pots, switches, etc. He has got tons of stuff not listed at his site though. I have been in his warehouse. If you email him a request he will probably have it.

    Expediters - As long as you have a part number to search on, these guys are great. I have also got things like NOS RCA rectifier tubes for 5 bucks. I have also got tons of pedal building items here (i.e. NOS transistors).

    Nebraska Surplus Supply - Like Expediters, I use these guys for oddball specific items for amp building. Things like high power zeners or, the 10 turn precision pots/scale dials to do a "Komet" style bias control.
     
  17. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes it's got to be for the fun and learning experience, most of them I could have had someone else build them cheaper.

    So many good vendors, but almost none of them ever have everything I need.
     
  18. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    that could be very true, depending on how you plan things out! for my Melodier, i placed orders with two vendors: TubeDepot and AES. i bought certain parts from whichever had the best prices on that part, but tried to get most of it from TD because their shipping is only $4.95 for orders under $99. so far i've only spent about $15 on shipping, total. it's always best to try and place as few orders as possible, because you can really get nailed with shipping. transformers will cost me about $12 in shipping from Triode (because they're heavy, and that'll always get you.) when i order speakers i'm going to try and find a place (maybe Amazon) with free shipping, because those can also fall into the "heavy" category. the one i'm really worried about is the cabinet: that's going to be a painful shipping fee if i'm not careful!

    but if you play your cards right and do a bit of homework before you start ordering, you can still do pretty well on the shipping charges, even if you order from multiple vendors. some kits seem to be more expensive, but i think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you're getting large and heavy items in the shipment: just because the vendor says it's got "Free Shipping" doesn't mean they're not charging you for it! someone's gotta pay UPS or whoever, because they're not in the business of moving packages for free, and it's probably still going to be you. the vendor has just worked that cost into the price of the kit. sometimes it's a better deal, sometimes not, because things like cabinets, speakers and transformers are always going to cost a lot to ship somewhere.

    obviously there are exceptions to this though: sometimes vendors have a "sale" where they DO provide free shipping for a while. they're eating the cost of the shipping, because they hope they'll make it up by increased sales during that period. that's always a good time to order stuff, as long as you're aware it's going on. i'm signed up for email newsletters from TubeDepot, AES and a couple other places, and people on those lists are the first to know when things like that are coming. the reputable dealers are pretty good about not overloading your email inbox (i think i only get 2-3 emails from TubeDepot and AES per month, if that.) i recently got a few Belton Micalex sockets from TD for the same prices as the budget ceramic ones, because they were running a sale that i found out about through their newsletter.

    and of course the holidays are right around the corner, so that's a really good time to take advantage of sales they'll probably start running! even if you don't really need a bunch of parts, you can always place small orders for stuff like 8 and 9-pin sockets, jacks, wire and other things you'll probably end up needing in the future that aren't specific to one particular build (also: .022uF and .01uF caps, various resistors, screws/nuts/bolts, etc.) this way you'll get them on sale and have them ready when you need them.
     
  19. halfmassive

    halfmassive Tele-Meister

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    Right now avatar speakers has free shipping on speaker separates. I bought a couple g12h30s recently and avatar was fast and $50 cheaper per speaker than musiciansfriend. I have used them for a few cabs years ago and always had excellent service.
     
  20. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Re shipping, I've said elsewhere that if I'd known then what I know now, I'd've started with Boothill, cuz Dave specs a very sano parts mix. It's also a reason to make a first amp as simple as possible. But if you're as darned slow as I was, at least the per month shipping cost goes down!
     
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