An introduction

I am starting this blog to help document my experiences as I learn about how tube amplifiers work.

Back in the mid eighties I was bought my first electric guitar, which was a Les Paul SG copy made by Hondo. I also was given a Fender Champ. All I knew at the time was that it was really small, and had no reverb. To me that was somewhat boring, so within months I traded it in for a transistor based amp branded with John Hornby Skewes. It was brown and heavy, but it had reverb!

A few years later I saw the light and bought an old Marshall 50W (the 2204 model) for about 80 GBP ($150 in today’s money I suppose). I had to have spells cast on it to get it to work, but for what amounted to $200 I had a gem of an amp. I purchased an Orange 4×12 from out of the paper, and was soon up and running. Henceforth I discovered “that tone”…you know the one…Eric Clapton..Peter Green…Angus Young. Not much in the way of distortion by today’s standards,but soooooo much sustain and¬†sensitivity.

Since that day, tube amps have always been a mystery to me. I know how a tube works…not hard. But how it all fits together is somewhat confusing to one raised on digital technology. I’m old enough to have owned and played vinyl, but I’m also young enough to know that all that analogue crap is just a horrible compromise.

So, this is my effort to come to grips with basic electronics, with these goals in mind:

  • Repair my old Marshall. (It is now noisy and resonates)
  • Build a tube amp, from existing designs.
  • Modify said tube amp.
  • Design new a magical tube amp.
  • Profit!!!
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