Can I Use Felt Instead Of Paper With Flower Svgs The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Series

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The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Series

This article is a book review of a six-book series that is the most comprehensive and lucid explanation of guitar tube amp architecture, circuitry, tone, components, and construction techniques for the DIYer that I have ever found. The review discusses each book individually and recommends that you purchase them in a specific order to develop your knowledge as you build experience.

Kevin O’Connor of London Power has created a series of books under the main title “The Ultimate Tone”. These books are truly unique and carefully tailored for the do-it-yourself (DIY) guitar tube amp hobbyist and boutique amp builder. The books also have a homemade “feel” to them…all illustrations are done by hand and the books are photocopied printed on 8.5″x11″ paper and bound with plastic backs and clear plastic covers. There are now six books in the series, with the last one coming out in late spring of 2008. You may want to buy the whole series at once and save a little, but I think you should consider buying the books individually and digest them while building projects. The key point though… you don’t necessarily want to buy them in numerical order. I recommend the following sequence:

  1. The Ultimate Tone Volume 3 – Generations of Tone
  2. The Ultimate Tone Volume 5 – Tone Capture
  3. The Ultimate Tone Volume 2 – a systemic approach to Nirvana’s stage sound
  4. The Ultimate Tone Volume 4 – Advanced techniques for modern guitar amp design
  5. Superior Tone – Modifying and Custom Building Guitar Amp Tubes
  6. The Ultimate Tone Volume 6 – Timeless tone built for the future today

The Ultimate Tone Volume 3 – Generations of Tone

This is the most important book in the series for beginners who build electronic amplifiers.

Chapters 2 through 4 lay the groundwork for building a good do-it-yourself tube amp, introducing you to good electrical connections, grounding techniques, lead dress and other wiring techniques, and mechanical layout, including assembly methods such as terminal strips, domes and eyelet panels.

Each of the following chapters selects a particular ‘iconic’ amplifier, with each iconic amplifier being a prototypical example of its class, and they are examined in detail in terms of circuit topology, the specific tonal characteristics that result, and the fatal flaws that make the product notorious. for. Kevin provides the original schematics and then shows how you can use the techniques detailed in the previous chapters to improve the Icon’s performance and reliability without damaging the tone. Schematics are drawn, layouts are provided, and mechanical solutions are worked out to make each chapter a complete, self-contained amp project that you can build yourself.

This process is repeated for several versions of the Champ in Chapter 5 (this chapter heavily influenced my single-ended amp project), then in rapid succession: Bassman, Plexi, 800, Bull Dog, AC-30, Portaflex, SVT, Amplifiers discussed Bass Master, Custom Special, Guitar Mate, Herzog and Laney.

If you can only buy one book for your DIY guitar amp hobby, I highly recommend this one.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 5 – Tone Capture

Volume 5 picks up where Volume 3 left off, with a project-oriented approach and some sophisticated DIY tube amp solutions for guitar and bass.

The book begins with a chapter reviewing vacuum tube operation called “tube tone,” followed by a chapter on guitar electronics and pickup characteristics.

The next two chapters are small projects: Sigma for effect switching and Triple-X for amp switching.

Chapters 5 and 6 are about transformers… important components, but I yawned, sorry.

Starting with Chapter 7, all the stops are pulled out and you’re in project heaven… Major (200W), Soma 84 (EL84 amplifier), Standard (London Power Standard 1995 Preamp connected to a 50W amplifier using four power tubes ), Doppelsonde (types of electric mixing tubes), AX84 (discussion of the original goal of a very low output amplifier), Kelly (50W from 4 6V6) and several other smaller scale projects.

One of my favorite projects I’ve done was based on Kevin’s conversion of the HotBox tube preamp pedal from Matchless in Chapter 16. I built this pedal in a truly “true point-to-point” style (meaning headers) in a tube pedal enclosure from Doug Hoffman, replacing the Baxandall tone stack and reworking the preamp values ​​to be more Dumble-esqe (of the non-HRM type) .

What would you do to make the amp fit Yngwie Malmsteen’s style? See Chapter 18, ‘The Swede.’

The Ultimate Tone Volume 2 – a systemic approach to Nirvana’s stage sound

Volume 2 is not project oriented. The bulk of the book, Chapters 2 through 5, covers power supply tricks and a comprehensive overview of power amplifiers, including tube, solid state, and hybrid power amplifiers. Chapter 3 on Tube Power Amplifiers contains some very practical information on modifying and repairing Marshall and Fender bias circuits.

I like the 1st and last chapter of volume 2 the most. The first chapter is a brief discussion of sound stages and how you can set up your stage equipment for the best audience/band experience. The final chapter, Chapter 6, is called “Pillars of Tone” and in this chapter the main contributors to tone are discussed one by one at the block level of a guitar amp system design, with Kevin providing some very valuable insight into tone shaping throughout the preamp/amplifier.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 4 – Advanced techniques for modern guitar amp design

This is the book you’ll want to buy if you feel the need to dive deep into the power scaling technology that Kevin has developed. Coined and protected by Kevin, Power Scaling is a way to incorporate aspects of power amp distortion (as opposed to preamp distortion) into your tone at bedroom volume levels. Volume 4 is not DIY project oriented, but explores issues including damping, power scaling (both down and up), droop, and power management that modern guitar tube amp designers are dealing with.

That said, the penultimate chapter in Volume 4 might be relevant to a wider group of enthusiast builders… design philosophy. In this chapter, Kevin provides a hierarchical design process that you can use to make key decisions about how to approach your next project.

Superior Tone – Modifying and Custom Building Guitar Amp Tubes

There is no volume number in the title of this book, it was 1. I personally bought it for completeness. I specifically wanted to have information on the ‘full effect loop’, although the loop itself is included in the project in volume 5. TUT also has some excellent material on echoes and signal switching methods not covered in other volumes. The first half of the TUT introduces/reviews tube amp systems, power supplies and grounds, then focuses on preamplifier and power amp mods for commercial amps (eg Marshall / Fender)…if you’re brand new to tube electronics, you might want to buy this 1 .volume at the same time as the 3rd volume.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 6 – Timeless tone built for the future today

In many ways, Volume 6 is a continuation and expansion of the material in Volume 4, where Power Scaling is introduced. Volume 6 introduces a new version of Powerscaling with direct control, which was introduced in Volume 4, but has been eliminated with bulky circuits and also used to “shrink” and maintain control in Volume 6’s new scaling circuit. DIY builder, such as more noise immunity and less placement sensitivity, etc.

I used the new DC Power Scaling in a Trainwreck clone project and was really impressed with the improvement in ‘playability’ at lower volumes… the unchanged Trainwreck Express circuit is just too loud for home use, it needs to be run to get a sweet sound. the tones it is famous for.

One of the chapters in volume 6 is devoted to Dumble amplifiers…something I was really looking forward to as many of my hobby projects focus on these circuits. I found this short chapter to be a good introduction to the overall architecture of Dumble amplifiers, written in terms of evolution from the early modified standard amplifiers started by Alexander Dumble, but I felt that the chapter did not discuss some of the more important details of later Dumble designs .

Volume 6 also contains a lot of other material, including an excellent tutorial on designing truly high-output amplifiers and an excellent chapter on high-gain amplifier designs with real-world circuit references and details.

In summary…

Kevin’s books take a very empirical approach. He encourages you to break convention in some cases, or to not be afraid to try a tube combo or even a tube pull, and in all cases he clearly explains why it’s okay and points out all the reasons why it shouldn’t be okay. All the examples in the book are very practical and definitely have the DIYer in mind while writing.

Kevin’s work is truly encyclopedic in nature, and with that in mind, one feature sorely lacking in his books is any sort of indexing…this is made more difficult by the fact that Kevin constantly refers to previous writings rather than repeating himself in a new volume . , and it is very difficult to get your finger close to the reference even with another book in hand. Perhaps search engine technology like Google’s protected content search capability could be put to good use in this case, providing a sort of “auto-index” of all Kevin’s books online without actually publishing the book itself. Or better yet, how about an e-book format of Kevin’s entire collection of TUT books…I think all e-book readers include search capabilities…and Kevin’s hand-drawn schematics would probably be sized appropriately and would be very readable on e- paper shows the functions of these devices.

Meanwhile, how do you get Kevin’s books today? The best way to get books is to order them direct from London Power Press. They now have a shopping cart at http://www.londonpower.com.

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