Stupidity And Putting The Cart Before The Horse

Discussion in 'Building the Classics' started by toadfish, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Built n flown RC planes for 30 year's so plan's n schematics are my fortè! Built my own cabinets and do all my own guitar assembly and setups and electronic's! Doesn't mean I can't be electrocuted! So it will be a safety first approach! My Uncle is an electrician and I built car's for General Motors here in Australia for 20 year's! So I've got a bit of experience in assembly (once again doesn't mean squat when it comes to amps!!) But I looked at and contacted Greg Germino and George Metropoulos about amps and the $2500US with $350-400 to import without duties and taxes was way over my head! And the experience of a mate buying a custom built handwired Marshall Amp replica year's ago from supposedly one of Australia's best Marshall plexi builder's that was truly the biggest piece of shit I've ever heard! That amp had to be fully rewired by another amp specialist who said it was an electrical rat trap! Waiting to kill innocent guitarists! So I figured I'd build my own (with alot of reading and a little help!) I won't be knocking it out in 5 hour's put it that way nor will it be plugged in until it's full checked out and tagged by an electrician as if I wanted to burn my house down or electrocute myself I could find an easier way to do that! That's why I come to the premier amp forum MARSHALLFORUM.COM
     
  2. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    Better safe than sorry, I say.
     
  3. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Better safe than smoking (laying on the floor smoking from electrical burns!) Slowly the parts are arriving!
     
  4. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Got that watts board! Thing is bent like a banana! Is that going to be a problem! Pretty disappointed! $100 for an item that in my opinion should be thrown in the BIN!!
     
  5. john l

    john l Well-Known Member

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    I’ve had plenty of problems with watts. Valvestorm and Antique Electronic Supply are both wonderful parts sites
     
  6. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Thanks John thought it was only me!! I asked him what the go was with the bent board but no response! (I suppose sending your shit to other countries alleviated the problem of anyone in his country getting it!!) But only in the last hour I contacted George at Metro Amps to see if he will build a 50w amp with a half watt switch in it? ( hell I wouldn't even know if it can or could be done?) But stuffed if I need a 100watt amp! That's pure OVERKILL even 50watt would more than likely strip the paint from my wall's! I contacted Valvestorm to try and buy everything needed to build a WHOLE AMP! don't need any cabinet just everything to build the whole amplifier! But never got a response? I have everything needed to build the amp but stuffed if I'm paying 10 lots of shipping to Australia when I can get everything in one hit!! The trouble is with valvestorm is I wouldn't know what comes in the barebones kit? And the yellow M marked next to the boxes means shit to me!!
     
  7. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Try Robert at Valvestorm again.
    He has a day job.
     
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  8. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Don't think I will worry about it! Postage is out of control and having just done my sum's for transformers,chokes,resistors,pec potentiometers,capacitors all the good stuff! It's about $400 more to buy a Metropoulos! And that's without Fluke Multimeter and ESR tester! Plus (my opinion) you can't trust 90% of these vendors trying to sell shit I need on scumbay! Plus I read Merlin Blencowe's book and that's put me off tube amplifiers FOR FUCKEN LIFE!!
     
  9. RobLaQuinta

    RobLaQuinta Active Member

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    There are companies that sell DIY clones that have all of the semi-conductors in a kit. Labeled and all. You might try that route. Downside is you end up using all of their values for the build. THere are plenty of mods that change those values. Read about them, too...
     
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  10. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Thanks Rob im done reading for a while! I don't work anymore and trying to get my hands on books and read forum's and purchase parts and then receive absolute SHIT!! that cannot be used anyway! It's really been a confidence boost in dealing with some of these pieces of shit!! Hell I haven't been to the boxing gym this much since my last title fight in 97! No shit people out there thinking of building an amp! I've done job's that have required me to walk in minefields!! And that was easier than trying to deal with 50% of scumbags associated with the building of a JTM45!(Only my opinion!!)
     
  11. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible that you're simply looking under the wrong rocks for parts, information and communications methods and timing? I'm an absolute maniac about making sure all of my ducks are squarely in a row before I ever order a single thing. I go absolutely crazy with researching the best, most convenient & cost effective means of combining orders/sources/shipping, as well as checking reviews concerning various vendors, etc.
    Just My $.02 or $.03,
    Gene
     
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  12. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Gene your exactly correct in my opinion! I have been trying to buy all the correct item's and done a fair amount of looking (and learning) for vintage components but like many would more than likely know well before me! That the well is dry with part's! (There out there!!) I made the mistake of telling one vendor about what I wanted his vintage resistors for and I placed them in my cart to come back and cash out later to find $100 additional cost's added? And all my MIL spec resistors replaced by non MIL spec resistors? In the end I got that pissed and I gave up! You could honestly get walked all over by international seller's buying NOS vintage components! And because I don't know enough about components and testing them it's a roll of the dice type game! What I worked out is (only my opinion again!!) tell them your not trying to build an amp but your a vintage radio man! I had a well known amplifier maker week's ago offering to send me an Amplifier to Australia (once again STUPIDLY I told him his sole distributor had no stock in Australia and hadn't for over a year!) So he said "oh no problems we will get you one sent out!" Next thing I've received an email from his offsider with a bill for an Amplifier that's $2000 more than what the Australian distribution agent's price was!!(what a fucken SNAKE!!) And this prick was doing me a favor? The favor should have been me trying to keep his business running by buying his amplifier in the first place!! The world's INSANE! customer service is out the window! And if not doing your job was an actual job! we could have some of the hardest working employee's in business in today's world!! Should pull there arm's off poke them in there ear's and ride em round like motor bike's!!
     
  13. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    You sir paint a colorful and fairly accurate picture! It's very difficult to trust anyone, until you know them. I ain't sayin you're right or wrong, but ....... I'm
    Just Sayin'
    Gene
     
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  14. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    Ya know, upon thinkin' about it. I understand your desire to end up with a fully vintage specced amp AND I understand wanting the pleasure of playing through such, just as our heroes of yore did, but....! I suggest that for your first build, you start with all current production components, with turret board construction and all solder connections above the board, according to authentic schematics/layouts. Get it working/functioning well & properly and then as you research and learn more, easily swap out the components that you determine will "actually" make real differences and not just provide bragging rites! You may be well surprised how well the current production stuff sounds.

    Also, I'm not sure you were clear on whether you planning a 45 watt JTM45 or one of the 100 watt variants. If the 45 watter, MojoTone kits are fairly well received:

    http://www.mojotone.com/kits/BritishAmpKits_x/Mojotone-British-45-Watt-Style-Head-Amplifier-Kit_2

    Just My $.02 or $.03 Again,
    Gene
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  15. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Thanks Gene! Yep it was the JTM45 not the 45/100 I've had a look at the Mojotone stuff but will have another look! My mates Dad worked for Jim Marshall and Orange Amps and also Dave Reeves at HIWATT back in the day! He is in a home as of last month! I'm kicking myself as there would have been no better man in the world to talk to about amplifiers! I had a chance to show him my WATT's turret board (its bent like a banana!!) and he said just bin it! (Back in his day it maybe a £2 item!) But I didn't want to embarrass myself by telling him it cost me $100US!! I know exactly what you mean about worrying about the good components later with another build but I'm the type that if I build it once then I build it properly! (I don't think building is the problem!) It's the playing the game's with people selling the stuff who expect me to buy 1 piece here and another piece there without the comprehension that shipping alone in time and money can double the cost of items getting sent to Australia! I had friend who I worked with for 20 year's! He used to carry some Vaseline in his work bag (one of the funniest men I've ever met!) And if anyone ever tried to screw him over he would not say much disappear to his locker come back with his Vaseline hand it to the person trying to take him for a fool and say " if your trying to bend me over you will need this!" 99% of the time it had an immediate impact on the person trying to screw him over! Shit like that doesn't work dealing online! This faceless world has made people think they can shit in your shoe and get away with it!
     
  16. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    On that banana board, I'd demand a refund. If you bought it on a credit card, ask them to help you handle it. I'm hoping you have not already "binned" it?
    My point about starting with current production parts was that much of the impetus for "NOS" part is not much more than claims of fairy dust. Yes, there are certainly places where it CAN make a difference (who's to say good or bad) and other places where it only makes a difference in the weight of your wallet! I'm gonna bet that you (like myself), prefer the wallet to remain as heavy as possible/practical? The beauty of buying a full (close to authentically componented) kit is that you get it all at once, pay one shipping fee AND you are in total control of the quality of the craftsmanship. That last part often matters as much if not more than the components used.

    That Mojo kit with no tubes or cabinet is $577 USD plus whatever the ride is to you. A locally sourced (or built by you, if wood-ish inclined) cabinet, along with locally sourced tubes could be not too pricey. I'd bet that for well under $1000, you'd be driving family and neighbors nuts! If correct transformers are available to you at reasonable prices, you could even go with the Mojo small parts kit and their chassis set for $263 and likely save a bundle on shipping, due to the weight of the transformers.

    Yeah, I realize the chassis is aluminum, instead of steel (some would chide you for that), but if you want the absolute best of the best, absolutely authentic everything, be prepared to pay nearly as much, if not more, for all the "fairy dust stuff" as you would for a complete boutique build! Let's face it, most of the vendors who sell this stuff ALSO build amps and they sure don't want to give up their R&D, parts and the costs of paying for and sitting on inventory, without making a profit for their efforts. You wouldn't, now would you? This is definitely a game and the best way to "almost" win is to play the game in the most practical manner!

    Best To Ya,
    Gene
     
  17. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Good advice that! Trouble is with that WATT's board is he won't reply to emails now! I contacted Wallace Amps(who offered to build the WATT's board up for me!! He had no idea it is a basket case) and he was a gentleman! And also Bray Amps who was also a hell of a nice guy! Like you said you can't expect these guy's to tell you what they've taken year's to work out! (Nor would I expect them too!) After reading a few things it seems like the transformers are the thing that can make or break a good amp? Tube's obviously play a big part aswell! I think I will try and do a bit more reading on the matter as that Merlin Blencowe book was like reading another language to me! (Way over my head!!) It also had the immediate effect of putting me off the subject bigtime!! I'd pay for good book's on the subject but some I have are absolute crap!! Thanks for the help and advice it's appreciated!
     
  18. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Merlin's book can be a bit saunting, especially for a novice at electronics with only a smattering of theoretical knowledge. On the other side of that coin, building a clone is rather easy, by comparison to a new-ish design, as you don't need to devise ways to reinvent the wheel. It's more like a "paint by numbers" endeavor. Just a few "best practice" methods to follow, such as good soldering skills, good "housekeeping" and proper/neat lead dressing of not having wires cross each and if they have to cross, keep them at right angles to each other. look at multiple gut shots of amps similar to what you're building and "follow the leader." After looking at a number of gut shots, you'llnotice some that are sloppy and some that are pristine. Note that nice, neat and tightly twisted heater wiring is crucial to keep the hum level in check and there are several different, "preferred" methods for attaching those heater leads to the tubes. I especially like the way Terry Schaffer of GR Amps does it. Notice how his heater leads don't cross any signal wires, as heater wires can really generate/induce hum:

    [​IMG]


    Also notice that all solder connections are made to the turrets "above the circuit board" even the jumper wires. This makes repairs, modifications and trouble shooting much easier. And FWIW, it's really not very difficult to build your own turret board, as long as you have the proper dimensions/layout and staking the turrets is a piece of cake with either a drill press and or a staking tool set, which I've actually built for myself. Using the pre-perforated board like Terry used here is actually quite handy, as it allows for convenient wire through holes from underneath the board. Lotsa things to consider, but it ain't rocket surgery or brain science!

    Understand, the biggest pitfall of amp building is that you can't just build one. As your success and skill levels progress, it gradually grows from passion to obsession and eventually addiction! :eek: There ARE worse things to become addicted to though! :agreed:

    Happy Building,
    Gene
     
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  19. toadfish

    toadfish Member

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    Should be good for soldering at least? (35 year's in the business!) Been trying to download some picture's of my work but the file is to large (not so good at computers!) Terry's 10 watt amp sounds good! And least he is using the P.E.C potentiometers not those Alpha's (some like them just not me!) And I could easy build a turret board and setting tool's to do the job! I've done a bit of tool making and have access to a machine shop! (Like my Dad used to say "If you want shit built properly! You make it yourself") and I was just keen to play an amp that I built (I have George at Metropoulos Amps building me a new 50w-25w switched amp that's still in the design phase at the moment should be released 3 months time!) Also been hanging around on 18watt.com for a look and contacted a few guys doing kits for Amps (one in Canada that's name escapes me at the moment!) He does a HIWATT clone and I'm a fan of Dave Reeves at HIWATT (my mates Dad said Dave was a perfectionist!) In the process of building a 2x12 cabinet today took 6 week's to get my Baltic Birch here in Australia and I'm running a Vintage 30 and the British made Creamback combo on this one! Also finished my Les Paul last night retro fitted the relic Gotah Gibson hardware on it with the pigtail studs and inserts and plugged the body with rock maple and re-drilled it for the 59 style threaded rods from pigtail aswell! So been as busy as Bagdad brick layer! Thanks again Gene!! Brad
     
  20. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    The advice Gene gives you is spot on.
    Personally I would get all the current production listing for a JTM45 from Robert at Valvestorm as he sells good quality modern material turret boards and just get the board components kit (they will be modern 1w Xicon resistors and 2w MO voltage droppers with the smaller caps etc it is $24) use either Mallory/ERO for $7.75 or Sozo Royals $40.80 or NOS Mustards at silly money if you want (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NOS-Mull...479152?hash=item362a27b470:g:JjkAAOSwI2VaxnGA)
    I would get bog standard Alpha pots (PEC are nice but not necessary). Get the panels, chassis, hardware, filter cans and holders, Cliff jacks, Carling SPST switches, Belton sockets and the plexi complete wiring kit ($14.75).
    The whole lot will be under $250 (but yes plus shipping)
    Personally I think the Marstran (Brian Wallace) are hard to beat and you can get all 3 in one package at $335 plus shipping.
    There is a guy in Oz selling head cabshttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Plexi-JTM45-JMP50-Watt-amp-Head-Cabinet-Only-Made-In-Australia-by-Achillies/162326024748?hash=item25cb62922c:m:mjdb-p4WsXZsgnvlmWbqWsg?

    I did my first mods by buying a used JTM45RI and installing a turret board and original spec filter caps etc. You might want to start that way?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
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