Build your own amp from a kit

Discussion in 'Building the Classics' started by mspart, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. mspart

    mspart New Member

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    I have been looking and found a kit that supposedly make a plexi 1987 amp. I don’t know really if what I just said makes sense but it did say 1987 and I assume that is a plexi style amp.

    The kit is $850 or so, but a 1987x is $2500. But that is an expensive kit. I’m not really that good of a player so maybe I shouldn’t have such an amp. But I’m wondering if anyone out there has had experience with a kit guitar amp and could share what they know.

    mspart
     
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  2. fitz288

    fitz288 Well-Known Yinzer Gold Supporting Member

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    There's lots of amp builders here on the MF.
    The 1987 is a 50w plexi, and a kit is an easy way to get all the stuff you'll need.
    Might not be the best starter project for a novice builder.

    For $850, there are a lot of great amps that you could get already assembled.
    What amp(s) do you use now?
     
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  3. Max Gahne

    Max Gahne Well-Known Member

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    I've built 3 from kits and that many more just a la carte. If you've never built one before plan on a month, they say a few hours. Ha! You need a good soldering station. Make yourself a light bulb limiter to start it up with. Your first try won't come out as well as you dream it will. If you're happy with your work 850 is a steal for a 1987. If you aren't happy then it wasted good money that could've gone into a factory made amp. So my last thought is this, do you want to learn to be an amp builder or just want to play the guitar? If you want to become an amp builder buy the kit and jump in feet first. If you want to play the guitar, there's lots of great factory amps for 850. BTW mojotone sells a a 50W Plexi kit and it, assembled by mojotone, is 1249. That's another route.
     
  4. scott-colorado2016

    scott-colorado2016 Well-Known Member

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    I, too, have been thinking about building a kit. Speaking for myself, I do understand that $800-$1000 can get you any number of amps already assembled. I want the challenge of building an amp (I'm well versed in electronics, test equipment and soldering). Besides, I'm either going to build either a 5e3 Deluxe which cannot be purchased for this price, or a Monotone Studio one which I could get a DSL1HR that would be comparable for well below the price of a kit.
    Again, not speaking for the OP, just myself.
     
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  5. crossroadsnyc

    crossroadsnyc Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey man, welcome to the forum!

    To get you pointed in the right direction, I went ahead and moved this into the Building the Classics sub-forum ... should get a little more focused attention there.
     
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  6. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Do your self a favor if this is your first amp build a fender champ the things you will learn will help you build a bigger amp .
     
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  7. Chris-in-LA

    Chris-in-LA Well-Known Member

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    The 5 watt Fender tweed Champ or 15 watt tweed Deluxe are good starting points. I would not build a 50 watt Plexi as a first amp, those suckers are loud! I’d build the 50 watt Marshall 2204 style amp as it has a master volume and can do classic rock at television volume as well as shake the walls of you want. But a 1987 or a 2204 are probably not beginner projects. Check Mojotone for their tweed, blackface and British style kits. They have links to the wiring layouts of most of their amp kits. If you think you can build an amp by looking at their wiring layout you are good to go.

    Good advice up above about a solder station and a light bulb limiter.
     
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  8. Madfinger

    Madfinger Well-Known Member

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  9. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Couple of questions, hopefully relevant.
    What is your background (work/studies)?
    Ever soldered or made anything like a pedal before?
    Do you have soldering wiring experience.?
    If you have experience and want a proper Marshall then I would build a 2204 (50w with a master volume) they are not difficult to build as long as you follow instructions and do a few things like bus wire and turret wires above the board, neat snd tidy wiring and follow Marshall wiring code colours - if you don’t and go off piste it will be much more difficult for you to troubleshoot and us to help.
    The DIY forums are full of people forlornly seeking help who feel that those suggestions are unnecessary;)
     
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  10. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    $200 more for Studio Series. :yesway: :2c:
     
  11. coolidge56

    coolidge56 Well-Known Member

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    Build one, why should Marshall have all the fun building amps.
     
  12. mspart

    mspart New Member

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    Hi guys, thanks a lot for the advice. Yes it’s would be my first big job. I’ve gotten half way through building a tube screamer pedal, did some soldering in college for a senior project. If the 2203 has a master volume where the plexi does not, I think I would rather the 2203.
    But my real question was if I do a good job and am very careful, would the amp be what I expect, or would it not be an amp with a real Marshall sound?

    mspart
     
  13. coolidge56

    coolidge56 Well-Known Member

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    You can easily match or exceed the Marshall sound.
     
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  14. Chris-in-LA

    Chris-in-LA Well-Known Member

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    Build the 2204, the 50 watt version of the 100 watt 2203. Less power tubes means it’s cheaper to run and maintain. I have both and not that much difference in the overall tone, especially at home volumes. The two 2204 clones I built sound almost the same as my real 2204. You can’t go wrong building your own.
     
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  15. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Whether your build comes up to snuff will be the quality of your components.
    Personally I would go down the Valvestorm/Metro route every time and use Marstran transformers. Again you can mix and match if you want but stray off too much and you may will be staring at lumps of iron and wire.
    Which kit were you contemplating?
    The 2204 (50w master volume with two output tubes) is much better for first time builder as pointed out above.
     
  16. mspart

    mspart New Member

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    My mistake, I meant I am now thinking of the 2204 amp. I was looking at the buildyourownclone.com website. They have the 1987 but not the 2204. They have good schematics and instructions but they have nothing in stock right now.

    I have not yet decided to spend the money on this project. Like I said, I'm not really that good. I just have a 2x12 cab with V30's and I thought something other than my code 50 would be good. But the kit is $800 and even though that is a third of the cost of new, that's a lot of money. I am not in a band or anything, really I just play in the living room. But it would be quite the project. I think I can do it and do a good job, but all I have is a soldering iron and a multimeter. No oscilloscope nor the knowledge of how to use one. But it seems like a fun project to complete.

    Thanks for all the input you have given me. It has made me rethink my direction on this. I will probably keep dreaming.

    mspart
     
  17. Chris-in-LA

    Chris-in-LA Well-Known Member

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    I built a bunch of amps with only a solder station and a multimeter. Food for thought.
     
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  18. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    if you follow the kit instructions and layout you've got a good chance of it working. getting a scope was life-changing for me but i also build from schematics (mostly thrown together by me with lots of "inspiration" from known working builds) with my own layouts and often salvaged iron from old organs, so there's a lot greater chance of it not being perfect first fire up, and being able to actuallysee what's going on through various stages is a HUGE help

    i would however build a lightbulb limiter as it'll save you from stupid mistakes and blown fuses (and if you ever decide to repair solid state amps and absolute MUST as by the time the fuse has blown you've likely already fried a number of things)
     
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  19. coolidge56

    coolidge56 Well-Known Member

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    I think @mspart is correct to avoid building an amp at this time. Even $800 is a lot for him and there are a lot of used amps for less than that price.
     
  20. mspart

    mspart New Member

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    Thanks Coolidge, I am having a hard time not looking at these kits. But I think I will hold off for now. Time and money are the main issues. I have a pedal I am making that has taken way too much time for me to work on. I need to finish that off before I go for another project.

    I appreciate everyone's input here. I am thankful for the direction you have given and the helpful hints and advice that has brought me to my decision.

    mspart
     
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