Links to other sites

Join an amp-builders’ forum.

Get cabinet supplies. Learn electronics.

Marshall amp forum

If you get bitten by the amp-building bug, there are many forums and other online resources to check out. For finding out about Marshall amplifier circuits and/or researching the finer details of vintage Marshall amplifiers, check out the Marshall Forum. There are vintage and modern sections, as well as the “Building the Classics” area.

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London Power

Kevin O’Connor has been building amps for ages and sharing his knowledge through his website and super-deep books. He developed PowerScaling – a similar technology to Halls’ VVR circuit and Amp Maker’s VCB. His books are super useful. They are not cheap, but they are very good value for money. Take time to look through the website – especially the Standby switch info on this page:

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Uncle Doug’s Youtube channel

Uncle Doug has been a HUGE contributor to many amp-building communities. In recent years he’s branched out with a wide-ranging Youtube channel that’s essential viewing for all amp builders. He looks at a lot of vintage amp circuits, but his videos are packed with practical ideas for building/fixing your own projects, too. Highly recommended!

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The Valve Wizard

Merlin is one of the best sources to learn more theory about guitar amp circuits and tone shaping. He has shared some of his excellent articles on his website and also publishes a number of books that are required reading if you want to build your own amplifiers from scratch.

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Another enthusiast and hobby site that, while a little quiet now, is packed with useful information for amp builders and guitar FX tweakers. Click on the “Tube Amp FAQ” link in the top-left corner to get to a very detailed and useful guide, for example.

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This forum remains one of the most popular on the Web for audio project builders. Its focus is much wider than valve-based guitar amplifiers, and covers the more esoteric areas of stereo and hi-fi project building.

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Training: NEETS electronic theory documents

A squillion years ago, the US Navy created a basic electronics course for new recruits. The documentation is still available today and you can download it freely from the Web. It is deep and comprehensive, and while it i not essential reading for anyone building an Amp Maker kit, the extra level of explanation (and equations!) is very useful for those who want to find out more.

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Supplier: Retrospecialist for grille cloth/etc

When I first started out, Syd Chaplin in Essex was a great source of materials for finishing amplifier cabinets. Although his main focus had been on materials for classic radio and hi-fi restoration, he also carried many of the materials that work well for guitar amp building.

Syd has since retired, but his son Russell has incorporated those same materials into his retro records mail order business.

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Wattkins Amp Forums

This is actually a set of sub-forums, each one specialising in a certain type of guitar amplifier. For example, the forum covers single-ended projects similar to the WF-55 and N5X amp kits. Like the 18W forum, this one requires registration to see the discussions.

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Many of the amp builders and the resources of older forums have migrated to this newer forum over recent years. There are sections specifically for guitar amp building, but many other areas are also covered, such as guitar FX and even pickups.

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This is another archived forum and amp-building resource. At the time of writing, some of the links to old resources are broken, but the schematics were still available.

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Probably one of the best sites for beginners to join when I first started to dabble with amplifiers. The classic projects – P1, P1 eXtreme, H-Octane and SEL  – are all very well documented. The Amp Maker SE-5a was very closely based on the P1 project, and the N5X is a development of the same, with useful features added.

The original forum has stopped but there is a lot of archived info with feedback and ideas about modifications and troubleshooting.

Original forum is here: click to open in a new window

The new forum is here: click here to open it in a new window

This is the forum that fired my interest in the classic 18W amplifier. I’d had a not-very-well WEM Custom 15 for many years. It was the type that used a PCB. After joining this forum, and reading just about every article I could, I had learned enough to convert the WEM into a hand-wired “18W Lite”.

The result was so good that the amp got converted into other 18W derivatives: TMB and even a vrsion with a Trainwreck preamp circuit. But after enjoying the extra gain, I reverted it back to the 18W Lite and it’s been that way since. That prompted the creation of the PP-18 amp kit, and then the P1800 was the 18W Lite circuit with a few useful additions.

The 18W forum – click here to open it in a new window – requires registration before you can see the discussions, but for 18W content, it’s well worth it. Shout out to Graydon, Zaphod and the others who have made it what it is.