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Building my own Head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by blown240, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. blown240


    Dec 10, 2004
    I am going to be building my own bass head. It is going to be class A all tube and it basically going to be 2 amps in 1. One side will be about 300 watts and the other side is going to be 1000-1500 watts.

    I need to know a good place to get all the internal components. I have a good freind who built amps for BatCat for 5 years, but he doesnt know where to get the parts either.

    Any suggestions?
  2. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i'd love to know how you will get a tube amp to put out 1,000-1,500 watts and be able to move and power it.
    that would be a dream amp!
  3. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Especially if it's gonna be Class A output. Blown240, what power tube configuration have you decided on? Are you planning on running this off a standard electrical service?
  4. blown240


    Dec 10, 2004
    Thats another thing that I am going to have to work out. I am going to need 20+ tubes. But for what I am going for there really arent any amps out there that will do it.

    I mostly play upright bass, but its in a punk band. My current head is a Peavey Mk4 and it cant keep up. I have tried a GK2001, but I really think that I could build something that would do what I want for less $$$. I want 2 amps in 1 because I have my bass setup with each pickup having its own channel.
  5. Why would you want one pick-up to have 300 watts and the other to have 1500 watts? So why two channels, if it's one bass and two pick-ups?

    a 1500 watt tube amps gonna need it's own fork lift :)

    But I want to see/hear it when you finish it :bassist:
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Nope, you'll need at least double that if you insist on going Class A and use standard musical instrument tubes. You have other options, but I won't spoil the fun just yet. ;)

    I mostly play upright bass, but its in a punk band. My current head is a Peavey Mk4 and it cant keep up. I have tried a GK2001, but I really think that I could build something that would do what I want for less $$$. I want 2 amps in 1 because I have my bass setup with each pickup having its own channel.

    Hate to break it to you, but this is gonna cost a fortune. Way more than that GK runs, for sure.
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

  8. I've got 4 on order::smug:
  9. blown240


    Dec 10, 2004
    My bass has a pickup on the bridge for the actual notes. This one gets 1500 watts and runs into eight 10s. The other pickup is behind the finger board and really only picks up the clicks of the strings that come from slapping. This goes to the 300 watt side and runs into a peizo horn.

    I am not totally stuck on a class A only amp. I really like the sound, and I want tube. But possible a class A/B would be better.

    Thats why I am asking, I knew I would get some good feedback.
  10. I built my own head and cabs a while back - for acoustic and elec guitar not bass.

    I used MOSFET power and tube pre.

    The MOSFETs have a nice warm sound and are very tube like, they cost less, and they drive harder.

    Just a thought.
  11. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    First: I am all for people building their own amps, preamps, stomp boxes, basses... it's a great learning experience, within the limits of your abilities/finances/patience you can create something that is just how you want it, and there is wonderful personal satisfaction to playing something made by your own hands.

    That having been said, my knee-jerk reaction (and that may be all it is), is that if you don't already know where "to get all the internal components," you're nowhere near ready to be building a 1.5KW tube amp.

    Plus the fact that it's not about one specific place. If you don't know already, you'll quickly learn that you're best off getting some parts from here, others from there, and a few you'll only be able to get from over yonder. :)

    Note I didn't include "you can save money" in the list of reasons I support DIY. :p Homebrewing rarely costs less than buying commercially, except in specific cases or unless what you're doing is very unique. Granted, a "two-sided" Class A tube amp with 1.5KW on one side and 300W on the other is unique, but in this case I don't think it's going to save you. Just be sure you tally up all your numbers before you commit to this, if saving money is one of your goals.

    Let me be clear, I'm not trying to discourage you from this project. I'm all for it (and I'd love to see what you come up with). I'm just suggesting you consider if you need a lot more prep work before you launch into this.

    Good luck regardless!

  12. 300 watts to a peizo horn? i may be wrong, but thats just asking to be blown up . . .
  13. Aside from the strangeness of the power differences in channels, why would you ever need 1000 tube watts?

    This isn't from experience, but tube watts are supposed to get 1.5-3 times louder than MOSFET (SS) watts. Also tube power ratings are just how many watts it can put out without any overdrive at all. A 250 watt tube amp can still push somewhere in the 500w range I think. If you honestly intend to use everything that 1300 watts of tube power can give, you are going to cause yourself internal injuries.

    They don't make 3000 watt solid state amps for a reason. :rolleyes:

    And that is the same reason that they don't make 1000 watt tube amps.

    If you have noticed, most tube amps are only about 100-250 watts.

    But if you're just dying to make some thunder, I wouldn't recommend more than like 400-500 watts.

    I really don't know tube amps but this is just my $0.02

  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    That sums up my feelings perfectly. I love rolling my own bass gear, but it's rarely saved me any dough. How about starting with "just" a 300 watt tube bass amp? That'd be a very ambitious project in its own right. At least then you could use some salvaged or off-the-shelf parts. Custom transformers are going to be very expensive, for starters.

    In any case, I'd definitely recommend looking at AB rather than A for the output stage. A Class A amp that big would make a viable space heater, for sure.
  15. blown240


    Dec 10, 2004
    Again thanks for the replies.

    I am not really familiar with the difference in output from solid state to tube, but if this is true then you are right, 500 watts should work.

    Saving $$$ really isnt the biggest thing, but it helps. MY bass was almost $3,000, so I dont mind spending the money if I have to. I just want to get the most for the money spent.

    And I do need more prep work, thats for sure. But I know that I can do it. I just need to get it all worked out. Thats where you guys come in.
  16. BassIan

    BassIan Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    Cupertino, California
    All this talk about tubes and no mention of the transformers necessary for the task...

    That's where your forklift comes in.

    My thoughts, having been involved in plenty of mechanical design projects before, are right in line with those of the others. If you don't already know where to get the tubes and components (and don't realize the huge money building an amp will actually cost you), you're definitely not prepared to do this.

    A few years ago I designed a high-end downhill mountain bike frame with a colleague of mine ( This started out as a project so we could make a better frame for the same money since we were tired of breaking them all the time. Working prototype frames exceeded $10k each, with production ones falling right in line with competitors. By then we really knew what we were doing and didn't have to ask "where do I buy the aluminum tubing?" and it was still a tough, expensive task. Building just one amplifier is going to be no different.
  17. And exactly what part of the electrical grid you will pull down when you turn it on!
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    So what do you have for your home stereo? SS? Do you like the sound of the music it plays? like the recordings of people playing through tube amps?

    Then why not build/buy a SS power amp, and send the output of a small tube out out to it.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Au contraire! Solid state power amps in the 6-8 kilowatt range are readily available. Plenty of guys on Talkbass use PLX-3402 amps, actually.

    Crest Pro 9200

    QSC Powerlight 6.0II

    Crown I-T8000