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Looking for a first amp

Started by FtForger, April 29, 2007, 08:06:36 PM

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FtForger


Hello. My son recently started playing guitar. He has an acoustic, but just purchased a Nova electric without amp. I've built projects before, from scratch, the most recent being an "Ultimate 2B RS Theremin".  He doesn't need a lot of volume. We'd like to be able to drive a speaker, and have the ability to drive headphones for when he wants to practice at night. I've looked at a few of the ones listed, and was wondering if the Little GEM Mk II would be a very good place to  start.  If you need more info about the guitar, I can find out more.

Thanks in advance
FtForger

FtForger

Aw come on..I can't believe no one has an opinion on a good first amp for me to build?
I'd like to have it done by June 10th when my son graduates!!

syndromet

_Well, here is my advice. A 386-based amp will probably more than loud enough, as long as you use the right speaker, and they all sound great. What design you should choose is kind of hard to help you decide, as long as we don't knowwhat kind of sound you are after. I suggest you look into the ruby and little gem at www.runoffgroove.com, the Noisy Cricket at www.beavisaudio.com or the little rebel at http://rebel.massberg.org/source/

I would probably suggest the little rebel or the noisy cricket, as they have a few more controlls than the gem or ruby. Yhe Cricket is really an updated ruby, while the little rebel is a hole other design. I haven't tried it myself, but I guess it sounds really great.

When it comes to the headphone output, simply do as described in the faq at www.runoffgroove.com. If you want the amp to sound natural when running headphones too, you should add a cabinet-simulator right before the headphone output.

Hope that helped a little.

joecool85

The little gem is a great starter amp to build.  It is by far the easiest guitar based circuit I have put together and sounds great.  I would recommend the original Little Gem personally, http://www.runoffgroove.com/littlegem.png

It is only 1/2watt but it sounds great and is loud enough for practice situations by yourself.  If you want more power than that, I would recommend building a LM1875 based amp. 
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com

FtForger

Thanks Syn and Joe...

I have no clue what it should sound like and even if I did, its probably a far cry from what my son thinks it sho8uld sound like. I'll check out a few more of the ones suggested. When I've got it done I'll probably post a picture (if thats allowed around here..)

syndromet

#5
As Joe said, the little Gem is a great amp,but it will only give you overdriven tones. I would therefor recomend something that will give you clean tones as well. As far as I know, both the cricket, the ruby and the massberg enter clean territory. I love the Gem (use it more than any of the other amps), but it really only gives you that cranked classic rock tone. I also have a fetzer-ruby, and it is fairly clean and fender like and goes into blues-breakup style overdrive. To get into rock tones I need to push it with a booster or an overdrive pedal. From what I'we heard, both the cricket and the massberg cover everything from clean to massive overdrive. That makes me think they are more suiteable, since you don't know what kind of sound your son wants.

With the part count from the ruby, gem and cricket, I rally sugest you build them all, and see what you like the most. Whatever you chose, I'm pretty sure your son will love it. ;)

FtForger



I think we've decided on the ruby. I'm planning on making a second one if the first one sounds 'right'....although in the case of the second one, its not going to be a guitar amp..its going to be the starter amp for my granddaughter's theremin. I hope to have the first one done in the next 40 days as that is when the son that is getting the amp graduates from High School. I scoped out the parts on the radio shack web site, and the only thing they don't have is the 1k pot. All parts, around $30-$35 with a few bits left over.

Then we will need a reasonably good speaker for it. Any suggestions on a speaker would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to know an approximate price range and suggestions on where to look. My brother is good at woodworking, and should be able to help us build an enclosure for the speaker. That opens the whole can of worms regarding how to build the enclosure. I'm sure we will end up just hanging a general use 8 inch, 8 or 16 ohm job off of it so he can practice while we build the enclosure...

FtForger

Its not the Ruby...its the 'Noisey Cricket'!!

syndromet

Search for "jensen mod" in google. Very cheap, high quality guitar speakers. I really suggest you use  guitar speaker intead of a general purpose speaker. I'm about to make myself a cabbinet too, and I'we decided to try to copy the ones Geezer make. A quick search on geezer would give you the measurement for a 1x12 cabinett at least.

When it comes to enblosure building, you should read this:
http://colomar.com/Shavano/construction.html

other useful links
http://www.geezersoundco.com/

http://www.tubedepot.com/jenms.html

http://www.loudspeakersplus.com/html/jensen_mod.html

http://stores.ebay.com/jam4Jaudio_carpet-tolex-grill-cloth_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ6QQftidZ2QQtZkm

joecool85

Quote from: FtForger on May 01, 2007, 09:04:51 PM


I think we've decided on the ruby. I'm planning on making a second one if the first one sounds 'right'....although in the case of the second one, its not going to be a guitar amp..its going to be the starter amp for my granddaughter's theremin. I hope to have the first one done in the next 40 days as that is when the son that is getting the amp graduates from High School. I scoped out the parts on the radio shack web site, and the only thing they don't have is the 1k pot. All parts, around $30-$35 with a few bits left over.

Then we will need a reasonably good speaker for it. Any suggestions on a speaker would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to know an approximate price range and suggestions on where to look. My brother is good at woodworking, and should be able to help us build an enclosure for the speaker. That opens the whole can of worms regarding how to build the enclosure. I'm sure we will end up just hanging a general use 8 inch, 8 or 16 ohm job off of it so he can practice while we build the enclosure...

If you are going to be purchasing your parts online, check out smallbearelec.com

Steve will hook you up, he's the man.
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com

iTzALLgoOD

I just built my second Little Gem last week.  I built the first one in an hour and a little under 40 minutes for the second one.  For less than $10 (minus the speaker) you cant go wrong with these things.

XinTX

Did a "Noisy Cricket" as my first.  Now I'm working on a Ruby with a Fetzer Valve and Condor Cabsim.  Lot more components in the Condor, but it's all just a hobby anyway.