Solid State Guitar Amp Forum | DIY Guitar Amplifiers

Solid State Amplifiers => The Newcomer's Forum => Topic started by: argyke on February 25, 2007, 10:18:04 PM

Title: books on amp building
Post by: argyke on February 25, 2007, 10:18:04 PM
i've been reading up/playing with amp refurbishing since make magazine issue 2 came out (with the article this old amp )and i've bene looking around online lately for building my own amps/effects/etc.

i was wondering if anyone knew of any books that were good to read for someone with a decent understanding of electronics, but mostly wants to learn what parts effect the tone in which ways, so as to learn how it actually works.

i hoped the people here might have read some of them and have an idea for what's god to read.  i've been looking around but haven't really found any books that really seem like what i want (and unfortunately there isn't much in this topic at the library)

thanks
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: teemuk on February 26, 2007, 01:44:01 AM
Few of my favourites (not just books):

- Self, Douglas, Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook, Newnes, 2002
- Slone, Randy, G., High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual, McGraw-Hill,1999

Self's book is very definitive but unfortunately somewhat ignores MOSFET designs and IMO has a pretty biased opinion on certain circuit topologies. However, one of the best books on the subject of (power) amp design.

Also, I should make a special remark of Randy Slone's "High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual": This is practically the same as D. Self's book and contains pretty much the same information - maybe it focuses a little more on actual building and design processes instead of theory. It is a nice complement once you have read the Self's book.


- Darr, Jack, Electric Guitar Amplifier Handbook, Third Edition, Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc., the Ross-Merrill Co., Inc., 1973

Old but pretty good. Contains a lot of information about the basics behind guitar (amplifier) circuits. However, this book doesn't really teach how to design excellent solid-state stuff. As a matter of fact, the book really does not teach any circuit design. It's a great source for learning about guitar amp circuit topologies (both tube and SS) and about troubleshooting and repairing. This one has been long out of print, you can find it in pdf format here: http://www.pacificrecone.com/JackDarrBook.html


- Horowitz - Hill, The Art of Electronics, Cambridge University Press, 1989

The "Bible". If you need a specific book on the subject of electronics get this. Contains a very good chapter about power amplifier design and teaches you the basics and some more about most electronic circuits. IMO, this is one of the best books that can teach you some SS guitar amp design - even though the book doesn't focus on it at all.


- Duncan, Ben, High Performance Audio Power Amplifiers, Newnes, 1996

Good book. A bit short on electronics theory but can teach a lot about designing power amplifiers. In practice, this book is not something you really need in order to learn how to design guitar amplifier circuits but it does present some typical (and some less-conventional) circuit topologies which are used (mainly) in PA power amplifiers,


- United States Patent 7,061,740 (search the internet for pdf)

The most definitive source of learning how to design a VI-limiter circuit to protect the power amplifier. This is mandatory reading for everyone that wishes to design discrete power amps.


- Borbely, Erno, JFETS: The New Frontiers, Part 1, Audio Electronics (search the internet for pdf and see also part 2)
- JFET Biasing Techniques, Siliconix, Application Note 102, March 1997 (search the internet for pdf)
- Marston, Ray, FET Principles and Circuits Parts 1-4, Nuts & Volts Magazine, 2000 (search the internet for pdf)

Some articles and application notes that teach the basics of designing FET circuits. The Siliconix application note is likely the most famous and I've even seen almost word-to-word copies of it (including the pictures) in some books and articles that teach analog design. Erno Borbely is a legend and Ray Marston's articles just plain interesting. Totally free and likely better information sources about the subject than 99% of books available.


- Mancini, Ron, Op Amps For Everyone - Design Reference, SLOD006B, Texas Instruments, August 2002 (http://focus.ti.com/lit/an/slod006b/slod006b.pdf)
- Jung, Walt, Op Amp Applications Handbook, Analog Devices, Inc., Newnes, 2005

Two noteworthy "Bibles" of operational amplifier design. The first one is available for free.


See also:
http://www.pmillett.com/tecnical_books_online.htm


There's also a book (or actually a series of them) from Kevin O. Connor called "The Ultimate Tone" but it is mainly focused on tube amplifiers. However, according to it's index it should contain a lot of generic information about circuits used in guitar amps. (i.e.) solid-state switching, tonestacks etc. I haven't seen or read this so I cannot provide any further comments. It supposedly contains some (minor) inaccuracies (show me a book which wouldn't...)


Besides these, there are various websites like:

Rod Elliott's ESP The Audio Pages (Elliott Sound Products):
http://sound.westhost.com/index.html

R.G. Keen's GEO (The Guitar Effect Oriented Web Page):
http://www.geofex.com/

Tales From The Tone Lounge; The Home Pages of Tone Lizard Amplifiers:
http://www.tone-lizard.com/

Randall Aiken's site:
http://www.aikenamps.com/ (see tech info)

epanorama:
http://www.epanorama.net/

Renardson Audio Designs:
http://www.angelfire.com/ab3/mjramp/index.html
(This is a site that contains quite a lot of discussion about power amplifiers. Some strange and rather unconventional designs as well.)

Tony Van Roon’s Transistor Tutorial Part 4: Power Amplifiers
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/tutorial/xtor/xtor4/xtor4.html
Quick overview of very basic power amplifier circuits. Nice start up to guide to power amp circuits. The whole tutorial is nice as well (http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/tutorial/xtor/xtor.html)

Ferreira, Oliveira and Tavares - Guide to the study of Multistage Differential Amplifiers:
http://paginas.fe.up.pt/~fff/eBook/MDA/MDA.html
Excellent page.

RAI Foundation Lecture notes:
http://www.rocw.raifoundation.org/course-elect-btech-ec-notes.htm
Check out this page! It is excellent!!!

And articles:
http://users.ece.gatech.edu/~mleach/audiothings.html
http://www.essex.ac.uk/ese/research/audio_lab/malcolms_publications.html

Some generic learning tips: Acquire a large amount of schematics and study them - preferably with the aid of SPICE software or breadboard & scope. This - with the aid of theory book and articles will teach you A LOT and is likely the best way to learn. Learn to split the circuits into subcircuits. Simulate every circuit that is "new" to you with SPICE or breadboard it. Guitar amp circuits are electronic circuits - there is nothing magical or extremely special in them - so with the aid of some logic and deduction you will figure out their purpose and how they work. The guitar amp design books do not teach you the basic electronics - which is the base for all the theory out there. Once you understand the basics you will learn why certain circuits in amps do what they do and why they are even used. Study the terminology - that way you increase the effectiveness of finding plenty of good information sources from internet or books. Also, once you are starting to understand what the different terms mean technical articles start to make much more sense.


Also, one resource that has been getting a lot of attention from me lately is the Google Patent Search:
http://www.google.com/patents
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: andrew_k on October 29, 2007, 02:09:13 AM
teemuk, awesome man. Thanks for posting this! :tu: (shame it took so long for someone to thank you..)
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: fisherbim on March 06, 2008, 12:20:21 PM
 :tu:

awesome work..

lots of valuable infos..

tnx.. :)
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: Tros on March 27, 2008, 11:49:15 PM
Hello and thank you teemuk for the links.  I've a lot of reading to do.  It's a good thing.  ;)   
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: 4by12 on October 01, 2008, 01:36:51 PM
Thanks alot!  ;D There are some old favorites but lots of new stuff to check out.  Time to study...
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: Jack1962 on October 01, 2008, 08:59:29 PM
All I can add to Teemuks great list, is check out Gerald Webers books(mostly about tube amps but tons of info on tone) , and Check out musiciansfriend.com last time I looked there where a few books there , good luck in your designs bro.

                                           
                                               Rock On
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: J M Fahey on March 04, 2009, 11:23:59 AM
Teemu and others: thanks a lot for the myriad links and excellent books suggested.
I myself got into this thanks to Jack Darr´s book; my first guitar amp was a Gibson GA-5, then a Fender Bassman 2x6L6, then an Ampeg BT-15, and from there on. I had also built Popular Electronic´s 60 W guitar amp published in 1968. Thanks again.
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: syndromet on March 05, 2009, 01:46:45 PM
Teemu, I don't see your book in that list?!? To me that is the most important book on guitar solid state amps. Learned a LOT from reading it. I'm actually reading it for the second time now.

Thank you for the list above, and thank you for your book. You should recieve some kind of ssguitar.com medal...
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: J M Fahey on March 05, 2009, 05:17:40 PM
>>and thank you for your book. You should recieve some kind of >>ssguitar.com medal... (2)
Agree fully.
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: joecool85 on March 05, 2009, 06:33:05 PM
>>and thank you for your book. You should recieve some kind of >>ssguitar.com medal... (2)
Agree fully.

One of the very many reasons he is a mod here  ;)
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: sotelo80 on August 15, 2011, 06:24:00 PM
Few of my favourites (not just books):
Old but pretty good. Contains a lot of information about the basics behind guitar (amplifier) circuits. However, this book doesn't really teach how to design excellent solid-state stuff. As a matter of fact, the book really does not teach any circuit design. It's a great source for learning about guitar amp circuit topologies (both tube and SS) and about troubleshooting and repairing. This one has been long out of print, you can find it in pdf format here: http://www.pacificrecone.com/JackDarrBook.html

Hi mate, the page doesnt longer exists, ¿could you upload the pdf?.

Thanks in advance for your help
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: teemuk on August 15, 2011, 06:48:52 PM
No reason. Jack Darr's book should be found from plenty of other sites too. Just google search it.
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: sotelo80 on August 15, 2011, 07:00:57 PM
You were right, thanks!!!

http://www.4shared.com/document/O4X9oydc/Electric_Guitar_Amplifier_Hand.html (http://www.4shared.com/document/O4X9oydc/Electric_Guitar_Amplifier_Hand.html)
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: joecool85 on August 16, 2011, 10:41:58 AM
You were right, thanks!!!

http://www.4shared.com/document/O4X9oydc/Electric_Guitar_Amplifier_Hand.html (http://www.4shared.com/document/O4X9oydc/Electric_Guitar_Amplifier_Hand.html)

And thank you for sharing the link.
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: spud on May 25, 2012, 10:32:55 AM
Thanks for a really good list - some I'd seen before but many I hadn't. 

A few other books that are getting a lot of mention on the tube amp sites are the series (well 2 so far) by Merlin Blencowe:

http://www.freewebs.com/valvewizard/ (http://www.freewebs.com/valvewizard/)

Apparently several of the articles on his website are early versions of chapters in his books so you can check out what his books are about and how he writes - to me, very clearly - for free.  Just thought I'd mention it as you had several books from some of the tube amp "big guns" and Merlin's books are pretty and really great too.

Jim
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: UsableThought on February 05, 2016, 04:50:52 AM
This is an old thread - but I'd like to add one more book to the list & perhaps suggest that it might be even better for a beginner than "Art of Electronics."

This is "Practical Electronics for Inventors (http://www.mhprofessional.com/product.php?isbn=0071771336)," by Paul Scherz and Simon Monk. The 3rd edition is available in paperback for about $20 from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Electronics-Inventors-Third-Edition/dp/0071771336); a 4th edition is apparently on the way.

For $20 you get a lot of book. It is similar to "Art of Electronics" in having big-format pages crammed full of smallish type with lots of illustrations - a lot of material at 1,000 pages or so. And all of it good stuff in my estimation - speaking as a beginner myself, but one who has looked at enough books to get a sense of what's out there.

As the title suggests, it's aimed at DIY'ers. It is an entirely SS book & very up to date on the technology. It's got plenty of math; but much like "Art of Electronics" it's a book about craft not learning math for math's sake. You are told when the math is and isn't crucial & what shortcuts you can take or tricks you can use to shorten laborious calculations. Like Horowitz and Hill, Scherz and Monk teach you to learn by doing - by making circuits - not scribbling practice problems on paper. For simulation software they like CircuitMaker which I guess is OK though I don't much like the Windows version I just installed.

Why do I say it might be better for a beginner than "Art"? In fact I have an older but quite serviceable edition of "Art," but am going to switch to this book. The biggest problem I have with Horowitz and Hill is that they frequently rush through subjects, especially when a bit of math is involved; perhaps that's because they they intended their text to be used at university where the teacher could fill in any gaps. Scher and Monk, on the other hand, are explicitly writing for non-students & seem more willing to slow down & provide as much info as needed for understanding a tricky bit.

Some info on the authors from the Amazon page:

Quote
Paul Scherz is a physicist/mechanical engineer who received his B.S. in physics from the University of Wisconsin. He is an inventor/hobbyist in electronics, an area he grew to appreciate through his experience at the University's Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics and the Department of Plasma Physics.

Dr. Simon Monk has a degree in Cybernetics and Computer Science and a PhD in Software Engineering. Monk spent several years as an academic before he returned to industry, co-founding the mobile software company Momote Ltd. He has been an active electronics hobbyist since his early teens and is a full time writer on hobby electronics and open source hardware. Dr. Monk is the author of numerous electronics books, including 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius and Arduino + Android Projects for the Evil Genius.
Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: PMc on January 19, 2018, 06:59:33 PM
>>and thank you for your book. You should recieve some kind of >>ssguitar.com medal... (2)
Agree fully.

One of the very many reasons he is a mod here  ;)
Ancient thread, but I second that thought. I'm about 100 pages in, Teemu's book is terrific.

Sent from my P01Z using Tapatalk

Title: Re: books on amp building
Post by: Estomagado on May 06, 2018, 08:02:21 AM
Thanks for a really good list - some I'd seen before but many I hadn't. 

A few other books that are getting a lot of mention on the tube amp sites are the series (well 2 so far) by Merlin Blencowe:

http://www.freewebs.com/valvewizard/ (http://www.freewebs.com/valvewizard/)

Apparently several of the articles on his website are early versions of chapters in his books so you can check out what his books are about and how he writes - to me, very clearly - for free.  Just thought I'd mention it as you had several books from some of the tube amp "big guns" and Merlin's books are pretty and really great too.

Jim
Just a little update on this jurassic thread, but Valvewizard's site is in a a different domain now:

http://www.valvewizard.co.uk

The mentioned books are on the home page.

Tubes suck!