Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Combo Amp Project

I like playing out musically.  The problem is I don't really have an amp that's small enough (power wise) to not blow out the windows.  Marshall stacks are awesome, but you can't really play coffeehouses with them.  I could buy a small cheap amp, but cheap amps sound... well cheap. 

So I decided to make a project out of my needs.  I want a small tube combo amp that I can easily carry to places.  I liked the Epiphone Valve Jr. since it was simple.  It is a 5 watt, 1 pre-amp tube, 1 power tube amp.  It has a single volume control and that's it.  Again a very simple amp.

I received the head version for my birthday, and received the Bitmo mod kit for Christmas.  The Bitmo trio mod will add a tone knob and a three way voicing switch to the head.  I then built a cabinet to hold the amp chassis and a speaker. 

I was planning on using a 10 inch American sounding speaker but I was able to trade a WGS Veteran 30 speaker for the American sounding WGS C12 C/S speaker.  So now that I have everything, let's go to the pictures.  That way you can see what I am talking about.

First up, I built the cabinet out of some mahogany that I have had lying around for a couple years.

I used the 90 degree angle tool to make sure I had all the pieces of wood lined up correctly.  I also made sure all the holes for the head were lined up properly. 

Next I put in the support pieces of wood on the side so that the chassis can slide in on top of it. 

I then fitted a piece of plywood to hold the speaker.

As I said earlier, I was planning on using a 10 inch speaker, but the 12 inch one was too good to pass up.  As you can see, the wood on the sides of the cabinet are on the outside, and the screws go east/west.  Originally, the sides were going to be underneath the top piece, and screwed in north/south.  But to make room for the speaker I had to change it.  Luckily it worked. 

So I was able to use my scroll saw and sander to cut the hole perfectly for the speaker.  I was also very careful choosing the screws and drilling the holes for cabinet.

I had some leftover tweed grill cloth from a previous project, and it is exactly what I need for this project.  With use of some clips and a staple gun, I was able to get the grill cloth even and tight.

Next up is the electronics part.

I made sure the holes were drilled and the two switches were properly fitted before I started the electronics soldering. 

Here are pictures of my table set-up.  I wanted to use the kitchen table so I could set my computer next to me for help.  I also had my trusty lamp next to me. 

Here is my speaker hooked up to the amp.  It was fun to have my speaker pointed straight up into the air.  It was definitely loud enough. 

Here is my work.  Lots of wires everywhere, but everything is where it is supposed to be, and most importantly of all, it works. 

So I will do a "Part 2."  I will show the progress of the cabinet as I finish it, and I will include sound samples when I have it all put together. 

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