Well here's one of my main amps. I built this one around 2008. I sold around a dozen of these and kept this one cause it was the best and, well, I was working hard and I deserved to keep something.
It's been on a lot of gigs with me. The stain in the cabinet is from a wedding I did years ago, it's cake man, cake! There's no tax for cake in NYC. Actually, I think it's Cake from the Cake Shop on Ludlow. I just can't figure out how to get it out.
A bit of how this amp sounds:
And with a Jazz Box.....
I had the cabinet made in white. I think I was trying to get my man Michael Carothers to buy it. White and black, he's got this salt and pepper thing going on. He didn't bite. And I'm glad. He owns one of my amps, a green sorta Marshall 18 watter I built for Jim Lowenherz in Portland with EF86 preamp tubes. That one was a beast.
About this amp: It's kind of a Tweed Deluxe. Where it differs is I prefer the low end to hold up. First stage filter cap is a 47uf. The cathode bias cap is 100uf rather than 25uf. Also I added a 3.3meg resistor between the last B+ stage and pin 7 on the phase inverter. I can't actually tell you the science of this move, I just discovered somewhere that the amp focuses better with this little mod.
You would simply connect it between the 16uf 450V cap on the right of the power supply to the 1 meg resistor that goes to pin 7 of your phase inverter tube.
You can see it here:
The speaker is a Weber 12" alnico. Just their standard one the recommend for a Tweed Deluxe. Caps are Sozo and a couple CDE Black Cats for the preamp. Power transformer is Heyboer, output is Mercury. Now the wire. It's all Mogami. I have no idea how to get this any longer. I bought it years ago from BTX or Bi-Tronics. It's lovely to work with and it's also 99% pure oxygen free copper. There's no dispute for me, it sounds more clear and defined. Quiet too. More builders should use this. I got Brian Sours of Soursound in Portland hooked on this hook up wire for his own tube preamps and guitar amps. It wasn't all that expensive either. I had to special order it from Japan though and don't know where to get it any longer. If someone knows, please share! Little tricks like this can make your amps go from good to great. I like great. This amp upset some guys who have expensive Tweed Fenders! Kinda blew them away.
The trick to building a great amp is to use good components, but don't go overboard. A real vintage amp has some pretty crap components in them. Hence things like the Black Cat caps. They are valuable, and they aren't all that good compared to what you can buy for the same price. But that crappiness is a part of the mojo, part of the sound.
For tubes I've had the same glass since I built it. A pair of matched GE black plate 6V6 tubes and a pair of Telefunken 12AX7 tubes with an RCA 5Y3. All of these came from my used bin. None were new when I installed them and I probably spent almost nothing on this glass at Hamfest or surplus stores when those were still around. And, they still work great, still sound great and are still quiet. No, they will NEVER make glass this well ever again.
The knobs are old Bakelite big ass Disco knobs from the Swing era:
It's little touches like that that make your amp special. There are tons of parts like this about so why settle for boring reproduction chicken head knobs???? It's parts like this that draw attention to the object!
Last photo is taken at a wedding on the beach in the Hamptons...... No, I'm not a wedding musician. I only do that kind of thing for folks that are special to me! And my amp survived the sand here and no more cake stains happened!
Now where did that first cake come from? Where was I? I remember cake.....not much else!