« The practical alternative to a self-build »
Finally, get closer to the sound of your dreams without winning the lottery and putting the money into a decades-old original! If you don’t feel confident building an amplifier all by yourself, you’ll get your money’s worth with a TAD guitar amp kit – perfectly matched components in many different combinations make it possible. We’ll introduce you to the concept of a kit, reveal the advantages and disadvantages of a self-build based on a kit for tube amplifiers and give a few practical tips on how to make it happen and the requirements for building one of the TAD guitar amp kits.
What are TAD guitar amp kits?
Nostalgia is definitely a common vice among guitarists. Whether it’s guitars from the 50s and 60s, effects units from the early 90s or amplifiers from previous decades – we love the sound of the past. What has long been considered a somewhat eccentric characteristic of musicians has become a highly competitive business. Prices on the second-hand market are volatile, like stock market prices, and guitars are even advertised as an investment, including guitar amplifiers. This is something which horrifies every musician: all these instruments were built to be played on stage or in the studio!
Because the result is ever-increasing prices for sought-after originals, whether it’s guitars or tubes. While technically skilled guitarists can build their own equipment out of hand, a lot of musicians are still afraid of the effort. That’s where TAD amp kits including a tube come into the mix.
Here, tube amps have been technically modelled on historical models and rebuilt using state-of-the-art technology in the kit system. When assembling the amplifiers, a number of variants are available, from electronic sets and tubes to complete sets including housing; everything is included. The amps are delivered with extensive building instructions and, given the necessary craftsmanship, can be set up at home and changed and adapted according to your own ideas.
In order to make the construction phase as pleasant as possible, all the parts are selected for their compatibility with one another – listening pleasure is guaranteed with a kit for tube amplifiers.
Who are guitar amp kits from TAD suitable for?
Although you don’t necessarily have to have a university degree in electrical engineering to build a set for tube amplifiers, a certain basic level of technical knowledge is definitely required for dealing with the kit.
The construction of the kit requires different skills: from handling the soldering station to reading circuit diagrams to optimizing the housing, there’s a lot to do. We therefore recommend that you practice the individual work steps in advance – especially clean solder joints are a must for a rich sound.
As well as the necessary technical expertise, people who want to build a TAD kit also need a certain feeling for sound. To get the right feeling for your own sound, you should play as many amps as possible first – this is how the desired sound behaviour of the amp is formed, as well as the preferences in the feedback and response behaviour of the tube amplifier.
In conclusion, we should say: The construction of a guitar amplifier kit requires some experience with the technical, but also the musical basics of the tube amplifier. If these points are satisfied, nothing will stand in the way of a self-build!
What tools are needed?
To build one of the TAD kits and turn it into a rock machine, you need the right basic equipment:
- spanners and screwdrivers, pliers etc.
- a soldering station with a soldering iron, a “third hand” and the necessary accessories
- electronic measuring instruments
- small parts – as required.
Why choose an amp set? Advantages and disadvantages of TAD guitar amplifiers
There are a lot of paths which lead to the perfect sound – amp kits from TAD are one of many individual possibilities and have their own advantages, but also some disadvantages:
Advantages of the kits
Of course: If you have the financial means to buy a top-quality amp from the 1960s, you’ll find the sound we all love here. But people who don’t have these kinds of resources will gladly seize on the very inexpensive opportunity to emulate the sound with a TAD set.
The TAD kits are designed according to historical models and reproduce the desired sound very accurately. The high-quality individual components make it possible to create complex and high-quality amps – in combination with the corresponding speaker, real vintage sounds are created using the latest technology.
If you’re looking for a real, handmade tube sound, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with the amplifiers from TAD – the doctor will fix it!
No guitarist can claim that he doesn’t love tinkering with equipment. We like to screw, test and try out too much to pass by a project like a homemade amp. The extensive – but, thanks to assembled components, affordable – undertaking “DIY tube amplifier” has its own charm. How many people can say that they built their tube amp themselves?
Disadvantages of kits for tube amplifiers
If you want to get to your sound quickly and conveniently, a DIY project is the wrong way to go about it. The technical effort also puts off technically inexperienced guitarists – but given the work steps required, this probably prevents a lot of frustration…
When it comes to individuality, opinions are divided – for some people, a self-build using a set is the epitome of individual sound, while others are afraid of the “off-the-shelf product”. However, if you’re worried that a TAD kit is just an unassembled serial product, let us reassure you: while the design of classic amps was taken as a model, the TADs deliver their own sound!
They also exist among musicians, the speculators. While an original Fender Princeton can be worth several thousand euros, an amp from the Tube Amp Doctor is not an investment, but a musical instrument. So, if you’re speculating on being able to sell it for a profit later, for better or worse you’ll have to look for a used original.
Kits for tube amplifiers
A kit for tube amplifiers is like a big puzzle for musicians – with the necessary technical know-how, great sounds can be created from TAD’s sets at a low cost. With the right prerequisites, a kit for tube amplifiers can be the precursor to the perfect vintage sound of your own.
Of course, the technical requirements play a role, but with the right amount of preparation and composure, the sets for tubes à la Fender and Marshall can be set up properly.
If you’re looking for an investment, you should shop around for the popular originals. Everyone else will find exactly the sound they’ve always wanted here. Let the tubes glow!
Sources of images:
Image no. 4 (soldering work) : © golubovy – stock.adobe.com
Image no. 6 (guitarist adjusting his amplifier): © Voloshyn Roman – stock.adobe.com