Non-Fender circuits for a 1st amp build?
I'm trying to settle on something to use as the basis for my first build. I don't wanna go the Champ / Princeton route. My ears like things that are often described as mellow / warm / dark. I like post-War jazz guitar and jump blues. I want something that sounds like the bottom of the second bourbon, and Fender spank and sparkle ain't it. I love what David's doing at Vintage 47 and would be amenable to something along those lines. Anybody ever mess with a Gibson GA-9? Ultimately, I'd love to do a GA-40, but it seems like a lot to chew on for the first time at bat.
As I have heard it: all the early amps were just circuits lifted from RCA and Western Tube Application Books. They were circuits designed by tube manufacturers to generate sales, once radio techs and engineers knew what could be done with these new fangled light bulbs.
Fender didn't (and couldn't) hold patents on any of the circuits he used until he came up with "tremelo," etc. Same -same Gibson. They were all derived from tube application handbooks, initially.
That said, Ampeg (Hull) was interested in jazz and more sophisticated "Hi-Fi" type sounds. I always thought Ampegs had a nice smooth (bourbon) sound, though the later circuits were quite complex.
You could also look to the speaker(s) used as a component of the specific sound you seek.
You think he wants a "Hi-Fi" bourbon sipping amp? I'm thinking more like a half way thru the bottle primitive sounding amp.
I'd email David, if you aren't close enough to take his Oahu build class, and ask him about a Valco kit. There are several Model 24 Valco kits, but those are more 60s Supro Thunderbolt than late 40s juke joint amps.
Ceriatone has quite a few non-fender (well, OK, I know where Marshall got the idea from) starter kits. http://www.ceriatone.com/
Well, in fairness I only said "second bourbon" with no reference to what size the glass was. I was thinking a polite 2 oz. pour in a rocks glass, not an Imperial pint. A little brown is nice, but no desire to go all the way to leather pants crunch or grind. Kenny Burrell's sound is a good reference point. I never looked that deep into Ampeg schematics, since they have a reputation for some obscure tubes and complexity - but the early Jets and Reverberockets are fairly simple now that I look into it. It's a tempting thought that I hadn't entertained before. I was kind of thinking just volume and a single tone knob. I could do the V47 build class, but it would be one hell of a road trip there and back for a 10 hour class. I don't wanna do a kit. I wanna suffer through the whole "this is what your life is like when you're a boutique builder" experience of designing the layout, punching the chassis and doing the joinery on the cabinet.