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Designing Vacuum Tube Amplifiers and Related Topics


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I'm a recent member whose present interest is acoustic guitars. My introduction (and photos of my current guitars) can be found here in the acoustic forum.. Briefly, I'm a retired E.E. who wrote the following book:






This commenced as a brief means of occupying myself during the boredom of recovering from extensive surgery. But it gradually morphed into nearly 400 pages of schematics, explanation, photos, commentary and how-to-do-it. I had already posted much of my material on several jazz guitar forums (where I was previously active) so this effort wasn't quite as stupifyingly time-consumig as one might infer.


The book is free but cannot be used for any commercial purpose, as is clearly stated on the second page. If interested, note that the download might take a minute because of the length. Be aware that there is NO "technical support" for this document, LOL, since the intent was that the reader learn from the reading experience by himself/herself !


Even if one has no desire to design and/or build a vacuum tube amplifier, there is still much to be found here. Perhaps one might come away from reading the document with some healthy skepticism for what passes for knowledge about tube amplification on the internet. There is also quite a bit of information about guitars with an entire chapter devoted to setting up a guitar for best performance.


The book can be downloaded at this site.




(Charles R. Couch)

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That is extremely generous, sir.


Besides giving up your work for free, would like to also add thanks for thinking of us here on this forum.


In the short time that I've been here, I've found most members to be as courteous as you, my friend. It's my pleasure to offer any topical resources that I'm able to provide.

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You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir.

Thank you very much for your generosity, your passion, and your spirit of sharing.



I work with a pair of instrumentation technicians here at a military flight test center.

These two guys are mad scientists, really.

They are forever designing and building tube amps and guitar effects pedals.


(I own one of the former and two or three of the latter.)


I would like to pass on the link and the information for your book to them, if you don't mind.

It's not like they don't already do fine work, but I am certain they would enjoy drawing from your wisdom and experience.



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.....I would like to pass on the link and the information for your book to them, if you don't mind...


Please feel free to reference the link to anyone with an interest in the topic. My only qualification, as stated on the second page of the book, is that it not be used for commercial purposes.


I started writing the vacuum tube book for different motives but as it progressed, I realized that much of the knowledge required to design circuits with (and understand) these devices has been lost. There ARE a couple of commercially available books on this subject but I wanted to make at least some of the information available to anyone without having to pay for the learning experience.


Many vacuum tube amplifiers produced today are simply copies of older designs, emulated without necessarily understanding.


I hope that this doesn't sound patronizing [blush] and thank you for your kind words -


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  • 2 weeks later...

Randy, WOW! Thank you. I've only had a cursory look through your text but WOW! That is some reference and so incredibly generous of you to share with us. That took some time to put together for sure.

I'm an electronics technologist by training although I work in a field unrelated to amplifier design. This work will take a while to review thoroughly, and I hope to do that someday when time permits.

It's always been a desire of mine to build a tube amp, perhaps once I reach retirement [wink] and this looks to be a valuable reference.


So again, thank you sir. Very kind of you.

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You are most welcome and you are a good fit to the audience for whom the book was intended.


Incidentally, although I didn't mention this previously, there are a number of topics in the book for which I've prepared spread sheets. These are intended to reduce lengthy mathematical manipulation. It's possible to enter a few key items and the spread sheets will calculate many critical parameters necessary to design an amplifier. The spread sheets can be downloaded from the same site as the book.


best wishes,


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