Designing A Guitar Tube Amp: Part 1

schematicIt seems like this has been one of my favorite topics on Tech-Tut. I really love to build tube guitar amps. It is proven over the many discussions that I take great enjoyment in this part of my hobby.
There have been many ups and downs, and I have temporarily given up many times, but I rarely give up for good. I know when to cut losses, but a hobby is something that is for me, and I can revisit it again at any time. As with the second revision of my 6DG6GT amp, it goes to prove that persistence finally paid off.
Here I am once again working on my next challenge. I want to design and build a low power, but higher power than a single-ended amp, push-pull guitar amp using the EL84 tube.
I want to document most of what I have done for this project. While I am building this project for a profitable venture, I want to leave the whole project as open source for those who might want to try to build their own.
As with any “tutorial” on my website, sometimes I tend to narrate more than give step-by-step instructions. That’s what leads me to my first installment in how I construct the EL84 guitar amp. I want to explain my research.
There are many links and books available to explain how to design and build tube amps, but my experience with them is that a second opinion or angle helps to solidify the learning process. I didn’t get where I am today from one source. I have read Instructables, webpage after website, and several crazy expensive books to help me wrap my head around the process. With that, I pass to you some of my most favorite links explaining this hobby.


  • Valve Amplifiers by Morgan Jones
    ISBN-10: 0-7506-2337-3
    $60.00 USD
    This book has a lot of great info, but is more directed to HiFi.
  • Design and Construction of Tube Guitar Amplifiers by┬áRobert C. Megantz
    ISBN-10: 0615291805
    $23.00 USD
    This title does a great job of showing many stages of a guitar amp. I would have liked more discussion about how the design process happened, but it has been a valuable tool.

Web Resources

  • Guitar Tube Amp by gmoon

    I’ve mentioned this Instructable many times because this guy walked me through most of the processes. It’s a long read, and it will take many passes. From some of the rudiments of design to how to cover a cabinet, gmoon does a great job of documenting the process.

  • The Valve Wizard

    This website does a little better job at explaining the design process.

  • The Cooperative Tube Guitar Amp Project

    For Single Ended amps, this site has a whole document of theory. There is also a forum with people who can help you along the way.

Do Your Research

Ask questions. Google stuff! Check datasheets. See what others are doing. It’s the age of information, and you can find almost anything on the web. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Step one in starting any project is doing research. Start with knowledge bases that are directly related to what you want to accomplish.

Tune in next time when I show you where I’m starting with my latest guitar amp build.

About robbie

I am an electronics enthusiest and a ham radio operator (W1RCP). I like to play with electronics. It's fun and educational. I looked forward to working in the engineering field in the future. I have a BS in Electronics Engineering Technology from DeVry University. I also have an Associate's degree in Marketing Management from Moultrie Tech, and a diploma in Electronics from MTC.