Login / Register
 
Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!
New Reply
Subscribe
ihateregisterin
Thread Starter
#1
27th September 2009
Old 27th September 2009
  #1
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 18

Thread Starter
ihateregisterin is offline
Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!

Who has done it? I've been reading up on it, many different ideas, conflicting opinions on how to do it and how not to do... I want to find out more.

If I build one myself, I would only want to buy something cheap. I have a practice amp in mind more than anything. apparently some people have made some real monsters outta em....
js1
#2
28th September 2009
Old 28th September 2009
  #2
js1
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 644

js1 is offline
Haven't done it yet (lack of time), but I have a beaut that I'm planning on converting. Given its age, I really don't expect to be able to reuse any of the parts, except maybe the transformers.

js
#3
28th September 2009
Old 28th September 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
gurubuzz's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 959

gurubuzz is offline
I often thought of this as I had a coffee table valve radio Stereo record player. It just had such a sweet tone... It would take 5 mins to warm up...but it was worth the wait.

I thought of an AM transmitter and just tune in..


Anyone know how to make an AM transmitter... plenty of FM ones out there
__________________
TheDemoStudio.com
#4
28th September 2009
Old 28th September 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 712

lame pseudonym is offline
I would recommend against it. The typical 5-tube table radio had no power transformer -- the line voltage was rectified and used as is, which meant that one side of the ac line was connected to the radio's chassis, which means that one side of the ac line will be connected to you. This can be troublesome.

LP
#5
29th September 2009
Old 29th September 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Phil Cibley's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 784

Phil Cibley is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
I would recommend against it. The typical 5-tube table radio had no power transformer -- the line voltage was rectified and used as is, which meant that one side of the ac line was connected to the radio's chassis, which means that one side of the ac line will be connected to you. This can be troublesome.

LP

+1 on that.
#6
29th September 2009
Old 29th September 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 
big country's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2006
Location: (visiting) Lake Elsinor
Posts: 7,874

big country is offline
if the radio had a record player on it you could wire a step down transformer into it

guessing ? it would work
__________________
matt H.
think ... it will help with the stupid problems.


boom boom is not Rhythm

spinny mic tecnology
#7
29th September 2009
Old 29th September 2009
  #7
Gear addict
 
lobsty's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Berlin
Posts: 386

lobsty is offline
I'v got a friend who has done it and I was blown away when I heard what he had recorded with it, completely with the tiny oval shaped speaker... with a strat and a crybaby it was total Hendrix. Insane!
#8
29th September 2009
Old 29th September 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 3,119

TurboJets is offline
Personally I just use an old 1964[?] Tandberg Model 12 reel to reel deck. Just plug my Strat straight in the front and push the record/playback/amp switch over to amp. It's got 2 little 6 inch[?] speakers built-in and puts out gorgeous tone. I also use it for reamping sometimes. The Line 6 Toneport and UX2 do pretty well with it when I use the analog outs. Then just mic up the speakers. It handles fuzz boxes fine but I don't like to push it that hard really and I have other amps for stuff like that. I've used other antique tape decks like this too with great results. There's nothing like late 50's early 60's all tube sh!t to really let you hear how a guitar is supposed to sound man.
#9
30th September 2009
Old 30th September 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 712

lame pseudonym is offline
The coolest sounding amp I ever had was a Lafayette Radio 1/3-watt "power amplifier" circuit board, early solid-state with a bunch of interstage transformers, running into a 99-cent Lafayette speaker, which was about six inches in diameter with a voice coil about 5/8" diameter, mounted in a wooden cigar box. It absolutely captured the Clapton Cream woo-woo sound -- in miniature, of course.

I won't tell you the second-coolest because they still show up on ebay.

L
#10
8th October 2010
Old 8th October 2010
  #10
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 197

S.F.Sorrow is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
I would recommend against it. The typical 5-tube table radio had no power transformer -- the line voltage was rectified and used as is, which meant that one side of the ac line was connected to the radio's chassis, which means that one side of the ac line will be connected to you. This can be troublesome.

LP
This got me a little worried. I have a Radionette Symfoni 3D from the mid 50's that sounds absolutely gorgeous when plugging a guitar into the turntable input. Just straight in with a jack to banana plug adaptor. Kind of a Clapton/Cream sound when using an SG and a warm, clean sound with a Strat. I got it at a flea market for the equivalent of $10 and it is in close to mint condition with all the original Mullard/Phillips tubes in good shape.

Can I risk serious injuries when using it like this? I only recently moved it into my studio but no problems so far. It just sounds too good to throw it away. It's still a great radio but with FM stations being replaced with crap sounding digital radio it may not have much of a future as a radio...

I also noticed someone mentioning the Tandberg tape recorder. Any risks with that one? I love the distortion in those things.
#11
8th October 2010
Old 8th October 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
sat159p1's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Europe
Posts: 819

sat159p1 is offline
I've done it thru vintage (40's?) tube radio. Fried it after one minute playing with some nice distortion...

__________________
"This is Gearslutz, it's all about paying for sh*t you can hardly hear, don't really need and few other people actually care about."
#12
8th October 2010
Old 8th October 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 763

PhilDW is offline
The question was "converted" not "used as is" and I hope that the guys that do this keep the safety issues in mind.
Look at these guys:

Custom Designed Guitar Tube Amp
#13
8th October 2010
Old 8th October 2010
  #13
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 197

S.F.Sorrow is offline
So you're saying that used in it's original form and plugging a guitar into the turntable input can be dangerous? I know lots of people are doing it but then lots of people are stupid or have no insight into the technical stuff (like me!).
#14
8th October 2010
Old 8th October 2010
  #14
cork sniffer
 
Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 1,636

Ron Vogel is offline
I have made several...Old record players are what to look for, they have the extra phono stage...and they are generally in a seperate chassis. I find old amp chassis that are good candidates to sell on ebay, since they fetch a decent dollar...I just got a nice 4-el84 amp today with a pair of 12ax7's too.

Anyway, this one pictured I built around and old Magnavox from the 50's...everything vintage was used except some of the hardware. Even the wood was repurposed from some old organs I scrapped. I used it on slide guitar here:
SoundClick artist: Ron Vogel - One man band
Signal chain was Telecaster into Big muff Pi, into amp...SM57 on grill/AKG C4000b for the room. Slide comes in at 1:38.

Other guitar is going through a Princeton using the tremelo (in case you wondering)
Attached Thumbnails
Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!-ebay-pics-001.jpg   Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!-ebay-pics-003.jpg   Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!-ebay-pics-007.jpg   Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!-amp-012.jpg   Tube Radios converted into Guitar Amps!-amp-022.jpg  

__________________
my music:http://soundcloud.com/ron-vogel
#15
9th October 2010
Old 9th October 2010
  #15
Gear addict
 
lowpassfilter's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 369

lowpassfilter is online now
I got some sort of old powered speaker cab made by GE on ebay for $20 a while back. The things sounds amazing especially with keyboards. It has 2 small speakers, tube signal path, and had a rca cable running out of it probably to go with a companion turntable or radio. No modification needed.

Also, I had an old film projector that had a small tube amp in it for audio. It already had a 1/4" mic input that guitar worked with. It didn't get very loud and started smoking after a few days, but it sounded really fuzzy and good. The cabinet was really nice tweed or something of that vintage.
#16
9th October 2010
Old 9th October 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,357

Bassmankr is offline
It may be better to go down the "coverting a tube PA into a guitar amp" route. Plenty of good contenders for not much money out there plus enough people have done it you may find plenty of project info on the net.
#17
9th October 2010
Old 9th October 2010
  #17
Gear nut
 
rustez's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Arcadia, CA
Posts: 115

rustez is offline
__________________
"There are two kinds of people; those that pigeonhole everybody into
two generic categories and those that know better."

http://mojosonicstudio.com

Last edited by rustez; 9th October 2010 at 05:26 PM.. Reason: figuring out how embed youtube!
#18
9th October 2010
Old 9th October 2010
  #18
cork sniffer
 
Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 1,636

Ron Vogel is offline
I agree, with using an old chassis for these projects, finding the right one just takes experience...you need to know what to look for...however IMHO, old record players are the best place to find the right stuff.

The biggest $$ in an amp build is the iron, that's what you are buying here. The vintage iron is overall much better than what is manufactured today.

I'm going to ***** myself out here...but this is a link to one of my auctions. This is a decent chassis to use as an example:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...e=STRK:MESE:IT
#19
9th October 2010
Old 9th October 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,605

drbob1 is offline
To go back to the statement about 5 tube radios: count transformers. If it's a mono amp, there's one OT, and possibly a choke. If there's a 3rd transformer, it has a transformer input and is safe with a 3 prong cord. If not, you'd want to pretty much gut it and just use the hardware/OT because the chassis WILL be hot if you plug it in wrong.

As to what kind of chassis to use, if you want simple, the old PAs are killer, you just have to match impedance a bit and you can plug right in (say use a buffer pedal or overdrive). It's a bit more complex with a stereo. Organ amps are a pretty good place to start, too.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
wolfman_rob / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
wolfman_rob / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
1
Steffmo / So much gear, so little time!
1
macca / So much gear, so little time!
3
Tibbon / So many guitars, so little time!
0

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.