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 Post subject: Stealth-Tweed
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:20 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa
For close to ten years I had been playing through a Vox Valvetronix amp until it died and I decided then and there that it was time to get a tube amp. A friend informed me that Trinity Amps sold DIY kits that fit my budget. My own custom-built tube amp! What a great winter project! I had never soldered anything in my life though... My friend said maybe I should start with something smaller, like a guitar pedal. Meh, how hard can it be? I drew up a concept sketch:

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Now, which kit to purchase? I listened to all of the audio kits on the website and though they all sounded great it was the Tweed deluxe I kept coming back to. That was the sound I needed. Although I noticed something, every Tweed amp or clone I could see on the internet ...looked like a Tweed. Was I about to break some unwritten rule summoning cries of "Sacrilege!" across the interwebs? Feel free to comment and let me know. I proceeded with the plan. First, gut the old amp and salvage the cab and speakers:

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And then it came in the mail:

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Immediately I could tell that this was a company that went the extra mile. Not just a schematic came with the kit, but a detailed step-by-step instruction manual with an in-depth introduction on related history of tube amp design! Now, as the guy who's friends always make fun of him for always reading instruction manuals in full, I ate this up. After gathering the necessary equipment and watching some quite good youtube videos on proper soldering, I felt I was ready. How long was this project going to take me? A couple months? I jumped into it the next evening:

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I got in a groove and I couldn't put the iron down. And three very late nights later...

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It worked! No puffs of smoke! No electrocutions! Time for a true test at max volume:

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I cranked it to 10 and got weak in the knees. After a decade of digital modeling, I can't describe how pleasant and heavenly this sounded to my ears. My friend could not believe how little hum there was when it was cranked. Time to install the variable voltage reducer kit and design the head cabinet. Now that I had the chassis complete, I could measure it out, prepare a scale drawing for the head, and build it:

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Now the scary part... making it pretty. I wasn't looking forward to this part. And it sounded so great I couldn't stop playing it and ended up procrastinating for about a year. But then it was time. After some youtube how-to-tolex videos and getting supplies... here goes nothing. First the speaker cabinet:

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And then the head:

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Thank you Trinity Amps for such a solid kit, documentation, and immediate support through one particular bout of troubleshooting! I never hesitate to recommend you to anyone who asks me about the amp. Building it was great fun and I look forward to doing it again!

Greg


Last edited by Greg on Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stealth-Tweed
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:42 pm
Posts: 501
Location: Qualicum Beach, BC
Nice work, Greg. Your amp looks fantastic!

Nobody says a 5E3 has to have the traditional tweed cabinet. It can look however you want. It's your custom hand built amp and you can proudly say you built it yourself!

The fact that it sounds great, too, is icing on the cake.

I have lots of amps but my Trinity Tweed Deluxe is the one I play the most.

The Tolex work looks good with the white piping. It's not that hard to do if you use metal corners. The only tricky parts are the round inside corners where the amp mounts.

What are those two speakers you used? They play a big part in how the amp sounds. Again nobody says you have to use Jensen speakers just because that's what Fender used in the originals.

By the way, now that you have built one amp, you won't want to stop there. It's addictive!


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 Post subject: Re: Stealth-Tweed
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:20 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa
Thanks mitch! Yeah the inside corners were the toughest part to cover for sure. I didn't quite get them right and had to layer some tolex in those spots to cover everything, but luckily it turned out to be not too noticeable unless you're really looking for it up close.

The speakers are salvaged from my old amp, they're Celestion Neodogs which are apparently Celestion Century Vintage neodym speakers with a different label for Vox to use in their Valvetronix line. I figure the odd pairing of them with the Tweed adds to the overall customness :-) They sound great to my ear but different speakers and cabinets are something I'm sure I'll play around with down the road. That's one of the reasons I wanted to mount the amp in a separate head cabinet.

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 Post subject: Re: Stealth-Tweed
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:10 pm
Posts: 7430
Location: Brighton, Canada
yes, agree. A very nice job done! Thanks for the review as well!

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