I have been addicted to tube amps since I was about 13. (I’m 42 now…) My first amp was a self-converted tube HiFi chassis and 12″ speaker that I built a special wooden box for. Using the phono input, I could get all kinds of gain from the cheapo pickups of my little asian Teisco Del Ray guitar. I was in tone heaven before I knew what it even was. My parents quickly lost their interest in my cleverness when they realized how loud it was at full clip. For me it was just the next step of a long established interest in electronics that had started when I was about 7 years old. My friendly 2nd grade teacher recognized my interest in electricity and (from her own pocket, methinks) provided me with a real kit of educational program parts designed to teach electrical fundamentals, basic circuits, batteries/switches/lamps and the like. Bless her heart. Over time I have learned to repair almost anything electronic – from the simplest 5 tube AC/DC radio to the SMD pre-amp cicuits located inside 2 of the rotating heads of my 3 ADAT XT units – I have a knack for fixing things, and an addiction to mastering ever more complicated systems (excepting PC’s…GOD I HATE COMPUTERS!) Fast forward a few decades, a few bands, a few countries and several CD’s later and we land here at MyTubeAudio. I have never stopped studying tubes and tube technology. My library has grown tremendously, as well as my collections of amps and guitars, test equipment, antique radios, and of course, tubes.
Radio-wise, I eventually “graduated” to doing 100% overhauls and alignments of those big old multiband 50’s German HiFi units – 8 years spent working in Germany kept a stream of those on the bench – and now old American tabletop radios seem simple, because they are.
MyTubeAudio is an LLC -a small business where I can provide superior service for those in West Michigan in need of a dependable, well-educated service person who just happens to play a pretty mean guitar, too. As a musician, I have always wanted to know EVERYTHING that makes a good tone on tape – the amp, the instrument, the mic, the speaker, and the player. I think I have certainly researched the topic well, and to be honest, I like nothing better than to restore an old amp or radio to like-new condition, just to hear it sing again. They say “they don’t build them like they used to..” commercially-speaking, that’s true enough, but there are some freaks out there that still do. These small companies can make you a convincing clone of just about anything that ever made rock-n-roll.
Today we live in a tube amp renaissance – parts and supplies abound, having survived the onslaught of the Solid State world. We are surrounded by the internet – and now tube-heads can readily find one another easily. A whole new community of tube freaks are out there and YES – some of us DO still build them like they used to. Even more are busy selling parts to addicts like you and I. With tube prices now quite lucrative, production has continued of the most popular audio types – albeit sometimes with questionable quality – and we CAN keep our precious equipment up and running, and build new, for at least another few decades or so.
I have seriously studied the best of the best for construction techniques and designs. I have incorporated those things and my own techniques into many completely self-built units (non-kits). I like to think I can do it all, from cutting my own chassis metal, right down to learning the right way to Tolex a cabinet and make it look better than factory. (4 years of recovering commercial pool tables when I was younger really helped me in that area – very similar techniques…) Of course, I know now that it makes more sense to purchase a ready-made chassis, but at one point my philosophy was that if it wasn’t ALL hand-made, it wasn’t hand made at all. I’m not such a purist anymore, but I still think the very best goods in the world come from people’s hands, not production machines. Art, Furniture, Cars, Buildings, Instruments, – they all benefit from a human touch at the highest levels of development. The rest is mostly money-grubbing for it’s own sake. But engineering any item to last only for a specific time will just fill our communities and environment with poisonous garbage that will choke the life out of the planet. Durable goods, like fine tube amps, are items to hand down to the next generation, provided we keep them in a condition worth owning. And, It’s just not that hard to do !
So I’ll conclude my story here, having rambled around like a drunken cat… I will endeavor to post shop pix, project pix, and whatnot, to make this site worth looking at.
Thanks for stopping by – Dan, N8ZJV