Let Them Build It and They Will Come
The author’s amp after Bruce Egnater cleaned it up. Notice the streamlined pot grounds (green wires on the top pots), the secured leads from the
power transformer to the pilot light (yellow wires heat-shrunk to the blue wires next to the power switches) and shortened wires to/from the output
transformer (going under the bottom left corner of the turret board).
Bruce Egnater’s seminar amp is a JTM- 45 inspired kit amp souped up with JCM touches and many
special Egnater mods. It features three channels: clean, low gain and high gain.
When all systems were go, it was on to the
sound booth in the back of the shop where
our still cabinet-less amps were plugged
into a 4x12 cab and put through the paces.
Each person stole away to that little room
like a purse-snatcher slipping into an alley
to check out the loot. We’ve all test-driven
amps before, but nothing compares to
plugging in and firing up your own creation
for the first time. After 10 or 15 minutes of
the happiest noodling you’ve ever heard,
each person walked out of that room cradling their amps like newborns.
To sift through amp building theory on the
second day was indeed well thought out.
The hours of assembly and instruction from
the day before were put into macro and
micro perspective. We also spent significant time talking about future mods – the
changes in tone that would take place by
switching this cap here and that resistor
there. The last thing we did was drop our
amps into their cabinets – a process akin
to mounting a prized image into a frame,
complete with the desire to take a few
steps back and look at the finished product
from different angles. Talk about a room
full of swelled chests.
Building your own amp is a powerful experience that is especially rewarding when
instead of sounding like a run-of-the-mill kit
amp it sounds better than anything you’ve
played through before. It’s also an invaluable process for personal growth as a player; after building an amp from the ground
up you’ll suddenly hear things that you’ve
never heard before. I’m already jonesing to
build another one.