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  • Phil O'Keefe
    started a topic GUYTRONIX ARDMORE AND GILMORE JR (tube amp kits)

    GUYTRONIX ARDMORE AND GILMORE JR (tube amp kits)

    In this review, we're going to be taking a close look at a couple of Gary Gerhart designed tube guitar amp "DIY" kits from Guytronix - the 8 Watt EL84 based Ardmore ($299, direct from www.guytronix.com ), and the $249 1/2 watt (2 watt optional) Gilmore Jr.

    First off, a couple of disclaimers. Normally, a reviewer obtains a "loaner" of the product to be reviewed, and return or purchase it at the end of the review process. In this case, we're dealing with a pair of tube amp kits, and as such, they can't really be assembled and reviewed and then returned in the same state as they arrived in. And since putting together a tube amp takes a certain amount of time and labour (stay tuned to this thread for an idea of exactly how little or much ), and since that itself has value (IOW, the company can take the returned / completed amp and sell it for more than the price of an unbuilt kit), Rich at Guytronix and I negotated a deal where I would built both kits, do the review with complete freedom, and send back only one of the completed amps. That way, he doesn't profit from my build time, and I "pay" for whichever amp I decide to keep by the labor I put into building the amp I return. So right upfront, you know I'm keeping one of these two kits... and since these are Pro Reviews, you're all invited to participate and help keep things honest and above board.

    There are many potential uses for a small, low power, yet toneful tube amp. Practice at home and recording purposes are two places where such amps are commonly used. In this review, I hope to cover the actual kits themselves, the build process and the difficulty level and experience / skills you'll need if you decide to build one, and what level of customer service and assistance you can expect to recieve from Guytronix. Additionally, we're going to fire up the studio and do some tracking of the completed amps so that everyone can get an idea of how these amps sound, with particular attention to how well they perform in a studio recording environment - after all, this IS a studio forum. But we'll also break out the SPL meter and see just how loud a 1/2 or 8 watt head really gets. That should be of interest to those who are considering one of these amps to use for practice.

    What I'd like from you is your participation. Let me know if you have any questions. If something's not clear, point it out. If you have built one of these amps, feel free to voice your opinions about them and tell us about your experiences. Rich from Guytronix will also be participating and will be making comments and answering questions as appropriate as well. He's a good guy, and you'll find him easygoing, knowledgeable and helpful. I'll also be asking for suggestions regarding what you want to hear insofar as clips, and we might even try to set up an in-studio session (at my place) with a few of you to let you get some hands-on, in person playing and listening time with the completed amps. We can track some clips of your playing, and give you an opportunity to tell everyone what you think based off firsthand experience playing through the completed amps. If you're interested in participating in that part of the review, please let us know.

    Ready?

  • Richard Guy
    replied
    Thanks for the kind regards HR. I am happy that you are melting solder ;^) An adjustable level tube effects loop in the works. Stay safe Bud.
    Last edited by Richard Guy; 04-06-2014, 08:13 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • H.R. Shove and Stuff
    replied
    Glad to see your still out there, Rich. I build my Gilmore... some years ago? I don't even remember anymore. Don't play it much, but it really spurred me one to build other amps and pedals. Fantastic directions, a great sounding amp, and a wonderful learning experience.

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard Guy
    commented on 's reply

    Hello Human,

    I strongly recommend that the builder try the 'stock' configuration first and then, if necessary, mod to taste.  All mods are easily reversable.  If a Customer breaks a part while reversing a mod during de-soldering, we happily send out a new part.  Our Chassis are built in the USA, our Transformers (Mercury Magnetics) are built in the USA.  All smaller components are purchased from American companies.  Even our shipping boxes are American made.  Why am I mentioning this?  We may be a bit pricier, but Tone is our target as evident by our parts/components/documentation and Engineering.  GUYTRONIX is a small, three family member establishment, going on 12 years of Service.  Thank You All for the continued support and thank you, Mr. Gary Gerhart, for Engineering a couple of sweet sounding kits!


  • HumanJHawkins
    replied
    Hey all, thanks for the great thread. Last post was 18 months ago. Did the conversation move, or does someone like me just need to come along and resurrect it? :-) I'm thinking of building a Gilmore Jr. soon. Top notch job on the sound clips. They give enough detail to really hear the character of the amps.

    That said, it would be great to have 3 clean and three dirty clips playing about the same thing through 'stock', 'M', and 'V' mods to judge the difference between them. It would be really helpful considering that amateurs like me can't easily install and remove mods, and most of us won't have the money to build three of these, lol... Wish I could though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard Guy
    replied
    I would be truly remiss if I didn't take the time to thank you guys for your candid post. You have helped GUYTRONIX survive during this very tough economy. It ain't easy, but I did learn how to juggle a bit Again, thank You!

    Leave a comment:


  • woolie
    replied
    I know this was a long time ago, Mr O'Keefe, but the Gilmore Jr Build pictures are all gone. And I would like to see them please.

    Leave a comment:


  • yoyodunno
    replied
    I can't wait to get one of these things.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mer2112
    replied
    Thanks Phil,

    Eric

    Leave a comment:


  • Phil O'Keefe
    replied
    All my website stuff is being redone right now, and I'll try to find links, but I can't make any promises. There is one "gut shot" pic that I took up on the Guytronix site:

    Leave a comment:


  • Mer2112
    replied
    Phil,

    Any chance you could re-post these photos?

    Thanks



    Hi Phil,

    I know this is old but can you please re-host the pictures?

    They're not showing up.

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard Guy
    replied
    hello mth,

    why not stain the provided oak end caps the color of your nicely built cabinet?

    Leave a comment:


  • H.R. Shove and Stuff
    replied
    Oh man, I forgot to post my build in here



    And with the guitar god charms.



    yay!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mer2112
    replied
    Hi Phil,

    I know this is old but can you please re-host the pictures?

    They're not showing up.

    Thanks

    So you make your amp kit order, and a few days later the box shows up via Prioity Mail - I was actually impressed with how fast that was.

    Opening the box reveals an expert packing job. Everything is set in the box in an organized manner, and individual elements of the kit are wrapped seperately.



    Pulling everything out of the bubblewrap and packing paper reveals this:



    Again, you'll notice that everything is well organized. One example - polarized parts such as diodes and polarized capacitors are placed into a seperate bag - which is handy for old hands and new builders alike, since these parts require special attention to their orientation when they're being installed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard Guy
    replied
    I just got my amp today and got to fire it up this evening. TONE!!! This is definitely a keeper.

    Rich, after listening more to the sound samples on your site and speaker manufacturers' sound samples more, I decided I liked the Celestion V30 instead of the Jensens. I got a clone to try first, and it sounds really good (without a cabinet). I plan to build a speaker cab and an amp head cab, but I couldn't resist soldering a cable onto the speaker and plugging it in.

    The comments about surprising amounts of volume, even at 1/2 watt, are true. Not deafening by any stretch, but too loud to crank while the Mrs. is trying to sleep. I am wondering about recording levels through a mic too.

    Rich, do you have a master volume or attenuator mod/kit available? I may put something like that in the amp cab. Has anyone else done that?

    Thanks,

    Shane


    Hello Shane,

    The Gilmoe Jr records 'BIG'. An SM-57 is all you need to capture a huge sound. Gary Gerhart designed the Gilmore to be one excellent recording amp. The Gilmore Jr is a sub-set of the Gilmore Amp and uses the same transformers and stock output tube. I am currently looking for another source for rheostats (attenuation) since the price from my typical supplier has gone through the roof. Please check my site once in a while for acivity. Enjoy your tone ;^)

    Leave a comment:

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