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Phil O'Keefe

GUYTRONIX ARDMORE AND GILMORE JR (tube amp kits)

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Phil,


I will be sending a unit for you and the guys to beat-up once I build one in a suitable box. I don't want Danocoustic to get too carried away once I send him tickets for a one-way Wooley Llama ride to your studio.
:eek::freak:;)
(Dano, if I could afford it, I'd send you First Class ;^)


I've got the current build in a less than sat enclosure for pre release testing purposes. It's now ready. Gary Gerhart designed the circuit. I am heavily twisting the eccentric modest arm of the reclusive tone wizard to sign the first five units (for a special personal intention), so please give me approx ~ two weeks to deliver.


There is also another box in development that allows the Ardmore Kit to be used in the same way.


Wait till you see what’s next
:freak::thu:

Your tone is our command.

I wanna ride my llama
From Peru to Texarkana
I wanna ride him good
In my old neighborhood

:D

I'll have to have one of those, too, I guess...*sigh*...

Keep us posted!

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Hey Dano,


I love your blues ditty
:thu:

Credit to Neil Young, not DanO ;)

I met a man from Mars
He picked up all my guitars
And played travelling songs

When we got on ship
He brought out something for the trip
Said, "It's old but it's good"
Just like any other primitive would.....

:thu:

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Wow, do you think the man from Mars brought out an old Venutian hookah?
:freak:
Who was that masked Martian......where is he when you need him?
;)

He said it came from Uranus :eek:

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Oh my
:eek:
Now I know why my a## hurts
:freak:

Mine's chapped because PHIL NEEDS TO FINISH OFF THIS BUILD!!!

I will continue to post off-topic nonsense in here until he does.

*digs in heels*

:mad:

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Originally posted by Danocoustic

Mine's chapped because PHIL NEEDS TO FINISH OFF THIS BUILD!!!


I will continue to post off-topic nonsense in here until he does.


*digs in heels*


:mad:

Well, THAT threat didn't work :(

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Originally posted by Danocoustic
Mine's chapped because PHIL NEEDS TO FINISH OFF THIS BUILD!!!

I will continue to post off-topic nonsense in here until he does.

*digs in heels*


-----------------------------------------------------------

Phil has finished building both amps
:thu::freak::thu:

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I'll be interested in seeing how loud the Ardmore actually is when it's measured. It surprised me for only being 8 watts.

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It sounds way louder than 8 Watts since the design accents a very musical asymmetric output. No clones here! :thu::freak::thu: Congrats on your excellent building skills Bucky! Enjoy the amp!

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Originally posted by Danocoustic

Mine's chapped because PHIL NEEDS TO FINISH OFF THIS BUILD!!!


I will continue to post off-topic nonsense in here until he does.


*digs in heels*



-----------------------------------------------------------


Phil has finished building both amps

:thu::freak::thu:

Couldn't prove it by me :mad:

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I think that Phil is waiting for folks to visit his studio to audition the Gilmore Jr and Ardmore amps before the review continues. The Konowa low-watt tube power amp will soon be released. I'll have to send that along too. Pretty soon, Phil will have all of my demo equipment :freak:;)

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Yup, we need some volunteers. Dano, start hitchhiking... or I'm gonna have to start grabbing (non-forum member) guitarists at random... ;)

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

Yup, we need some volunteers. Dano, start hitchhiking... or I'm gonna have to start grabbing (non-forum member) guitarists at random...
;)

You ain't gettin' me back to Californee :mad:

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Hello Toe Cutter,

Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, the Gilmore Jr is crunchy. The Ardmore is crunchy too, but in a refind way......Phil, please post your assesment regarding the crunch of the two Kits

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I'll try to do so in detail tonight... on the wife's computer at the moment... we're remodelling the house and my internet machine is "down" at the moment. I had to cobble something together just to post this. :(

Hopefully I'll be back tonight, or tomorrow at the latest. :)

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Okay, let's try this again (had it all posted and then the PS on my internet computer died :mad: )...

Even though I have a couple more things to add to wrap up the construction, let's address some of the tonal questions for a minute...

The Gilmore Jr tends to crunch earlier and harder than the Ardmore, especially in its stock 1/2 watt configuration, and / or with the M Mod installed. When you add the 2 watt conversion kit (basically a tube socket adapter and a replacement tube - it takes all of 10 seconds to swap between the two if the amp is cold), then you gain a bit more clean headroom, and it doesn't break up as soon, but the basic tone stays similar to my ears. It's more of a Fender-esque vibe, or older (non-master) Marshall vibe - especially with the M Mod option installed.

Personally, I prefer the sound of the Gilmore Jr best with the V mod with the 2 watt mod installed. The V Mod adds more range and control effectiveness to the tone control, which in its stock form works fine, but has somewhat limited range. The V mod increases the effective range of the tone control and adds a bit more "chime" to the sound. It doesn't take you all the way into Voxville, but it hints at it a bit more.

The Ardmore will also crunch on its own and unassisted, but because it is an 8 watt, dual EL84 amp vs the stock Gilmore Jr's single 6n1p power tube and 1/2 watt rating, it has more clean headroom, and breaks up at higher volume levels. Bedroom jammers with noise sensitive neighbors and family members may be better served with the Gilmore Jr if maximum crunch at lower levels is important to them. However, the Ardmore is also an excellent sounding little amp in its own right, and making the decision on which one to hang on to is going to be pretty darned hard. :) The Gilmore Jr offers a bit more flexibility and options, so you can customize it a bit more to your preferences. But the Ardmore's chime and EL84 spank can not be denied. It's not a Vox, but if your tastes lean in that direction, then it's definitely the amp kit to get. Additionally, the stock tone circuit in the Ardmore has a bit more effective range than the stock Gilmore Jr's tone stack.

One thing that kind of surprised me was how well both of these amps take to pedals - they're both very "pedal friendly". For a cool aural treat, try running an HBE Germania or other treble booster type pedal into either one. You want "roar"? That will give it to you. :thu: Even slamming the front end with a Tube Screamer or other overdrive pedal works great. And sticking a cocked and locked wah in front of the Ardmore, along with the Germania got me the closest I've ever gotten to one of my all time favorite / "holy grail" tones - Paperback Writer. :cool:

Again, both amps will distort at the higher ranges of the volume controls without resorting to any pedals, but the Gilmore Jr does so more readily and with a bit more grit, grind and punch. The Ardmore is better suited to those who prefer an amp with a bit more "Brit flavor" and who want / need more clean headroom.

Of course, the guitar you use is an important part of the tonal equation, so I've played both amps with pretty much everything at my disposal, as well as a few client's guitars. So far, nothing I've plugged into either one has in any way shape or form "sucked", although if you want grit and distortion, humbuckers will give you more than single coils will. But my favorite with both amps is my Casino - it just sounds wonderful running P90's into either amp.

FWIW, I've had several clients play through these amps, and without exception, everyone was impressed with their sonics. The clips on the Guytonix website are good representations of their tone, but they really do sound even better in the room with you than they do on the clips.

Stay tuned for more... :wave:

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I really don't have a super wide variety to choose from. I've got a couple of 12" Utah's in my '72 Twin, a 10" Eminence in my Super Champ, a 12" EV in my '83 Princeton II. The single amp mentioned in Batch 6 on this page is mine. :) I've also got a pair of Eminence 12" speakers in a "chopped" Fender amp cabinet. Those are the speakers that are always here, so they have had the most play time.

Additionally, there's always a bunch of different half stacks and so forth coming through here, and as I said, I've had several clients audition the Guytronix kits to seek their opinions... I had a buddy's Marshall 1960a (loaded with stock Celestion 75's) here on a long term loan (it's been returned to him now), and both heads sounded really good through that, although it favored the Ardmore a bit more IMO. The Gilmore Jr still sounded very good, and had some good bottom end chunk going on - and it's surprisingly loud if you don't stop to think about the "1 watt / 1 meter = X dB" efficiency ratings of typical speakers first... ;) If the speaker does 90 dB @ 1 watt / one meter, that's pretty loud. Loud enough that you don't want to be exposed to it for 8 hours straight. The Gilmore Jr is bound to surprise a few people with just how loud 1/2 watt can be.

Rich has suggestions on speakers, and unfortunately, I have not had a chance to try them. I believe he has a specific 16 ohm 10" Weber he likes, and IIRC, he's also fond of a 1X10" extension speaker cab from one of those little solid state Marshall mini stacks. I'm sure he'll be happy to share the details (I've got them in the studio and I'm answering this from home).

Me? I would still like to try the Ardmore through a Vox / Celestion Blue, or maybe a Eminence Red Fang or the Weber Blue Dog. But so far, of all the speakers and cabinets I have tried, I keep coming back to the 1X10" blue label Fender Eminence inside my Super Champ... I run a speaker cable from either head right to that speaker, in that little open back cab, and it just sounds great. :D ( )

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Now that I've had more time to try different speakers, here is what sounds good to me;

12" Weber Blue Dog (16 ohms Gilmore Jr) light dope, 15 Watts

10" Celestion 'knock-off' used in the Marshall Micro Stack

2 x 8" Weber 8A125 and 8A125T

4 x 12 Marshall 1960A 75 watt speakers (Gilmore Jr)

4 x 12 Weber Blue Dogs (2) and Silver Bells (2) (Ardmore)

There are a lot of possibilities. I have not heard a speaker that did not sound 'good', its just that the above choices sounded a bit better to me than most others.

The Gilmore likes to 'see' 16 ohm loads and the Ardmore likes to 'see' 8 ohm loads. You can use 8 or 16 ohms with either, its just that they sound a tad better using the values mentioned.

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Originally posted by Danocoustic

You ain't gettin' me back to Californee
:mad:



Oh, don't make me call in the SP. ;):D

Let's see, I still need to describe the final parts of the build, plus testing the B+ voltage, as well as doing the end caps. Have I forgotten anything else? Oh yeah... some clips. :)

I'm still rounding up volunteers for a day at the studio playing / recording these amps. Please send me a PM if you're interested!

I think I will write about the end caps right now, since I can do that from memory. :D

The kits each come with two wooden end caps that bolt to the sides of the metal heads / cases.. Other than the steel cases, that's the only "enclosure" that comes with them stock. And to be honest, while they don't provide any protection for the tubes, they will serve fine for general home use if you're going to leave the head sitting on top of a speaker cabinet or rack or whatever, but if you plan on taking it with you in your travels, then something a bit more substantial is definitely in order IMO.

The wood end caps are nicely grained, and pre-sanded. Do a little fine sanding if you feel it's needed, then finish them however you want. I used a nice light-honey colored stain. I applied several uniform coats, and once that was dry, I sprayed them with a couple of layers of clear coat to give them a little gloss and "shine". I'll try to get some photos of that uploaded soon.

Several builders have built the kits inside of a "donor amp" chassis. Obviously, I didn't go that route... but that's one possible cabinet "solution". I believe Guytronix has information on custom made cabinets for either kit. Since the external dimensions of the cabs are identical, a cab made for one kit model should fit the other just fine. If you're handy with woodworking and covering skills, you could put something together yourself with little problem. Check out the www.guytronix.com site for some ideas of what other users have built as far as enclosures / cabinets.

One suggestion though - if you are planning on building a custom head to house your Guytronix kit, make sure you leave enough room up top to allow for tube swaps as needed... and, if you're thinking about getting the 2 watt mod, for the extra height for the Gilmore Jr's tube socket adapter / 2 watt tube, which is definitely 'taller" than the stock 1/2 watt tube setup.

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Dano, would you be willing to track some clips of yours and post them up here? If you need someone to host them, email them to me and I will toss them up on my server.

I'd like to get several players / amps / examples posted, so if anyone else has built one and wants to submit clips, they would definitely be welcomed. :wave:

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