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Phil O'Keefe

GUYTRONIX ARDMORE AND GILMORE JR (tube amp kits)

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

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:

Phil, I've got no recording equipment, and you're seeing the extent of my computer skills right here ;)

Not to mention that I'd be too embarrassed to let you all hear how poorly I play!

So far, I've only run my Gilmore through an old 2x12 cab I've got, and through the 4x10 cab in my Bassman combo. I've got a pair of the 8" Webers that Rich mentioned in his recent post, but I haven't used them yet; still got to build a cabinet for them, and a cab for the Gilmore itself. Got to wait for better weather, as I have to do all the machining outdoors. Such is life in Michigan, in the wintertime, in a single-wide trailer.

Once I've completed that, I can give my review.

And I ain't skeert o' no dang Shore Patrol :mad:

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Hey I just finished my first build of a Gilmore Jr. What a BLAST. I wanted a combo/head, so I built the kit components into a Valve Junior Chassis and then into the Valve Junior Cab. I also have the optional attenuator built into the chassis and I patch cable it in when I want it (knob up front). I can't beleive it all fit in a Valve Jr. A lot of fun.
I'm looking forward to hearing the results of this thread. I wanna know what other sounds people are getting. Mine is very 3-D sounding and warm. I also have a lot of headroom; maybe due to the v-mod? Who knows..I dig it. I only have a double humbucker Wolfgang right now, but I can't wait to try it with some single coils.

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Originally posted by 1esotericguy

Hey I just finished my first build of a Gilmore Jr. What a BLAST. I wanted a combo/head, so I built the kit components into a Valve Junior Chassis and then into the Valve Junior Cab. I also have the optional attenuator built into the chassis and I patch cable it in when I want it (knob up front). I can't beleive it all fit in a Valve Jr. A lot of fun.

I'm looking forward to hearing the results of this thread. I wanna know what other sounds people are getting. Mine is very 3-D sounding and warm. I also have a lot of headroom; maybe due to the v-mod? Who knows..I dig it. I only have a double humbucker Wolfgang right now, but I can't wait to try it with some single coils.

Sounds like a cool way to do it :cool:

The V-mod definitely widens the tone's range, and I did the 2-watt mod to get more clean headroom before breakup.

Wait 'til you run a Tele through it :love:

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Originally posted by Danocoustic

Sounds like a cool way to do it
:cool:

Wait 'til you run a Tele through it
:love:



PLEASE, no more gas. I just bought a Verbzilla reverb that now lives with the amp. Next is going to be an extension cab. And my Wolfgang is particularly noisy, so maybe a gate or Decimator. MORE STUFF MORE STUFF. I wish I could move all my GAS energy into practice energy :D

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Originally posted by danbomb

I have a 16ohm red fang in a closed back cab and it loves my Gilmour Jr. I have the M mod on mine.



Clip please? :)

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Originally posted by Danocoustic

Sounds like a cool way to do it
:cool:

The V-mod definitely widens the tone's range, and I did the 2-watt mod to get more clean headroom before breakup.


Wait 'til you run a Tele through it
:love:



So I ended up borrowing a really nice USA STRAT (and subsequently buying a cheap one) and you weren't kidding. Single coils are my hero through this amp. Warm and jangle-y. It's like a "Little Wing" music box.

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Originally posted by 1esotericguy



So I ended up borrowing a really nice USA STRAT (and subsequently buying a cheap one) and you weren't kidding. Single coils are my hero through this amp. Warm and jangle-y. It's like a "Little Wing" music box.

See, I tol' ya :cool:

I like the way the Gilmore breaks up when you push it, but I like its clean tones more. That's why I put the 2-watt mod into it. More clean headroom, more volume before it gets dirty.

I recommend it.

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Okay, so once you have everything into the amp chassis, you should go back through it and double check everything. Make sure all your wires are going where they should be going, while referencing the wiring chart that is included with the kit. Check for cold solder joints (dull looking greyish solder, as opposed to bright shiny solder joints) and anything that looks amiss or sloppy and fix it now before going any further.

Once that's done, it's time for the B+ voltage check. You don't need an O-Scope to build and bias these amps, but now that it's all internally assembled, you do need to check the voltage before giving the amp a play test.

A few words of caution are in order here -

When checking the B+ voltage, you must do so with the tubes OUT OF the amp.

You will be testing a "hot" chassis. In other words, you'll be plugging the amp in to the wall AC socket, and there are gong to be high voltages present. You MUST be careful or you can get seriously hurt or dead. I can't stress this enough. Use caution whenever working inside a "hot" amp.

The manuals tell you which turret to use to test the voltage - on the Gilmore Jr, it's turret 19. Set your multimeter to the highest DC voltage setting, and connect the black lead of your multimeter to a ground point, such as one of the star grounds on the chassis. I like to do this in a way that doesn't require a hand to hold it in place... an alligator clip equipped jumper cable can work to connect the black meter probe to the chassis ground. That way, you only need one hand on the red test proble from your meter to touch the probe to the proper turret. Whenever possible, I like having one hand only in use when testing a hot circuit - it's safer in the event you do get shocked, because if you have both hands inside there, the current will go right through your heart - not good. :(

Anyway, this is the most dangerous part of the build, but it's not all that difficult to do, and it's completely safe as long as you use appropriate caution.

Power up the amp (again, with the tubes removed) and check the voltage. The voltage should read between 300 and 350 VDC on your meter. If it reads higher or lower, or if you smell smoke or see sparks or anything like that, immediately power down and unplug the amp and recheck your work. If it is within the correct voltage range, power down, put the lid on the case and install the tubes.

You're not ready to play quite yet, but at this point it is CRUCIAL that you have a speaker load attached to the amp. These amps, as we've previously discussed, can work fine with anything from a 4 ohm to 16 ohm load. Attach a speaker to the speaker jack and dim the lights in the room and repower the amp. Look at the tubes - the filaments should glow red, but the metal plates should not. If the plates are glowing, power down and recheck your work.

REMEMBER THOUGH - an amp's capacitors can store a charge even after it's unplugged - enough to give you a nasty bite. Leaving the speaker attached after you unplug the AC power and leaving it sit at least overnight should drain the caps and make it safe to work on the amp again the next day... of course, you can always manually bleed the caps, but if you have to ask how, you probably shouldn't go there. ;)

Assuming the filaments are the only thing glowing and not the tube plates (a general bluish glow is normal and okay), then you get to the fun part - plug in a cable and give her a play test. Set the standby switch to standby, and power up the amp with the power switch. Give it a few minutes to warm up, then flip the standby switch to the on position and see if she plays. If you did everything correctly, it should.

Okay, that should cover the last of the build. It was actually pretty easy to build these kits, and the instructions are generally very good to excellent. And if you have a problem or question, Rich is about as good on customer support and help as any company I've seen - and much better than most. :thu:

I'm going to ask again for volunteers to help me test / record clips for these amps... I don't know that we will be able to get a ton of people together all at once due to everyone's schedules, but if one or two people want to do so individualy, we can go that route. And if I can't get any volunteers, then you'll all have to suffer through MY playing on the clips, and I'm not sure you want to have to experience that, so SPEAK UP and volunteer to come check these puppies out in person. Please. :)

We'll wrap up with my general comments and impressions regarding their sound very soon. :wave:

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Originally posted by Danocoustic

See, I tol' ya
:cool:

I like the way the Gilmore breaks up when you push it, but I like its clean tones more. That's why I put the 2-watt mod into it. More clean headroom, more volume before it gets dirty.


I recommend it.



I agree Dano - I personally prefer the 2 watt mod. The amp still breaks up, but a bit later / higher on the volume knob. But it's really going to depend on personal preferences. Someone who is looking for maximum grindage at minimal volume levels might not like the 2 watt mod as much as you or I do... but the fact that there are options, and the amps can be built with modifications that meet the individual player's needs and preferences is a major point in their favor IMO.

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Just got done installing the 'M' mod on my Gilmore jr....amp breaks up a lot sooner but cleans up nicely when ya back off the guitars volume knob..I'm pushing it threw a single Celestion G12T (16 ohm)....amp has a real nice 'british flavor now... I'm really impressed on how easy it is to mod this amp to suit ones taste...

:)

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Okay, it looks like we have a couple of volunteers for a visit / play session. :thu: I'll post the date in a bit, just as soon as we get it confirmed. Anyone else who wishes to attend on that date (mid-May or late May) will of course be welcome to come over too. :)

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Phil,

Thanks for the news. There is a chance that I'll have the Gilmore Jr Instrument Out box ready for your date, a date in later May would be ideal as it will provide more time for me. The box turns the Gilmore Jr into an overdrive unit to push the front-end of a larger wattage amp. It features Gilmore Jr preamp and output tube/transformer saturation with a level control. No sand. I've used it with my Sunset head pushing two AlNiCo 12's, semi-closed cab, way cool. We are also thinking of having a variation that will work with Fender Champs and other low wattage amps. :thu::freak::thu:

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Phil,


Thanks for the news. There is a chance that I'll have the Gilmore Jr Instrument Out box ready for your date, a date in later May would be ideal as it will provide more time for me. The box turns the Gilmore Jr into an overdrive unit to push the front-end of a larger wattage amp. It features Gilmore Jr preamp and output tube/transformer saturation with a level control. No sand. I've used it with my Sunset head pushing two AlNiCo 12's, semi-closed cab, way cool. We are also thinking of having a variation that will work with Fender Champs and other low wattage amps.
:thu::freak::thu:

So this will be an add-on to an existing Gilmore Jr., Rich?

You KNOW I gotta know more about this!

:thu:

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Hello Danocoustic,

Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, you are correct sir! Currently (phase I) the box connects directly into the Gilmore Jr speaker out jack. From there it connects directly into the input jack of your Marshall Major or SVT ;^) It has a level control on it. All you do is crank the volume and set the tone control of the Gilmore Jr and use it as an overdrive into larger wattage amps. It has an interesting passive ladder network inside designed by the reclusive tone guru, Gary Gerhart, that keeps the tone/vibe of the cranked Gilmore Jr at the ready :cool: It works extremely well with the "M" mod installed in the Gilmore Jr.

Phase II will feature a 'stomp' switch that will provide for switching the box in and out of circuit so that you can set the larger wattage amp 'clean' and switch between the two as your guitar plugs directly into the Gilmore Jr. The switching is true by-pass and will sport an LED that will require battery power for LED operation only. There will also be a tone control on the Phase II box. :freak:

Phase III will provide the same operation/feature but will work with Fender Champ variations to also include Narrow Panel 5E1 / 5F1 circuits :freak: :freak:

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Hello Danocoustic,


Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, you are correct sir! Currently (phase I) the box connects directly into the Gilmore Jr speaker out jack. From there it connects directly into the input jack of your Marshall Major or SVT ;^) It has a level control on it. All you do is crank the volume and set the tone control of the Gilmore Jr and use it as an overdrive into larger wattage amps. It has an interesting passive ladder network inside designed by the reclusive tone guru, Gary Gerhart, that keeps the tone/vibe of the cranked Gilmore Jr at the ready
:cool:
It works extremely well with the "M" mod installed in the Gilmore Jr.


Phase II will feature a 'stomp' switch that will provide for switching the box in and out of circuit so that you can set the larger wattage amp 'clean' and switch between the two as your guitar plugs directly into the Gilmore Jr. The switching is true by-pass and will sport an LED that will require battery power for LED operation only. There will also be a tone control on the Phase II box.
:freak:

Phase III will provide the same operation/feature but will work with Fender Champ variations to also include Narrow Panel 5E1 / 5F1 circuits
:freak:
:freak:

Marshall?

SVT :confused:

Look man---can I plug it into my 70s silverface Bassman 4x10 combo or what?

*dang tech-talkin' weenies*

:mad:

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Originally posted by Richard Guy

Absolutely, no worries
:freak::thu:

Thanks, Rich ;)

You say it works well with the M mod. If you recall, I've installed the V mod in mine.
Are the two mods mutually exclusive? What effect from the 2-watt mod?

I'm really interested in this. Please keep us up to date.

Oh, and I plugged you on the new DIY forum :thu:

Thanks again!

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The new DIY forum would have been perfect for a review like this, but since it didn't exist when we got started on it, I'm going to keep it up here. But I did post a link over there to this Pro Review, in case anyone's interested. :)

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