Guytronix Low Watt DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Kits – Since 1999
Featuring the 1/2 to 2 watt Gilmore Jr Tube Amp Kit & the 8 Watt Ardmore Tube Amp Kit
Welcome to Guytronix DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Kits – featuring the Gilmore Jr Kit (1/2 Watt and 2 Watt) and the Ardmore 8 Watt Kit. No Clones Here! The Gilmore Jr and Ardmore kits are uniquely voiced amps.
Guytronix Amp Kits contain only the highest quality parts. The chassis are shipped to you with all holes drilled. Stainless steel PEM nuts are press-fitted into the chassis for a solid, quality build. No self-tapping sheet metal screws here! All Guytronix Kits feature a Mil-Std black anodize chassis, Mercury Magnetics power transformers, proprietary output transformers manufactured by Mercury Magnetics, and all stainless steel hardware. The assembly manual guides the builder through each step.
The Gilmore Jr or Ardmore Kit is an excellent choice for those who are building for the first time, yet challenging enough for those who have built before. Guytronix stands poised and ready to assist the builder throughout the assembly process. We want your kit building experience to be fun and successful! We ship World-wide and support every Country’s AC line voltage and line frequency with multi-voltage taps on the power transformer. Please use the menu above to navigate the site, or click here for contact and ordering information.
The image to the left shows the early chassis design of the Gilmore Jr Tube Amp Kit (fully assembled, rear), and the newly designed bare chassis featuring twenty-six stainless steel threaded PEM nuts that provide for a solid, quality build.
DIY Tube Amp vs Tube Amp Kit
Ok, some might say that a tube amp kit is not 100% “DIY.” If you are an advanced builder, you could certainly source parts and build an amp based on a schematic alone. With Guytronix, however, you get amps that have been designed by a professional, and we provide support throughout the entire build. Read this unsolicited review from a Guytronix customer:
Richard Guy of Guytronix is dedicated to customer support and helping his customers have the best experience with their Guytronix amplfier kits. This man spent nearly 2 hours with me on phone debugging my mute guitar amplifier. Richard waited patiently on the phone while I performed the correction. His sense of humor was evident as he instructed me to plug in my guitar, put all the volume controls to maximum, and strike a giant full-volume E chord. “All part of the testing process.”
Why would I want a tube amp?
If you have never played through a tube (valve) amplifier – well, we think you’ve been missing out on a great deal of fun. We’re not here to put down Solid State amplifiers, we just happen to prefer the way a guitar sounds through a tube amp. Tube amplifiers are commonly described as being “more musical,” and “warmer.” From Wikipedia:
Tube amplifiers respond differently from transistor amplifiers when signal levels approach and reach the point of clipping. In a tube amplifier, the transition from linear amplification to limiting is less abrupt than in a solid state unit, resulting in a less grating form of distortion at the onset of clipping.
Huh? Let’s pretend for a moment that we have two nearly identical guitar amplifiers side by side, one solid state, one tube. Let’s also pretend that these two amps have an identical “fully clean” sound which represents 1% of all possible tones, and an identical “fully distorted” sound which represents another 1% of all possible tones. What about everything between fully clean to fully distorted? The difference in the way that a tube amplifier responds to being ‘pushed’ yields an incredible spectrum of sounds that are in-between fully clean and fully distorted. It’s here “in the middle” – where another 98% of tones exist – that a solid state amp cannot replicate the sound and feel of a tube amp. Many will also agree that a tube amp sounds better in the other 2% of the tones as well.
Tube amplifiers feel differently than solid state amps, because they respond to the softness or aggression of your picking, as well as your guitar’s volume control. You can go from clean to mean on a tube amplifier without clicking a pedal or changing channels. By now, you can tell that we love tube amps. To be very clear, we’re not trying to sell you Magical Unicorn Dust either. We just flat out prefer tube amps here, and we know we’re not alone.
Why Small, Low-Watt Tube Amp Kits?
“it is often better to choose a lower wattage amp over a higher wattage amp, depending on how and where you play.” – from “The Hub” (Musicians Friend)
Tube amps come alive when they are nearly or fully cranked. We believe that the Gilmore Jr is the ultimate home amp, because it is an all-tube design that can be cranked without driving the neighbors insane. Try cranking a 15 Watt Blues Jr at home and you’ll learn that there is nothing really “Jr” about it. At 8 watts, the Ardmore is also very much at home, at home, but also great for recording, jamming, and playing live.
What about DSP/Modeling Amps?
Modeling amps attempt to digitally emulate the sound of tube amplifiers. Hmm. Why would they want to emulate the sound of a tube amp? Because tube amps sound awesome. Opinions vary, and modeling technology has certainly come a long way. Emulation however will always be … emulation. As Walter White once said:
Yours is just some tepid, off-brand, generic cola. What I’m making is classic Coke. Do you really wanna live in a world without Coca-Cola?