Tube amp connoisseurs, your cup runneth over! This new edition of the veritable Tube Amp work distills all the facts and schematics from the first four editions, marries them to a large hardcover format, and adds the technological bonus of a CD-ROM. The resulting package covers all the great tube amp manufacturers with histories, pictures, and a surplus of information.
The book is divided into two sections – one for histories, one for technical schematics. A few of the makers covered are Ampeg, Dr. Z, Fender, Gibson, Hiwatt, Marshall, Matchless, Mesa/Boogie, Orange, Rivera, Silvertone, Sound City, Trainwreck, Vox, and Watkins. There are hundreds of color photos of great classic amps (and guitars) as well as catalog reproductions.
The technical section now has over 350 schematic diagrams and explains in detail the construction, function, and application of tubes and tube amplifiers. The CD-ROM contains 800 schematic and layout diagrams, from Ampeg to Western Electric, and is accessible through any modern computer. A key feature of this edition that sets it apart from earlier ones is the big 11″ x 13″ size of the book. It certainly makes reading the schematic diagrams easier.
This is an excellent book, but it isn’t geared for the novice. There are other tube amp books for that. This one is really more of a bible, with anything and everything about tube amps all rolled into one large fact-filled volume. Highly recommended for tube amp enthusiasts.
Backbeat Books 2003, Hardbound 416 pages, ISBN 0-879-30767-6, $49.95
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.