D.I.Y. One-Knob 5-Watt Tube Guitar Amp

I’ve always wanted to build a one-knob guitar amp, so I did. It’s another Champ/Princeton clone without the tone control. 1 x 12AX7, 1 x 6L6 (not 6V6!), ‘canonical’ 5Y3 tube rectifier. The main lesson I learned was that a one-knob guitar amp is cooler in theory than it is in practice, and that adding minimal tone-shaping (in other words, a ‘High’ or ‘Bright’ rolloff) is worth the (minimal) effort.

On the other hand, it was interesting to try to balance the output for a range of instruments (guitars). I used a Telecaster, an SG, a Strat, and a Les Paul with custom pickups when I was deciding what values to ‘hard-code’ for bypass capacitors and whatnot (see C2 and C5 in the schematic below). The video was done with just a Tele because I was too lazy to include anything else.

For questions and comments, email th@thallenbeck.com

Here is an action-packed video of the ‘Uno Knobbo’:

And here is the schematic:

Uno Knobbo schematic

Note: the schematic shows the feedback resistors connected between the output jacks and the cathode of the second preamp stage. I thought the result was muddy so I disconnected them for the video above.

Also, the schematic specifies a 6V6 as the power tube but I used a 6L6 instead, because I thought it was a little more articulate at high gain levels. As I recall, I used the 5k tap of the output transformer for the 6L6 (brown wire), instead of the 8k tap (red wire).

Please refer to the 5f2 clone I did a few years ago for more.

What I came out with this time was fiddly and awkward because I didn’t think the layout through as well as I could have. A better layout for this sort of 5-Watt clone would be the the previous project referenced above. If I do anything like this again and I use one of those Hammond Enclosures again, I’ll probably use that layout, with separate, smaller turret boards. Here is the layout for good measure:

Uno Knobbo layout: not my best effort

Here is a 5f2 schematic

I tried the Uno Knobbo with several speakers and I like the Eminence Lil’ Texas the best, maybe because they rolled off the piercing high end and the two Jensen speaker I tried didn’t. All the speakers I tried were 12″ because I don’t have any 10’s.

By the way, if the enclosure looks weird, it’s because I tried doing my own powder coating on it, with limited success. That was fun though.

Also, I stuck a TH Audio badge to it because I had a few lying around – I’m not planning to sell these (yet) under my side business.

(Public service announcement: comment are disabled because I got tired of the endless spam. For questions and comments, email th@thallenbeck.com.)

More photos:

Before cage: