Monday, December 8, 2008

The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman

The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman review

The Tube Amp Book has always been a sort of infomercial for Groove Tubes. I've never had much use for the first half it - glossy photos of classic guitar gear and a catalog of Groove Tubes product line. The second half though is a good source of schematics - which is what I've always valued it for. My old copy of Volume 3 is broken in half and shedding pages from the split. I got the Deluxe Revised Edition for Christmas last year and what I love about it is that it's spiral bound so it lies flat without breaking the spine.

Here's the old and the new:

The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman Deluxe Review

The schematics are also printed a bit larger (the book is much bigger but now there are two schematics per page). This is what's left of my Volume 3 - I'm missing a few pages of Fender Champ schematics:

The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman Volume 3
The Deluxe Revised Edition actually has fewer printed schematics than the older editions. It's down to 368 from 408 in the past. Ampeg V4's seem a lot more common to me than some of the others they chose to include. Maybe it's a Boston thing. It's conspicuously missing from the new edition though. It is still on the included CD of schematics. There are 800 on there. It's not as useful as the printed ones, but it's still handy if you don't have a web connection near your bench.

The Deluxe Revised Edition also has a slightly expanded technical section. It's a bit random and only slightly useful IMHO but now includes an article on Class A by one of my favorite technical writers Randall Aiken. There's some tube data there too, which is handy to have around but it doesn't have curves for all the tubes listed which is a disappointment. Like schematics, tube data is easy to find elsewhere - the Tube Data Sheet Locator at Duncan Amps is one good hub.

Before schematics were widely available electronically, TTAB had a bit of a corner on the market. Now, since all of the schematics in are easily found at such places as Schematic Heaven, TTAB has taken some shots for selling material that anyone get for free on the web. As I see it you're really paying for the printing, binding and organization. To me, it's worth the $35 or so cover price to bypass the downloading, printing, punching and binding of 350+ schematics. Sure, not everything you're looking for is in there but it's a handy reference for most amps you're likely to run into.

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