Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Amp kits (rant)

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by radiocaster, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004
    Well, I compared to the "no tubes" option on the kit. But sockets, hardware, pots, power cord, chassis straps, sockets, fuse holder, lamp, string relief, knobs, etc. are all in the Mojo Small Parts kit.
    bparnell57 likes this.

  2. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    That's not a bad deal then. Pots and sockets add up quick.

  3. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004
    Most of the Allen kits include direct build support, that's an overhead expense carried on the books that probably varies greatly from customer to customer. If Allen builds the amp in shop, that overhead off the books, which augments that $200.

  4. beninma

    beninma Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    My point mostly is that most of the Allen and Mojotone kits are more expensive then if I buy the amp they emulate directly from the original manufacturer (mostly I compared with Fender amps here)... if you don't put much faith in the advantages of point to point it's hard to justify the extra cost/expense of these kits.

    Really the big advantage I can see is once you build these you probably learn how to fix them too..

  5. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004

    Building an amp is skilled labor. Can you solder? And you use best practices? And you follow a layout? You don't have to know how am amp works to build them. Design and repair is a whole different set of knowledge and skills.

    We don't build amps to save money, it will almost always cost more to DIY (unless you want a Dumble or a '68 Plexi); it's not to save money, it's a hobby (all hobbies costs money)
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    RedRock likes this.

  6. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    It's barely more expensive: Princeton Reverb is $999.99 at Sweetwater, Mojotone full kit is $1002.55, but you can save a lot if you have a couple of tubes and an extra speaker around, then it's only $841, plus that way you put in it exactly what you want.

  7. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004
    Yeah, but with the PRRI, you have a working amp with a warranty and less depreciation. The Mojotone kit will still need 4-12 hour skilled assembly and be worth half as much assembled as the parts cost. The PRRI is the better "value" and the best deal for someone who actually wants to play guitar. The DIY amp is a hobby unto itself, and after you figure in labor (always put a price on time...ask any amp tech, plumber, auto mechanic, or artist) and depreciation, there are several hundred dollars in hidden costs. Don't buy a kit to save money, it's a false bargain.

  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I think the word 'kit' can mean anything from bag of parts, to paint by numbers, and everything in between. That's part of the source of confusion. Also, I suspect that someone who's not a veteran builder, embarking on a kit build just to save money, is not going to have a lot of fun. First buy a bunch of tools you won't need after this, and spend a bunch of time doing something you'd rather not, and then troubleshooting when it doesn't work...

    IMO kits that aren't just a bag of parts are great for casual DIY types. Someone who likes the process, but who's not experienced with amps.

    When I built my Allen Encore, it was considerably more than a $200 difference between kit and the amp itself. I paid $1250, and to have the same thing built by David was around $1800-$1900. Granted, I got that kit for 10% off normal pricing, but David does that pretty frequently. Either way, still a lot more than $200.

  9. Bones

    Bones Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 31, 2005
    Luddite Island, NY
    What is wrong with making a profit? Oh wait...."Euros" :)
    MickM likes this.

  10. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    Amps are the real rip off. Yeah it's nice that they put the parts together for you and do a little soldering, but...

  11. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2016
    Depends on the supplier and depends on the kit. Are you saying they are more expensive than buying all the parts separately from the same supplier as the kit? In that case you have a point. If you are saying they are more expensive than sourcing the parts from mouser or somewhere then yeah, of course they are. Really, the small parts and transformers aren't where they get you, its the cabs and the chassis are where they are turning the screws on you. You can pay mojotone $80+ for a PR chassis, or buy one (made in the US) for $45. Harder to save money on a cab unless you can build one yourself, but it costs me maybe $60 to build a cab (most of which is cost of tolex and hardware) vs $200-300 buying from a kit seller. Of course you can't complain about the price of a cab if you aren't setup to build one yourself... you need at least a couple hundred dollars worth of tools to do it well (more like a couple thousand likely) and I wouldn't build one for someone for less than a couple hundred, so its a pretty fair price IMO.

  12. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

    Aug 23, 2014
    I bought and built the Mission 5E3 kit 5 years or so ago.

    I look at it like this. I got everything I needed in two shipments. One for the chassis, wire and all the parts (all great quality), and one for the beautiful Mojotone lacquered tweed cabinet. I also got layout, schematic, and pictures. When all was said and done I spent less than half the price of Fender's 57 Tweed Deluxe RI. I also got some great support and advice from Bruce at Mission Amps. The amp sounds great, and has been trouble-free for 5 years and counting. I'm gigging with it again Saturday night.

  13. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    That's the issue. I can bend up sheets of alloy for chassis, get decent transformers wound and use generic switches, knobs etc. I can even build cabinets and tolex them. That saves me $$$ but also is unsalable secondhand.

    But the kits you get a close facsimile of a real amp. Yes, there's no resale. Depreciation on a new amp like a new car is horrible too, warranty or no warranty. I bet the new Handwired Deluxes will be worth 60% of list.

    If you learn to build it yourself the knowledge you acquire is not wasted even if you only use it on PCB production amps.

  14. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Like "chicken"..."parts is parts" and they ain't FREE, cheap (YMMV) maybe, but certainly not FREE.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

  15. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    I built my Mission 5e3 ten years ago and had an experience a lot like Matt's.

    You get a lot more than a bag of parts with a good kit.

    If you can source it all and need no help along the way, you are a better man than I. Go the DIY route and save the money. I was glad to have an expert source the parts, and a few calls to Mission during the assembly had a big payoff.
    Jimmy Owen and Chicago Matt like this.

  16. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    I love these threads. There's nothing like the expertise of somebody who has never done the thing he's opining about to drive home a point. Of course, I've never once seen a follow-up post that said, "Hey, all you people who said I couldn't do it, I did it, and here's how..."

    Anybody who actually builds amps will tell you that the most difficult part of doing so is sourcing parts. I have no doubt that if you were to go out on the web and source the cheapest parts that you might save a few bucks, at least on paper. For example, F&T 10µF, 450V electrolytics will set you back about $3.00. They're the best value in good quality electrolytics, you can go way up from there. Chinese electrolytics go for about $.40. A Classic Tone 5F1 output transformer is about $27.00. It's a good quality transformer at a good price. A no-name import will cost about $14.00.

    Now, the cheap stuff may be fine, at least when it's installed, but who knows about what they will look like two years down the road. Finding even half-decent current production tube sockets is a pain.

    Now, the math is very different if you're one of those guys who scrounges old electronics for parts. If you can score an old oscilloscope or electronic organ you can harvest good stuff from them, sockets, tubes etc. But, useful electronics are getting harder to find, and even if you can find the good stuff you have to be willing to value your time and vehicle cost at near zero for scavenging to make sense.

    And, as many people have pointed out, shipping costs add up in a hurry.

    It's always difficult for me to understand why anybody would think that profit is a bad thing. I can't speak for anybody but myself, but I sure as heck don't work for free, and I don't want to ever work for somebody who doesn't make money at what they do. Most of the guys who do amp kits and the like are small businesses, and their margins are slim.

    But, I say, go for it. There's always a possibility that you'll prove us all wrong, but the odds are against you.
    King Fan, Chicago Matt and Bones like this.

  17. Staggerlee666

    Staggerlee666 Tele-Meister

    Jul 24, 2014
    You should complain to the EU and maybe they will regulate the price of amp kits including how much time you can spend each day working on building them.

  18. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

    Jul 10, 2014
    When I was in retail, I had to figure out what to sell our goods for. The rule of thumb was to multiply our cost by 450%

    If it cost us $30, we would resell it for $134.99. That may sound unfair, but overhead costs were high, with three full time employees, and one part-timer.

    Has anyone here ever bought a Diehard battery at Sears? The Diehard Gold battery used to sell for $79.99. Sear’s cost for this battery was $15. That hardly sounds fair, but then the battery comes with a 72 month warranty, and a fair percentage of these batteries are returned and exchanged for another one, some are exchanged twice. In the end, the actual profit earned from selling these batteries is much smaller than you might think when you just think of the markup.

  19. Bones

    Bones Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 31, 2005
    Luddite Island, NY
    They are already trying to make tubes illegal in Europe.
    bparnell57 likes this.

  20. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Would that be the "tube" between England and France (wink,wink)?

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