For a while I have been wanting to change the pickups in a couple of my guitars but I also wanted a low output set for my needs which I was having trouble finding at a price I was willing to pay. So I came up with the idea of winding my own, & that’s just what I did. I ordered in a winding machine, the various parts that I needed for what I wanted, and took a wild guess as to how many turns would be right for me.
After a few attempts I got the process down and away I went. My first set of pickups for my Strat turned out to be 4.8KΩ on the bridge, 4.6KΩ on the neck, & the middle was calibrated nicely at 4.4KΩ as a RW/RP unit.
The true test was gong to be what pickups sounded like though, & I was very happy with the result as I have a tight low end to them with moderate midrange, and lots of chime on top.
Long story short, I decided to venture into the pickup winding side of things as well. I’ll be sticking to single coils only and putting together sets for Strats & Tele’s as well as individual pickups as needed & I can also custom wind to spec or rebuild pickups upon request. The upside of the pickups is that I now have something to do in between amp builds.
I was asked about a 6G11 brown Vibrolux as a 1×12 combo, & since there are no reproduction chassis available for the 6G11 brown Vibroverb, I needed to look for a suitable platform that would work for it and happened to find one that was just right. We added a custom faceplate with brown cosmetics & barrel knobs, then the brown cab with wheat grill cloth finished off the look. The customer loves the look of the amp & more importantly the sound of the amp as it sounded exactly liked he had hoped it would.
I’ve offered the 6G15 stand alone reverb as part of my line up in the past when I was doing my own cabs here, but never really pushed them once I began outsourcing my cabs. So it seemed timely right now to offer them again & here’s the first look at what I call the Li’l Dawg Reverberator.
While this one is done in the traditional brown cosmetics it’s also available in tweed, black, or other colors as well. While I like the chicken head knobs myself, I know a lot of folks prefer the barrel knobs so you get a choice on that as well.
Then I was asked again for another single channel build and this time is was a brown 6G16 Vibroverb in a LunchBox. While the amp retained the vibrato circuit we dropped the reverb portion off. The upgrades for this build included a Mercury Magnetics a 4/8/16 ohm multi-tap OT, Sprague Atoms, & SoZo Blue Molded caps, as well as a bright switch.
I was also asked about a 6G14 brown Showman head as well, and once again it turned out to be a single channel build. Since the customer didn’t really need the quad of 6L6GC’s that the 6G14 traditionally used, we dropped the power tubes down to a pair of 6L6GC’s to run in the 40-45 watt range with a set of Mercury Magnetics which included a 4/8/16 ohm multi-tap OT. Other upgrades included another personalized faceplate, switchable tube or diode rectification, switchable fixed or cathode bias, switchable boost on the first pre-amp tube, Sprague Atoms & SoZo Blue Molded caps. This amp was built in a Princeton Reverb chassis & head cab with the traditional blond cosmetics, and the amp turned out to have a very throaty growl as well as the great cleans that the 6G14 circuit offered.
Then I was asked about a single channel blackface AA165 Bassman, and this time the order was for a LunchBox head. The upgrades were a 50 watt 2/4/8 ohm multi-tap OT, and I surprised myself when I agreed to add an effects loop which I very seldom do. After talking with the customer about the loop I decided that it would be very useful to him so we added it to the build sheet.
I’ve had a few interesting requests for amps so far this year, and I figure it’s about time to put some info & pics out for folks to see what’s I’ve been having fun with the last few months. I’ll be going thru the various amps one by one and try to give a good description of what each amp was designed to be.
First we have a brown 6G6B Bassman build that I was asked for, but the customer only wanted to have a single channel (normal only) running in the 25 watt range for use as a stage monitor as everything gets mic’d in his band. So after numerous emails we came up with the idea of using a Princeton Reverb chassis for the build which would be small enough for use as a grab & go club amp. Some cap upgrades were added as well as a personalized faceplate and we had a nice & clean build put together, and it sounded just like expected so off it went to the new owner.
I was recently presented with another interesting amp build and this time it was a 5F8A high power tweed Twin, but the customer wanted it in a LunchBox head. So after some thought I figured out I could fit the circuit into my 16×8 chassis enclosure so I committed to the build. When everything was said & done the amp turned out be be a very nice fit in that chassis, and it really was a tone monster with a loud, throaty growl & bark when it got pushed. I also added individual bias points so each tube’s bias can be measured just to make sure that each pair match or even the entire quad. I’ll be waiting to see if the owner sends any sound clips to share but in the meantime here’s some of the build pics.
While I waited for some parts to show up I remembered a friend asking if I ever thought about a Vox AC15 style build. I had a number of times but finally thought today is the day to work out the details for the build.
The layout seemed fairly straightforward to me as I’ve done so many LunchBox builds already, so what I ended up with was a 2 channel (normal & top boost) but not the tremolo channel as not many players used that anyway.
When everything was said & done I was pleasantly surprised with a great sounding amp full of the Vox tone that I had been missing from my line-up for so long. So it’ll be available in my catalog of circuits as a LunchBox head for now, and maybe a head or combo if I can find a suitable chassis to work with there. In the meantime here’s some pics of my prototype.
It’s taken me a while to put this review of the Chainsaw up that my friend Charlie Shapiro did for me, but here’s it is now.
Lil Dawg Chainsaw Stand-alone review:
I am going to leave the stand-alone practice amp for Mark Revel’s review. He covered it all and I am in agreement with his findings.
Lil Dawg Chainsaw first device in the pedal chain:
I tested the 1 watt with the tube complement of v1: 12AX7 , v2: 12AX7, v3: 12AU7, silver pin JJ’s. I ran the 1 watt in the first position of my pedal chain with the guitar going into the 1 watt.
The sonic fingerprints was dead on for that elusive Black Faced Twin Reverb sound of Clarence White, Marty Stuart, and Jerry Garcia at their best.
Testing the 1 watt Chainsaw with the tube complement of v1: 12AX7, v2: 12AX7, v3: 12AU7, Gold pin JJ’s. I ran the 1 watt in the first position of my pedal chain with the guitar going into the 1 watt. The Gold pins created a wider creamer sound than the Silver pins with what appeared to be an earlier break-up that was fatter sounding. Starting to encroach upon British amp territory. By manipulating the Volume and single tone control, I was able to achieve a convincing Hi-watt, Orange, and Marshall type sound. I spoke to Euro Tubes and they said that Gold pins are more linear than the Silver pins in guitar amps.
Lil Dawg 1 Watt Chainsaw as last device in the pedal chain:
The most interesting position, for my ears and tastes, is placing the Lil Dawg 1 watt at the end of my pedal chain and outputted into the amplifier’s input. Volume and single knob tone controls were varied below and around 9 o’clock. The Lil Dawg 1watt in this potion, adds an amp’s ‘output section’ of distortion and tone to the chain. Further, the Lil Dawg 1 watt is very reactive to pedals and changes tone greatly depending on the pre driving pedal. All the sustain, that Mark spoke of was present.
The Lil Dawg Chainsaw creates a real sound that is totally believable and is absent in all pedal chains that I have heard or experimented with.