Making Your Amp YOURS (D.I.Y Part 2)

28 Feb Making Your Amp YOURS (D.I.Y Part 2)

So here is the second part for the Di-It-Yourselfers here. As with the first this will be a basics tutorial. Also, as with the first, I’m trying my best, since alot of my “as I was doing it” pics were destroyed along with the flash drive. :-( The good thing here is the fact that ANYONE can do this to their newly built box or they can replace their existing tolex on a factory box. This allows people to have something other than the “stock” look. You don’t need any special skills or tools to do this. Just MAJOR PATIENCE. 😉

Be sure if you’re working on a new box to have all of your drilling, sanding, ect… before you begin covering.

Here are links to the Tolex and parts suppliers that I used:

Mojo Musical Supply
www.mojotone.com

Parts is Parts
www.guitar-parts.com/

Same disclaimer “this is just my way, not the only way.”

These are the only tools you’ll really need. The bondo spreader helps with smoothing the tolex during application and to push it tightly into the corners.

I use 3M spray 90 adhesive for tolex. Unlike contact cement, you can remove the tolex and try again if the alignment is wrong. To use this glue spray a coat on the box AND the tolex. Wait ’till the glue is “tacky” and not wet to apply. Try to work fast. If it becomes non sticky a hair dryer or heat gun will tack it back up. If you happen to get some on the finish side of the tolex don’t worry. After it’s dried alot of rubbing with your finger will take it off.

The spray adhesive makes a MESS. Be sure to mask-off the areas that are not being covered at the moment. I also put down craft paper on the floor for spraying the tolex.

Corners are the trickiest part. Here is the head’s rear panel. As you can see, when you split the tolex for the corner there is a gap. To solve this, make a little triangle piece an install them in the corners before you do the main piece.

Here is the face panel corners. No need for the triangle infills here. The curve is big enough for the tolex to stretch and conform to. This also gives a good look at how the piping is installed. Alot of staples is the key for piping.

These 2 pics show how to “end” the small piping bead on the face panel & head. On the head be sure to extend it back far enough to clear the face & rear panels.

The big outer corners are the worst part of doing any covering job. In the above pics I’m attempting to show the process in which to cut for the corners.

First: slice the tolex straight out from the corner. Then wrap both pieces in place, overlapping them. Cut through BOTH pieces to get a smooth seam.

If it is not perfect don’t worry. Tolex stretches!!!!! Work and stretch the seam until you’re happy. (or use the corner bumpers to make life even easier) :-)

As seen above PRACTICE with paper a few times before the tolex application. This will give a feel for what you will need to do and help you to work faster with the drying adhesive. The method does change a little bit depending on the type of corner you are doing. So I’ll stress again PRACTICE.

(If you’re recovering an existing box, pay attention to how the corners were cut and wrapped when you remove the old tolex.)

Here are some inner/outer shots of the various corner types. Note the “crushed” corner on the cabinet. This helps with the fitting of the corner guards. Just shave off the corner after the routing is finished.

Rear views of the cover panels to show some of the wrapping technique. The patience comes in big here. The rear panel being the hardest. Each of these panels took about an hour to cover. The front panel is 2 pieces of tolex separated by the small bead piping. (be sure to leave enough material in the bead channel so the piping will help pin it down and keep it in place.)

 

So, these are the final product shots. The head’s main box is 4 separate pieces with the beading holding down the ends. This is another BIG patience part. For me, the upper & lower pieces took around 15min. to install. However, the end pieces, which include all of the tough corners, took around an hour & a half EACH. There is so much cutting and shaping here that you will end up reheating the glue several times before you are done.

The amp cabinet is only two pieces. One for the top and sides and the other for the bottom. Corners are much easier when you have the guards covering the hard part of the corner.

SO, that’s all I can think of to put in this one. As before if you have any questions feel free to ask.

If you want to see the pics in full size and quality just search my user-name (06AngusSG) on flickr to find my page. There are also some pics there that I omitted from the article to keep it from being to lengthy. :-)

 

 

avatar
Jon Saxe
ss327@comcast.net

Just here to learn and try to give something back. :) 2006 SG Standard (Heavily Modified) 1978 Marshall 2203 100w Head. (un-molested) Self Built 2x12 cab w/ G12-65's

58 Comments
  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks
    Posted at 13:37h, 09 March

    Since we are talking about D.I.Y how is your take on Ceriatone?

    I was thinking of soldering together a head from there for a school project work.

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 14:23h, 09 March

      Good stuff. It’s far better sounding than marshall ri’s or so. But you can upgrade them best with sozo caps and decent tranny’s like Mercury magn. or heyboers..

      • avatar
        Lemmiwinks
        Posted at 17:10h, 09 March

        But I dont really get one thing. Are they assembled when bought or is it soldreing for myself? I want to solder because of my assignement. I dont really know what they with assembled.

        • avatar
          Dries
          Posted at 17:15h, 09 March

          The turret board comes assembled ( for no extra cost.. ). You can still decide to build them by yourself, but I should not know why you would do that. All of the remaining you need to assamble by yourself, mount the pots on the chassis, install and wire the tube socets, etc.

          • avatar
            Lemmiwinks
            Posted at 18:51h, 09 March

            its for a schoolproject, but I guess I will scratch that::) I might buy one of those amps some day tough:) very good prices

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 17:40h, 09 March

      I really don’t know much about them. (Ceriatone)

      One day I do plan to buy the parts for re-wiring my amp.
      Mine is a 1993 Re-issue so it has a new style board.
      The plan is to do a turret point to point with the old style components.

      • avatar
        Dries
        Posted at 17:45h, 09 March

        http://www.ceriatone.com/productSubPages/BSPlexi50Lead/BSPlexi50.htm

        Would be a nice upgrade. For about a 100dollars, maybe upgrade with sozo’s.

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 18:22h, 09 March

          That does look like a nice kit. $100 is completely out of the question right now. :)
          I am planning to buy a similar (un-assembled) kit from Mojo.
          The problem with mine, so to speak, is that I had it modified by David Bray. I’ll have to compare some of the component values and routing with the new kit vs what is in mine so I don’t screw up my mods.
          But it’s way down the road for now. I won’t say I’m unhappy in any way with my amp. I just like to modify and tinker. 😉

          • avatar
            Dries
            Posted at 18:27h, 09 March

            Would love to see your amps board ( the mods ).

            • avatar
              06AngusSG
              Posted at 18:35h, 09 March

              No can do. :( Very sorry for this one. David has been the victim of design theft before. Not to say you will but I, along with probably most of his faithful customers, agreed not to post pics. of his mods on any kind of a website.
              I would hate to go back on that.
              Hope you can understand. :)

              • avatar
                Lemmiwinks
                Posted at 18:56h, 09 March

                are these mojoamps preassembled or can I put them toghether by myself?:)

                • avatar
                  06AngusSG
                  Posted at 19:04h, 09 March

                  Here’s a link to their page for kits. The pics show them assembled but all of their kits are D.I.Y.
                  The nice thing about them is they have different kit levels ranging from just the small parts up to a complete amp. :)

                  http://www.mojotone.com/amp-parts/amp-kits

                  • avatar
                    Lemmiwinks
                    Posted at 19:11h, 09 March

                    Nice! Good prices too!:D The 18w head looked gorgeous. Even tough the knobs looks more fender ( easy change ). The only thing now I need is studying. Does schedules come with the amps?

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 19:16h, 09 March

                      Schedules? :) Sorry, if you’re meaning diagrams, then yes. Their paper catalog says that schematics are included but no step by step instructions. 😉

                    • avatar
                      Lemmiwinks
                      Posted at 19:41h, 09 March

                      Sorry, I made a translation directly from swedish to english:) I now some basics about soldering but is there somekind of litterature or instructions for making ampcircuits in general?

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 19:47h, 09 March

                      No worries man. :) I got the point.

                      I don’t know what to lead you to directly. The best I can say is search in places like the Marshall Amp forum, or others. I’m sure there’s a wealth of stuff like that on the internet.

                    • avatar
                      Lemmiwinks
                      Posted at 19:59h, 09 March

                      ok thanks:)

              • avatar
                Dries
                Posted at 19:00h, 09 March

                O yes ! Sorry.. Very understandable. It would not be very fair against David. How did the mod actually changed the amp’s sound?

                • avatar
                  06AngusSG
                  Posted at 19:12h, 09 March

                  Wasn’t so much in the sound as it is being more user friendly.
                  Added was a master vol/attenuator, both vol controls are now push/pull knobs for different gain amounts, and he did do some sound tayloring. Mostly he shaped the sound for classic rock but it does still do well for up to Metallica-ish stuff (pedal driven.) What I asked him for was the “Solodallas” mod package. These are the same as Fil’s 1987xl
                  I don’t have a before and after comparison because this is my first tube amp and I bought it used from a Guitar Center in another state and had it shipped straight to David.

  • avatar
    nitroangus23
    Posted at 01:02h, 02 March

    Yet again,fantastic man.

    You get an A+++++++ :)

    lol

  • avatar
    ar2619Rob
    Posted at 17:40h, 01 March

    You are as skilled as anyone at this, a real pro job. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience :)

  • avatar
    Dobos Ádám
    Posted at 12:50h, 01 March

    Great article!
    I have a cabinet that I built for myself. It’s basically a copy of a marshall 2061CX cab (same sizes), and it has two greenbacks. Nice little cab :)

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 23:56h, 28 February

    Great work, 06AngusSG! On the article and on the project itself. You also told some tricks :) I already thought that the corners are the hardest thing here, and I also assumed that the corner bumpers will cover some “accidents”, hehe :)
    Man, you make me want to order some tolex and doing a recover of my jmp :)

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 00:06h, 01 March

      Thank you again Franz!

      JMP’s already have the corners don’t they?
      If so, do it man. 😉 That makes the job so much easier!

      If you look at those sites I linked, there is all sorts of color or pattern options for tolex. Something for everyone.

      Jon

      • avatar
        banane
        Posted at 00:14h, 01 March

        Yes, they have. Mine is not only pretty beaten up but there’s also a band logo sprayed on the right side of the amp, “one hundred men”, seems to be a british band that used this amp in the past.
        I’ll look out for a european shop and keep this in mind for my next holiday project :)

        • avatar
          SGACE
          Posted at 13:03h, 02 March

          Both articles are GREAT, 06AngusSG, very informative.. I really enjoy this kind of posts.. I like that your knowledge coexists with your constractive skill..
          My JMP is a combo and now after buying a 4×12 it needs to be converted to a head. Unfortunately there is no european shop to make a JMP copy (1976-1981) period.. So there is a problem for me how to get the proper headshell.. I thought that a good idea is to buy a marshall 1936 and covert it to a head but I think that there is to much hassle.. any ideas are welcome..

          • avatar
            banane
            Posted at 13:18h, 02 March

            Hello George, maybe you can build yourself such a head case? I could give you the exact measurements from my JMP head, Tolex and the corner bumpers probably too can be found here: http://www.tube-town.net/ttstore/index.php/cat/c119_Tolex.html “Big T” Thomann ( http://www.thomann.de/gr ) also have corner bumpers and marshall amp foots. Would be a nice project :)

            • avatar
              SGACE
              Posted at 13:33h, 02 March

              Thanks Banane but it is not that easy to make an exact replica of the JMP head shell.. After long search, again, lol, the only reasonable thing is to order either this
              http://www.tube-town.net/ttstore/product_info.php/info/p4624_TTC-Lemberg-SmallHead.html
              or this
              http://www.tube-town.net/ttstore/product_info.php/info/p4539_TTC-Lemberg-Headshell-Custom.html

              As for tolex the cheapest is solsound (xbay).

              …and then make a whole alot of work to make them look like a exact replica with the help of a luthier..
              Again I say that it is too much hassle..

                • avatar
                  SGACE
                  Posted at 13:53h, 02 March

                  It looks similar but it is not the same, different corners , different dimensions, no lip in the bottom side, the four sides are built in respect of the older JMP design which are thinner than the later JMP..

                  • avatar
                    banane
                    Posted at 13:58h, 02 March

                    Thats right, it’s only similar. But then your only solution is to buy either an empty original JMP shell or rebuilding one yourself :) I would go for building one, it’s a cool project and maybe easier to do than you believe :)

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 14:04h, 02 March

                      To find an original JMP shell is almost impossible, to buy an exact copy from USA manufacturer will be expensive, so the alternative is to build by your self..
                      I wish that you are right and it is easier than I think

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 14:14h, 02 March

                      It really is. You just need to connect 6 birch plywood boards together, round their edges and cover them with tolex :) Sounds a bit arrogant maybe, but I would provide assistance, and also drawings, and surely 06AngusSG will do so too :)
                      You just need a drilling machine, a router or a rasp and sanding paper for the roundings, some screw clamps and the material. Do you have a place for working on it?

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 14:19h, 02 March

                      Lol…while looking for the tolex I found some checkerboard basketweave cloth for marshall cabs. Now I know what my next project is :)

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 14:39h, 02 March

                      Another option: go to a local carpentry and let them build the shell. Building just the shell would take them maybe 3 hours there, I guess.

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 15:44h, 02 March

                      No, it will take a considerable amount of time to build it., it not that easy.. But I will search for a good local carpentry to ask.

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 15:51h, 02 March

                      Alright, good luck :) Hope, they aren’t expensive.

          • avatar
            06AngusSG
            Posted at 17:08h, 02 March

            Thanx for the kind words SGACE. I read through your conversation with Franz. Building the box really is easier than you might think. But hesitation is very understandable.
            As far as findind a manufactured replica box. Are you in the US? Or are you in Europe/ Elsewhere. I would have to look but I think that there’s some manufactures here in the US that make JMP.
            If you end up taking on the task I’m more than willing to help in any way I can.

            • avatar
              banane
              Posted at 17:43h, 02 March

              Add me here :)

              • avatar
                06AngusSG
                Posted at 17:55h, 02 March

                I guess I forgot to ask a couple of important ?’s.

                Which JMP do you have? 2204, 2204, 1959, 1987??

                Is the box in the linked picture below the type you’re looking to buy/build?

                http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/images/images_list_18_117_29855_1.jpg

                If so difficulty level is minimal. It took me about a Saturday and half of a Sunday to build mine. This one would be about the same to do. About $75-$100 in material here in the US to build the wood part.

                • avatar
                  SGACE
                  Posted at 19:30h, 02 March

                  Me and Franz, we live in Europe.. If I were in US the easy solution would be to buy a cab from sourmash.. Anyway my amp as I said is a combo of JMP 2104 ( 2204 head)..

                  Some of my questions is how to make the lip in the bottom front side, and how to make fatter the right and left front vertical sides .?

                  I have bought recently a JCM900 so I hope that I have right the outer and inner dimensions etc,..

                  • avatar
                    SGACE
                    Posted at 19:35h, 02 March

                    Oh I forgot, yes 06AngusSG, the headshell in the link’s photo is what I am after..

                  • avatar
                    banane
                    Posted at 19:48h, 02 March

                    For the thicker sides, it seems that they put wood bars at the left and right side plates and screwed the front panel from the back on, so the thickness of the wood bars is added to the thickness of the plywood side plates.
                    I’ll take photos from inside my JMP tomorrow.

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 20:16h, 02 March

                      Franz seems correct here.
                      You would build a similar outter box to mine (dimensions differing of course) then add the extra layer to each side, in the front only, to get the thicker look.

                      ???Lip in the bottom front???

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 20:33h, 02 March

                      yes, in the bottom side the older JMP designs like the one that you built had no front lip, there were flat (straight) but on the later design and afterward JCM 800, 900 etc, they added a lip in the base of the bottom side.. check amp archives.com…great library..

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 21:04h, 02 March

                      Sorry, George, maybe I’m blind, but I still don’t get what you mean. Maybe you can describe it a bit more in detail?

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 21:12h, 02 March

                      O.K. I think I see. The lip looks, to me, to be very shallow. Maybe 1/8″ to 1/4″ at most. I think this would be done the same as the sides. Just add the correct amount of xtra material to the inside of the plain outer box.

                      I will try to look at one in person soon. I think I could get a better perspective.

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 21:22h, 02 March

                      Ok, after looking at my own JMP (like the 2nd image) I think I know what you mean.
                      I’ll take some detailed images from inside the JMP tomorrow.

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 22:47h, 02 March

                      Here we go.

                      These pics are of the new Slash sig. Marshall. It looks to be based off ofhe later JMP box.
                      See Here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55720588@N03/5492296965/

                      The next two show it uncovered. Here see the dark strip in the front (green arrow.
                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/55720588@N03/5492296951/in/photostream/

                      I believe that to be the “adder” for the front lip.

                      And here you can kind of see the doubled up sides.
                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/55720588@N03/5492296959/in/photostream/

                      Hope this helps :)

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 23:06h, 02 March

                      Yes, as far as I know its based on a later JMP or a JCM800.
                      Alright, now I got it. The lip looks like a flat rounding, right? Could also be done with rasp, file and sanding then :) Or with a sanding machine.
                      Yes, “doubled up” was the team i was searching for earlier. Too long out of the carpenter business now :) Yeah, they just put another stripe of the same birch plywood. Just as we thought :)

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 23:11h, 02 March

                      Yes, that is what I am talking about.. in marshall forums they call it a “lip” so it was kind of difficult to explain it with different words.. So … how can we do it??? LOL

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 23:17h, 02 March

                      The lip is a rounded kind of wood profile at the edge of the bottom side of the shell. Only from the later JMP’s and forward (JCM800,900, etc) it exist.. It is where the metal chassis (front panel) stops.. the older had a flat profile and the later a rounded one..

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 05:08h, 03 March

                      I’m not totally sure on how to do it. Like I said earlier. I really want to look at one on person. I think I could visualize how they do it better if I could actually see it. As soon as I get a look on one I’ll let you know. :)

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 23:48h, 03 March

                      Shot some photos from inside the JMP and also some details from the lip. It’s really a shallow rounding.
                      They doubled up the sides in the front and in the back side of the side plates, the front edges gets rounded then and at the back it builds a spigot (don’t know if it’s the right word here) for the back panel.
                      Simple, really no rocket science.

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 23:50h, 03 March

                      Man, I’m tired… here’s the pictures: http://www.banane.at/media/Marshall-Amp/?C=M;O=D
                      The older ones are from unpacking it after it arrives here :)

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 08:52h, 04 March

                      Thanks for the pics, really old power tubes are in there..

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 08:58h, 04 March

                      Anytime, George. Yeah, you told me last year that they were General Electrics 6550’s, do you remember? :) I ordered then a complete new set of TAD tubes, as a replacement and got it retubed in January.

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