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Cirque Du Soleil
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Music Books [Issue #20]
Dave Hunter: The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube Amplifiers and Getting Great Sounds
By Pat Mavromatis

Dave Hunter in his book The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube Amplifiers And Getting Great Sounds (BackBeat 2005) provides you, the guitar player and his/her ever-ending search for the perfect tone, with everything you need to understand the mighty tube amplifier and how it relates to your own style and sound.

This 240-page, wonderfully illustrated, soft cover, larger format publication really digs down deep (so deep it can get intimidating at times – but view that as a challenge) into the soul of tube amps. Hunter describes in painstaking detail the components (capacitors, transformers, etc); the circuit stages (preamp, effects, and the “power” section); and even tells you how to build an amp yourself, step-by-step (not for the faint at heart!) including setup and basic maintenance, and how to choose the appropriate speakers and cabs.

Of course this book would not be complete without dissecting and examining some classic vintage amps like the Vox AC15 (1962), the Fender Super Reverb (1965), and the Marshall JMP50 (1971), or some newer classics like the Soldano Decatone (2000), and even newer “boutique” amps like the Mojave Coyote (2004). In this section, there are pictures of the amps and their circuit boards as well as a color-coded indexing system that identifies each component shown in the picture. Add to that a really useful glossary and extensive index as well as an interview section with legendary amp makers and you have one of the most complete books I’ve seen about tube amps.

For those of you that do not have the patience, background, or desire to dig deep and really understand what’s behind great tone, I found that reading one chapter only (Choosing Your Amp) and skimming through the rest of the book, using it as a reference, will give you a very strong tool set to go out there and find an amp that represents you and your playing, and, to quote the author “hopefully know when to quit flogging [an amp] that’s just all wrong for your sonic desires.”


The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube Amplifiers and Getting Great Sounds Dave Hunter

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Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

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