When I got out of the Air Force and decided to go back to college to finish my degree in electrical engineering, the only reason that I wanted to get a degree in electrical engineering was to learn to design and build guitar amplifiers with tubes. I have designed a few amps. I built a few transistor amps (transistor amps suck) but never had the cash to build tube amps. Tube amps are expensive for a couple reasons:
- The power supply for the tubes is typically a pretty high voltage, which means that the transformer for it is bigger and costs more.
- The output tubes are typically pretty high impedance, while speakers are pretty low impedance. To couple the two together, a decent sized transformer has to be used. The transformers are not cheap.
I had this plan to start building amps completely by hand. To me, this was the only way to get the highest quality. In my opinion, if someone is going to pay upwards of $2000 for a 100W guitar head, it better be hand built, and better come with a lifetime warranty.
I remember telling this buddy of mine in school about my plan. He was more of a business type than an engineering type. He thought that I was crazy, and would never be able to make a proffit. Well, somehow things change, and I ended up finding my way into the steel business, but Soldano basically makes amps the way that I would. And with clients like Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai, they are making a profit. And their amps rock.