Tube Amp Design & Effect Pedal Contruction - Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery

    roberto venn amp class bann Tube Amp Design & Effect Pedal Contruction


Have you built a guitar amplifier kit only to wonder how it works afterwards?  Would you like to understand not just how it works, but the thought process that goes into designing an amplifier that can produce the sound you have in your head?  The Roberto-Venn Tube Amp and Effect Pedal class is for you!

Seven weekends are dedicated to an in-depth technical study of analog electronics.  The first weekend will focus on a transistor-based distortion pedal – the iconic Rangemaster used by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.  This will provide the student with a basic introduction to electronics in preparation for an in-depth study of vacuum tube amplifier design.  The pedal class is part of the amplifier class and may not be taken separately.

Over the course of the next six weeks, you will study, build and test a high gain 35-watt amplifier one stage at a time.  By the end of the seven-week class the student should have a good understanding of how each of the major circuits in a vacuum tube guitar amplifier works including the power supply, preamplifier gain stages, tone stack, phase inverter and push-pull power amplifier.

Each weekend consists of twelve hours of instruction including a lecture on Friday evenings followed by hands-on laboratory on Saturday.

The amplifier you will build has a classic British style high-gain preamplifier with a configurable push-pull power amplifier that can accept 6L6, KT66 or EL34 tubes. The cost of the amplifier and pedal are included in the price of the class.  The student must purchase their own tools, which they must have prior to the start of class.

While it’s possible to purchase a kit yourself and assemble it for about half the cost of the class, the experience of learning from an expert in the field is worth the additional cost.  Instructor led learning will eliminate the confusion that comes from trying to build with nothing more than a schematic and a wiring diagram.  And you will leave class with an actual understanding of how your amplifier works!


Jim Kramer is an electrical engineer with more than twenty-five years in the industry.  He specializes in circuit design and firmware development.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Ottawa University.   He has worked for such companies as Qualcomm and Intel. Jim was trained on vacuum tube electronics in the United States Marine Corps where he worked on air traffic control radar systems that still contained tubes and discrete transistors as late as the 1970’s.

Jim is a trained musician with both a jazz and classical background.  He studied music at Scottsdale and Mesa Community Colleges in Arizona where he played upright bass, violin and trumpet in various jazz ensembles and orchestras.  His favorite guitars are the Gibson ES-175 and J-45.  He loves JJ vacuum tubes because they are named after his hero, J. J. Thompson, who discovered the electron.


For those coming from out of state:  You can drive in or fly in and stay at hotels within walking distance to the school.  Fly in on a Friday night and stay at a hotel, then fly out Sunday night after the class finishes at 5:00 pm.  I suggest Ubering to and from the airport and Staying at one of these hotels:

The Egyptian Motor Hotel (this hotel is a 2 min walk to the school)
765 Grand Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 807 5225

This hotel offers a discounted rates to Roberto-Venn students and visitors.
Egyptian Motor Hotel, BW Signature Collection | Hotel Rooms (

Holiday Inn Express (this hotel is a 2-3 min walk to the school)
950 W Van Buren St. Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 675-2894

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Phoenix Dwtn – State Capitol – Phoenix, United States (

Hotel San Carlos (this hotel is a 10 min walk to the school)
202 N. Central Ave. Phoenix AZ 85004
(602) 253 4121
Home | HotelSanCarlos (