Tube Amp Building + Diagnostics & Repair – $200 off

Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair and Tube Amp Building are combined into 6 days over a week-long period. This is an exceptional opportunity to learn the principles and practices of tube amp diagnostics and repair and then hand build either a Tweed Style guitar tube amp or Hi-Fi Stereo tube amplifier. Students will come away with both a tube amplifier of their own making and with a broad knowledge of tube amplifier design, construction, diagnostics and repair.


Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair

Lecture and demonstrations are supplemented with hand-out materials. Options available for the scope of repairs are disclosed, and an emergency repair kit of tools is recommended. The options will range from immediate repairs to amp restoration to avoid further issues.

Topics include:

  • Safety rules
  • Preliminary Testing
  • Digital voltmeter functions
  • Circuits and the Scientific Method
  • Block diagram
  • Power supply function
  • Signal flow
  • Repair vs. restoration
  • Emergency repair


Tube Amp Building

Students will observe the stages of the kit building process and then carry out the work on their own amps under the supervision of the instructor. Students will obtain a foundational understanding of the way a vintage tube instrument amplifier functions, stage by stage, and learn the craft of point-to-point wiring and how to modify a circuit to shape its tone by changing component values. By building an amplifier, students will begin to develop the diagnostic skills necessary to troubleshoot and repair other amplifiers. For this course we offer the Tweed Deluxe, Tweed Bassman or Tweed Champ Kits. These excellent kits come with special component upgrades.

Specimen Custom Line Pre-Amp

Hi-Fi Stereo Tube Amplifier Building

The amp circuit used in this seminar is derived from the classic single-ended designs that began in the 1930s. The frame and panels were designed by Ian Schneller who builds his own line of hi fi tube amps. The circuits featured in our instrument tube amp building class are centered around the eyeleted motherboard, or turret board construction. This Stereo Hi-Fi circuit is also wired point-to-point but differs in that it uses individual turrets wherever necessary. The design is organic and elegant, but most of all timeless, bulletproof, and great sounding! The frame is made using Baltic-birch plywood and pre-constructed at Specimen. The top, front, and back panels are made of aluminum and have been laid out with all the perforations for this circuit. Students will learn to use chassis punches to open the hole diameters to accommodate the tube sockets and various other components. These simple methods enable any circuit designer to achieve great results without needing elaborate and expensive machinery. All students receive a full-color layout diagram and schematic of the circuit along with instructive literature and the benefit of a fully-wired reference model on hand for one-to-one comparison during the course. The instructor will guide the students through the construction/wiring process. This circuit features:

  • 8 watts per channel
  • 1 GZ34 rectifier tube
  • 2 6SL7 preamp tubes
  • 2 EL34 power tubes (in this circuit these tubes are interchangeable with KT88s, 6550s, KT66s, KT90s, EL37s, 350Bs and other octal based output tubes with no modifications)

You can plug just about anything into this amp’s input with good results. For listening to vinyl you will need a phono preamp of some sort. We have been using the inexpensive ($70) solid state Audio Technica AT-PEQ3 with very nice results. We are working on our own tube version of a preamp to squeeze every last bit of goodness out of the system (this pre-amp circuit may also be offered in seminar form in the future). This circuit also pairs very well with Specimen’s Little Horn Speakers hooked up to the output and an iPod plugged directly into the input; in fact it is quite amazing. We invite anyone interested to stop by the shop for an audition.


Course fee: $1,164.50 plus kit choice. Tuition includes instruction, instructional guides, use of an individual workstation and all the necessary tools and shop supplies required to complete the project. Kit, tubes and shipping are surcharged.

*Kit Options: Students may choose to construct either a Tweed Deluxe or Tweed Champ.


Ian Schneller Ian is the founder and chief instructor of the Chicago School of Guitar Making. Ian teaches Design & Theory + Blueprint CourseSetup & Maintenance for Guitar and BassElectric Guitar BuildingTube Amp Building and Champ Tube Amp Building. He is also a faculty member of the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute and owner of Specimen Products.

Kye Kennedy Kye brings decades of experience as an amp and stage technician working for an impressive roster of clientele in Nashville, the mid-south and around the globe. Kye will come to Chicago specifically to teach at the Chicago School of Guitar Making. He will reveal the closely guarded secrets and a broader understanding of tube amp circuitry and troubleshooting. His extraordinary amp diagnostics curriculum is well thought out and lucid.

How to Register:

Registrations are limited to 8 students. You can register for any of our classes online, by phone or in person.

Register Online

Make your selection of the class dates you wish to attend (and if applicable, the type of kit) in Available Dates column on the upper right of this page and click ENROLL NOW > Enter the required information and then proceed to pay by clicking the Paypal button and choose your method of payment.

NOTE: It is NOT necessary to have a Paypal account to use their service.

Register by Phone 773.489.4830

Call us if you prefer to register over the phone with your credit card. We will send you a confirmation via email, or by snail mail if you prefer.

Register in Person

Come by the shop during business hours and enroll using cash, credit card, or a personal check.

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday: 12 – 7

Saturday: 12 – 5

Map our location

Choose Date
Amp Diagnostics & Tweed Champ
July 28, 10am - 5pm & July 29 & 30, 9 am - 6pm
$1,170.00 (USD)
+$576.79 (USD) Tweed Champ Kit
Amp Diagnostics & Tweed Deluxe
July 28, 10am - 5pm & July 29 & 30, 9 am - 6pm
$1,170.00 (USD)
+$845.74 (USD) Tweed Deluxe Kit
Amp Diagnostics & Tweed Bassman
July 28, 10am - 5pm & July 29 & 30, 9 am - 6pm
$1,170.00 (USD)
+$1,183.94 (USD) Tweed Bassman Kit


Classes are taught by Specimen owner Ian Schneller, or guest instructors Richard Phillis, Pete Mueller or Kye Kennedy. The course description will state who the instructor is for the given class


All classes are held at Specimen located at 1240 N. Homan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois. Click here for a map

Student Feedback

Click here to read student feedback about our school

Mail In Registration

Please download this form if you want to register for a class by mail