I've had real good luck building this Valco 510-11 circuit. For those who would enjoy retrofitting old and good looking vintage cabinets, this design fits the bill. The sound is fat and stuffed to the brim with harmonics. What one could call a "bedroom" amp.

I would be willing to assist in sourcing the 3 common tubes, transformers, and related components. Total cost will be somewhere around $200+ however this circuit is fairly forgiving and used power transformers, sockets, knobs, & chassis not only make the amp look better, it's cheaper as well.

Uses a 5Y3GT, a 6SL7, & a single 6V6. The last one I built went into a suitcase. The preamp section was biased well below maximum, but acted so hot that with the modd'ed preamp volume when turned up added a vibrato. This design is extremely sensitive, simply hammering the neck plays loud. 

In this small venue (Cigar Box Nation) I will be glad to share my schematics & links to the most reputable parts suppliers. This amp will not only fit a small foot print, but will preform well with a standard guitar & will allow you, the tube novice (and experienced builder alike) to enjoy the amp that Jimmy Page used to record Stairway To Heaven with. 

Search the web for Valco 510-11 images. The drawing is tilted slightly, that's the one.

If there is some interest, I'll post a couple of pics of what I have, maybe a youtube clip as well.

Rest regards, Doug

Views: 2944


Replies to This Discussion

I should put together a Bill of Materials and links for availability & cost. Along with a re-drawn schematic. 

Thanks Bettlejuce & Seth Kent for your interest. I'll get to work on the 2 items mentioned above. -Doug

Is this the right thing also, I found em on ebay but this one is closer... not worth "saving" $25 though if this is not it.


You'll have to put it in an enclosure, connect a grounded outlet & cord, knob. It's max load  is 2.6 amps (330 watts/125 voltsAC) = 2.6 amps (math - volts X amps = watts) Will work for any amp up to ~50 watts alright. The brush is quite sensitive on the rear as are the windings. Most folks run these at a single spot forever, but you wont. Mounting will be easy. Can use a 6x6x4 inch deep steel electrical enclosure at Lowes or Home Depot. For $25 I'd pull the trigger. You can buy/repair the brush, and sand the windings to refurb it if needed.

3 tube Valco 510 modded

This is incredible! I have a yamaha piano (cp-60M) which would just slay through this amp. As would most of my funky collection.
I am super excited to try this out!
Thanks Doug!

Thanks Seth-

When you have time, study what I've posted so far, the links & start thinking on where you can rummage up some old vintage electronics. Take 8 pin sockets for instance, you can never have too many. It's like once you build your first tube chassis, it becomes a healthy diversion to the rat race, and everyone seems to really enjoy it. It brings furniture, and wood finishing, electronics, music, hate to say it,... sheetmetal, all in grand vintage style, like the CBG does. This amp origionally came as many different brands, Wards, Gresche, and the Valco in 1944 starting. Then when the Serviceman returned from WWII, Valco saw it fit to include a Tone control. 

It's a 1946 Tommy Traveler Tweed Hardshell Suitcase, guess what's inside?

you should! make a how to build video and post a follow along on youtube,  that will be want gets people to want to try and it will be easier to follow for newbies when they can see you...that's really 'effin cool!


Your right. I've done these in the past with RC airplane modd'ing. There fun to do for me, but really low budget.

Let me get this Bill of Materials finished and maybe this weekend I can have some stuff kitted up, then take that 1st video....Perhaps cover the basic construction, making the holes in the sheetmetal (oh fun!), high voltage safety, basic soldering skills & tricks, parts in the hand, the difference in Hi-Fi & Lo-Fi (guitar amp theory or the lack of any at all~), wow, my list is growing- just for the 1st video. 

Later- Doug

I really thank you for your helpful comments! .....& keep 'em coming.

A tutorial would be super cool! I've done a lot of reading about DIY amps in the past, and tried a few. They are all in a box of parts in my garage.
I let music go for a whole for some personal reasons, and am back in it now only bacause I enjoy it, and of suscess in this part comes too, all the better!
Sorry for any major typos, I'm writing on my phone.

I hear that about the phone pad skuffel...

Thanks Seth, Thanks for the chance to "pay it back"....So you have some experience in filling up tube sockets with solder also? This amp is a little different being strictly Octal and a very early one at that. I think you'll enjoy the growl, and from the amp also! Pull out some PTs, the output XMF is only 5 bucks at "parts express". My BOM will have a link for each part. If the links won't work posted here, I'll just email it to yall.

So yea, let me finish the list of parts & cast any Q's this way when your ready. - Doug


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources

Discussion Forum

Zenith C845

Started by James Pobog. Last reply by James Pobog Nov 22, 2019. 1 Reply

Just got a radio/cassette player--My next move--HELP!!

Started by Andy Busch. Last reply by Tim Pannabecker Aug 25, 2019. 3 Replies

Sweet Norwegian Transistor Radio - any tips?

Started by Elliott Fisher. Last reply by GARY KNIGHT Mar 25, 2018. 4 Replies

Battery valve radios

Started by Bird. Last reply by Bird Nov 22, 2016. 6 Replies

3 tube 8 watter Valco style amp with swamp sound

Started by Doug Christensen. Last reply by Doug Christensen Oct 17, 2016. 66 Replies

hey guys just alittle info please

Started by gregory lazorchak. Last reply by Denis U Jul 23, 2016. 3 Replies

Hitachi Transistor Radio with Tape.

Started by David Wilson. Last reply by GARY KNIGHT Jul 4, 2016. 9 Replies

Mini Amp - Where Do I make Connections? What is missing?

Started by Brian Revels. Last reply by daniel clarke May 13, 2016. 1 Reply

Car radio Amp

Started by Orcabait. Last reply by GARY KNIGHT May 10, 2016. 1 Reply


Started by BILL GRONER. Last reply by Wayne Bigler Apr 9, 2016. 2 Replies

1962 Silvertone Medalist 3217

Started by Monterey. Last reply by Scott aka Farmer Ted Apr 3, 2015. 11 Replies

New jack in an old radio

Started by White Raven. Last reply by Scott aka Farmer Ted Mar 30, 2015. 3 Replies

Suitcase Amp

Started by Gary Ross. Last reply by Gary Ross Jan 26, 2015. 4 Replies

Arvin 8 Transistor AM radio...

Started by Corbin. Last reply by Corbin Jan 16, 2015. 11 Replies

Low volume with your Hacked Radio --- Amp

Started by Corbin. Last reply by Corbin Jan 12, 2015. 4 Replies

DIY amp question

Started by Greg Thompson. Last reply by Greg Thompson Jan 10, 2015. 2 Replies

1964 Philips AM/FM Radio to guitar amp project

Started by Scott aka Farmer Ted. Last reply by Scott aka Farmer Ted Jan 8, 2015. 4 Replies

Thank you beetle juice!

Started by Greg Thompson. Last reply by Jim Quinlan Nov 6, 2014. 5 Replies


Started by John Newman. Last reply by 3 String Guitars Aug 21, 2014. 3 Replies

Grundig Yacht Boy Radio

Started by Keith 66. Last reply by 3 String Guitars Aug 2, 2014. 1 Reply

Blog Posts

Dual lap steel

Posted by Ron Lutz on January 9, 2020 at 2:42pm 2 Comments

My 3 Gitty Kits

Posted by Poorness Studios on January 8, 2020 at 9:20am 2 Comments

My CBG details

Posted by Paul scofield on January 1, 2020 at 9:22am 2 Comments

Latest Activity

Uncle John commented on Randy S. Bretz's photo
1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on smilingdog1's photo

2nd place

1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on smilingdog1's photo

2nd place

1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on Uncle John's video

Sunday AM Gospel~ When That Train Comes Along.

"Thanks, Steven, Andries, Mike and Dave.    :)"
1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on smilingdog1's video

Song for a friend by Mark LeClaire AKA Mark The Harp.

"What a great venue and nice folks running the place.  Good on em."
1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on smilingdog1's video

Song for a friend by Mark LeClaire AKA Mark The Harp.

"Good foot!  Good stage presence and song.  Kinda Georgie T.   I like it."
1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on Poorness Studios's video
1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on Andries D. EKER's video

Blackface Boegie A D Eker 2020

"That white folks doing black face was an odd deal.   But some good entertainment. …"
1 hour ago
David Bowes commented on Miku's photo


"I also like the tail piece!"
1 hour ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Queen of the Rails

"Thanks Guys. I sorta stink vocally but couldn’t resist trying. My harmonies die on the vine.…"
1 hour ago
smilingdog1 posted photos
1 hour ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Queen of the Rails

"I aim to churn Poorness. These help curb my urge to build. I like my new 0ld 97 Guitar. It’s…"
1 hour ago



© 2020   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->