Coffee fueled rant.

One of the most mis-applied and useless terms I know of. A true marketing concept that noone cared about 20 years ago, yet Simultaneously based on nostalgia.

I see it mostly on FB groups and it usually starts getting slung around with "Handwired vs PCB".

Why are they comparing 2 mostly unrelated things?

"Handwiring" is a method of assembly, whereas PCB is a construction design choice.

I mean, I get why there's some confusion, because PCBs were introduced to make assembly faster and less labour intensive. but it was also introduced to make the results more consistent. True, the construction type does lend itself to increasing levels of economisation, hands off assembly, wave soldering, everything board mounted etc, but that's an assembly/production choice, not an inherent issue with the general choice of construction design.

P2P, tag, turret, and PCB can all be handwired.

Let's do some pics, because that's easier.

What everyone thinks point to point Looks like.


No. Hiwatt was the exception, and that's not point to point, its turretboard which, like PCB, was used to Make assembly faster and more consistent. it was proto PCB.

Here's How turret board would more typically look (to be fair to looks more like eyelet board, but point stands):


And What true point to point typically looks like:



A rats Nest, and good luck building anything more complex than a simple amp. Forget multiple channels with independent EQs and all the other features we take for granted on Modern amps.

What well done handwired PCB amps look like:

Solid and Aesthetically Pleasing


Solid, but not so Aesthetically pleasing


An example of PCB economisation, but without compromise on material/component quality.


And No, none of the above PCB amps are "hybrid", a term I increasingly see used. They're just how PCB amps used to be built.

Interesting thing to note. Marshall in the UK (as in the UK factory) invested heavily in wave soldering a bunch of years back, so guess what the the Likes of JVMs etc are?
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This pic has been shared a lot on the web - this was my Deliverance 60 and I snapped this pic while I was biasing it one day :D


Haha! If you've ever watched Steven's little Youtube show it is basically an endless rant. 3 or 4 hours
of it. Which not even this middle-aged, white guy can, or will, endorse. ;)
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Haha! If you've ever watched Steven's little Youtube show it is basically an endless rant. 3 or 4 hours
of it. Which not even this middle-aged, white guy can, or will, endorse. ;)
Now I gotta look that up. He was pleasant enough the one time i met him.
Honestly, I couldn't give a toss what the inside of an amp looks like, as long as it is safe and reliable. I care about features and sounds.
I nearly got run out of TGP for saying the same thing once, but that is 100% correct.

Yeah... doesn't surprise me.

A lot of people have significant emotional investment in their gear, correlating with the amount of money spent.

It's not just amp construction.

All that went out the window a bunch of years ago when I saw an incredible player at a jazz bar using a bog standard TS through an old school transitor peavey.

I'm not saying tone is in the hands, I am saying there's good sounds to be had in most gear that's operating correctly.

And I think the ability of the player correlates with the ability to find that sound, simply from being able to figure/dial in what they need from the equipment.

There can be unsuitable pieces of equipment for what you're trying to achieve, but a player who spits the dummy because they can't get the exact sound of a 69 plexi is focussing on the wrong things (and has prob never played a 69 plexi).
There's no firm rule to say what's best. You build both and see what it sounds like in the end.
The tolerance in the parts alone never make it sure bet either way.

For me it IS that simple and anything else just wasting time.
When I was 9 or 10, my dad used to show me the inside of the VCR. He'd be fixing the reels or replacing a component or whatever.... and so when I saw the inside of a valve amp for the first time I thought, oh yeah, just like a VCR.

I've played proper old skool P2P handwired blahblahblah amps.... the didn't give me the sound I like. The VCR-esque multi-channel diode distorting Marshall DSL, JVM, and others.... sound fucking amazing.

Boomer guitarists don't define good circuitry, good tone, or good guitar playing.
Some great shots you got there. And you are correct anything can be hand wired as opposed to robot/automated processes. It's all a matter of incorrect use of terminology. Nothing wrong with any construction or assembly method as long as there's quality components and solid workmanship. I think PCB got the shaft because most people associate it with cheap parts and shoddy automated assembly with flimsy boards. I'm sure there are enough examples of pretty bad rat's nest point to point handwired floating around out there too.