Point-to-Point Wiring?

Recently, I saw on a boutique guitar amplifier maker’s website that his amps feature “point-to-point wiring”.  I doubt it, and I don’t think you would want it if it were true.  Leo Fender did us all a favor when he dumped point-to-point wiring and started using tag boards in his amps.  In the 1950s, Fender amps earned a well-deserved reputation for serviceability and reliability, so much so that an amp could fall off of a touring bus or pickup truck bed, or be pulled out of a wrecked car, and still work.

What Leo did in his narrow panel tweed amps was to mount his components on sturdy boards with solder grommets for the passive components, and then he mounted the entire amp chassis to the top of the amp, with the controls facing up and the components facing the back of the amp.  Simply by removing the back panel, all electronic components were accessible, with the exception of the power and output transformers.

An amp that is wired point-to-point does not use any type of board for mounting components.  Resistors and capacitors are attached directly to potentiometers, switches, jacks, and tube sockets, and use flying wire leads to connect to one another.  It’s a rat’s nest of wires and components that makes servicing a real pain in the neck, and subjects the components to un-needed stress.  Here is a photo of an old amp that features point-to-point wiring:


I think you’ll agree that it’s a mess, and that troubleshooting or servicing would be difficult, and many components are unsupported.

On the other hand, here are two very nicely done tag board amps, the first a Champ-like build, and the other a Marshall type build:



As you can see, the tag board amp circuits are easily traceable for troubleshooting, and the components are all supported by sturdy boards.

It’s for reasons such as these that I choose to use tweed-style cabinets and tag or turret boards in my own amp builds.  My amps are hand wired, but do not feature point-to-point wiring; they feature tag boards or turret boards.  All connections are hand wired, and all component leads are bent and soldered by hand using high quality solder for a sure and lasting connection.