Introduction: Cassette Player Guitar Amp

Picture of Cassette Player Guitar Amp

With some inspiration gained from other similar projects posted on the Internet, I turned a Sony Walkman cassette player/recorder into a guitar amplifier run on 2 AA batteries.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need

Here is a list of the items you will need to make the amp:

1. A cassette player with a speaker (Preferably also with an equalizer so you can change the sound settings just like on a real amp).
2. A regular instrument cable.
3. A wire cutter/stripper ( I used a fruit cutter knife :P)
4. A Solderer.
5. Rosin-Core Solder.

Step 2: Instructions

Picture of Instructions

-Take the instrument cable and cut off one of the ends. Strip around 3 cm of the plastic from the wire. There should now be one wire inside another plastic cable and one wire between the main plastic and the plastic of the other wire.

-Open up the cassette player. What you have to do now is to take the two wires from the stripped instrument cable and try to locate the wires in the circuit that gives the sound to the speaker. For me, these two wires looked identical to the wires in the stripped instrument cable, but smaller. To know which the right ones are, simply plug the remaining plug into the guitar and take the instrument wires and find it using trial and error.

-Take the solderer and heat it up. Now take the solder and place it at the spot where the wires of both cables touch (which is 2 spots). Carefully press the solderer onto the solder and it should instantly melt the solder which glues the wires together.

-Make sure everything is dry and find a spot where the instrument cable can leave the inside of the cassette player (I removed one of the buttons and just placed the cable there). Now it's time to put back the cover of the player and reassemble it.

Step 3: Conclusion

The amplifier is now finished.

To turn it on, simply press the PLAY button off the cassette player. The STOP button will turn it off.

One disappointment was the fact that you could not use headphones. When you plug them in all you get is this really high pitch beep sound. This was maybe a result of something I did wrong (i.e. I might have accidentaly broken something in the circuit when soldering), so try anyways and you might have better luck than I did.

I am actually pretty happy with the sound. It is quite crunchy and distorted. When you play high notes, you get a really funky sound, especially if you are playing on the rhythm setting of the guitar.

Here is a sample (Treble). The background noise is just feedback created from the microphone. When I remove the mic, the only unwanted noise left is the sound of the playing cassette head, which can probably be removed somehow. I know my playing isn't very good... :P but that is not significant right now! Decide for yourself what you think of the sound.

Enjoy your new amp!


Super_Sonic_88 (author)2015-03-28

Funny enough, I actually have the exact same guitar as you! What are the odds?! Besides the guitar, I do think this is a pretty cool build!

songsticks (author)2015-01-04


Someone told me a while ago that you can use a cassette player head as a guitar pickup. Have you ever tried that? I have an old Video player head, which I guess also has the same ability to pick up sound, but there's lots more contacts to choose from and as yet I can't suss out which two to take my connection from.

rannyday (author)songsticks2015-03-05

Hey songsticks Did you get an answer about using cassette heads as guitar pickups? I am working on a project were I need a separate pickup for each guitar string. I'm trying to produce a 6 channel stereo surround sound signal from the 6 strings assigning each string it own speaker in a 5.1 system? So did you ever find out if cassette heads can pickup a vibratting string? Your info would help alot songsticks?

songsticks (author)rannyday2015-03-05

Hi, No I didn't get an answer, but I just went ahead and did my own experiments and I can tell you that it does work and very well !!

You just wire it up exactly as you would a normal guitar pickup with + & - and it works a treat. If you want to boost the signal, place a small rare earth magnet next to it. Hope that helps. The hardest bit is finding 6 of them !

musicalgenius! (author)2013-04-25

Would any cassette player work? Or what would be the best player at a decent price that is available at a convenient store?

Pantxo (author)2008-11-14

Hi, this device works with a bass? Thanks, nice Instructable

Alex-c (author)Pantxo2008-11-15

Hmm I wouldn't know since I don't have a bass...
I remember someone telling me that if you connected a bass to a guitar amp something broke (can't remember if it was the amp or the bass), but this may not apply to this amp... I guess all you can do is try it out and research the risks...Hope this helped a little.
Thanks =)

Jusamies (author)Alex-c2012-07-16

It wouldn't break. I've played bass through guitar amp. It works, but sounds like ass. If one wants to try this with bass, make sure to use a player with powerful bass sound. Yes, I'm aware that I'm answering a 3 1/2 year old comment, but it's good if anyone wants to read these.

strat6911 (author)Pantxo2009-11-15

an amp is an amp is an amp  it would work with a bass

moesboy (author)2011-05-30

Could you use a cd player?

fireman115 (author)2009-12-26

i got that guitar but with 3 pickups its a nice guitar

icepick244 (author)2009-09-21

could u do this with a bass guitar

Alex-c (author)icepick2442009-09-22

scroll down

wheatstone (author)2009-07-20

Wired it to the recording head wires, sound has some crunchy overdrive to it when cranked up to full volume! Rock - on! Or one can add a preamp and double the out put. Ramsey Electronics has a preamp kit.

wheatstone (author)2009-07-09

If you use a big 6 battery cassette player you can get more sound. Nice EPI, Black is my fave.....

mattyuke (author)2009-06-17

Nice instrustable ill try it, But AWESOME LOOKING GITUAR

Alex-c (author)mattyuke2009-06-17

Thanks :D Just watched "The Hangover" on cinema and proudly saw how the guitarist from the wedding band had the same guitar!!! ;DD I appreciate all the nice comments but I don't see the rating being as generous:P Stay tuned for my next instructable!

tyeo098 (author)2008-06-08

You could have soldered the wires to the Walkmans internal amp, instead of directly to the speaker. That way you can actually USE the EQ and get a louder sound.

astro boy (author)tyeo0982009-01-04

its just a mistake he actually connected it to the tape reader head as a stand alone guitar can't drive a speaker and the tape reader is really a magnetic pickup so they will go trough the equliser and amp but it still needs to be corrected

dobbish11234 (author)2008-11-15

im doing this as we speak..but i have two small wires that connect to my speaker....dose it matter witch one i connect the guitar cable 2?

Alex-c (author)dobbish112342008-11-15

well the guitar cable is supposed to have 2 cables inside it aswell (once stripped). You just have to try connecting and see which goes to which. Hope this helped

IdrisB (author)2008-09-13

I did this for the science fair last year (they were making me do something in school, so i figure, i need an amp anyway, so why not)

LeviMan_2001 (author)2008-07-15

I tried this once, but i fried my tape player, haha. I then upgraded to an old 8 track, that worked.

n0ukf (author)2008-06-30

"...take the two wires from the stripped instrument cable and try to locate the wires in the circuit that gives the sound to the speaker"

The wires to the speaker are the output from the tape player's amplifier. The guitar pickups are incapable of driving a speaker, the level is too low.
What you want to find is the wires coming from the tape head (one or two shielded cables, depending on whether it has a mono or stereo head). This way the amplifier will boost the signal to drive the speaker.

If the tape player has no speaker, you can still do this and use it as a headphone practice amp.

davethescubarock (author)2008-06-25

i did the same thing with a small wind up radio! trouble is because i only made the lead long enough for an mp3 player to plug into it i have trouble getting it attached to my guitar... its a great sound from it though - like the "small radio" setting on my effects pedal.

Alex-c (author)davethescubarock2008-06-26

hehe thats cool! I enjoyed the sound of my amp too. At first I was a bit disappointed with the volume as it could not be heard easily while playing with others. However, when I plugged in a pedal and increased the gain, this problem was partly solved.

Alex-c (author)2008-06-24

Thanks for the comments and the improvement suggestions! I'm sorry the sample file dosen't work. =)

angusyoung1001 (author)2008-06-20

dude ur guitar is so sick

x133tx0n3x (author)2008-06-17

This is a good instructable, although i agree with tyeo098 in that you could get a better sound if you'd soldered the wire to the Walkmans amp. needs some work but good start!!

About This Instructable




More by Alex-c:Cassette Player Guitar Amp
Add instructable to: