Introduction: Hack Any Tape Player Into a Guitar Amp
Tape players are pretty much obsolete these days. The only place you can find tapes is either the thrift shop or the back of grannies cupboard. After making an ible' on how to convert a radio to an amp, I thought I'd try a tape player.
All Tape players (and radios) have an amplifier built into them – it’s how your able to increase the volume. What this hack allows you to do is to tap into the Tape players amplifier so you can play guitar through it. You may be thinking why in hell would I want to do that! Well hacking a tape player gives you the most amazing vintage tone. The distinct “Lo-fidelity” sounds made from hacking the tape player are great. It’s a real raw and dirty sound which is perfect for playing some bluesy riffs.
I found this tape player at the tip and thought why not give it a new purpose. The hack isn't too difficult, the hardest part is probably removing the head to reveal the wires. It's nigh on impossible to get to the head from the back of the player (believe me I've tried!) so the best way to get to it is through the front.
I've also made a video of the build as well which you can find on the next step.
Check out this website - it has some wicked ideas on how to convert radio's and tape players into amps and is a great source of information
Step 1: Watch the Video
The clip goes through how I made it and also what it sounds like.
Apologies for my playing!
Step 2: Things to Gather
Step 3: Check Out Your Tape Player
The tape player that I used has a left and right volume control as well as a tone knob. This is a good thing as it gives me more options with the type of sound that the amp will produce. It also has a radio which should still work after the hack.
To get to the tap[e reader of head, you need to decide whether you go from the back or front. I have tried this hack on a couple other tape decks and went the back way. Not really a good idea though as it's hard to actually get to the head that way. If you go from the front, you will only need to remove the door. It's a hell of a lot easier than trying to get through all the circuit boards and mechanical bits and pieces that will be in your way if you choose the back door.
Step 4: Removing the Head
1. Pull off the tape door. You might need to give it a good pull to remove it and you'll probably break a couple plastic tabs but don't worry, you should still be able to close the door after the hack. If not, you can always glue the door on or add some double sided tape.
2. Find the head. It's that rectangle, silver thing that you can see come down when you push play. To remove you will have to un-do the couple of screws that usually hold it on. You may have to cut away a little of the plastic to get to the screws.
3. Once you un-do the head, remove the wires by de-soldering. These wire are what you are going top attach the jack to
Step 5: Wiring
1. You will need to solder on some longer wires to the ones from the head. There are 4 wires that are attached to the head and you will need to solder wire onto each one.
2. Solder the wire extension and add some heat-shrink top the solder points.. The wires from the head are in lots of 2. One lot has grey heat shrink and the other black. The wires coming out are red and white. I soldered on red wires to the red ones and black wires to the grey ones.
Step 6: Attaching the Jack
After some experimenting I worked out the best way to attach the wires to the jack
1. Attach the 2 wires which have the black heat shrink on it together and also the black wire from the grey heat shrink. So you should have 3 wires soldered together and one wire (red) by itself.
2. Next you need to solder the jack onto the wires. There are 2 solder points on the jack. The 3 wires need to be soldered to the that is on the side of the jack,. The other 3 wires should be soldered to the other solder point.
Step 7: Adding the Jack to the Tape Door
You could if you wanted to, add the jack to the side of the tape player. I decided to add it to the door so I could get to it easy if I had to.
1. Drill a hole into the door. Make sure that there will be enough room for the male jack to go all the way into the female jack. I had to remove some plastic from the inside to make enough room.
2. Attach the jack to the door.
3. Replace the door. If necessary, you might have to add a little glue so the door stays closed.
Done! Now it's time to plug in the guitar and make some noise. Play around with the volume and tone if you have it on your tape player to get the best sound. Another tip is to turn the volume down on your guitar and use the volume on the tape player. this can also help get a better sound.
Step 8: Removing the Motor
This step isn’t necessary but I’ve read that the motor cancause some interference so I decided to disconnect it. You will have to take off the back to get to the motor but it should be too hard to reach.
1. Remove the belt that drives the tape player. This can be found on the actual motor.
2. I also decided to cut the wires on the motor so it didn’t work at all. Find the wires that drive the motor and cut them. Be careful that you don’t cut the wring thing!