Introduction: Guitar Amp

In this instructable I will show you how to make a fully functional guitar amp from scratch. The sound will sound something like a small tube amp. The average cost will be around 50 dollars for wood, electronic parts and the speaker.

Step 1: Materials

The first things to get are the electronics from radio shack. Also you could go online and order parts from sites like mouser electronics or eBay and Amazon.
1. 22 gauge wire
2. 386 op amp IC
3. 5k linear variable resistor
4. 25 Ohm variable resistor
5. 10 Ohm resistor
6. 2× 9v battery clips/ 2× 9v battery's
7. 0.01 uF ceramic capacitor
8. 0.047uF ceramic capacitor
9. 100 uF polarized capacitor
10. 220, 470, 100 uF polarized capacitor
11. Spst switch
12. 12v pilot lamp
13. 2 pole 6 position rotary switch
14. 1/4 input jack
15. 8 ohm speaker size is your choice
16. Good sized boards of your choosing
17. Lots of screws at least 1 1/2in long
18. Thin plywood and some burlap cloth
19. Prototyping board

Step 2: Prototyping

The first thing you need to do is follow the circuit diagram and arrange all the parts on a breadboard to make sure the parts are all working and your following the diagram correctly. I would advise using a wire kit from radio shack for the breadboarding.

Step 3:

Step 4: Building the Box

Now you need to plain all the boards to just a little thicker than a quarter inch. The first part you need to do is cut the side pieces to an equal length I did 14 inches by 7 inches. The top and bottom I cut at 12 inches by 7 inches. The front panel with all the nobs and switches is going to be roughly 12 inches by 2 1/2 inches and the thickness will be 1/4 of an inch thick. After that you need to make six support pieces for the inside of the box that are 1 in by 1 in and is 6 1/2 inches long. Then take and cut out the piece of 1/8 inch plywood roughly 7 inches by 9 1/4 inches. this will be for your front plate that the speaker will be mounted on. Next you will need to cut the circuit platform for the amp which will be

Step 5: Soldering the Circuit

Now it's time to take out the soldering iron and solder. For this you will need basic soldering skills and equipment. First you should start by soldering in your 386 IC because I find integrated circuits the hardest to solder on a circuit board. Also for this hole thing you will want your wire skinners on the side or just a knife to strip the wires to jump from the right holes if your using a proto board. Next your going to want to put in all the caps and resistors except the variable resistors. Then after all that's soldered correctly you will want to get your guitar amp shell.

Step 6: Combining the Box and the Circuit

Step 7: Making It Shiney

Finally now that all the hard work is done it's time to get out the coating of your choosing. I used 2 coats of rub on polyurethane but you can use tung oil to. Make sure though that you ware a resperater and if needed plastic gloves and glasses. After that drys you will be able to put the nobs and switches back in the slot panel after you screw the panel back into the frame.

Step 8: Putting on the Burlap

For the very end you will want to get out the burlap or fabric of your choosing and unscrew the speaker plate with the speaker still screwed in. What you want to do now is lay out a sheet of your material and put the plate face down over it. Then take and cut an inch and a half away from the speaker plate for the whole perimeter. Once you've done that you can tuck the fabric over the backside of the plate side by side. Now get the stapler any household on will do and staple the fabric into the backside of the plate until it looks like the picture above. Once this is done you can screw everything back together and flip the amp and go to town.


DavidR824 (author)2017-02-22

Is there a way to build this without onboard distortion/gain? I have distortion pedals, which negate the need for the gain. Could you help?

minitos1. (author)2016-10-28

The 386 is not an op amp, still a nice build.

Anargopunk (author)minitos1.2016-12-08

hey, i'm afraid the LM368 IS an opAmp, not a verry "good" one, compared to the LM675 or the LM3875. the fact the gain is fariable via an external system is a practice in verry much old opamps, but has become mostly obsolete because negative feedback works way better (more linear and less frequency responding), but for hobby projects they left it in the LM386

uncle frogy (author)2016-10-30

well there is the LM386 of course which is an OP amp

uncle frogy

Swansong (author)2016-10-21

It has a cool retro look :)

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