Introduction: Turn Any Old Radio Into a Rocking Guitar Amp (the EASY & SAFE Way)

Did you ever wish for a real tube amp?
Well, I certainly did but Tube amps are expensive and sensible Devices.

If you are just playing at home or want one for recording you can now have your very own real tube amp for very little money.

Use an old Tube radio!

Every Tube radio produced in the past consists of 2 major parts a receiving circuit and an amplification circuit.
There are a lot of tutorials on the internet which involve messing around with the tubes and power transformers which carry high voltages and deadly currents.

This Instructable show s you the very easy and foremost SAFE Way of converting an old Tube radio into a rocking guitar amp.

Step 1: Choose the Right Radio

Picture of Choose the Right Radio

The most important step is to choose the right radio for this project and the choice is easy.

When you search for the perfect radio always look on the back of the unit:

Check some things:

is it really a TUBE RADIO ?(on most radios you will find a list of the Tubes used in this radio, common names are ECC82, 12AU7 etc...), Old Radios tend to have some information on the back.
there are counterfeit radios on the market which feature the word Tubes but are just old looking transistor radios.

Is it a "Allstrom" unit? This is a special kind of very old german radios which you should not use because they are dangerous to mess around with. so NO ALLSTROM-Radio!

Does it have a connector for a record or Tape player? If YES, then go grab it!

Check if the radio is working Ok.

If you have your futuere Guitar amp of choice then head on to the next step.

Step 2: Make an Adaptor

Picture of Make an Adaptor

Identify the record/Tape connector on the Back

in most cases this will be a DIN 5 or DIN7 Pin connector, which was the standard phono connector of the 60-80's
all you have to build is an adaptor from your guitars plug to the input connector of the Radio

If you do not want to solder or can't do it there are pre made adaptors on the market.

Search for the pinout of the connector your radio has on google for example:

http://whitefiles.org/b1_s/1_free_guides/fg1mt/pgs...

If your radio has stereo capabilities, you should tie the left and right signal together to hear your guitar through both speakers, but most old radios are mono only.


Step 3: Plug in the Adaptor and Testride It!

Picture of Plug in the Adaptor and Testride It!

Plug in your adaptor and watch me testing this easy mod on my vintage Philips Symphonie radio made in 1966

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Now ROCK out!!

Comments

JimmyJ51 (author)2016-12-16

Quick and dirty. I like it. I think this will inspire folks to go even farther and mount some 1/4 jacks, custom LED lights, refinish, etc. GJ

pfred2 (author)2016-11-06

Record, and tape inputs expect entirely different line levels. They are NOT interchangeable. Let alone the impedance mismatch going on here. But hey if you're happy, then go for it.

MAYER MAKES (author)pfred22016-11-08

the level of a guitar is never stable , you will always have to adjust gain and dial in your desired sound . In this case it does not matter which channel you choose, I would try both and roll with the one which sounds cleaner.

pfred2 (author)MAYER MAKES2016-11-11

I did it a long time ago and the bias of a reproduction amplifier is too flat for my tastes. I like a hotter sound.

JimmyJ51 (author)pfred22016-12-16

So you really think it is the bias? And that is why you are not getting a "hotter sound"? Maybe you didn't have the gain knob turned all the way up. Try turning you channel volume all the way up, then adjust your volume with the master volume. I would leave the bias set to spec. Or did you check the bias? Most folks would not want a stereo Over Biased. That would not be very hi-fi, and the tubes would burn up faster.
With the goofy stuff aside. Use a overdrive. A stereo is suppose to be clean. The bias is not the reason for your mild temp tone. It is because you are playing a stereo as a guitar amp.
Retube it, set the bias to spec. You can swap out the V1 if you want. And put a dirt box in front of it. Or use a guitar tube amp.

Anirudh Ralhan (author)2016-11-06

Nice!!!

thanks

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