Instructables

Private amp from a old personal cassette player

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hi folks today im going to help all our guitar playing friends improve their relationships with neighbours and or family.
no im not going to personally give them each 50 bucks to leave you alone what im going to do is supply you with the knowhow to make a small guitar amp that will only annoy you {well it may annoy you if you play bad like me}.
best of all it only takes about 10 minutes to do
 
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Step 1: What yer gonna need

ok to do this your going to need
1. old personal casstte player that you dont mind destroying
2. guitar cord that you dont mind cutting an end off{ we all have one that only works when you bend it}
3. a fine soldering iron and rosincore solder{you can sharpen the point of a cheap pencil iron}
4. a set of head phones
5. an electric guitar or acoustic with a pickup installed

Step 2: Theroy {sort of}

ok now we all know that an electric guitar generates a very weak current when you strum the strings.
the playback head on a cassette player works on a similar principle {it generates an even weaker current when a magnetized tape is passed over the reading head}.
so if we take the leads from an electric guitar and solder them to the wires coming out of the cassette players playback head then press play on the player then we will hear the guitar in our headphones.
my theory actually worked (too well) much to my surprise .i had invisioned playing the tape and playing along with it too but the guitar was way too loud.
i know just turn down the volume knob on the guitar and i can fix that right?
not on my guitar anyway dirty pots mean that it only works in one or two places.
as a bonus this particular player had a 3 channel equalizer built in .
when its turned down on all of them the sound is nearly normal turn them up and it distorts like crazy.

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I would reccommend adding a resistor between the guitar and tape player, as the guitar input is stronger than what the tape player is designed for. Also, Disconect the motors from the circuit, and leave the conecctions without anything connected, as this will conserve battery power, and stop the clicking that some people experience.
kd1uc6 years ago
Nicely done!! Simple and reusing old technology that still works. There are many old tape players to be had at flea markets and yard sales. One recommendation I would have is to disconnect the motor or remove it for a robotic experiment. The reason is that it draws juice and can add noise to the audio circuit. Some players need the play button to be pushed for the amp turn on. Party On Bill and Ted!!
lennyb (author)  kd1uc5 years ago
i have the player rigged so you can run a tape and play at the same time. something to play along with. but you can remove or disconnect it on most players as long as the juice for the rest of the player is not routed through the motor circuit for simplicitys sake{never know with some of the awful players that were out there} thanks for the nice comment
i can use the motor to robotize the amp...
beehard444 years ago
anyways, the cheapo earphones are just piezo buzzers (the good ones, you can get strong magnets) and you can just put them (the piezo buzzers) on the soundboard, one under the bridge, one where the fretboard joins the soundboard. then just connectt the negative terminals of the piezo together and each +ve contact to the signal wires of the tape reader. lol stereo. AND they sound better than joining the signal wires 2gether
took me some time to get a goo.......er, cheapo earphone thaat uses a piezo buzzer.....
fiola5 years ago
I've been trying to make one of this out of a not so old walkman. I think it should work, but the play head is way different than this one so I don't have a clue of where to solder the wires. Plus, I want to solder it to a plug jack instead of directly to the wires so I don't have to tear my one and only cable. I attach the picture of the head. Any help wil be really, really, reaaaaaally appreciated
DSC05707.JPG
lennyb (author)  fiola5 years ago
hey that one is different. your best bet would be to make up a set of probes out of an old guitar cord and while running the tape player{and listening to it} touch the probes to different sets of wires. most likely you will find the little one in the center is your ground and the ones to either side are your left and right channels. if you want the sound to come out of both sides of your headphones you will want to gang those{left and right groups} together .then solder them to one of the side of the jack and solder the center contact to the other side of the jack. hope this helps.
fiola lennyb5 years ago
The thing is the head has four contacts on each side plus the one in the center. How should I solder the wires???? Will it work if I solder the wires horizontally so the wire touches the four contacts???? Thanx for the help!!!!
omnibot fiola4 years ago
Unlike PyromanicDaniel I think it's a reverseplay walkman, the two extra wires are for the other side of the casette. Prolly it doesn't matter wich pair you use.
fiola omnibot4 years ago
You're totally right, it is a reverseplay walkman...
lennyb (author)  fiola5 years ago
that seems to be the case. but probe the contacts first to be sure. my guess is you will want all the contacts from both sides feeding to one wire of the pair from your guitar cord and the single one in the middle feeding to the other. good luck.
I imagine that the player in question is one that can record also and the extra wires are for recording to the tape.
I saw an instructable on using a old folk listening device for a headphone amp and I thought to use an ancient tape deck that one would have laying around collecting dust and here you have already done it for a guitar amp. Very Nice.

You could use a variable resistor in line with the guitar inputs to change the volume of just the guitar down to the tape deck level. be sure to get a audio pot as they are logarithmically adjusted (meaning that it is not a linear resistance but instead is exponentially increased to match our hearing scale)
lennyb (author)  PyromaniacDaniel4 years ago
im glad you like it.
actually the first improvised amp i ever tried was an old stereo that had an input for a magnetic cartridge turntable.
it was kind of hard on the speakers but it worked well enough.
also most electric guitars already have a volume pot built right in so another is kind of redundant....like me. lol
dawgz0314 years ago
you might have done something wrong with the soldering part...or somethings wrong with the player your using...try tracing where or what you did....you might see whats wrong with it....

im just wondering if some one can teach me or can some one show me how to make a amplifier out of lm324n ic???or if some one can make an instructable about amplifier out of old cd player....

thankz...ill be waiting for some answers.....
fiola5 years ago
I finally made it and it works just fine but the volume is pretty low even when having both the player and the guitar at max volume. Also how below guy says there is a ffffffffffffffff sound when playing. Could this things be due to wrong soldering or is just the way it usually goes
lennyb (author)  fiola5 years ago
mine is very loud. perhaps your not connected to both the left and right connections on one side and the centre on the other. if you get left or right soldered with the center you may get what your describing there. how you need to solder it is identify the ground wire on the head(Thats center channel on stereo) then group the other 2 wires together{left and right}then solder the 2 leads from the guitar to the wires going to the head. also maybe the polarity is wrong . try changing the wires around. hope this helps
xAxrules5 years ago
This is a good Instructable, but I found that when wired to the tape heads, the sound quality was DREADFUL. i would recommend it is wired as a line in straight to the amp in the player.
EVHphan5 years ago
could i use a am/fm personal rodio?
lennyb (author)  EVHphan5 years ago
i should think so if you can identify the input points for the amplifier. easier to do on a cassette player because the wires come right of of the plaer heads.
jeoncs5 years ago
Been looking through these and this is the best no bull with pictures you can see. Thanks!
lennyb (author)  jeoncs5 years ago
glad you liked it. let us know how you get on if you make one.
The third clip sounds awesome! I wanna make one of these just for that sound.
lennyb (author)  vegettopotato5 years ago
i was surprised at how well it worked as well. if you try one post the build maybee yours will be neater than mine was.
mvkid3606 years ago
got it to work! thanks a lot!
lennyb (author)  mvkid3605 years ago
glad to be of service
that actually sounds pretty good!
lennyb (author)  LeviMan_20016 years ago
i was surprised too. thanks for looking
Alex-c6 years ago
I just did a similar project. The results were good except that you could not use headphones. Also, when used a long time, the batteries in the player gets very hot and starts to smell. You can read all about it on the instructable I made.
nokkkkky6 years ago
Sup this is brilliant, but only 1 problem i cant get hold of a cassette player anywere and was woundering if maby you knew how or if you could use a cd player
lennyb (author)  nokkkkky6 years ago
i never tried a cd player but it is possible it might work. you would have to locate the on the circuit board the exact place the player feeds the signal into the amplifier. i have no idea where that might be and it may be hard to decern unless you know electronics well. it could even work with a pocket radio in the same way. some possible sources for a cassette walkman might be at the goodwill store or yard sales{i get all kind of cool stuff at yard sales. you may also be able to use an old set of computer speakers too. good luck
IdrisB6 years ago
I built a lot of these a while ago. i used them for a science fair project. I kinda changed the design a bit. im gonna post an instructable on how to do it as soon as i get some pictures.
lennyb (author)  IdrisB6 years ago
please do. the more the merrier, you may have a way of doing it i didnt think of. thanks for looking
I tried this, and it didn't work, but I just tried it again, and it works amazingly! The only problem is that I get a LOT of distortion, and I can't get rid of it. But the good news is that the distortion actually sounds very good! (It would just be nice to have a clean mode every once in a while)
lennyb (author)  Super Cameraman6 years ago
the player i used had a built in equalizer . when i want a clean sound i just move the sliders down on the bass side. its not as clean as a proper amp but much clearer just the same
pinkpooj6 years ago
I have a headphone jack on my amp, and some Skull Candy headphones, so I won't be making one of these.
Your bridge on the guitar isnt balanced properly, if you are losing tune try balancing it :)
lennyb (author)  old_bass_masta6 years ago
when i got this guitar the rear of the bridge was kicked up in the air and even arnold couldnt have played the higher notes i took the heavy strings off then blocked the tremolo so it wouldnt move.the arm is long lost. your most likely right about the balance since i have no idea how to balance it. write an instructable about how ill read it.:) i expect your judging from the sound files about the tuning. well i didnt tune up before i played those little bits but i dont think it was that far out .most of it is me. lol also i tune the guitar in open e cause my fingers wont bend right to play it the correct way. its always better to learn young on those things instead of trying to teach banged up fingers new tricks
i prefer open e as well, however i am toying with your idea except for the fact i dont have my ibanez anymore :\ but there is a good how to on how to set it up on the fender website,
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