Cassette Player Guitar Amp





Introduction: 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

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

-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!



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    30 Discussions


    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.

    3 replies

    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?

    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 !

    Hard disk drives have small magnets on the arm.

    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!

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

    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 =)

    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.

    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.

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

    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!

    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.

    1 reply

    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