Mount Discreet Components on a Guitar Amp Motherboard

Introduction: Mount Discreet Components on a Guitar Amp Motherboard

I made this instructable at TechShop Detroit.
The website link is here:

This is the third in a series of Instructables showing how to construct a hand-wired guitar amplifier.

In my last instructable, I finished up the process of making the motherboard for the amp, and now it is time to populate the board.

For this Instructable, I will use:
The Motherboard I made in the previous instructable
Soldering Iron
Solid-Core wire (cloth wrap)
various capacitors and resistors
Amplifier Layout and Diagram

Step 1: Start Putting It All Together

The best way I have found for assembling the motherboard is to start from one end and follow the diagram exactly in order. It is important to stay organized so that you do not accidentally miss a piece or get components mixed up.

For this build, there are really not that many components, but for more modern guitar amps with higher part counts, you can have hundreds of components! It can be tough to keep organized.

Following the diagram, the first part I needed to install was a capacitor. These are polarized and can be tricky. This particular cap had the end crimped and a + side marked at one end. Using the diagram, I determined the correct position.

I first straighten the legs of the component.

Then I line it up where it belongs on the board.

Next, I make 90 degree bends to allow the legs to fit into the eyelets of the board.

Finally, I bend the legs over on the underside to keep the part in place.

Step 2: Add All of the Components in Order

I started on one end, and moving in order, I placed all of the components on the board. The legs of the part keep them in place so that I can come back and Solder them.

The diagram is like a road map. You must follow the directions if you want a functional amp. You can change components for different tone, but until you have a firm grasp on what is happening in the circuit, it is a good idea to build according to the plan.

Step 3: Double Check Against the Diagram!

This is just a bonus step. Double then triple check that all of the components are in the corect position to avoid catastrophe.

Step 4: Solder Al of the Leads

There are other tutorials about proper soldering so I will not dive into that now. Just follow procedure and be sure that you have good solid solder joints. Keep in mind that poor joints can cause capacitance. This can severely affect the quality of the sound! Take the time to do this properly. I used a heat sink (alligator clip) to keep from overheating the components. This is not always necessary, but is good practice.

I made sure to leave extra length on the wires that are being attached to the ends of the legs so that I can trim them back later. It's much better to have more length than you need than less. That way, it's just a quick snip...

Step 5: Finished!

Ok, Now you have a fully populated motherboard. It should be treated as a unit and can now be dropped into the chassis of your amp. Stay tuned for the next instructable as I create the chassis. It should be a lot of fun!

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 5

    Nicely done, looking forward for next step, Cherrs


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    Thanks! I should be putting the next step up soon! It will be the layout and cutting of the chassis using a waterjet.