How to Build a Guitar Amplifier Kit

Written by simon foden Google
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How to Build a Guitar Amplifier Kit
The preamp potentiometers are typically exposed at the front. (amplifier image by Darko Draskovic from Fotolia.com)

Guitar amplifier kits contain partly assembled and self-assembly guitar parts. The main components, such as the preamp, power section and speaker are typically pre-assembled. Depending on the type of kit you choose, the cabinet may come pre-assembled or cut and measured. Guitar kits are a great way to save money on a new guitar amp. You can select a kit that emulates your favourite amp or go for something a little more unusual. Most amplifier kits come with a wiring schematic that illustrates the layout and values of the internal circuitry.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Spare wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron
  • Screwdriver
  • Scrap metal
  • Scrap wood

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Set up a work space. This needs to be well lit and have a power supply for your soldering iron. Since you'll be using the soldering iron, it's smart to have a well-ventilated work space.

  2. 2

    Inspect your parts. Before you begin assembling your kit, check the parts for damage. A cracked circuit board, loose capacitor or ripped speaker can cause your entire project to fail. This is especially important if the amplifier kit was mailed to you. If you spot any damaged parts, return them and get a replacement.

  3. 3

    Read the wiring schematic. Before you begin putting the kit together, familiarise yourself with the layout of the amplifier and the circuitry. Schematics can be confusing if you are inexperienced with electronics.

  4. 4

    Prepare the cabinet. It will house every part of the amplifier except for the power cable. Clean the inside of the cabinet with a dry cloth. If the cabinet requires assembly, screw or glue the various wood panels in place. If you are using glue, use a good quality polyvinyl acetate. Assemble the cab so that it forms a partially complete cube, open at the front and back. Slot in the slats that form the shelves and screw or glue them in, depending on the instructions. Typically there will be two, one for the preamp and one for the power section. The speaker is screwed into the interior walls of the cabinet.

  5. 5

    Install the preamp. It lies horizontally along the top shelf of the cabinet. The front of the preamp houses the potentiometers, which will be exposed at the front of the amplifier cabinet. Don't wire in the preamp section yet.

  6. 6

    Load the power section. This lies on the second highest ledge. The rear of the power section contains the mains input. This must be exposed at the rear.

  7. 7

    Install the speaker. The speaker will have a series of screw holes running around the diameter. Use these to screw it into the inside of the cabinet. The inside top and bottom of the cab will each have a strut in which you screw the speaker.

    How to Build a Guitar Amplifier Kit
    Screw the speaker in using the screw holes. Screws will be provided. (speaker image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)
  8. 8

    Wire the main components together. Following your schematic, connect the power supply output to the preamp terminal. Connect the preamp out to the speaker. Strip the ends of the wire insulation before soldering.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice wiring and soldering with scrap metal before you begin this project.
  • If you are unsure of any part of the project, consult an electrician.

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