DIY Bass Guitar Preamp Tube

Written by olivia deangelo
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DIY Bass Guitar Preamp Tube
A bass guitar preamp tube is used to enhance the speaker sound of a guitar. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Musicians use a preamp tube with a bass guitar to process and send signals from the guitar to the power section. This information first is processed by a power transformer, which creates an electrical current from the signal. The signal is then sent into the power section to receive a "juicing" from the voltage, which drives it to the speakers. Building your own bass guitar preamp tube can save a musician a substantial amount of money.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Small circuit board
  • Resistors
  • Chassis
  • Power transformer
  • Cathodes
  • Soldering iron
  • Voltage meter
  • Potentiometers
  • Diodes

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  1. 1

    Purchase necessary parts for the bass guitar preamp tube you plan to build. The size and quantity of the parts vary, depending on the style, size and power source you plan to use. Parts are available through any audio retailer catalogue, store or online. You also can purchase complete preamp kits that include all the necessary accessories and components.

  2. 2

    Build the chassis according to the directions in the package. Attach the power transformer into the square space on the side of the chassis. Assemble dials onto the front panel of the chassis according to the included wiring schematic. Potentiometers need to be exposed inside the front panel, and the solder lugs are even on each side.

  3. 3

    Mount the pre-drilled circuit board according to the included wiring schematic. Insert the cathodes, diodes, resistors and capacitors in their designated turrets. Make sure that the components are set up identically to the blueprint outlined with the circuit board instructions.

  4. 4

    Attach the completed circuit board to the inside of the chassis. Use a soldering iron to place each wire to the pontentiometer in their distinctive spots on the circuit board.

  5. 5

    Attach the voltmeter to the first resistor. Turn the power on to the voltmeter. If the needle does not move and give off a power reading, then there is a problem with the resistor. This is an indicator that it is either not installed properly or the wire is faulty. Follow the directions to reattach the wire, and retest before completely replacing the wire.

  6. 6

    Repeat the previous step on all of the resistors to ensure all are working properly.

  7. 7

    Load parts into the preamp tube, and organise the pins. Insert each tube into the housing sections of the chassis. Place the chassis in the enclosure, and attach the lid and side panels with screws.

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