To achieve the best tone, which is more important – a guitar or an amp? Millions of guitar users believe that playing with a guitar alone is not enough. Most of them are giving pretty harsh statements that it would sound good through an amp. Sounds great but it does bring up the question of what should you spend your pretty money on.
How to spend your money better is a very difficult question and there is not really a definitive answer. But you can have a couple of different viewpoints and tips for you to determine how you would like to spend your money wisely. Since a guitar works better with the presence of an amp, it could also be said that your hard earned money would be better spent on learning how to make your own guitar amp.
If you have already learned how to play guitar at a decent level and you want to get a nice tone coming out from your gig, let a guitar amp in. No matter how good you play, you need a guitar amp to get an ultimately better tone. So, let’s take an amp. But before we dig into learning how to build one that amazes, let’s firstly break that guitar amplifier up.
What A Guitar Amp Is Define As
A guitar amp or a guitar amplifier is an electronic amplifier used to strengthen a weak electrical signal that’s coming from a pickup of a guitar. This has been done so that it can produce a sound through one or more loudspeakers which are basically housed in a wooden cabinet. There are different kinds of a guitar amp. It might be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that only has the power amp circuits. A guitar amp with power amp circuits needs the use of a separate cabinet or may be a combo amplifier which contains both amp and one or more speakers.
There is also a wide range of different sizes as well as power ratings for guitar amplifiers. You can find them small, lightweight with a single 8 inches speaker or get heavy combo amps with four 10 inches speakers. There is also a powerful amplifier which is loud enough to break the noise when performing noisy performances. Moreover, guitar amps can modify a guitar’s tone by emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain frequencies.
The modification can also be done by using equalizer controls and by adding electronic effects such as distortion and reverb. For people who are players of electric guitars, the best guitar amp choice and the settings they use on the amplifier are important for their signature tone or sound. Some guitar players nowadays have been used specific brand or model for a long time and it could obviously create an effect on how they play the instrument.
Various guitar players also use external effects pedals to alter the sound of the tone before getting the signal reach the guitar amp.
How To Build A Guitar Amp From Scratch
Here, we are going to build a mini open hardware guitar amplifier in as easy as 5 steps. An open hardware amplifier is small and portable loaded with all the features the same as what found on big amps. The project can be fully developed by using a design suite to create schematics and layouts in any form such as KiCAD. There is a detailed analysis for each part of an amplifier so anyone can able to make improvements or modify it with ease.
Upon building, the amplifier can have: tone, volume or gain controls, speaker or cabinet output, headphones output with attenuator switch, aux or mp3 input, 9V DC boss style power input jack and 9V battery clip.
Basic Things you need:
- Soldering iron
- Cutting pliers
- PCB/ PCB layout transfers/ native files
Do soldering on the components to the PCB. Carefully solder the parts. Begin with the small ones and then put the larger components in place. Make sure they are very well attached to each other so they don’t break easily.
Pay attention to diodes polarity. Once you have them mistakenly arranged, you will never get the best guitar amplifier you need. There is a line indicating the correct position so focus your attention on that line ensuring you correctly stay on it.
Be careful with the electrolytic caps polarity. Bear in mind that the short one is the negative lead and has to be placed in the round hole while the positive hole is designed to be square in shape. The positive hole is also marked with a plus “+” symbol. Trying to change that rule of connection will result in a badly terrible outcome.
If you’re perfectly done soldering those small components proceed now on soldering the big ones. Be patient on doing this because soldering big components tend to be slightly tilted and may need more of your time to finish the project.
Gotcha! It’s time to review your work. Check whether there are certain parts, small or big components, not properly connected. Do check your PCB with the model as well. The process should be done from the component by component before powering it up.
In making the review, you may:
- Check the PCB bottom visually. There should be no short circuits to prevent shocks. There should also be no long uncut leads. Failed to do so may give bad effect to the guitar instrument and to the maker itself.
- Visually check the polarized components. All of them should be placed correctly and well-intact. Polarized components such as diodes and electrolytic caps need to be checked attentively. Without them, there is no way to run the amp.
- Make sure the circuit board fits into several enclosures. You can use the plastic cover as a lighting plate. A lighting plate or a lighting switch should also be safe since it is used to operate electric. Don’t forget to check everything and all of them should be properly working before you begin them using.
It only takes a few hours to build this amp yet it gives an amazing guitar tone experience for years.
Why Build A Guitar Amp
There are a lot of reasons why you choose to play guitar. Whether it is for school music activity, peer pressure or deeply your passion, there would always something to get around on. It’s not difficult to play but what’s inspires you to play? If your guitar inspires you to play, then this creates the idea that tone and inspiration by the amp and guitar are connected. This leads us to the conclusion that playing guitar without an amp is meaningless.
A great guitar may get the job done. It can be said that we are looking for pieces of gear that bring us a decent tone while inspiring us to play at the same time. With a guitar and an amp, we can have these two at once. We may play good with a good guitar but we can play better with an amp. An amp produces a better tone and this is a key concept to keep in mind.