Starting off playing any instrument can be a little taxing and confusing to you. Likewise, starting to play an electric guitar and getting into things like amps can be a little overwhelming to you. An amp is a system that strengthens your weak electrical signal of an electric guitar and emphasizes it to make it sound more loud and robust.
For an electric guitar, an amp is an absolute necessity as, without it, you won’t be able to hear what you’re playing. But there isn’t always a budget of around $200 - $300 for an amp. So, for that reason, we’ll be showing you how you can turn a speaker into a guitar amp.
What you need to Build the Amp
Now, hearing about making an amp from a speaker probably doesn’t sound like an easy thing to do. But we can assure you that with this guide, you’ll be able to make an amp with much ease and relatively less hassle.
There are some things that you will require to build the amp, they are listed below:
- Mono Jack connector
- 3.5mm Stereo Female Jack
- Some wires
- Heat Shrink tool
- Hot Glue
- Soldering Iron
And along with all of these, you of course need the speakers which you’ll be converting into an amp.
Making a Guitar Amp from a Speaker
Now to get started, we’ll be telling you to follow some step-by-step methods which you’ll have to follow accordingly for the speaker to work properly as an amp. Keep in mind that these are mods you’ll be doing to a speaker and so you probably don’t want something that you want to use later on.
If you don’t have any old speakers laying around, some cheap speakers from amazon will do you just fine. So let’s get started.
Open the speaker
The first step into getting into the speaker is to open them up. If you’re using old speakers, make sure that they still function, or else there’s no point in modding them as an amp. Also, pick a speaker which has a volume knob or some sort of way to control the volume of the speakers as there is no other way you can do so otherwise.
Locate all the places where there are screws and with a screwdriver open it up. Sometimes this speaker hides some of it screw underneath some cover so you may need to pull some of them up if you feel like they’re not opening. After you’ve opened the speaker, make sure you don’t damage any internal parts of the speaker and pull out all the circuits and the speaker components from it. Then keep the shell of the speaker aside.
Check the Circuit Board
Inside the speakers, along with the speaker itself, you’ll see a circuit board there too. This is the main component to making our amp work alongside the guitar.
Now you have to identify some key components of this circuit board. First, locate the power button, the audio input jack, and the volume knob. After you’ve identified these key components, you’re ready to do the wirings and jacking everything together.
Powering the speakers
After you’ve identified where the power of the speakers comes in and get to the circuit board, take note of how much power they take in. Then cut off the part where the speaker takes in power leaving the end of the wire soldered onto the circuit board.
After that, you’ll need a 9 Volt battery holder. This will help power the amp when it’s being played. Take the holder, locate the positive and negative sides of the holder and then connect them with the wires left from the circuit board’s power input.
You need to solder in the wires to connect it to the holder. If you don’t have any experience with soldering iron and are not comfortable with using it, you can go to some who do know this because this is a very minor thing to do. You can even go to a repair shop for phones and ask them to do it for you. Besides, learning this is easy so you should be able to do it.
Regardless, don’t forget to check that you’re matching in the negative and the positive side or it won’t work. After you’ve finished doing that, get some batteries and plug them into the speakers. If the LED indicator of the speakers lights up then you’re good to go.
But if the speaker you have laying around require more power than some batteries can withhold, it is better to just use the original cable that would power the speaker and keep it as how it is.
Putting the jack in
Now comes the hard part of fixing everything together. At first, you’ll need to turn the amps on. So, get the batteries in and make sure they’re on. After that, take a 3.5mm audio headphone cable and plug one side to the speaker and the other into a phone. Test out if the speakers still work and have a connection.
After you made sure that they’re working and while still playing the song, take the stereo jack female socket connector and plug it into the other end of the audio cable.
Then touch the wires that were on the input jack and pair it with the female socket connector of the stereo jack. If you hear no sound, try a different combination and do this trial and error until you get a sound signal out of it.
Soldering everything together
Now it’s time for you to connect the mono jack connector with the circuit board. On the Jack, there will be some hole-like areas where the wires need to be soldered into.
So at first, identify which one is the positive and which one is the negative end of the connector. Then take two colored wires, for example, a red wire and another blue wire. The red wire will be connected to the positive end and the blue will be connected to the negative end.
So, solder in the wires of the jack. Now you need to connect the other ends to the circuit board. To do that, the negative connector will go to the negative connector on the circuit board. But there are actually a lot of negative connectors on the circuit board itself.
But the one you’ll need to connect on is the negative point of the power input. So, after you located the negative point of the power input on the circuit board, solder in the blue or the negative cable in.
And now you have to connect the positive end of the connector. Remember from the last time where we found out in which connection port there was music playing on the female socket connector. That is where you’ll need to connect the red cable or the positive end of the mono jack cable.
Now comes the fun part. Plugin your guitar cable into the mono jack which you just connected to the speaker. Make sure the power is on and you have batteries on the speakers to power it. Then play the guitar to make sure there is sound input and output from the speakers.
Putting in all the components
Now that you’re done testing and have seen that the amp works properly, you now need to tidy up everything using the previous casing that the speaker was in. But if you don’t want to use that casing, you can also opt for another casing that you can make.
But that is a whole other job you need to do so let’s just say you’ll be using the old casing. Before putting everything together, make sure to drill a hole wide enough where the mono jack can be screwed into and be accessed from the outside. Screw into the mono jack and then put everything back into the casing and screw it up.
Now, you’re done with your speaker modification and you can use this speaker as an amp for your electric guitar to play it. You just saved yourself a lot of money and also made use of some old components that you never thought you’ll need.
Getting an amp for your electric guitar especially when you’re new to it can be a lot to take into. But, instead of pouring money on a shiny new amp, you can make one by yourself using scrap materials. This will give you a great start off to your guitar learning sessions and will help immensely with your wallet too.
We hope this comprehensive guide to how you can make a Guitar Amp from a speaker was helpful to you and can hope you’re enjoying your new guitar more than ever.