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Ideas On Building An Easy Practice Amp?


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I was wondering, since I'm gonna be gigging and stuff, I need a little practice amp to help me with my own practice. Can someone suggest me a schematic/drawing for an easy 15 watt practice amp? I don't need overdrive or some distortion, just decent clean tone.

Any ideas?

The economies of scale being what they are, you won't be able to build an amp like that for less than you could buy one. So if you intention is to save money, just pickup a cheap amp on eBay. Even better, call up one of your friends that got a guitar in the 8th grade and never played it, and ask if you can have their old amp (I've gotten free guitars doing this :D).

If, on the other hand, you want to build an amp as a learning experience, then buy all means try it. I suggest you find a kit or at least build something using an integrated power amp chip like the LM3886. This might be a good start: http://www.chipamp.com/

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I agree. It'll be much cheaper to just buy one if it's the end product you're looking for. If you want to build one for the experience of it, I suggest buying a practice amp (to use in the meantime) and THEN tackling the build. :D


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Hi there fanir and welcome to Project Guitar!!!

Not only is the economies of scale against you, it's not just the cost of parts but the cost of tools (soldering iron, etc) and the building of the enclosure you got to take into account.

I recently had a need to get a practice amp and found this beauty...Ashton BSK158

Possibly not available where ever you are but I suspect it turns up in other regions by different brand names.

Even if not, it is a really good design. It's quite loud and it's angled wedge shape means you can aim it at you on two angles or have it face straight out. The rubber feet make it stable and protects it on the sides. The metal controls are inset, there are corner protectors and a very strong steel grill. Built tough, but easy to carry in one hand, your guitar in the other!

This thing has two channels...one with vol and tone and suitable for a mic...the other with two gains and 3-eq and a boost/overdrive switch. That means two can play through it for jamming. It plugs into the wall but this also recharges a battery that really will work for 8 hours (it is like the battery that they run those little scooters off)!!! You can even run or recharge it with your car!!!

It's listed there as A$299 but I paid a bit less than that. For $A deduct 30% to get $US, so for something like US$150 you really couldn't build anything quite like this.

You can build amps with chips nowadays...that's how these types of things can be made so cheap...but the cost of the speaker is going to be the deal killer as is the enclosure.

If people are thinking of making something like this, I can recomend this type of design. What really appealed to me is memories of gigging with my amp blasting behind me on one side of the drums and the bass on the other and vocals coming out the foldback and everyone only hearing themselves. With this I could take a line out of the back of my amp and run it into this on the other side, across or pointing back at me on the floor to spread my guitar sound around a little more...plus I'd have control of it, right there on the amp (and with this thing I wouldn't even need to use a power outlet)...

Anyway...wouldn't put you off building stuff...a little headphone amp might be a good project...but for bigger things like 15watts you are playing with dangerous mains voltages...dangerous to you, anyone who uses the thing, and dangerous to the device itself... worth considering in the cost of these things... pete

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You could build a Little Gem 1/2 watt practice amp - it gets pretty loud. http://www.runoffgroove.com/littlegem.html

There's also one based on an LM380 audio amplifier as well, but I can't remember where it is at the moment. That one is good for about 5 watts I think.

I guess the question is what kind of practice do you want to do? With a band or in your bedroom? If in your bedroom, a 1 watt amp will be loud enough to annoy other people in the house. If with a band, I would think that at least 15 watts would be necessary. :D

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There's also one based on an LM380 audio amplifier as well, but I can't remember where it is at the moment. That one is good for about 5 watts I think.

Craig Anderton had a headphone amp based on the LM380. I built one in high school. It wasn't anything to write home about.

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