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Old 22nd February 2012, 03:40 AM   #1
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Default I Want to Build a Guitar Preamplifier

I was wondering if there is already a schematic, or something for this. Basically I want to be able to use my Fender Strat with a regular receiver, and my Hafler amps. I used an adapter, and it sounds nice, but the volume on the receiver has to be turned up to full to hear the little noise it can make. Obviously a guitar pickup isn't going to be outputting line level, so is there a simple circuit that takes the output from my guitar, amplifies it to line level, and spits it out some standard RCA jacks into a receiver?

I was thinking it could have a Volume (Gain) knob, and if it isn't to much extra work, perhaps a Bass, Treble, and Overdrive control pots would be nice.

The thing here is I assume I can just wire the outputs in parallel, so I can connect the guitar to both the left and right inputs on my receiver to use both speakers.

The guitars I have all have a passive pickup system. No 9V batteries or anything. In fact, if i'm thinking correctly, the ones with 9V batteries just allow you to adjust the gain, and other things on the guitar, but you still can't get line level to feed an amp or receiver.

So a simple box (I assume it would run on batteries or a wall wart) that has a 1/4" jack for my guitar, a gain knob ( and possibly bass, treble, and overdrive), and two phono jacks like conventional home audio gear have to connect to a receiver or an amplifier.

What do you guys think?

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Old 22nd February 2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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My favorite preamp was the ART Powerplant and I used to have the schematic that had came with it.
Had lost that unit in a pawn shop and now I can't find the manual to it,Sucks!

It was a special design and not many were made and the prints have been pulled from the net as well.

But my other to Favorite amps are the Peavey Renown 400 and the Marshall Valvestate 8100.
You can find the shcematic of both of these on line and the would be very easy to duplicate.
Both just use a few dual opamps and with one added tube in the marshall.
Very simple indeed!

I just got another Renown 400 so I am good there, but I do miss my Marshall 8100.
I used to just use the preamp section on several of my bigger power amps after I had blown out the cheesy poweramp that it had built in to it.

That preamp section was the key to its sound so I never repaired the power amp and the thing got stolen one day as well as my original Peavey Renown 400.

I used to run the marshal 8100 preamp into the ART Power Plant box and record direct into the board and that way I didn't need a poweramp, or mic a cabinet either.

I got a real killer sound that way(even in the headphones), and, it was very versatile.

There are a few amp cabinet microphone simulator filters out there you just have to look for them.

If you have a favorite sounding amp that you like, chances are you can find the schematic on the internet and go from that,tube or solid state.

But be very careful if you plan on running into some HI-FI speaker as those square waves hold alot of energy and puts the tweeters at risk to be blown very quickly as well as midranges if they are not stout enough.

And most likely will sound to bright as well,But this can be solved using an Amp,Cabinet,microphone simulator filter of some sort or maybe an equaliser of some sort.

There are a few nice Guitar preamp projects in the Instruments and amps section as well you will have to search for them as I don't remember the names of them.

I had also help a DIYer with a basic tubed frontend preamp that he uses for his bass and can be the basis for a very nice preamp as well and that can be found here,

Help needed with direct output (DI) for bass amp

And here is my version redisgned to be safe for solid state inputs ,

Help needed with direct output (DI) for bass amp

The possibilities are endless !

Good Luck and Keep On DIYin' !!!


P.S. Here is one of the Guitar Preamp Projects that I remember seeing,enjoy !!!

Infinity: an universal guitar preamp

Last edited by geraldfryjr; 22nd February 2012 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 07:55 AM   #3
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You can have a look at the pre-amplifier circuit from this amp project:

100W Guitar Amplifier (Mk II)
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Old 22nd February 2012, 07:55 AM   #4
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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sure, you can probably even find someone who has worked out the schematic for the dumble amp heads
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Old 22nd February 2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I like Elliot Sound Production's preamp... But does anyone know how I can build one using desecrate components? I've decided on just a bo that takes the guitar output, amplifier it to line level, and spits it out.. A gain knob will also be installed to control the volume.
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Old 13th March 2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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Here is a link to cabinet simulator filter like had mentioned,

Condor Cab Sim

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