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Poll: Official SSGuitar amp kit - preamp, or small battery amp?

Started by joecool85, April 07, 2020, 10:08:25 AM

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What should I design first for official SSGuitar kit/PCB?

Battery amp with gain, tone, and volume controls.
14 (46.7%)
Preamp for use on any basic power amp.  Gain, Treble, Bass, Volume controls.
10 (33.3%)
Other (please share your idea below)
6 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 30

Voting closed: April 21, 2020, 01:35:30 PM


I'm looking at (finally) designing some official SSGuitar kits to sell here.  Right now I'm thinking about the first one I should do.

Option 1: Small 9v battery-based amp with gain, tone, volume controls (more controllable than Little Gem/Ruby by way of using simple preamp for distortion and LM386 for power amp rather than LM386 for both)

Option 2: TL072-based preamp with Vox style tone stack (treble and bass controls), gain, volume.  I'm thinking this would be a single channel affair with LEDs for clipping.  With the gain down it would run clean (below the LED clip voltage).  Crank the gain up, clipped by the LEDs and distorted.

Either way would be sold as a PCB or PCB and components.
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X


4 votes so far, let's hear what others have to say!  :tu:
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X


Howdy.  I voted for Battery amp, since "Other" was not available (Looper Pedal?). 

Thanks for the diversion.

Phil in gorgeous Young Harris, Georgia


Quote from: paelgin on April 09, 2020, 11:34:38 AM
Howdy.  I voted for Battery amp, since "Other" was not available (Looper Pedal?). 

Thanks for the diversion.

Phil in gorgeous Young Harris, Georgia

I just added "other" as an option, thanks!
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X


I vote for battery powered - heck get it to work of some solar modules too  ;)


A preamp with an XLR output and a headphone amp that can mix the guitar signal with the line out from a personal monitor mix (that doesn't include the guitar)


I can't see how to vote. Am I being stipid? Either way I vote for 2 because I want one!

Sent from my SM-A505FN using Tapatalk



I voted for other, because it would be nice to have a combination of both as well. The schematic could cover preamp with tone stack on one side and tone control on the other side, and then, even if the PCB has to be for one of the options. I am going towards a practice amp, making it each time more complete. Now, I am starting with op amps. I saw a project on the forum with a PAM8403. And it sounds good.

Anyway, nice idea.



Hi there,
I voted for 2. preamp but would love it with absolutely a mid knob, I even think why isn't there more of low-mid + high-mid (even middle-mid :)) knobs equipped preamps and make them a gem to find your own sound ?
Also I vote for poweramp very muck orange pedal-baby like. In the era of pedalboard modelers it sure would have much success.
Thanks for polling!


I put other... what about something with a bit more power? I've built quite a few of the amps in Craig Anderton's Projects for Guitarist (TDA2003/LM383).. much more volume and headroom.. I power it with a 12 volt wall wart.. I know those chips are obsolete, but perhaps there is something comparable still in the pipe line...

Either way, great idea!

Lap steel player, Electronic maker.


My thought is a combination of #1.

1. SS preamp in a stompbox sized enclosure - because of potential audience (= more unit sales)

2. FET style clean because the vintage roland/Boss FET preamp is ridiculously expensive

3. tone stack for shaping, because it's an absolute requirement due to the input variable...

4. low/high impedance inputs & outputs (balanced?) because DI/DO.

That would make it pretty much the ultimate preamp with the versatility for 500 series guys and for stompboxers or home recording.

If you look at the JHS colourbox as an example of versatile but pricey......   and also a bit heavy duty on the adjustable parameters, you get an idea of why a preamp is in high demand, but the cost of production an implementation of features makes for design compromise or price hike.

So, perhaps a battery amp with a simple tone stack and a single volume knob is the 'way to go' - but you'd need to give (and provide) tone stack shaping components because not everyone likes 'straight through'

Just thoughts.  I'm sure also that reverb is a better place to market it than only here on the forum. Maybe it will increase forum traffic?


Hi Joe... here's a further suggestion following (broadly) your Option 2... but using FETs rather than TL072's.
It follows the VOX AC-30 structure including Normal / Boost selection and the VOX Bass / Treble tone stack.
Notably... it follows the "Danyuk" FET biasing method to get them to perform like (valve) triodes. The schematic shows 2N series FETs... but I have also built versions using Toshiba 2SK series... which sound better to me... but are harder to get hold of.
Let me know what you think. I have a circuit description... and even a (FET and Transformer) based power amp to go with it... but that's a whole other story!  ;)


This was a really helpful site that unfortunately, I do not have much use for

However I also selected other because based on the nothing I know, there is not really anywhere for me to discuss this topic and the poll suggests that you might be good candidates for it

I think it would be a great departure from the DIY or big box only options thus far provided if, along the lines of the preamp choice, there was a dedicated group who had solved the clone market for nano. I mean printed with an industrial grade machine, and populated with the newer, smaller parts that aren't really optimized for audio. But to me, it seems like with some calculation and savvy these things could be like the new drop in pickups for modding older devices with lots of internal room.

So your, for example, vintage delay now has toggle disto or mod clone(s), in series, and still switches and controls all the same but with a few mod pots and selectors attached on top (like modding does) with only an increase in mA draw. It would be nice for there to be a mod shop where you could get a really tiny sheet of the circuit in SS and then, all the work would be to attach it to controls and jacks inside a separate enclosure.

Good luck with this project, & thank you for the kind words


I would love to see a modern version of the HH IC100s. Re-developed as a head-only design, using the distortion 'half' of the original IC100s unit, but with the following additions:
The facility to reduce the amount of distortion down to more of an overdrive effect.

The original designers had 'accidentally' created an amp which combined perfectly with a Dallas Rangemaster, so that aspect would need to be retained!

If it could be combined with the later V-S Musician circuit (s). Utopia!

I don't want much do I?...........but you did ask!


As I newbie may join this conversation;

  • 5W USB powered with rechargeable internal battery,
  • Full controls;  gain, mid, bass, volume, treble,
  • output 4 to 16 Ohm
  • easy accessible 'effects' board to exchange/combine diodes for the personal taste of sounds with kind of rotary or multi-switch

I base my idea on what I have: small 3W Donner amp for carry on or while sitting on the couch  practicing
For what it is (and the cost of it) it's a very handy piece of hardware. Of course it has limitations but the concept is great and it does sounds 'good' for such a small amp.
When I need 'more' from this amp I connect Zoom G1on/xon ..
An idea to have the best of both worlds in a small package would be great.
+ the process of learning amp / electronic things for ppl like me ..