Guitar Amps that I make. 
Audio / Video - Musical works led to filming the construction of guitars. Video "how to" instruction focused on cigar box guitars led to an interest in their history.  Books - Interest in the history of cigar box guitars led to interviews and years of concentrated study. Interest also led to the acquisition and expansion of the cigar box guitar museum.  Cigar Box Guitar - Build, play, record, write about, etc.  The Cigar Box Guitar Museum (the one you can't see).  Guitar effects that I make.  BellyJelly Music - Record label and retail sales channel started in 2003. 

My Guitar Amplifiers

I've built guitars from scratch, effects from old radio parts, why not make my own amp?

My experiments with building and repairing amps came from a lot of experimentation. My favorite tones come from cascading amplifiers to build a wall of sound.

If I do have some amplifiers to sell, you can [ Check My Reverb Shop ]


arsehole amplification

It started as a joke from a common alteration of the legendary Marshall guitar amp name. Remove the capital M, shave down the last A to look like an O, and cut down the last L to make a lower-case E, bada-bing, any Marshall amp is now an "arshole" amp.

Then I discovered a technique for making even the most rude equipment sound really good, or at least sound better. The key to better sound was to run multiple amps at the same time. In the case of these dinky 3-watt amps, running the headphone out of one amp (with a few modifications) into a second amp opened up a whole new world of sonic possibilities. And then I discovered 3D printing. So, yeah, I play through an arsehole stack (with obligate E added for arse).


Covered Wagon (Special Overdrive)

I have wanted to build my own tube amp for years. At some point I just stopped trying to learn from a book and just started putting parts together. I didn't shock myself too much and the tubes didn't blow up, so I got that bit down.

As crude as this may look, it does sound nice. It also is a totally original circuit since I built it from what was available, cheapest, or until I got the sound I wanted. Notice the two speaker outputs in the rear? There's a small toggle on the front that cascades those two channels (the same technique I learned from the arsehole stack above).


A Modular Approach

I've only recently started building my own tube amps. After a few experiments building entire amps, it was expensive to just try something out to see if it worked, or if I liked the way it sounded. I needed a faster way to test new ideas.

I extended the modular approach that I use to experiment with guitar effects. The idea really started to gell when I started noting all of the simliarities in common guitar amps. Knowing that amps can be broken into discrete sections, I decided to make a few dedicated tube amp sections with as much adjustment as I could manage in them. The results were impressive.



Dual Triode Test Harness

Typically, a tube amp will start with gain stage, then a tone stack, and then another gain stage. I studied several schematics and then built a simple two gain stage test harness (above left). I added a couple of 1/4" jacks so I could run the signal through a tone circuit later.

Cathode Follower

In a few high gain amps I studied, a cathode follower (below left) was used before the tone stack. Using this with the Dual Triode Test Harness can produce some serious 80's high gain shred or can be dialed back to the most basic of tweedy sounds of the 60s and 70s. I think I'm on to something here.



EL84 Test Harness

There's not too much variation in a single-sided EL84 power amp section. In keeping with the experimental tweek-everything vibe, I made this low power EL84 speaker driver. There is an audio transformer inside the cigar box. This makes it neater in appearance but much heavier than you might expect.