Tube Amps / Music Electronics
For current discussions, please visit Music Electronics Forum.

ampage archive

Vintage threads from the first ten years

Search for:  Mode:  

converting radio to guitar amp

6/3/2003 1:55 AM
Frank converting radio to guitar amp
I have a tube radio, that i'd like to convert into a guitar amp, is there any information out there that would be helpful to me???  
thanks, frank
And now, a word from our sponsors:

6/3/2003 4:53 AM
Mark Lavelle

"I have a tube radio, that i'd like to convert into a guitar amp, is there any information out there that would be helpful to me?"
Probably not directly, but if you tell us all the types of tubes in it (and the speaker impedance, if you know it), I'm sure you'll get some recommendations... ;)
6/3/2003 12:23 PM
MJ Harnish

A word of advice: Make sure your tube radio isn't collectable. You might be hacking up something that you could sell to a collector for enough money to finance a complete project or two. :)  
6/3/2003 2:47 PM
is it a matter of finding where the radio ends and where the amplifier begins, and adding an input, and tone stack?
6/3/2003 5:35 PM
Stefaan Van Slycken

well, that's just the problem i guess: you *could* do that, but then again:  
- just how loud does the radio go? Most of them had less than a couple of watts output power.  
- Don't expect it to sound like a Vox or a Fender, my guess is it won't happen. I have never tried it, but i don't think it will distort all that nice.  
- Does it have enough gain to amplify the guitar enough to get clipping?  
- How old are all the caps etc... if they're end-of-life, the sound won't be good either. And if you need to replace all those, you might as well just start from scratch, or just use the OT & PT from the radio (although they might be a bit underrated, and maybe the PT doesn't have a 6.3V winding if the tubes are meant to have the filaments in series)...  
- Are the tubes still available? A PCF86 that has been in there for 40 years won't sound all that fresh, and maybe you can't find them new anymore (or NOS at high prices).  
- Is the speaker capable of producing the guitar signal? Guitar amp speakers are defenitely different from HiFi speakers... do you have a speaker cab you can use with the radio?  
These are just *my* remarks, i have never tried doing what you want to do, so they're just guesses. It might as well work out fine for you, but I'm not so sure... Don't let me discourage you!  
Doesn't the radio have a turntable input or something? You might want to try that one, start with the guitar turned down and increase the volume slowly... now *that* i did on an old bell radio (which sounds great as a radio) but sounded weak and lame as a guitar amp.  
6/3/2003 7:30 PM

I built my first tube amp using an old radio.  
I gutted everything, then just used the power transformer, output transformer, and sockets and pots and tag points to build a champ type amp.  
I used a 7027A and a 12AX7. It actually worked. That was back in 1991, and I've been hooked ever since.  
If you're radio doesn't have a power transformer, DO NOT DO THIS! If it's an old American-5 series set, with tubes like 50L6 or 35xxx, then it's dangerous as hell to make a guitar amp out of it.  
Give us a list of the tubes it uses. Are they all 6V jobs or 12V jobs? (It's the first number of the tube type, like 6V6=6V, 12AX7 = 12V, etc.) This will tell us if it uses series heaters.  
6/3/2003 9:07 PM
the tubes are  
12VA6-aud det  
it's a general electric model 467  
if nothing else, maybe i can strip it for parts for other projects

  Page 1 of 3 Next> Last Page>>