The Danelectro Honeytone
is certainly one of the least expensive battery powered amps available. It is a small, plastic amplifier with a 3 inch speaker. The amplifier runs off of a single 9 volt battery and includes Volume, Tone, and gain controls. The Honeytone utilizes a 2 inch speaker and is contained in a plastic enclosure.
The circuit board contains 2 integrated circuits (ICs) and 2 diodes. I don’t have a schematic available as I write this review but I assume the amplifier uses one of the ICs as a preamp circuit that includes a diode clipping circuit for an overdrive effect. In this circuit, the overdrive effect is created using diodes to clip the guitar wave form to give the amplifier a distorted tone as you increase the gain. The remaining IC is used as the power amplifier and drives the speaker.
The amplifier uses one small 3 inch speaker.
When I plugged a Fender Telecaster
into the Honeytone I was surprised by how good the amp actually sounded. When you look at the little plastic amplifier and factor in that it costs $20 bucks, it is impressive. In fact, I don’t believe you can beat this thing for what it costs.
Being me, I decided the little honeytone needed some improvements. The plastic enclosure isn’t too bad as it reminds me of an old bakelite radio. What I don’t like is the chromed plastic speaker grill and integrated “HoneyTone” emblem.
I made a wooden speaker grill to replace the cheap plastic one. I used milk paint to give the wooden grill an old, distressed look.
I also disliked the cheap looking knobs that come with the amplifier. The controls are placed very close to each other so any replacement knob needs to be narrow in design. I replaced the knobs with ivory colored Davies 1900H Clone
The little Honeytone can also benefit from a speaker out connector. These little amps sound so much better through a larger guitar speaker. I have a small Epiphone Valve Junior cabinet that contains a 12 inch Eminence speaker that I hooked up to the Honeytone. The larger 12 inch guitar speaker made a vast improvement in sound quality. I also connected smaller 6 inch and 8 inch speakers to the Honeytone and both sounded great.
The Honeytone amp fits into a Hammond effects pedal chassis
perfectly allowing you to build a small battery powered guitar amp head. This gives you a small amp that can be plugged into an external speaker or use as a headphone amp. You just need to drill the holes for the input and output jacks as well as the controls.
In this scenario, You would add an output jack for a speaker to make a micro amp head.
The Honeytone is also the basis for many cigar box guitar amplifiers. You can remove the Honeytone amp circuit board and speaker and place them in an old beat-up cigar box to create a unique amplifier that actually sounds decent. I would scrap the included speaker and put something larger in, say a 4 inch or 5 inch speaker.
The Honeytone is an inexpensive little guitar amp that sounds good and can be used as the basis for your own guitar amp project. For a price of about $20, you really can’t go wrong.