Why a battery powered guitar amp?
Battery powered guitar amps are typically small in size. This makes them extremely portable and easy to take anywhere. Being battery powered, these micro amps can be used anywhere. A small guitar amp can produce some really rough and aggressive overdrive tones. The tones these little amps produce remind me of the sounds of the blues players that used to Jam on Maxwell Street in Chicago.
Besides Chicago style blues, They also produce nice vintage rock tones as well. What really surprised me was how nice an acoustic guitar equipped with active electronics sounded like through one of these small amplifiers.
My biggest gripe about these mini amps is the cheap look of them. They simply lack character. That is why I started to build and modify these little amps. To make them sound and look as cool as possible.
I stared putting small battery powered amps in cigar boxes. I got some inspiration for this from the cigar box guitars I had seen. Cigar box amps are cool because you can find some interesting cigar boxes and with a few odds and ends from the hardware store you can build a really unique looking amplifier. The wood in the cigar box is also a nice step up in tone from the plastic enclosure typically used for these small amplifiers.
When I initially started to build these amplifiers, I used a combination of custom built, hand wired circuit boards and prebuilt circuit boards that I purchased. I soon realized that the speaker and the enclosure had a large effect on how the amp would sound regardless of the circuit being used. I also stared to look at some of the other mini amps available to compare sounds.
One of the first readily available amplifiers I looked at was the Pignose. Before I started to build my own amplifiers I never really had any interest in the Pignose. I always thought they were kind of ugly and I wasn’t in need of an ugly, battery powered amplifier. When I received my Pignose amp and pluged my guitar into it I immediately began to smile. The Pignose sounded good to my ears, a lot like a small tube amplifier.
These amps have been around since the 1970s are are still being built using the same original circuit and speaker combination. The Pignose sounded good to my ears, a lot like a small tube amplifier. I decided to take it apart to see what was inside.