A different direction...guitar "head-head" amp?
Jul 26, 2009 at 7:26 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5


500+ Head-Fier
Apr 14, 2004
I'm re-discovering my (electric) guitar. Given how there is such a rich history of musicians and tinkerers tweaking amplifier heads and effects to get the sounds they want...I was surprised to have such difficulty finding any decent DIY efforts. Nope. It is difficult to get certain tones (ie, rich, growly blues overdrive) on an amplifier/effects budget less than $400. Sure, you can get in the ballpark...but we aren't looking for "sounds alright"...we're looking for kickass on a shoestring budget!

What would be cool: a "head-head" amplifier. Input = signal from electric guitar. Output = ~1A signal, emant to drive a decent pair of headphones. This way I can practice with great tones, which is really what i want to do 90% of the time I play anyway. When others come over to play, alternative output = pre-amp signal to feed a real "wire with gain" style amplifier for driving a big cabinet.

Necessary options: circuit protection--guitars can put out dramatic transient signals...don't want to blow out my ears or headphones. Must have a potentiometer-controlled overdrive circuit, obviously.

The classic design choice would be valves, but I have nothing against solid state silicon, given the right circuit.

Anyone seen or heard of a project for such a thing? Point me in the right direction?
Jul 26, 2009 at 8:20 PM Post #2 of 5


Headphoneus Supremus
Oct 13, 2007
...or you could do like me, go from your tube guitar amp (must have tubes for guitar), into a Palmer PDI-03 speaker simulator, into PC, out to DAC and headphone amp and in to the headphones of choice.
My amp is cooking at almost max, makes for beautiful tube overdrive

Works like a charm, but maybe not exactly what you are looking for.
Jul 26, 2009 at 9:41 PM Post #4 of 5

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Mar 18, 2006
I'm posting from the iPhone and don't have the URL handy, but pay a visit to the Headwize project library. IIRC, there's a headphone amp project with Fender-style tone controls. It might not be precisely what you're looking for, but it sounds like something you'd appreciate.

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