Project: Speaker and Amp built into Strat

Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by speelyei, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    Skipping over the who, what, why, and anecdotal material, and getting right down to what I did:
    -new Squier Stratocaster
    -cbgitty "Great 2.5 watt amplifier kit"
    -new shiny pickguard
    -red spray paint

    New Squier Stratocaster... ooh, pretty. A few minutes strumming in the store threw away decades of baseless opinion on the playability difference between "Fenders" and "Squiers".
    [​IMG]


    Removed pickguard, and starting to remove material to make room for the speaker.
    [​IMG]


    Body cavity completed. I used a piece of scrap mdf to make a pattern.
    [​IMG]


    Routing a cavity in the back for the 9 volt battery. I used a small piece of lexan to make a cover.
    [​IMG]


    More red!!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    Continued...

    Getting the round hole in the pickguard was surprisingly fussy. The plastic is soft, but the layers of red shiny stuff and the foil are very gummy. I debated routing slots, or drilling holes in a radial pattern. I also debated screwing the speaker directly into the guitar body, rather than hanging it off the pickguard. Ultimately, I decided to use the included speaker grille and mount everything to the pickguard for ease of installation.
    [​IMG]


    Because my plan involved deleting the center pickup, it seemed pretty intuitive to just use a 3 way switch and wire this up Tele-style. I have no real training or expertise in electronics... at all. So I made it as "cookbook" as possible. I watched several YouTube tutorials on "how to Solder". I then looked online and I found a schematic for telecaster wiring, that didn't require any parts that I didn't already have on the stock Squier. I drew out all the steps for the speaker/amp circuit on a piece of notebook paper. I then carefully drew out all the steps for wiring the pickups, the pots, etc. Then it was just a matter of determining what could stay wired from the factory, what needed to be deleted, and what needed to be reconfigured.

    Basically, the original volume pot hole became the home for the on/off/vol pot for the amp. The middle hole became the guitar vol pot, and the last pot was a combined tone for both pickups. Then I hardwired the amp input to the same location as the output to the jack. This way, I can play through a regular amp just like always, or I can play through the onboard speaker. An LED lets you know if the amp is on.
    [​IMG]


    9 volt battery access on the back.
    [​IMG]

    Finished product, the Electrocaster!
    [​IMG]
     
  3. cool gouhl

    cool gouhl Squier-holic

    Age:
    47
    Dec 4, 2014
    Cincinnati
    It looks great! Welcome to the forum too.
     
    JurnyWannaBe and speelyei like this.
  4. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
  5. Michael7

    Michael7 Dr. Squier Gold Supporting Member

    Very cool! Nicely done.

    What are the scenarios where you would like to hear the built in speaker and not use an amp? Most of the times when I can't use an amp, I need to use headphones so others don't hear the playing. Like in a hotel room, etc.

    I was going to build something similar for a travel guitar, but then I found this Peavey Rockmaster with internal headphone amp. Built in tuner and clean/drive channel options.

    PeaveyRM5.jpg PeaveyRM6.jpg
     
    JurnyWannaBe and speelyei like this.
  6. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    I travel for work full-time. Most times I drive, but sometimes I fly. I used one of those little Martin travel guitars, but I never got the hang of it. I lugged around a practice amp and a parts Tele, and a little battery powered amp. Got sick of the cords and all that. Tried dragging my acoustic along, but it’s a little fragile for the banging around and weather extremes.
    So, I decided I wanted the toughness of a solid body electric, and it would also be a slimmer instrument for overhead airline baggage compartments.
    I tried headphones, but just didn’t care for the dangling wires, the adapter in the jack, all the “mucky-muck”, as Nigel Tufnel would say.
    Plus, I’ve got a buddy I sometimes work with who always has his acoustic, so it’d be nice to play along.
     
  7. Michael7

    Michael7 Dr. Squier Gold Supporting Member

    I understand completely. Headphones aren't my favorite things either, and a poor substitute for the real thing. Cool that you have somebody to jam with occasionally while on the road!
     
    JurnyWannaBe and speelyei like this.
  8. brians

    brians Squier-holic

    Age:
    50
    Oct 1, 2017
    South Africa
    That's very impressive work, and you could put it back to a normal Strat if you wanted. Clever.

    Well done, for someone who didn't know much about how to do it, you outdid yourself.
     
    JurnyWannaBe and speelyei like this.
  9. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    Thanks, Brians! It was a fun project, and turned out as good as I hoped for.
     
    brians and drewcp like this.
  10. Very interesting. Welcome.
    Cheers, Barrie.
     
    speelyei likes this.
  11. Big tuna

    Big tuna Dr. Squier Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2014
    east Tn
    Now that is cool nice work.
     
    speelyei likes this.
  12. LonePhantom

    LonePhantom Squier-Meister

    Age:
    41
    172
    Jul 17, 2019
    Canberra, Australia
    That's pretty cool. Now you've just got to build in a dirty channel. A simple distortion circuit could probably do it, with a switch. ;)
     
    speelyei likes this.
  13. Lonn

    Lonn Squier-holic

    Age:
    58
    Dec 19, 2009
    Carmel IN
    Incredibly cool.
     
    speelyei likes this.
  14. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    More than a dirty channel, I’d like a reverb.

    I’m spending a lot more time perusing places like Stew Mac. Who knows what the future holds?
     
    fattboyzz likes this.
  15. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    55
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Welcome to Squiertalk !

    Looks an sounds real nice !

    Great job ;)
     
    speelyei likes this.
  16. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    Thanks fattboyzz!

    since part of my inspiration came from a 10 year old thread on another guitar bulletin board, I decided to post the process on here. So... for whoever might find this useful in the future...

    the handheld makita router worked like a champ. If I were to do it over again, I’d make an oversized base plate out of something I could see through.

    also, the soldering videos on YouTube were critical to my success.

    the soldering iron I purchased at Home Depot did a fine job of heating, and the led lights were helpful... BUT...
    Included in the package was a coil of lead-free solder that is incompatible with the tips!!!
    I could not figure out what was going on, and had to resort to sandpaper and steel wool to clean the tips aggressively after every connection. A little online snooping after the fact revealed the problem.

    Also, a word of warning... what was intended to be a one-off project may become a strong interest. I never, ever had any interest in wrenching on guitars. My attitude was the same as Oddball, from Kelly’s Heroes... “hey man, I just ride ‘em, I don’t know what makes ‘em work”.
    Well, now I know a bit more than I did, and I already have plans for two more projects.
     
  17. mdparent03

    mdparent03 Squier-holic

    May 6, 2013
    Beaumont, CA
    speelyei likes this.
  18. speelyei

    speelyei Squier-Meister

    Age:
    48
    138
    Sep 22, 2020
    Mesa, AZ
    I saw those! I’d be really curious to sit and play one, of course. Other model guitars/manufacturers I found that have speakers and amps built-in are First Act, Pignose, Fernandez, Mosrite (!), Gretsch Symphonic, and EP Guitars.