Well my Oliva cigar box arrived yesterday along with the parts I had ordered, so let the amp build begin.
I would also like to give a shout out to C. B. Gitty on their quick shipping and the quality of parts sent. I was super impressed with how they packed the items to avoid shipping damage. Here is a picture of the electronic parts I will be using in the build.
Once you have all your parts together you will want to give some thought to how you want to place them in the cigar box. This will all depend on whether you want the box to stand up right or lie flat like in the picture. I will be making this one to stand in an up right position so will plan all my plugs and controls accordingly.
Here is a picture after most of the holes have been drilled. At this point one recommendation that I can suggest is to make sure you are using very sharp drill bits. Most of these guitar boxes are not solid wood and have veneer finishes that are notorious for ripping out or flaking on the backside when a dull drill bit passes through. I also pre-drilled all my holes with a 1\16 inch bit so that I didn’t have any of the larger drill bits wander on me.
When it came to the wiring, the only thing that was not documented very well was the polarity of the LED and the polarity of the Input jacket. It was not obvious what went where so a little research on the web was necessary to work things out. I also found it very helpful to have a “third hand” device to hold the parts while I soldered them.
Hope the above diagrams save you some time so you can focus on your build instead of learning electronics.
The instructions mention using hot glue to cover the LED leads and to help the LED from coming loose. This is not standard practice when dealing with electronics and I prefer to use the proper size heat shrink to cover all my solder joints, like in the picture below.
The only other thing that may cause people trouble is the fact that the instructions are not very clear on setting the gain trim pot on the control board. You will probably need to turn the pot to the most clockwise position. Mine was also turned right off so would not have worked properly and would have been extra time trying to figure out if I had received a defective unit or not. After I got to the end of the build and was installing the decorative corner caps I realized that once I have them installed I will not be able to change the battery easy as the lid is now sealed shut. This isn’t an issue if you leave them off, but I do like the dressed up look. So I will inevitably design a separate battery pack that I can plug into the back of the amp instead.
Other then a few things listed above this is a solid little amp. I plugged my Fender Strat into it right away and was grinding out some pretty cool blues sounds. It has a very unique sound and I can’t wait to hear it wail when I plug my next cigar box guitar with matching pick ups into it.
Hope you all enjoyed this build, if you have any questions or would like to enquire about having one built for you feel free to drop me a line.