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Do It Yourself (DIY) Projects
As a kid, I toyed with electronics. It was a natural complement to my guitar playing. For years now, I have built, modified and designed electronic circuits for my personal use, for friends and associates.  

In 1988, I founded Conte Electronic Design, a small “music electronics” company dedicated to amp modifications, guitar electronics and custom guitar rig switching systems. Although this company never expanded beyond my garage, I learned a tremendous amount about modifying equipment for control and better tone, flexibility and reliability. I specialized in amplifier and effects switching systems. At the time, the “in thing” was to build a “Preamp + Effects + Power Amp” type of guitar rig. I also offered several modifications to Fender and Marshall amps including high gain alterations, master volume, channel switching, a unique “volume boost mod” and a few other powerful modifications

Below are a few projects for your review. I have included lots of pictures, a few sound samples,  helpful hints and links to other DIY sites for those of you who are interested. Please email me with any questions, criticisms or comments. 

Finally, I encourage you to read this article HERE on Guitar Amp Evolution prior to working on your amp modifications. It’s a very good explanation on the history of guitar amp development.
Amp Projects
Pedal Projects
Guitar Projects
Fender Strat - Mod 1
New Suhr V60 Pickups and the BPSSC Silent System

Fender Strat - Mod 2
New Callaham Stainless Steel “CG” Bridge Saddles

Fender Strat - Mod 3
Replacing 5-Way Switch with a 
3-Way Switch

Hamer Custom Guitar
Installing new EMG Pickups

Telecaster - Bigsby Project
Why you should NOT install a Bigsby onto a Telecaster!

Fender Pro Reverb (1968)
Complete Overhaul

Tone Bone Repair
Replacement of both foot switches

Helpful DIY Books

Books, Education and DIY Guides

There are dozens of valuable resources online to help you become educated in the art of musical instrument repair, design and building. However, I highly encourage you to start by taking an introductory electronics course and learn electronic basics before attempting to do any work on your electronic equipment. More importantly, you must learn to take proper safety precautions when working on guitar amplifiers. Guitar amplifiers contain very high voltages that can KILL YOU if you are not using proper safety techniques. PLEASE READ THIS!

That being said, there are also some excellent books you can buy to educate yourself on all things electronic inside amplifiers and guitars (and pedals too).

Tube Guitar Amplifier Essentials (by Gerald Weber)

If you haven’t heard of Gerald Weber, now is the time to learn. Gerald is an invaluable resource for learning how to work on and build old vintage style amplifiers. Check out his web
site to learn more about Gerald, his history, and his infamous guitar tube work shops around the country. I have a few of his books and I find them not only informational but entertaining. The Tube Guitar Amplifier Essentials book is his latest work and offers thousands of tips on modifications and repairs. He also offers an excellent DVD package on servicing and overhauling tube amplifiers. Gerald also writes a monthly column in Vintage Guitar Magazine. He is very knowledgeable and seems to enjoy sharing his years of experience in tube amp building and repair. Also, check out Gerald’s website, Kendrick Amplifiers.

Inside Tube Amps (by Dan Torres)

This book is actually my favorite tube amp education book. It is easy to read and
comprehend. Dan Torres does an first rate job at describing how tube amp electronics work, how the electron flows through the amp, and the basic compartments of a guitar tube amplifier. This book also gives you easy diagrams to read and offers a variety of DIY modifications. Check out the Torres Engineering Web Site. It is full of DIY modification kits and other useful equipment and electronics. I have purchased and tried many of the modification kits on my Fender Deluxe Reverb and they work really well.

The Ultimate Tone (by Kevin O’Connor)

And finally, here is a more in depth book on modifying and custom building tube guitar amplifiers.
The author, Kevin O’Connor, is an expert at this trade and offers several books on this subject alone. This first volume explains the design, operation and modification of musical instrument amplifiers. He also explores basic tube function, concepts of distortion generation, sustain and preamp gain structures. Power amp principles are covered with an eye to improving reliability. It is a great book in my reference library and I refer to it over and over again.

Guitar Player Repair Guide (by Dan Erlewine)

Dan Erlewine wrote many articles on guitars for Guitar Player magazine. This books is t
he 2nd edition in his series on set up, maintaining and repair of electric and acoustic guitars. It is very well laid out and takes you step-by-step through some basic set up and repair techniques. I used to be afraid to work on my own guitars until I got this book. I still think working on guitars is an art form but for basic repairs and set up, I can now do a decent job (at least I think so).

Click HERE to see my links page on DIY resources and other helpful information sites.