Music Technology

John Wilson of Minneapolis, MN, created the Stella Amp, his own twist on the cigar box amp.

The Stella Amp is a portable battery powered guitar amplifier! Perfect for making your own mini-practice amp, cigar box amplifier, headphone amplifier, or any other kind of battery powered amplifier you can think of.

Engineered for a good clean tone, the Stella amp uses a TBA820M for the back end, with a rail-to-rail opamp on the front end for maximum headroom. But unlike other amps, you don’t have to crank it to get it to sound good! The Stella amp was designed in an apartment late at night while my kids were sleeping. Anything that didn’t sound good at low volume levels got fixed early in the process.

Many mini-amps use an LM386 for the power stage. The LM386 has a,,, shall we say, characteristic sound. If you love that sound, then great! If you’re not a fan of the LM386, or if you just want a little versatility, then check this amp out!

John sells these kits for $35 a pop, though they’re on sale until 10/23 at five dollars off.

16 thoughts on “The Stella Amp, a Cigar Box Guitar Amp

  1. Oooooo! Just found this and I’m likin’ it alot. Hope they’re still for sale John. I’m a St Louis Park resident myself!


    1. They are still for sale!

      Although I recently upgraded my store software. Everything appeared to work, but if you are having any problems ordering then drop me a line at and I’ll be glad to help.

      I’m sorry I don’t have a local pickup option for shipping but if you drop me an e-mail before you order we can probably work something out. :) If you’ve got any questions about the kit itself you can post on the forums.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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