In Make: volume 04, I presented my version of the venerable cigar box guitar, which included an electric pickup so you could play the guitar through an amplifier.

People from around the world emailed me to tell me they’d built cigar box guitars based on my instructions. I struck up a conversation with one gentleman from Europe who goes by the moniker Blind Lightnin’ Pete. He made a couple of beautiful cigar box guitars, including one he calls the Vintage Blues Texas Rattlesnake Special model. He then went one step further, and built a cracker box guitar amplifier.

This outstanding little amp cost me all of $5 to build, since I had some parts lying around (you’ll spend more like $30 if you buy all the parts from scratch). Pete kindly allowed me to modify his design and present it as a project for you to build. (See Step 8 for a word from Pete about the origins of the cracker box amp.)

My amp differs a little from Pete’s because I wanted to make a workable little practice amp with parts and tools that could be purchased “one-stop shop” at RadioShack and built in an hour.