Clean boost for guitar (or bass)

This is a transparent, clean guitar booster for solo’s and other times when you need a couple of extra dB’s. No ’boutique’ or other mojo-bullshit here, just a simple volume boost!

You can also use it to get some more gain out of an amp or distortion pedal. The circuit is a very common amplifier circuit built around a TL071-opamp. Other opamps can be used as well, but the TL071 is cheap and produces very little noise.

The ‘Boost’-knob controls the amount of boost, but can also attenuate the signal so you can use it as a sort of pre-settable volume knob.

Here’s the schematic:
Opamp Booster v1.0

Notes:

  • The maximum gain of this circuit is about 10 dB. If you need more (which I doubt), increase R2 (or decrease R1).  The gain A = 20*log(1+(R2/R1))
  • Rp is optional, it’s a pulldown-resistor to avoid ‘switch-popping’ when the effect is turned on.
  • The circuit also acts as a buffer since it has a high input impedance (about 1 MOhm). This will give you more overall ‘clarity’ (high frequencies) when you’re using long cables.
  • The booster is preferably used at the very end of the effect chain, just before the signal goes into the amp-input (or FX-return when using your amp’s effect loop).

Update: andre has provided a PCB layout for the booster:

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43 Responses to Clean boost for guitar (or bass)

  1. mike says:

    Thanks! I am going to build a bass boost for my fender using this schematic!

  2. erick says:

    i build this preamp with 14 db and have a brutal gain the best preamp

  3. Mark says:

    “If you keep R1 10k, and change R2 to 47k, the gain will be about 15 dB”

    Just re-read your post above:

    Do you mean keep R1 100K (not 10K) and change R2 to 47K?

    • Jeroen says:

      Sorry,
      R1 should stay 100k
      R2 should be changed to 470k

      So there were two errors in my previous post :)

      Then the gain will be 20*log(1+(470/100)) = 15,11 dB

  4. Paul says:

    This circuit is similar to the BBE Boosta Grande which also uses the TL071 opamp. But the Boosta Grande rolls off the highs as the volume is turned up. Does this circuit do the same thing? If so, can a component be substituted to stop the high freq rolloff?

  5. Filip says:

    This is the best booster and sound’s amazing but i have a serious “pop” when i turn “ON/OFF”!I already put 1M pulldown resistor from effect input to ground, but it’s same!Please help me

  6. Paul says:

    This preamp sounds GREAT! :D Since I built this for bass I changed C1 to a 4.7uF metal film cap to let more bass through. I also changed UI to a LT1351 and the pot to a 25K log taper. More than enough gain for bass

  7. Burak says:

    i’ll go and make it now, thank you very much.

  8. gogiche says:

    Hello,
    Can you please send me the dimensions of the PCB so that I can have best fit :)

    p.s. Sorry about the stupid question I’m just a hobby’st.

  9. gogiche says:

    OK I got it…I made it and I have a small problem…Im having a serious buzz when the pot is from 0- 6 o’clock then the buzz is disappearing…Any help?

  10. larry says:

    where should i add diodes to make this into a distortion?

  11. joe says:

    this thing sounds good, i built one and put a couple diodes at the end and get good distortion. how can i wire 2 of these in series to boost the sound from the distortion one in front of a clean one?

  12. Filip says:

    This is the best booster and sound’s amazing but i have a serious “pop” when i turn “ON/OFF”!I already put 1M pulldown resistor from effect input to ground, but it’s same!Please help me because it sound’s killer for me!

  13. Allan Belt says:

    Hello, greetings from Peru.. awesome booster .. just one advice.. if you want to mod it for 15dB output have to change only R2 to 470K on the schematics .. but on Layout you have to change R5 to 470K not R2 . Thanks Folks.

  14. Leon says:

    Jeroen thanks for sharing it, now is one of my favorite boosters, pretty clean, I’m running it at 12v for more headroom, works great.

  15. Dave says:

    I have just built one of these and used a NE5534 and changed R1 to 4K7 and R2 to 47K and it sounds great but what I would like to know, is there a way of cutting the highs by changing any of the components rather than having to add a tone control? Cheers.

    • Paul says:

      you can add a cap between 10uF output and the 10K pot. wire the other end of the cap to ground. start at maybe 500pf and work your way up until you find the cap that gives you the rolloff you want

  16. johnny says:

    hello guys
    i’ve built the booster but i got a serious problem with it
    when I plug everything in,I get a lot of hiss and the signal is amplified only a bit;where could the problem be?

  17. MadMatt says:

    What components control the frequencies for amplyfying?

    • Paul says:

      It’s a flat boost so all frequencies are boosted evenly. It’s like turning up all the sliders on a EQ to the same positions

    • Gman says:

      Usually in most simple transistor and opamp circuits the coupling capacitors, i.e. the 100nF at base(input side) and the 10uF at the collector(output side), set the frequency range. Depending on the values one can increase or decrease the bandwidth of the range. Just search around for the equations or if you want and engineering electronics textbook reference: Electronic Principles, 8th edition by David Bates. Look at chapter 16 to calculate the most efficient cap values/frequency range. For a more in depth look at transistor based amplifier design look through chapters 6-9. The books is a good read for those wanting to have a greater understanding of electronics.

  18. Thanks for this simple circuit, without any change in the given circuit, it solved my need of preamp. I inhoused it in a hair cream small box and I also installed another PCB into small 3W Chinese rechargeble small speaker and now using it as practice amp which runs smooth on 4V also…\m/.

    You can check my instructable for that.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Clean-boost-for-electric-guitar/

  19. AndrewF says:

    Thanks for this!
    I used a TL072 and doubled the circuit with a dual gang pot to make a stereo version:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhZSOzaAG8I

    :)

  20. Daniel says:

    instead of the two resistors of 2m2 can i use 1m5?any difference of sound or noise?

  21. Pingback: Preamps 101 | My Audio Adventures

  22. Moisés Peña says:

    Thanks for the circuit, and the by-pass button?

  23. Moises says:

    And the by-pass switch?

  24. denz says:

    is jrc4558d ic can be use in this circuit?

  25. Angel says:

    HI! i have one question how do I connect the input and output, I really tried but nothing
    please!!!! help!!!! thanks!!!

  26. Sergio Veloso says:

    Hello, great circuit ! Could anyone help me to insert the booster inside a Dunlop Crybaby GCB95 ? I am a guitar player, not a tech… but I like to tweak a thing or two ! I built the circuit, just a 3,5 x 2,5cm small board, now I would like to fit inside the wah carcass with the potenciometer on the side, to control gain.

    Thanks in advance.

    Original GCB95 circuit:
    http://www.electrosmash.com/images/tech/crybaby/cry-baby-wah-gcb-95-schematic-parts-small.jpg

  27. someone says:

    Sorry but i am an electronic idiot..
    Could someone tell me where is the on/off footswich on this schematic?
    Please tell me how to plug it.

    And sorry again for my bad English if i made mistakes i am foreigner…

  28. Nero says:

    Hi!

    Why does the opamp need only a positive power supply and no negative.
    I see the negative DC is wired to the ground…

    Nero

  29. GarryGirthOak says:

    Would i need to change any values so i could pump 18 volts into this thing? Im thinking of modding this to have 15 db of gain, i am acquainted with the other comments made on this ie. Keep R1 100k and R2 470k.

    Also I am thinking of using this boost circuit in a A/B pedal, what do you think of this schematic. EDIT: forgot to add ground terminal on op-amop…pretend it’s there ;)

  30. Casper says:

    Would it be possible to remove the output pot and replace R2 with a (logarithmic) pot? I know this should work in theory but I just want to be sure.

  31. Celso Ferrarini says:

    Hello.
    I want to know if its safe to plug the output to a mic input in the computer soundcard. My notebpok does not have line in. Are there any impedance or voltage issues since its line signal?I dont want to damage the mic impit. I thought adding a resistor or voltage divider on the output.

    thanks
    Celso

  32. Barn says:

    Doofus question probably, plus i think i figured it out but… this needs a biased / bipolar power supply no? It’s not built in?

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