The Altone Guitar Amp Attenuator
The Altone Guitar Amp Attenuator
The Altone Guitar Amp Attenuator
I have an old Voice of Music 8810 mono Hi Fi amp from the fifties that I converted to a killer sounding Fender 5F1 Tweed Champ. Even though it's only a 4 watt amp, it sounds pretty massive when cranked through a full sized speaker like my JBL D130. At first, it seems strange to use an attenuator for such a small amp, but a dimed 4 watt amp can be very loud. I have several home built guitar amp attenuators but I thought I would build a small and simple attenuator just for this one, and the Altone was born.

Naturally I wanted to keep it unique like my other DIY guitar amp attenuators, so when I looked around my workshop for some kind of enclosure, I saw an Altoids mint tin which turned out to be just right to hold the parts needed. I know electronic gadgets have been shoehorned into Altoid tins before, but I think it's a first to use one for a guitar amp attenuator.

Of course this thing isn't high powered, yer not gonna be able to run your 100 watt Marshall through it, but the Altone works great with smaller amps rated up to about 15 watts RMS. Small tube amps in that range sure are popular these days. There are dozens of them on the market rated at about 5 watts on up. My VM Champ has great tone when cranked to its "Sweet Spot" where the power tube is overdriving, and the Altone lets me keep that sweet tone, at a lower volume. I have also run it with my Silvertone 1482, which is around 15 watts, and it works fine. It gets a little warm but the metal case acts as a heat sink to wick away the heat, plus I can open the lid for ventilation.

The Altone is a -6db attenuator. For example, if you have a Silverface Fender Champ, the wattage the speaker sees will be reduced from 6 watts to 1.5 watts.

Painfully simple to use, it has an input jack, an output jack, and a true bypass switch. You plug the output of the amp into the Altone, the output of the Altone goes to the speaker, and start rockin' out.

When I want full volume, the true bypass switch removes the Altone from the path completely, leaving a straight path from the amp to the speaker. 

I've built several of these Altone attenuators, in  4, 8, and 16 ohm impedances to match whatever your amp requires. If you are interested in buying one send me an email and I'll send you the details. The price is less than your average pedal.

The demo rig is my Les Paul copy into a Voice of Music 8809 rebuilt into a modified 5F1 circuit, driven by a Bad Monkey, into a D130 reconed by Weber speakers. Two clips, each full volume and then attenuated.
Links to other guitar amp attenuators I've built:
Home                                               My Gear