#28) The $10 Guitar (And Piano)

Posted on Posted in Blog, Building Useless Stuff, Music, Season 1

Time: 2 Hours

Cost: $10-$50

Difficulty: Easy as Pie

Badassery: Not really increased, not sure why I wrote this here…WATCH THIS!

A Skill 3 Years in the Making

Almost 3 and half years ago I discovered a lonely old baby grand piano and an aggressively used tiger guitar in Value Village. As per the usual, they were both hidden underneath a pile of aggressively chewed up barbie dolls, booger incrusted hot wheels and popular play sets from the late 90s’s.

Being a reasonable man, I dug through the mess, promptly grabbed the instruments, payed my $5, took them home and did absolutely nothing with them for three and a half years. THAT CHANGED TODAY (more precisely, last week).

The source of a sweet sweet drum machine, 8 keyboard settings and a bunch of pissed off roommates.

After learning about electricity and soldering from the synthesizer skill, I figured the best thing to do would be to re-wire this badboy so I could plug it into an amp and include it in some tasty jams.

And Tasty they Were


How to Build Your Own $10 Guitar (Or Piano)


  • 1x Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • 1X Quarter Inch Audio Output
  • Some sort of instrument designed for kids from Value Village, Goodwill or a Big Boxed Store.
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill with a 1/4” drill bit

Putting ‘Er Together

As shown in the video, actually building this thing is not difficult by any means. All you need is a bit of knowledge on how to solder, and you’re pretty much good to go! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify the Speaker in the Instrument you found: For those of you who don’t know what a speaker looks like…please take the time to google it now. Also please take the time to look up things such as cars, planes and dogs as I imagine you would have trouble identifying those as well.
  2. Take that Bad Boy Apart: Typically involves removing a few screws, so that you can access the speaker with the soldering iron.
  3. Remove the wires that are connecting to the Speaker from the Chip Board: All toys with a built in speaker will have some sort of connecting wires traveling from the board creating the sounds, to the speaker itself. This is what you’re looking for. When you find this connection, remove the wires from the speaker using the soldering iron, while still keeping the other ends of the wires attached to the board.
  4. Re-attach those Wires to a Quarter Inch Output: Using the soldering iron, re-attach the wires to the quarter inch output, and you should be good to go! Before putting everything back together, be sure to test it to make sure it works. If it does, you are golden!
  5. Make a video: I would love to see what you guys can come up with. Have an old drumset you used as a kid? Hook it up. Have a talking doll you think would sound cool through an amp? Hook it up. I wanna see what you got! Post in the comments with a link, and I will send the individual with the best video a signed version of the tiger guitar 🙂

What Did I Learn?

I learned that despite the fact that I have yet to directly apply all of the skills I’ve learned over the past 6 months, they have a way of sneaking themselves into my life… for the better. From the basic understanding of electricity and soldering gained from the synth skill, I was able to turn two previously useless pieces of junk into something awesome (or slightly less useless pieces of junk)! If anything, the biggest take away from this week is that learning is never a waste of time.

Wanna start a business, but are afraid its gonna fail? Wanna ask that person out on a date, but are think they may reject you? WHO CARES! As long as you learned something in the process, it is 150% worth it.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll talk next week 🙂


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