Am starting out building cbg's and as I already have a small 20w amp and speakers will want to play around with making my noise loud.  I do not understand what type of pickup to use and whether a pre-amp is needed nor do I know how to reach a conclusion.  So - an easy to follow intro would be appreciated. Tks.

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My 2 cents, get the red dot pickup from gitty.

https://www.cbgitty.com/cigar-box-guitar-parts/the-red-dot-stick-on...

a piezo crystal makes electricity when it's vibrated, and you can plug that right straight into the amp.

that's the basics. 

the next step up is a mag pickup.

https://www.cbgitty.com/guitar-instrument-parts/cigar-box-guitar-pa...

it also makes electricity, but from a guitar string waving around right close in front of it, like a tiny generator, and that you can also plug straight into your amp.

You don't have to have volume and tone controls, you can do all that with the amp's controls.

Let's get some answers first. Because you have lots of options here. 

Are you looking for a simple clean sound?

Do you want to use distortion and rock out?

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