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A good place to start is a little solid state amp like the smokey with a speaker out, build a few cabs and learn about that design, wiring multiple speakers etc, practice soldering and electronics stuff, how to make a cabinet actually sound good, speakers etc.
Then I would start with a circuit like the ruby/little gem/smokey learn practice soldering to a board with a simple amp.
At that point you should be able to start designing your own stuff, modifying, try your hand at tube amp kits, whatever direction you want to take it.
The LM386 is definitely the way to go. They're cheap and plentiful. There's all kinds of info on the net on how to build a 386 amp, most notably in Altoids tins. Sites like Instructables are a good place to start. You can also search YouTube for assembly videos.
Runoffgroove.com is well worth a look. They have a page on LM386 amps...
Also Beavis Audio has some interesting stuff on simple amps.
But probably the best thing to do is to look at the existing amps group on CB Nation (titled "It Goes To 11")
Bought a really cool (heavy duty) box today at a garage sale... might be a little big for a traditional CBG amp though. Pic is on my wall- any advice? Kits for a DIY amp with more wattage out there? Cant find anything...
If it works then its good.