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How to make effect pedals?
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You are currently reading a thread in /diy/ - Do It yourself

Thread replies: 33
Thread images: 9
Hey /DIY/ First time posting here,

I was wondering if anybody knew anything about making guitar effect pedals ala Dwarcraft, Old Blood Noise Endeavors, etc. I've been trying to find a basis to start with, but I really dont know where to start. Ive seen a few guides online, Such as http://www.guitarpcb.com/PDF%20Files/A%20Beginners%20Guide%20to%20Effects%20Pedal%20Components.pdf, http://www.guitarpcb.com/PDF%20Files/Crash%20Course.pdf.

But I dont really know where to start. Any ideas? Im just wondering what kind of electronics course I should take or something. I wanna know how to make my OWN effects, not follow a pre-built thingy.
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Gonna bump with Guitar pedal porn
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Welcome to /diy/
I don't know how much of a warm welcome you are going to get.
You have some guides but don't know where to start? Try reading them?
Do you understand anything about electricity? Perhaps start there.

You don't need to bump your thread with pictures of pedals. Most of the people here I assume gathered what you were taking about in the op without any extra hints. We are a very slow board your thread will survive more than 2 minutes.
Start with ohms law and go from there. You'll eventually need an oscilloscope and a function generator.
>OWN effects, not follow a pre-built thingy.
well, most pedals are just modified versions of other older designs.
zvex boner boost is a simple fet boost i guarantee he didn't design it.
zvex octane is a modified univox super fuzz.
the fuzz factory(my first build) is a fuzz face with adjustable bias, feedback and starve.
the little I've seen from dwarfcraft is glichy-ass pedals made from cmos inverters.
I*m not saying its not cool, the whole business is iterative

build some stock pedals, then mess around with them.
if you still feel motivated to learn and design, just google transistor amplification (class A).
there is a LOT of info in this.

I've built about 15 pedals. many from scratch, but never 100% my own design.
why? because pedals are very simple and you would have to do something very unorthodox to be 100% original.

this isn't oil painting in the 1600, it's applied physics.

i found this a while ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrj7XrCliKY
pretty complicated so I'm gonna wait for pcb's to come back in stock.
more of a synth than a pedal i suppose
one more thing.
Isn't it a bit arrogant to think that you can enter a field with no experience and believe that you can just think of and build something no one has built before? with others help no less?
No. That's how new things are created
by people how have no idea what they are doing and never learned the fundamentals?

seriously, build some kits. its fun.
make the typical mods of swapping diodes and transistors etc.
learn transistor biasing.
learn to read schematics.
make something from scratch.

then you'll have the knowledge to make a perfectly bland fuzz or overdrive.
If you wanted to take a class, just about any introductory electronics course would start you off with the theory you need. If you wanted a book, The Art Of Electronics would be a good start.

However, the other anon is right. Guitar electronics as a whole is extremely derivative. The first fender amps were based on the RCA tube manuals of the time, then the marshalls on them and so on until today. Pedals are largely the same. Things get interesting when you get to modulation, but again, those effects usually follow the same structure (input - delay line - feedback - mix - output, etc). To be an effective "designer", you must look at the prior work around you. You learn to write by learning to read first, you know what I mean? Write as creatively as you want, but you're still organizing your words (components) into sentences (topologies) and then into paragraphs (circuits). You can make the book (pedal) as flashy as you want, but there's really nothing new under the sun.

As far as good suppliers, I like tayda electronics for guitar pedal stuff. Straight from china and almost as cheap as bulk pricing. Mouser and digikey are the two others that I like to use when I need something special. Smallbear and pedalpartsplus are pretty good, but much more expensive than tayda.

Once you have a grasp of basic electronics, GEOFEX is an amazing resource for guitar pedal theory specifically. It's R.G. Keen's site. Read all of it.

diystompboxes is probably the best forum for pedals on the internet. Zero shitposting or flaming and an amazing wealth of knowledge dating back to the early 2000's. Most pedal manufacturers today probably started there.

Good luck! Pedals are a lot of fun.
Also, be aware that the industry is moving away from through hole components. Everything guitar pedal/amplifier related, aside from digital, has been around since the 80's at the latest. The frontier now is definitely digital, though that is much harder to get into, in my opinion.
To figure out how to make something completely original, you would first need to know everything that has already been built so you know that what you're doing is original.

no, its not fucking complicated. put components together. see what happens. repeat.

a fucking monkey could do the mechanical part and a child could do the conceptual part.
sure, experimentation is necessary for innovation.
but with no knowledge of electronics what so ever?
not learning ANYTHING first?

>no, its not fucking complicated. put components together. see what happens. repeat.
electronics isn't fucking lego.
you cant just combine shit willy-nilly.

why are you arguing against learning?
electronics is the greatest thing ever, why not learn about this amazing set of skills?
my set, I just replaced the a concentric knob on the FDR-1, easy to kick and damage btw
yes reverb, I love the clean tone of my mesa boogie 5-50
small bear electronics has a nice catalogue of DIY parts for effects pedals

This website will teach you everything.
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Fairly new to building pedals, had a question about how to wire the transformer in the circuit. It's a 10k:10k transformer, is it as simple as using pins 1 and 3 or 4 and 6?

Also, best way to put holes in the enclosure? Can a handheld drill put holes through aluminum?
>is it as simple as using pins 1 and 3 or 4 and 6?
yes, its a transformer being used as an inductor i guess.

>Can a handheld drill put holes through aluminum?
a battery drill or like an eggbeater/brace?
with a metal bit in it sure.
you could hold a metal droll bit in your hand and cut aluminium.
it would take a long time though.
googled that thing.
very interesting.
that transformer is a bit expensive, thought.

maybe build the circuit and try different inductors instead?
You can go on freestompboxes.org/ , there is a section for beginners.

Also, tonepad.com gives you many schematics and layout.

I build my first pedal 5 years ago, I didn't know anything in electronics, it was a really easy fuzz effect using CD4049.

Go on aliexpress, buy yourself cheap components (1/2W resistors; plastic capacitors, transitors you need) and plays with a computer power supply.

If you are really new (no tools) and you just want to make one clone, it's gonna be expensive.
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made some progress on my most recent pedal project.
this is a quad delay made by a dude called dead astronaut.
his demo of it:

lookingforward to finish it, but im busy this weekend so it'l be next week.
after that I'll be building a pharaoh fuzz clone.
a fun big muff based fuzz with a neat "highs" pot for blending in highs as necessary.
I've been building pedals since I was in my mid teens, and I've never used anything other than a multimeter.
Don't worry about accumulating thousands of dollars of equipment yet. Or ever. Unless you work on large projects like amps, or want to engineer, etc...

However, spend at least $90 on a soldering iron. Get a hakko FX-888D station. You'll thank yourself.

Perhaps start with kits, then move on to either using strip boards, or making your own PCB.

Go to the website tagboardeffects for plenty of layouts and info.
I actually built the Great Destroyer from Dwarfcraft, and the Supersonic Fuzz Gun from Death by Audio. Those pedals seem to be of your interest.

I've never built a kit, and have only ordered parts. Even my first pedals, and it's frustrating as hell when you forget to order parts, or have to troubleshoot, but if you're neat and careful about it, the pedal will work the first try. My first boost pedal, which was tiny didn't work, but my much more complicated big muff did. Imagine that...
I have parts for a Foxx Tone Machine and a tremolo pedal shipping in from Tayda right now.
while i agree with all of this, i still like to buy pcbs for more complicated effects.
its and effort/time versus money thing sometimes.

i still source all parts myself.
got everything but special parts at work anyway.

granted, you'll learn so much more from building from scratch.
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Had this pic forna while
fun sources:
http://shop.pedalparts.co.uk/ (nicely detailed pdfs and cheap pcbs.)
I have a couple of questions about this

Is it cheaper to make instead of buy pedals?

What if i have never worked with electronics/soldering before? any comprehensive guides on making simple pedals before you move on to bigger shit?

can you buy parts for virtually anything (delay, wah, random schematics from some asian website from 1992)?

How do you troubleshoot if a pedal is not working once you wanna test it and everything is set but it doesnt work?
1. read the thread
2. ask something more specific.
>Is it cheaper to make instead of buy pedals?
for me, who already has the tools and a lot of parts, yes. discounting hours of work.
getting the tools, like a proper iron etc. will cost you a bit.
most parts are cheap on ebay, buy park kits for resistors and caps.

trying and failing is a big part of the learning curve here if you are starting from no experience.
very doable though.
I'm willing to wager most people who hobby build effects for themselves are novices with no official training.
I have an electronics background, so i can't tell you how it is very accurately.

however, If your primary motivation is to save money, then dont start.
you won't get far and you'll just have wasted time and money on tools.

Thread replies: 33
Thread images: 9
Thread DB ID: 481399

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