Absolute beginner looking to get into electronics and pedal modification.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by DeadbeatLine, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    Hi all.

    I recently attended a local 'make your own DIY fuzz pedal' that was advertised as no experience required (I have absolutely zero electronic component knowledge whatsoever, total newbie) that ended up with me creating a very basic but very usable silicon fuzz pedal. Whilst the course was a beginners pedal building course, it certainly wasn't a beginners electronics course, more of a case of 'solder this component here and connect it to here' without explaining what each part is or does, or how the circuits work.

    Never the less it very much piqued my interest, and I'd love to be able to modify existing pedals with the knowledge of knowing what I'm changing and why it changes the sound, and potentially design my own in future. However, I'm finding it quite tricky to get into from a bare bones level, especially with it relating to a pedals/guitar specific approaches.

    Can anyone recommend any guides/starters/beginnings?I was thinking of getting a dummies guide to electronics but find it hard to focus on a guitar based aspect (i.e. how and why components affect the tone, etc)

    Any help? Thanks guys!
  2. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

  3. Something that really helped me back in the day, were the Babani books published in the UK in the 80's. I would guess the guitar specific ones are probably out of print. You'd have to search around the online secondhand book stores I'd think. They are like thin novel sized paperbacks. Each contains circuits and explanations for several progects. The titles were like; "projects for electric guitar", "Practical Musical Effects Units" etc, or words to that effect...

    Also check out Craig Anderton's two books. These have lots of projects with explanations. The one from the 70's is called "Electronic Projects for Musicians", and there's another one from the 90's, but I can't remember its name.

    You should definitely check out Rod Elliott's brilliant site.

    Also check out your local government colleges for electronics tech courses. You will learn the basic maths formulas, how to solder properly, part ID, etc. Here in Australia they are called TAFE colleges.

    In general, I'd also say get yourself a breadboard, a well lit workbench, a decent iron, some parts bins etc etc, and get building! There's really no substitute for getting your hands dirty.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
    Passinwind likes this.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Unless you are one of "those guys" who can just read a book and absorb it's contents no matter how technical, I would suggest taking a basic electronics course at your local community college.

    You can start building tomorrow by just following the instructions on various websites sites. Modding, and knowing what to mod and why, is a totally different ballgame altogether. I have a two year associates in electronics and I would have to scratch my head on some of that.

    As suggested above, having a breadboard for practice is a good idea. This allows you to build a circuit and try it out without soldering so you know what works and what doesn't.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    RobbieK covered most of my usual suggestions, but I'll just add that the FAQ section in the Amps Forum here is full of links to technical learning resources.
  6. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    Thanks so much for the fantastic replies guys! I guess wanting to be able to eventually be able to design my own circuits and pedals might be a stretch too far unless I fully commit into this as its essentially learning a whole new trade hahah. But i'll definitely try and better my understanding a little! Thank you.

    On a fun side note - I've dubbed my new DIY fuzz pedal the 'Grease Box' (good name for a fuzz eh?) Due to the amount of drill grease I accidentally got inside the box during construction! Ha!