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Building a pedal using a schematic

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mzclark06, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. mzclark06


    Oct 1, 2013
    Knoxville, TN
    So, I've just recently started getting into effects, and it's been taking a toll in my wallet. While I know that I won't be able to perfectly recreate the sound of a professionally manufactured pedal, I've decided that I'd like to try my hand at building a fuzz pedal from a schematic that I found on the internet (specifically, the Z Vex Wooly Mammoth). I was wondering exactly where I may purchase all of the supplies for the project, and if you all have any advice before I start it.
  2. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    BYOC (build your own clone) has lots of its own kits, including good starters to get going in the DIY pedal thing. They also have a parts storefront and a forum community of builders.

    PedalPartsPlus is good spot for parts, as well as Mammoth Electronics.

    There's also a bit of a DIY community at ilovefuzz.com along with some links to helpful resources stickied in some of their forums.
  3. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    Word of warning, you probably won't come out ahead if you are not going to commit to this as hobby... meaning you're better off just buying a kit from GGG, Mommoth Electronics, or BYOC if you are only planning on building one pedal. Sourcing all the parts is cheaper when you buy in bulk, but will be frustrating if you are only sourcing parts for one pedal.

    Tayda is cheap for most basic components. Mammoth is usually who I use for domestic items.
  4. TRyan5289


    Jul 18, 2012
    Davenport, Iowa
    Mouser also has all the parts you will need.
  5. mzclark06


    Oct 1, 2013
    Knoxville, TN
    How expensive might it be for this to be an actual hobby? I'm willing to buy all of the tools and such to get going, as long as my first build goes okay. I'm an engineering student; I love hands on projects. Also, in your guys' experience, how willing are other musicians to purchase these home-built pedals? I know quite a few, and I could definitely justify getting into it if I have a way to at least break even on the pedals I won't be personally using.
  6. I guess we're sorta the same then. Except I'm younger!
    I get parts from Mouser, but I usually only place large orders so that I don't end up paying for shipping every time a do a project. I usually do a couple or three at once.

    One place that's REALLY cheap (as in pots for 50 cents) is Futurlec, especially in the shipping department. But, as always, there's a catch. It takes a month for parts to reach you from Asia. So, you're best off going with Mouser or Digikey.
  7. I have had good luck getting switches, lights, and boxes from pedalpartsplus.

    I built and effects switcher for less than I could get one commercially although the recent Joyo offerings are excellent value.

    The entry cost for the electronics work is low, mostly the soldering iron, wire cutting and stripping tools, a heat gun for shrink tubing, and vero board. If you want to get into machining your own boxes, the cost could rapidly go up.

    I also suggest starting with a kit to get a sense for what it takes to fully complete a project like this. You can make a more informed decision about whether or not you want to go full DIY after that.
  8. Wagz


    May 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Also, pick a project that has circuit board layouts or how-to photos for your first project instead of trying to convert schematics into an actual pedal.
    It'll save you a lot of wiring headaches and make troubleshooting a lot easier for you first couple of pedals. Elegant wiring based on just a schematic is a skill that takes practice.
  9. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    A lot of people build simple effects using "stripboard". Apparently it's common in Europe but not here - but of course is available via mail order here from most of the suppliers previously mentioned (Pedal Parts Plus, Smallbear Electronics, Mammoth Electronics, ect.)

    Do an internet search for "stripboard wooly mammoth" and see what pops up.

    Buy and learn how to use a multimeter (a.k.a. volt-ohm meter) they cost as little as $10 for a basic one, if you can spend about $50 for one you can get one that measures capacitance, which is very handy.

    Practice soldering before starting on your project. Even if it's just soldering a bunch of wires to a piece of junk circuitboard, get a "feel" for soldering so to don't fry components or cause the copper traces to lift off the circuitboard, both are common newbie mistakes cause by overheating solder joints.
  10. mzclark06


    Oct 1, 2013
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks for all the information guys! I'm a bit tentative about starting on such a complicated pedal, so I'll probably take your advice and start with a kit and get experience before I try anything too difficult.