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Building Pedals for Beginners... this seems cool

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Matt Till, Jan 4, 2005.


  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Library/1355/beginners.html

    I think I'm going to do this. This whole electronics/wiring stuff is as scary as it was a few months ago.

    Anyone ever do this? Is this a decent pedal? It's probably for guitar, but I need a guitar distortion... plus it's more about the process than the pedal.

    Another question: When you "tweak your pedals" how do you know what does what? I mean how do you know what adds gain, what removes noise, etc.
     
  2. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Matt, I can't say how good that distortion would work. Never heard one.

    On how do you know which one does what, it should be labeled and that will give you an idea as to what each one does. Ultimately though its a matter of playing with the knobs. Trust me, you'll get it figured out real quick.

    On building them, they are not that hard. You might want to try one of the ones from Tonepad as they have printed circuitboards for many of them ready to go. Here is a link to their effects page: Tonepad Effects Projects

    I'm currently collecting the parts to build the "Real McTube" but there are alot more types of distortion pedals there also. Good luck.
     
  3. mksolid

    mksolid

    Jan 4, 2005
    Brooklyn
    To know what tweaking each part does you need some knowledge in electronic circuits.
     
  4. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Knowledge is for fools, I demand quick and easy answers. ;)


    Yeah... I figured. It just seems so strange to think about it abstractly. "I'm going to add this to this... and all of a sudden this sounds better."
     
  5. mksolid

    mksolid

    Jan 4, 2005
    Brooklyn
    You'd be amazed at how changing simple things like resistors and capacitors can change frequency response.
     
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    If you check out the Tonepad.com sight you can read some of the feedback on the pedals and the mods that the builders used on them to change their tones and such.
     
  7. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    All the answers are here.

    Ok.......maybe not all the answers........


    Remember, "sounds better" is subjective. If you really want to tinker, spend the extra $ and get a breadboard. Trust me. It's like a pegboard that all the parts can be plugged into. Beats the %$#& out of soldering and re-soldering and re-soldering and re-soldering. Not to mention getting results that reinforce what theory you pick up (frequency filtering, gain equations, signal clipping, etc)

    Wanna know what happens if you use 100k resistor instead of that 47k on the schem? Or how does it sound if you decrease that cap value from 0.1uf to 0.047uf over there? Just pop it off the board and pop in the other one. Too much fun. :D

    Or, get a ready to go PCB from General Guitar Gadgets or the like and stuff it.

    Not you, the PCB.
     
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Kelly and Ryan: Thanks for the ultra awesome links. :hyper:
     
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Ryan: We had breadboard back in high school in the Electronics class that I failed in high school. I just used it to make a little light bulb light up. I wasn't interested at the time... now I'm kicking myself.
     
  10. spidersbass

    spidersbass

    Nov 29, 2004
    Downtown L.A.
    at that tonepad website... do all those (eventually) pedals work for BOTH bass AND guitar or what?

    i wouldn't mind making my own pedal, i have WAY too much time on my hands
     
  11. Bump
     
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes, and don't forget about matching transistors. if one were to replace transistors with T. sockets, you could buy a whole pack of transistors, and just randomly swap them in-and-out (assuming correct pin-out, and components of even generally the same type), noting the sound. especially in two-transistor distortions, it really makes a difference because of the matching of the two.

    Joe
     
  13. I don't think the pedals care what you plug into them but you might care what comes out. I think tweakability is key. I built up an Omni-drive basically because it's got more dials and knobs than a 747 so I can dial in pretty much whatever tone I need. It's equally effective for both bass and guitar.

    +1 on matching transistors.
     
  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I <3 this thread.
     
  15. SirPoonga

    SirPoonga

    Jan 18, 2005
    Read through diystomboxes. For most effect you can just change the input and output capacitors to limit what frequencies go in and out of the effect.

    of cools sites out there. Start with diystomboxes and links there.
    www.smallbearelec.com
    www.moosapotamus.com
    And all the links from there on
     
  16. Sorry my web site has been down for days. Time to find a new host. :spit: Anyway...

    Instead of the Electra, I would strongly recommend building this... :cool:
    http://home-wrecker.com/bazz.html

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and go for the Buzz Box. You will be a bazillion times happier with the sound compared to the Electra... especially for bass! Try swapping the location of the two diodes (try the germanium one in the first position, silicon in the second). I prefer the sound of 2N2222 transistors in this circuit. But, try different ones to find your best sound.

    ~ Charlie
     
  17. SirPoonga

    SirPoonga

    Jan 18, 2005
    Yeah, moosapotamus is down but Charlie has bass sample along with guitar samples on many of the effects. One of the few sites to do that.
     
  18. dave_clark69

    dave_clark69 Guest

    Jan 17, 2003
    You should only build a pedal that you understand. it is much easier to tweak any pedail if you know why and how it makes that sound.

    It may also be in your best interest to change the board. i noticed that the board hasnt properly been made. Because its an audio circuit, you want to ground the board as much as you can. If you don't ground it you might get a bit of a background fuzz.
     
  19. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I find it difficult to tweak any pedail. Much more persnickitty than pedals, those pedails.

    Seriously, best beginner advice you could give, dave_clark69. Saying that will hopefully send someone web searching away about transistor gain and low/high pass filtering.


    As for the Bazz Fuzz and it's various incarnations, all I can say is make sure everything in front of your amp is attached to the floor. :D