Monsterfuzz wants to rocks your world
September 9, 2010 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend who would like to learn the mechanics of building effects pedals for guitars.

He was working on prototypes with a friend who flaked on him, and he loved the work but doesn't really know where to start on his own. He's bought a breadboard kit but has realized that it won't help him too much with what he's trying to do. He says he's not interested in 'learning to build a crystal radio' - he wants to know how to design the wiring that will produce 'the sounds I hear in my head'. Does anyone have any recommendations for a book or maybe an online resource that deals with this type of electronics? Or how to best find a class or school that would meet his needs?
posted by kittyloop to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Craig Anderton's book, Do-it-yourself projects for musicians, is probably a good place to start.

Building clones of existing effects is also probably a decent way to get some construction experience and maybe pick up a little of how some of the basic stuff works, like how true bypass works, etc.

Actually designing new effects... is going to be very tough without some EE experience. There are a few computer environments you can make plugins for, though. Depending on his programming experience that might be easier, I dunno.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:51 AM on September 9, 2010

A good friend of mine does this (and everything else related to guitar pedals...). There are kits around, as well as building from scratch. Pretty much all of his knowlege, projects, purchases and trades of gear start with an obsession with the Harmony Central forums. The effects sub-forum is here, and the DIY section is here.
posted by cgg at 7:59 AM on September 9, 2010

Best answer: My boyfriend is into this and buying old guitars and re-doing (?) them.

I've seen him on the following pages constantly:

DIY Guitarist

He has this book and this book. He has another one too. I don't remember the name - it's pretty old though.

Gets his parts (sometimes whole kits) from ebay usually. And some other site that I'm don't remember the name of.

He watches a lot of Youtube videos about it as well.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:00 AM on September 9, 2010

CGG reminded me - my boyfriend spends a lot of time on Harmony Central as well.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:01 AM on September 9, 2010

Best answer: A good site is Diystompboxes.
posted by doctord at 8:40 AM on September 9, 2010

Best answer: First they should read through this site Geofex. Especially the FAQs.

Otherwise, much of what is written above is good, and I would add the Build Your Own Clone and Free Stompboxes forums are usefully to anyone interested in pedal building.

Small Bear has some books on pedal building but I haven't read them but I've always wanted to buy them.

Actually designing new effects... is going to be very tough without some EE experience.

Sadly, I think this is true. Most effects these days are just variations on ones that have already been made. It's definitely possible to learn how to tweak existing circuits to make them better suit your needs though.

Most of the really different effects right now use programming more than basic circuits.

Finally, good luck!
posted by drezdn at 11:55 AM on September 9, 2010

I almost forgot, Circuit Workshop is a good resource for pedal focused electronics info.
posted by drezdn at 11:56 AM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, this has been very helpful, and I'll pass it along!
posted by kittyloop at 12:17 PM on September 9, 2010

Get the Stompbox Cookbook! It not only gives you complete designs with PCB layouts, but also teaches you things you need to know to design your own effects.
posted by springload at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2010

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