Guitars, Pedals, Kits, Oh My!
November 6, 2018 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a Christmas present for my adult son who is a programmer and has some interest in electronics and guitars. Maybe a kit?

I found the pedalSHIELD UNO, but further Googling brings a host of possibilities. I really don't know about the features and levels of difficulty or usefulness. Or the reliability of the sources. So, what's good, and what's not.
posted by SemiSalt to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I built a Classic Overdrive from Build Your Own Clone a few years ago and it’s been great. I have minimal electronics and soldering experience but had a blast making it and felt like I really accomplished something. And now I use it all the time! I guess if you go the pedal kit direction, which pedal you pick would depend on what sort of sound he’s interested in and what pedals he already has- there are a ton of different pedals out there.
posted by ghostbikes at 7:04 AM on November 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

People I know in a similar boat love the Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering.

Here's a demo.
posted by supercres at 7:28 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Build Your Own Clone for a traditional analog fx pedal kit. Pedal-Pi for a low-end programmable digital pedal kit, or the OWL for a high-end programmable digital pedal (US source).

Does he already have a soldering iron? The Hakko FX-888D is pretty much the standard for a decent beginner/intermediate hobbyist.
posted by bradf at 8:41 AM on November 6, 2018

The BYOC recommendations are on point, I think those are also almost guaranteed to go over well.

Depending on the level of interest in electronics, a book might be a good idea, too. I'll pitch a few things out:

Knows almost nothing: Radio Shack Basic Electronics (

Has built a few things: Horowitz and Hill _The Art Of Electronics_ (This is a classic text on the basics of electric circuit theory and practice) (

Advanced, interested in guitar amps: The Ultimate Tone Vol. 1 (
posted by billjings at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't get the Build Your Own Clone value proposition. It's $75 just to get the parts to build a pedal equivalent to a $25 Behringer fuzzbox. If you are going to make your own primitive effects they should be cheap and weird or at least somehow better than an off the shelf product.

Your pedalSHIELD UNO looks interesting, as does the Pedal-Pi but they don't seem to include a case, or other important parts. I like the idea of being able to program your own effects though.
posted by w0mbat at 10:42 AM on November 6, 2018

My personal recommendation would be the Into The Unknown guitar synth. Judging by the circuit board, it looks like a pretty easy build. Or maybe a Klon clone.
posted by cazoo at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2018

Great suggestions. I could have gone with most any of them. I've decided to stick with the pedalSHIELD UNO, mostly because of the programming aspect which plays to my son's strength.

Thanks to all.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:12 AM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

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