Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#1
Hi GB&C,

in the last few months I have started to build some DIY guitar effect pedals. And now I finally came up with something that sounds really good.

I decided to build some more of these things to sell them to friends, locally or even on eBay.

And I wanted to share my experience building them with you guys, and to see if you have any input for me.

The pedal is based on an Em-Drive by Emerson Custom Guitars, but I have added some parts and tweaked it to my liking. But I have not finished experimenting with it yet. I also tried to get some of the best available parts to make it a high quality build.

Anyways, here is a picture of the first boxed up prototype I built. (Sorry for the crappy quality...)



I just ordered most of the parts to build some more of these. I'll just have to wait until they show up...

So, tell me what you guys think. Are you interested in the procedure of building some guitar pedals and want to see some more pictures?

edit: I am now finished with designing and improving the pedal, so these are actually for sale now.

Here are the full specs of the pedal:

- vintage voiced boost/overdrive effect
- very dynamic and transparent
- usable with a standard 9V DC power adapter (center negative)
- true bypass switching
- bright orange status LED, good visibility at every light level
- one volume and one gain control
- compact and solid metal enclosure
- protected against use of the wrong power supply
- very low noise while operating, no additional noise in bypass mode
- unique design, each pedal is hand painted and one of a kind:
- you get to choose what your pedal is going to look like
- best possible parts used (highly selected for optimal tone):
- high quality 3PDT footswitch for reliable true bypass switching
- Neutrik/Rean input and output jacks
- Alpha potentiometers
- NOS paper in oil capacitors (military graded)
- low-noise metal film resistors (1% tolerance)

Here are the links to the sound samples:

Part 1

Part 2


The pricing on these pedals is the following:

89 Euro ~ 115 US Dollar ~ 75 GBP

+ shipping to you.


If anyone is interested in buying one of these, you can drop me a private message anytime.
Last edited by Toxic_Noname at May 20, 2013,
jakub421
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2008
20 IQ
#2
That would be cool. As a fellow DIYer, its always nice to see what others are creating.
supersac
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2009
93 IQ
#3
i like pics
i also build pedals recently trying to get a decent looking and not just functional pcb board

just made a delay pedal and fuzz face clone they sound
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#4
Okay, thanks for your input guys. I'll keep you posted with some pictures.

This is actually the first boxed up pedal that turned out looking good. All the other ones were quite messy...

Here is what it looks like on the board:
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#6
Yeah, me neither. But I like that 'striped look'. I think I'm gonna stick with something similar for the next version...

It's pretty much a medium gain overdrive. Really has a nice vintage sound to it, perfect for blues and rock. It's pretty dynamic and doesn't change your basic tone that much. But you can also turn the gain down and use it to push your preamp. It can get a little fuzzy if you turn the gain all the way up, which also sounds quite interesting.

If I have the time, I'm gonna record some licks with it in the next days to let you hear it.
Viban
UG's resident bum
Join date: Nov 2011
150 IQ
#7
I think I'd prefer black and white in that pattern, maybe offer some options when you sell it? make people feel like they have options and they'll jump right up in your lap.
Quote by R45VT
Bastards.
scguitarking927
Time for a revolution
Join date: Oct 2007
90 IQ
#8
Granted it's not the exact same looking as the zakk wyldes bullseye...it looks very similar to the zakk wylde over drive, just from the rings. And yes I realize that yours has a lot more rings, but that pattern is recognizable to a product all ready, if you wanted to make your own design and brand, it may not be the best idea. Just my opinion of course, so take it as you will. Can't wait to hear it!!!
supersac
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2009
93 IQ
#10
Quote by Toxic_Noname
Yeah, me neither. But I like that 'striped look'. I think I'm gonna stick with something similar for the next version...

It's pretty much a medium gain overdrive. Really has a nice vintage sound to it, perfect for blues and rock. It's pretty dynamic and doesn't change your basic tone that much. But you can also turn the gain down and use it to push your preamp. It can get a little fuzzy if you turn the gain all the way up, which also sounds quite interesting.

If I have the time, I'm gonna record some licks with it in the next days to let you hear it.


that soudns cool have you tried puuting a boost in front of it alot of medium gain overdrives get real good sounded when layering gains IMO ofcourse
any change of getting any gut shots?
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#11
Customizable Colors would be a great idea. I already thought about that before. I could do something like 'Combine your own custom guitar pedal!'...

I have tried the black and white combination before. On a Feedback Looper I built. Looks like this:



You're right with the similarity to the Zakk Wylde design... Thats not really what I'm aiming for, I'd rather create something new. Seems like I'm gonna have to play around with some more patterns.

I haven't tried the boost thing yet, thanks for the idea. I have an LPB-1 lying around, I'm gonna test it when I have the time.

Here's a gutshot for everyone thats interested:



I think it looks pretty good on the inside. But theres one thing I'm not happy with. Currently the circuit board is held in place with some electrical tape. Is there a better method to do it, or is it fine?
supersac
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2009
93 IQ
#12
i usually use double sided tape unless i find a box that has a screw hole for mounting
i guess you could make your own and bolt the board to the case somehow but for me for now tape is doing its job pretty well
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#13
Okay. Tape will sure do the job for quite some time. At least it won't be flying around in there. It also prevents the whole thing from shorting out, if anything on the board is touching the grounded box. We'll see if any problems come up...
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#14
I have just finished my first demo recording of the prototype pedal. No fancy editing, just a few raw sound samples. Here it is:

Link to Soundcloud for part 1 of the demo.


Let me know what you think. There are also some more recordings to come, with different guitars, amps and pedal settings...
Last edited by Toxic_Noname at May 19, 2013,
supersac
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2009
93 IQ
#15
Quote by Toxic_Noname
Okay. Tape will sure do the job for quite some time. At least it won't be flying around in there. It also prevents the whole thing from shorting out, if anything on the board is touching the grounded box. We'll see if any problems come up...



to stop the board from shorting out on the box i paint the inside of th ebox with some spray paint it work

edit hear the recording sounds pretty nice
would have been nice to hear the whole range or the pedals knobs turning and whatnot would help to judge it better
Last edited by supersac at May 7, 2013,
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#16
Yeah, spray paint should work, too. Maybe I'll try that the next time.

Thanks, glad you like it.
Yep, there are more sound samples coming for sure, I just didn't have the time to cover up everything yet.

I have been thinking about the painting thing and I liked the idea of having customizable colors. To identify the pedal, they will all have the same black striped pattern on them. I just need a nice idea how that should look.

Anyways, to see how other colors look like with the pedal, I decided to give the next one a yellow/brown tweed kind of look.

Here is what the unfinished and drilled box looks like:

scguitarking927
Time for a revolution
Join date: Oct 2007
90 IQ
#17
You can also check out smallbearelec.com, they have pcb board mounting materials. Essentially little plastic adhesive risers, they're cheap enough, and will look better for the ones you actually sell. You can probably find something similar local as well.
Last edited by scguitarking927 at May 7, 2013,
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#18
You mean these little white things? I actually have a few of them lying around. But I haven't used them yet, because i didn't want to drill larger holes into the veroboard I'm using.
But I could maybe fit one or two of them in there for the next build, as I look at the gut shot. I'll just try it.
Good quality and looks are definitely the way I want to go with these things, thanks for the tip.
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#19
Time for a few updates...

These just arrived today:



I will use some of them to protect the pedal from the use of wrong power supplies. I wanted to include them in the first version, but it took like 20 days until I finally got them. They had a long way to go from China.

The painting of the box for the second prototype has also started. The sides will be brown with yellow labeling, the top will be yellow. Just like an old Fender Tweed amp. I'm also sticking with the theme of having a pattern of black lines on the top, but I didn't come up with something good looking so far...

All the other parts are also on their way now, so I should be able to start building the second pedal sometime next week.
Insanity ninja
UG's resident potwash.
Join date: Sep 2009
90 IQ
#20
Nice builds, it's always cool to see other builders/modders gear

If you're into this in the UK it can be a bit of a bitch to get kits - very handy for beginners. The site I use also sells just PCBs for different pedals etc. so it works quite nicely if you wanna keep costs down.

I think for a full Fuzz Factory kit (Board mounted pots, pre drilled case, switch, pcb, components, jacks) it's about £40. If you bought the PCB by itself (£6) and the box (~£11), you could probably shave about a tenner off the overall price. If you're interested just google poodles pedal parts, it'll come up.

I promise I don't work for them, their kits have just made my life so much easier in the past and I probably wouldn't have gotten into this if not for them
Silverburst
TJHague
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2009
40 IQ
#21
Just curious, why did you order the diodes from China? Did somewhere like newark or mouser not have them?

Either way, totally awesome build I'm excited to see where you go with this
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#22
Quote by Insanity ninja
Nice builds, it's always cool to see other builders/modders gear

If you're into this in the UK it can be a bit of a bitch to get kits - very handy for beginners. The site I use also sells just PCBs for different pedals etc. so it works quite nicely if you wanna keep costs down.

I think for a full Fuzz Factory kit (Board mounted pots, pre drilled case, switch, pcb, components, jacks) it's about £40. If you bought the PCB by itself (£6) and the box (~£11), you could probably shave about a tenner off the overall price. If you're interested just google poodles pedal parts, it'll come up.

I promise I don't work for them, their kits have just made my life so much easier in the past and I probably wouldn't have gotten into this if not for them


Thank for your interest in my builds. Always nice to find out about other pedal builders out there.

I just checked out the site you recommended and they really have many interesting kits and pcbs. But I find it more interesting to tweak some existing pedals to what I like, so I prefer to work with many individual parts and veroboard. I'm also from Germany and not from the UK, so the shipping cost would probably be pretty high. But I really appreciate your help, thanks dude.

Quote by TJHague
Just curious, why did you order the diodes from China? Did somewhere like newark or mouser not have them?

Either way, totally awesome build I'm excited to see where you go with this


I actually ordered them on ebay, because they seemed to be a nice package and they were only like 3 bucks. Of course I could have ordered them somewhere else, but I was just being lazy.
Anyway, thank you. Glad you like it.
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#23
Another update...

The rest of the parts came in the mail today:



Unfortunately they only sent me one 3PDT footswitch, instead of the 2 I ordered. But I already contacted the shop and there is another one coming my way now.

But there's more. These came all the way from Ukraine:



These are K42Y-2 capacitors. They are military graded NOS Paper in oil caps. Some people say they are the holy grail of audio caps, they are in the original pedal, too. I decided to use those because I wanted to use the highest quality parts I could get. Some people probably won't believe me, but there really is a subtle difference in sound, compared to the usual cheap poly film caps. They are a little warmer and overall more vintage sounding, which suits the pedal really well.

Well, now I pretty much have all the parts for two more of my Vintage Overdrive pedals. The second one will be used for some more testing and sound samples, the third one will be the first one that is on sale.

It will take a few more days until the paintjob of the second enclosure is finished, though. In the meantime I will measure and match all the caps for the next build. I will also measure the hfe (gain factor) of the original transistor and all the other ones I have in stock to be able to match it for the final result. I will also prepare a few more circuit boards so it won't take that much time to assemble the whole thing for my first customer.

Let me know what you think...
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#24
Some more progress...

The missing 3PDT footswitch arrived today and I measured and matched all the caps and transistors.



The perfect value for the caps is 0.1 uF = 100 nF, so for 10% tolerance they are pretty good. Sadly I wasn't able to measure the hfe of the transistor I used in the first build, I already cut the legs too short. But I made some tests and it should be somewhere around 420.

After that, I prepared two more pieces of veroboard:



This is how the finished circuit board looks like:



The protection diode actually fits in the old size of the board. The last empty spaces are for the wires going to input, output, the LED, +9V and ground.

This is what the enclosure looks like at the moment:



It just needs some black edging and a clear coat. It will probably be finished at the weekend, so I can start with the final assembly. How do you like the new look?

I'm also going to leave my first model at my local music school for about a week to get some people interested in it. Right now I'm calculating the pedals retail price. It should not take too long until the first one is sold.
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#25
Is anyone still interested in this?

I've encountered a problem. Even though I use a good quality 3PDT footswitch and true bypass switching, there is still plenty of signal loss. Some of the high treble is lost and it doesn't sound as 'direct' anymore.

The wiring is fine and there aren't any cold solder joints either, so I really don't see what the problem is. Could it be the kind of wire I used? Or the kind of solder?
scguitarking927
Time for a revolution
Join date: Oct 2007
90 IQ
#26
You may need a buffer if your experiencing some signal loss. Easy enough to build if its the case. But I know you said you checked your connections, but go over it again, change cables, amps, guitars, rule anything and everything out.
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#27
Quote by scguitarking927
You may need a buffer if your experiencing some signal loss. Easy enough to build if its the case. But I know you said you checked your connections, but go over it again, change cables, amps, guitars, rule anything and everything out.


Thanks for your help, first of all.

I just did some more tests. All the connections on the inside are fine, I checked them with a multimeter. Changing amp and guitars doesn't make a difference really. But it definitely gets better with shorter and better quality cables. When I put my buffer first in the signal chain the signal loss seems to disappear.

When it got tested at another place, with a cheap power supply and two pretty long cheap cables, the difference was really huge...

Does that mean that there's no problem with the pedal itself at all?
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#28
The second enclosure is now almost finished and version 2 of the pedal will probably be finished until tuesday.

In the meantime I recorded some more sound samples of the first version of the pedal:

Link to Soundcloud for part 2 of the demo.

This time I included a little more variety in the demo. I used different guitars with different pickups and even a bass guitar. I also tried to show some other pedal settings and what the range of the pots can do.

Let me know what you think.
scguitarking927
Time for a revolution
Join date: Oct 2007
90 IQ
#29
Quote by Toxic_Noname
Thanks for your help, first of all.

I just did some more tests. All the connections on the inside are fine, I checked them with a multimeter. Changing amp and guitars doesn't make a difference really. But it definitely gets better with shorter and better quality cables. When I put my buffer first in the signal chain the signal loss seems to disappear.

When it got tested at another place, with a cheap power supply and two pretty long cheap cables, the difference was really huge...

Does that mean that there's no problem with the pedal itself at all?


Shouldn't be, you just need a buffer section. As much as people praise "true-bypass" you can't have everything true bypass, other wise you do have signal loss. A buffer at the beginning of the pedal chain is always a good idea.
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#30
Quote by scguitarking927
Shouldn't be, you just need a buffer section. As much as people praise "true-bypass" you can't have everything true bypass, other wise you do have signal loss. A buffer at the beginning of the pedal chain is always a good idea.


Yes, I realized that, too. I was probably used to have a buffer in the chain. Didn't remember 6 meters of cable made such a big difference.

I'm glad that the problem isn't my fault, thanks for your help...
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#31
Another update, I just finished the second prototype of the pedal.

Here is what the finished enclosure looked like:



And this is how the finished pedal looks like on the outside...



... and the inside:



Looks a little better than the first build. The flexible wire was also much easier to work with. Adding a fourth wire color also made it easier to see whats going on.

Here is a picture of the pedal family:



Two at the same time actually sounds pretty good. You can get a nice stoner rock sound by cranking the gain on the first and the volume on the other one.

Well, now that I've finished two test builds that work really great, I can finally start selling my builds.

Here are the full specs of the pedal:

- vintage voiced boost/overdrive effect
- very dynamic and transparent
- usable with a standard 9V DC power adapter (center negative)
- true bypass switching
- bright orange status LED, good visibility at every light level
- one volume and one gain control
- compact and solid metal enclosure
- protected against use of the wrong power supply
- very low noise while operating, no additional noise in bypass mode
- unique design, each pedal is hand painted and one of a kind:
- you get to choose what your pedal is going to look like
- best possible parts used (highly selected for optimal tone):
- high quality 3PDT footswitch for reliable true bypass switching
- Neutrik/Rean input and output jacks
- Alpha potentiometers
- NOS paper in oil capacitors (military graded)
- low-noise metal film resistors (1% tolerance)

Here are the links to the sound samples:

Part 1

Part 2


The pricing on these pedals is the following:

89 Euro ~ 115 US Dollar ~ 75 GBP

+ shipping to you.



If anyone is interested in buying one of these, you can drop me a private message anytime.

I hope you all had fun seeing the process of me building and improving these pedals. Let me know how you like the final outcome.
Leon987
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2009
70 IQ
#32
Looks and sounds great!
although im not sure if you can 'sell' them here...
Toxic_Noname
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2010
20 IQ
#33
Quote by Leon987
Looks and sounds great!
although im not sure if you can 'sell' them here...


Thank you very much.
I didn't really intend on selling them here. I mainly wanted to share my experience building the pedal and messing with them with the UG community. I just wanted everybody, who is interested, to know that they can just contact me...
R45VT
Doesn't speak guitar
Join date: Dec 2009
110 IQ
#34
I didn't take it as him selling, just showing his builds and though process which is pretty cool.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
See, it's important that people clarify when they say "metal", because I pretty much always assume they are a Cannibal Corpse fanboi.