#1
The Absolute Beginners Pedal Building Blog


Hello fellow UGers. I occassionally make a few post outside the Pit, but this will be something bigger. After some drooling on Tubescreamers, BiggMuffs, legendary Fuzzes, i decided to build myself a few pedals. I have to state that at this point, that i have never made a single solder in my life. I know absolutely nothing about electronics, or electronical parts, but i am really enthusiastic.

So today i have purchased 2 fuzzface clone set. The first set comes with germanium transistors, the second comes with silicium transistors. There is a third package which includes the footswitch and the parts for true-bypass.

Those sets include every other stuff which needs to build a pedal. Now the fun part is that i ordered them without the actual metal box/housing so i have to build the box myself too. It was dirt cheap compared to the ****ed up prices here.

I will post a lot of pictures during the building, so i will reserve a few post.

I have ordered a few cables, a huge set of transistors, soldering iron and stuff today, i hope that they will arrive at friday.

Now comes a few pictures about the 3 package. ///note: this made with my absolute crap mobilephone, i will get my camera for the later posts///

///The purpose of this blog is to encourage the fellow noobs to build their own stuff (let's hope that i won't fail)///




^^^^clickable shiz



DAY 2


Ok so after two hours of investigation, i could match all the actual components with the figures on the schematics.

This was the website for the struggling begginners: http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/compon.htm

The seven resistors left still need investigation.

My steps of succesful identification:

0: You might need a magnifying glass and strong light in the room. Also i placed every part in a white plate so i don't left the parts, and the background is good for found out the color codes and stuff.

1: I copied the schematics and made a lot of comments and stuff /like name of the parts, and which colored little thing is which picture on the schematics/ on the copy.

2: After using that link above you could identificate the diode, transistors and capacitors after some time. The resistors are real bitches though. I had 7 pieces of nearly identical looking, microscopical resistors. The only difference between them were the color bands on their "body". Aafter further looking i found out that 5 of them had four color rings and 2 of them had five colour rings.

3: For the 4 coloured ones use this: http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/components/resist.htm
For the 5 coloured ones, use this: http://showcase.netins.net/web/ducksteins/Stuff_files/res-code.gif

4: Now the hard part were that i could read the color codes from both sides, gave me different values. Later i found out that all of my 4 coloured ones ends in golden colour. So i started reading from the other side and that gave me good results. The 5 coloured ones were a hit 'n' miss though. Theres no different spacing between the rings and stuff, so i decoded two different values from those 2 piece and compared the four values with the two right value on the schematics. So after that i could identify everything right.

I feel like a winner now.

But im still waiting for the soldering kit and stuff.



DAY 3


Since my soldering iron hasn't delivered yet, i watching some tutorials and webpages about soldering. Like: Soldering Guide, Vid1 or Basic Soldering Demo I also found a really delivering blog, where the guy reveals the secrets of some of the most expensive boutique pedals. The Illuminist. Also this guy is awesome: link



DAY 5


Im still waiting, i have bought some tools and extra cables today.


DAY 7


My soldering iron and some little parts have finally arrived. I will start with an easy warm-up build, this: http://www.beavisaudio.com/Projects/DBS/

My workspace:

Hooray!


UPDATE: My first ever soldering session ended with results. And i am really happy that i haven't started with the pedals yet, because they would be destroyed by now. So i made 4 soldering joints and tinned a few cables ending. And i destroyed the tip of my iron, or it looks to me like crap. Would it be capable of the actual soldering of the capacitors, resistors and stuff?


Pictures:

My first build ever:


The beginning of a De-Volt:


The tip of my iron after a little work:



The source of my failing were mainly that i would need some stuff that is capable of hold the cables and jacks and stuff while i solder them. At one point i hold the soldering tin in my mouth while soldering.


DAY 8


See next post. ˇˇ
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Last edited by Daneeka at Feb 24, 2010,
#2
DAY 8


I had to continue it here, the forum won't let me put new material in the first post.

So i have learned from my mistakes and bought earlier today these guys:


clickable^^
That stuff with the magnifier glass looks like the emo-robot from Hitchikers Guide when looked from a proper angle.

My solders turned out all right with that robot like stuff and i hadn't screwed up the new tip of my iron. So i finished my warm up project, the "De-Volt". (for credits, see: Beavis Audio ) I also had to make a cable which inverts the center-positive output to center-negative output. The De-Volt is amazing Them:


clickable^^

Ok, so the De-Volt is basically a variable resistor makeing the input voltage from input till zero by turning the knob. Thats not fully true in my case, so if you interested in it see the link above. The effect of the lower input voltage can be diverse with effects. This is what gives the magic of the thing, maybe you got nothing, maybe you win. Like lottery.

My case:

Digitech BadMonkey: Lowering the voltage makes nothing, maybe the gain become lower, but at the sweet spot it becomes fuzz. Now i can't dial in that setting permanently so i have to build the pot in a case and put a knob at it.

Artec Duo Drive Blender: I don't like this pedal much, it is a disto and OD pedal combined with two separate gain knob. I don't like this for solos, it have a ****ty tone like a DS1 would have, maybe a bit better. (after a week i found one really cool setting, i use only that. It is like Jack White's tone in "Another Way To Die") However this shiz is meant for sagging. It gets more and more fuzz like as the voltage drops, keep going and the status led starts blinking, keep going and the pedal fade to silence but the led gets weirder and weirder. The coolest stage is just before the silence. It acts like a tremolo with some distortion mayhem like tone. It cuts out like hell, it is like a random tremolo. Awesome.

I have to experiment more with a different pot, and with the stuff "cased". I will update with more proper decriptions of the voltage sagging effect.

This was a rewarding day.


DAY 13


I was brave enough to start my silicon FuzzFace. I have bought a multimeter to troubleshooting.

Desk:


My first two (and ****tyest) solder joints in focus:


Gonna solder more today...

Board populated:
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Last edited by Daneeka at Dec 17, 2008,
#3
DAY 14


Finally, my journey has come to an end. From zero electronical or soldering knowledge trough 3 actual building day's i have finished my first pedal (more like the electronincs of it)ever.

Pic:


I can't test it out because it is midnight here so everyone is sleeping, i just saw the led and heard that the fuzz work bypassed or turned on.

Thank's for everyone who helped me in this or outside this topic. Without the "bravery" i brought from the forums i wouldn't start it.

Soundclips tomorrow
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Last edited by Daneeka at Dec 18, 2008,
#4
i doubt your going to have 100 pics, they would've all just fitted into the OP, delete the other 2.
Good luck though
#5
Ok so after i compared the actual pieces with the schematics, i came to the conclusion that i can't identify half of the parts
Later i found out that for example the resistors have different colors painted on them, so i searched and got this: Colorchart

My problem is that i can't found out that from where side i should read the color code, the spacing between the colors is the same through the resistor. Also some color gave me nonsense, like "brown-blue-black-red-brown" would be 16k Ohm but there is no such resistor on the schematics.

I hope i could sort this out, i dont want to fail so hard at an early stage.
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#6
Where did you get the pedal kits??
What kind of resistors are they?

Pics might help.
#7
I will post pics, friday or during the weekends.
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#8
Help me identify those guys!

So i have 3 polarised capacitors and im unsure about their polarity.

1.


Actually i am pretty sure about their polarity, i think that sign is for "-" or the negative side. Anyways they are 47uF capacitors.



2.


Now this is the cap that bothers me. Its labelled "2u2". The schematics tells me that i should keep an eye on the polarity, but i can't found out what that "v"-like shape means.




Also, first post updated.
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#10
Quote by SVStee
Usually, the positive leg is a little longer.

http://www.beavisaudio.com/techpages/Caps/

Scroll down a little.



Thanks, i have seen this site a few times in the past, but i have just missed that section, it helps a lot.
Also they have an extremely easy project thai i will try. This. I have read somewhere that lowering the voltage have a great effect on the DigiTech BadMonkey, so i will definetely try to build the DeVolt.
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#11
^Ah I wouldn't bother with lower the voltage on a pedal like the Bad Monkey. Op-amp based designs don't respond as well to "sagging" voltage.

The pedals that really benefit from lower the voltage are transistor based pedals like fuzzes, boosts and selected others.
#12
Quote by kurtlives91
^Ah I wouldn't bother with lower the voltage on a pedal like the Bad Monkey. Op-amp based designs don't respond as well to "sagging" voltage.

The pedals that really benefit from lower the voltage are transistor based pedals like fuzzes, boosts and selected others.


If this projet will be succesful, then i will have two fuzz to try this out. Anyways this is a picture made by a a guy/s who sells voltage saggers. It explains the effect of sagging on a few pedals he tryed out. http://www.analoguehaven.com/dwarfcraftdevices/defiance/effects.jpg Beware, stupidly hugeass pic.
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#13
It should sound pretty good with a fuzz face type pedal, but the "Fuzz" that the bad monkey becomes will not be a very good sounding fuzz.
#14
Quote by Daneeka
Help me identify those guys!

So i have 3 polarised capacitors and im unsure about their polarity.

1.


Actually i am pretty sure about their polarity, i think that sign is for "-" or the negative side. Anyways they are 47uF capacitors.



2.


Now this is the cap that bothers me. Its labelled "2u2". The schematics tells me that i should keep an eye on the polarity, but i can't found out what that "v"-like shape means.




Also, first post updated.


Anyway, a much better way to identify positive/negative sides is this, and you were right:
The negative side usually has a black stripe with a "-" in it. Or like in the first picture, an arrow down the side.

Also, welcome to the world of pedal building. I'm pretty new to it myself, but I have learned along the way that if you read a ton of crap online that you can convince a lot of people that you've been doing it for years.

I also recommend joining DIYstompboxes.com which is like the epitome of stompbox building on the web. And you also seem to be picking stuff up fairly quickly already. If you have trouble finding out resistor values, you could always buy a multimeter off eBay and use that. Once you're debugging (and science has proved that 90% of first builds need it), you're going to want to have one.

And I have a question: were the kits from Tonepad?

And: Cool blog, I've always wanted to see something like this. I would have done it myself if I wasn't already at the debugging stage of my first pedal right now... Or should I still do it??? Lololol
Gear:
Schecter Hellraiser Deluxe
Boss DS-1
Crate GTD65

GAS List:
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster
Last edited by asfastasdark at Dec 6, 2008,
#15
This is cool, I'm thinking of trying it myself, how's it coming along?
#16
Quote by Mr.Maccy
This is cool, I'm thinking of trying it myself, how's it coming along?


I have to wait till my soldering iron arrives, so i can't do anyithing whit this project now.
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#17
UPDATE: DAY 7 ended with hilarious results. See first post for lulz.
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#18
For Day 8. see second post. Awesome results. Voltage sagging ftw.
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#19
If you still have the components from the fuzz face with the germanium transistors , and haven't soldered it yet or anything you have the majority of components needed for a Fuzz Factory.
#20
Sorry for the laziness... I've searched but not much success...

Anyone has an schematic of a cheap, simple, stand-alone, tube (or even SS) preamp with a nice, warm tone??

I mean a preamp for a clean sound, there are many option for tube or SS overdriven sounds... but I want a nice, clean tone.

Great blog and post... I'm also wondering how to go into my effects and such... ONly thing I understand about electrical equipment are light bulbs.
Noob Grade Gear...
Ibanez GRX20 GFS Pups, Digitech RP3, Vox Satchurator, Behringer DD400 Delay, Danelectro Fish n Chips EQ, Behringer GMX110
Total lack of skills and not into broot4Lz anymore
Last edited by Warpo at Dec 14, 2008,
#21
Quote by Warpo
Sorry for the laziness... I've searched but not much success...

Anyone has an schematic of a cheap, simple, stand-alone, tube (or even SS) preamp with a nice, warm tone??

I mean a preamp for a clean sound, there are many option for tube or SS overdriven sounds... but I want a nice, clean tone.

Great blog and post... I'm also wondering how to go into my effects and such... ONly thing I understand about electrical equipment are light bulbs.


Check out some sound clips at Runoffgroove.com or search Google for cab sims (cab simulators).
Gear:
Schecter Hellraiser Deluxe
Boss DS-1
Crate GTD65

GAS List:
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster
#22
UPDATE: Population started, pictures in second post.

EDIT: Board populated!
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Last edited by Daneeka at Dec 17, 2008,
#23
Not bad , for your first soldering projects it's a decent one. Nice man .
#24
Quote by Kroaton
Not bad , for your first soldering projects it's a decent one. Nice man .

Thanks!

I will make the Millenium bypass, jacks etc. tomorrow if the national railway won't start a strike.
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#25
Yeah i plugged in and it works

For pic and stuff see 3. post.

Thanks again guys'
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#26
The Aftermath



It was nice to read through this thread, i spent most of my free time reading diy related stuff, i made about 10 pedals, (with proper painted enclosures) rebuilt and modded an amp, modded a guitar etc. since this thread, the DIY stuff basically became my hobby. I have a nostalgia moment here. Also, nice typos in the title.

The most helpful sites were:

http://www.beavisaudio.com/
http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?board=2.0
http://www.google.com/ (transistor, opamp pinouts, datasheets/
http://hamradio.lakki.iki.fi/new/Datasheets/transistor_pinouts/
http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/compon.htm
http://runoffgroove.com/articles.html
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Last edited by Daneeka at Feb 24, 2010,