#1
Hi guys, I'm looking at building my own fx pedals (for personal use) but i was wondering how you went about designing the internal of them to somewhat did what.

Hope you will help me better understand.

Thanks
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Engl Fireball
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Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#2
#3
Well, this is where an electronics engineering degree comes in real handy. Or, at the very least, a good understanding of electronics and how to build things. Do you know anything about designing transistor circuits? This would be a big help. If not, I suggest you visit your local library and find a book on designing transistor circuits.
#4
Hi mate, I have got a hnc in electrical/electronics, so I have a pretty good understanding of how everything works and what can work together. I also work as a electrical engineer so hopefully it shouldn't be too hard to understand.

Il have a look at the links and hope I can start designing my own pedals after building a few build your own.
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
Last edited by avenge the rage at Dec 1, 2011,
#6
Yes, I've never done one before. I don't design anything at work. Hence why I'm asking. I also don't work in the audio field, I have done transformers, panel wiring and commissioning, not building little electronics.
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#7
First thing you should look at is how transistors (and maybe FETs) work. Assuming you understand resistors and capacitors you could probably fashion a simple overdrive pedal with a bit of work.
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Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
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#8
As a furthur suggestion, it's a good idea to start by building a few pedals following other people's designs and getting an idea of how they work. In all honesty, there are only a handful of practical designs for any given effect..anyone's individual version may just be different because of the personal tweaks they make to a circuit.

So maybe start by cloning an effect you know you like, and study why it does what it does. Then make changes to the circuit to change the tone in a way that suits you better. That way you sort of have a solid starting place
#9
You should approach it the same way I approached software engineering when I first got into programming.
Take someone else's source code (circuit), and make ONE change to it.
Then see what that change did to it.
Then change the same part but in the opposite direction (Say if before you reduced a resistor value, this time, increase it).
Then see what that does.
#11
Get yourself a breadboard. Put a simple circuit on there and start changing a few components to see what you get. You'll be an instant boutique builder!

Seriously, get a breadboard and you can try a few ideas out or play around with existing circuits.

I use Cadsoft Eagle to draw out my schematics and layouts for PCB's.

Get the dimensions of the enclosures you want to use and build the board to that. It takes a few times to get an idea of how much the switch, battery, and jacks take up. I have a template for my enclosures. I make the board in Eagle and lay everything out on my template to see how everything will fit and/or how I want things placed.

Gaussmarkov has a decent library for Eagle that's good for self etching boards but not really for manufacturing without some parts modifications. There are also Eagle files for projects there.

Hope that helps a little.
#12
Quote by kurtlives91
+1

What did you guys do in school?


I leant how each component works and how to build circuits. But when you don't need to do it for your job every day then it gets forgot.

I have a dread board so will use that to start building stuff.

I will also use the changing one component idea and see what happens.
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#14
ha ha, i was replying on my phone so no I didn't proof read it.

Im just looking for advice on where to start and how to know where components should be used, and also what ic chips should be used?
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#15
Quote by avenge the rage
ha ha, i was replying on my phone so no I didn't proof read it.

Im just looking for advice on where to start and how to know where components should be used, and also what ic chips should be used?


That's going to depend on the circuit you want to build. Maybe have a look at a bunch of schematics for some overdrive or fuzz pedals to get an idea.
#16
Well I have a over drive. The first thing I want to build is a delay pedal.

Any that you would suggest to start with? I'm from the uk so need to be able to get it shipped here
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#17
Are you talking about building a kit? Honestly, a delay pedal is probably a pretty ambitious build for a first timer. I would suggest something a little less involved to start with like a fuzz or a boost pedal to get your feet wet.

Tonepad and General Guitar Gadgets have projects for delay pedals if you really want to do one and Maplin in the U.K. can probably supply you most of the parts.
Last edited by Griffin Effects at Dec 1, 2011,
#18
Well I don't really need the others so if I made one what would I do with it?

So the schematics will on those sites? If so Il go to farnell this weekend amd get all the bits and start building one. It should take too long to solder some bits together.
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#19
Oh man! The fact that you asked these questions only reinforces my idea of trying something a LOT easier first. I know you don't need or want these other pedals but a lot of people build these just to get an idea of what they are doing. If something goes wrong, it's a lot easier to find the problem since there are much less parts.

Trust me! Build a boost pedal even if you don't want one. Everyone can use a boost pedal at some time. If not, build it and give it to a friend.

Have a look the Brian May treble booster, the LPB-2 or the Microamp at GGG.

I'm not trying to be mean or anything. I do this everyday so I kind of know what I'm talking about. I give you a 98% chance of fail if you do a delay at best. I know people who know what they are doing fail big with delay, chorus, flangers, and other more complicated circuits.

IF you are dead set on a delay, pick one based on the PT2399 IC. They are usually a lot less complicated.
#20
Ok Il build a boost pedal to start me off.

Is there any you would recommend?
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#21
Quote by avenge the rage
Ok Il build a boost pedal to start me off.

Is there any you would recommend?


I think you made a wise choice.

What are you going to build the circuit on? Are you going to etch a board or go with perf or stripboard?

Any of the three boosters I mentioned are good boosters. I've built the LPB-1 hundreds of times and the micro amp a few times. A lot of people like the Zvex SHO pedal that has layouts for it out there on the web. I personally would go with the LPB-1 or the SHO. They will probably work well with your overdrive.
#22
Do they come in kits? Il most likely build on bredboard to see if it works then use strip board to build it.

Where can I get the schematics for those?
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Pedals:
Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
#24
If you go to Tonepad and look at the list of fx projects, there is a list of all the different types of pedal projects and links to the schematics. Each project in the list also has difficulty rating next to it so that might help you to decide what to build first.

I've just built the ProCo Rat clone using the schematic from Tonepad and that is rated as Intermediate - I didn't find that too hard to build and I managed to get most of the parts from Maplin - however I had to use a different Op-Amp chip as Maplin didn't have the exact same one in stock.

I also found the forum on diystompboxes.com to be useful for answering any technical questions.
#25
Quote by avenge the rage
Do they come in kits? Il most likely build on bredboard to see if it works then use strip board to build it.

Where can I get the schematics for those?


Google search pulls up tons of schematics:
http://analogguru.an.ohost.de/193/schematics/Zvex_SHO.gif
http://www.muzique.com/schem/lpb1.gif

You can probably get kits for the LPB-1 but both of these are such low parts count you should be able to just get everything pretty cheap locally or just order parts from an online source.
#26
Originally Posted by james4
As a furthur suggestion, it's a good idea to start by building a few pedals following other people's designs and getting an idea of how they work. In all honesty, there are only a handful of practical designs for any given effect..anyone's individual version may just be different because of the personal tweaks they make to a circuit.

So maybe start by cloning an effect you know you like, and study why it does what it does. Then make changes to the circuit to change the tone in a way that suits you better. That way you sort of have a solid starting place
If/When you do this I'd adise looking at the Big Muff Pi, Fuzz Face and other more simple pedals (sawtooth pedals etc...)
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB