The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 3

After a quick restock trip I have now soldered all the parts together.


I made the mistake of attaching the input / output jacks before realising I had missed the foot switch. This was easily fixed though.


One thing I found difficult was to determine the length of the connector cables to the jacks, dc source and the switch. This time I made them longer than necessary just to make it a bit easier to mount the components…

Next up is to drill the enclosure.


Also, I can’t decide if I should add a status LED or not….

The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 2

After pouring over several potential veroboard layouts I’ve decided to go for a simple Bazz Fuss as my first project.

A quick search reveals endless variations and tweaks, but for this first version my plan is to build one of the very simplest, as seen below:


With the goal set I started out tonight by cutting down the board to the necessary size. I used a regular knife to trace out where the cuts should go, then simply snapped the board to the right dimensions.


If you think it looks bigger than the layout above that’s because I added 3 additional rows for drilling holes for the spacers that will secure the board in the pedal case.

Here’s another couple of shots with most of the components soldered in. I’m one capacitor short so I decided to stop here for tonight.



How do you learn?

In 2011 I bought an electric guitar.

In fact, my original plan was to learn the acoustic and to that end I had bought a Hello Kitty branded black guitar on an impulse while living in Tokyo.


After realising I didn’t have time to practice, it ended up (like I suspect so many other) standing in a corner collecting dust.

That is, until my wife decided to pick it up. She quickly learned the basics and watching her get better and better I decided it was time to give it another go.

At this time we were living in San Francisco, and I thought rather than buying another acoustic, I would get an electric to complement. A late evening trip to Guitar Center at Van Ness and our home was one Ibanez richer.


However, soon after buying the electric and learning just a few basic chords, I slipped via Midi into the world of synthesizers, and since then have spent the better part of the past 3 years exploring electronic music instead.

This all changed as part of our recent move, when I decided to downsize my musical equipment and get back to basics again. Now I’m struggling for the 3rd time to actually learn how to play the guitar properly.

This said, I do not regret all the time I spent learning software and synthesis as I also picked up some basic music theory along the way, and I can see how this helps in getting a better grasp of the guitar as an instrument as well.

I’m actually really excited to start this next chapter of Glitzerstrahl and I look forward to sharing the road with you all…

Please share in the comments if you have any tips for how to learn the guitar (especially the electric) faster :).


My current (middle)

Building or Buying?

Let’s just get it out of the way, building your own pedals will probably never be cheaper than just buying them.

That is, unless you plan on building a lot of pedals. Economies of scale will likely never work in your favour, but if you stick with the hobby for a while I suspect you start to build up a supply of various components and tools, to the point where you can experiment with new builds with almost no additional investment.

Then it might just start to make economic sense…

Then again, I guess very few builders are into this stuff for pure economic reasons. I know I’m not. I do this (or I want to do this) simply because its fun. And educational.

My goal is to get to a level where I can experiment with effects that I dream up myself. I already have several ideas that I’ve been carrying around since I got into modular synthesis.

Hopefully this time around I’ll actually realise at least some of them!

The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 1

I’ve always been fascinated by DIY electronics, and I always wished I knew more about how to solder and build your own musical effects.

After reducing my music gear to the very basic minimum I found myself wanting to experiment with some interesting sounds for my guitar, and what better chance to roll your own?

Finding veroboard pedal layouts online was easy, so I picked out a simple distortion circuit as a starting point.

Below is the schematic I made from the board:


This is actually my first schematic ever so bear with me :).

Based on this schematic I breadboarded the design:


This is working. Sort of. The signal comes through and sounds somewhat distorted, but the difference compared to the clean signal is very small.

Next step will be to figure out if I need a different capacitor configuration or a different transistor in order to drive more distortion…

If you have any thoughts please share them :).