#1 Edited by mordukai (7837 posts) -

Well, I'm getting to the point where I am just sick of paying hundreds of dollars (yeah yeah, I know I can go cheap but what can I say...expensive ears) Anyways, I thought it would a good point where I start making my own pedals and save up on some cash.

For my first attempt I'll be trying to build a Zvex Super Hard On boost pedal. fairly simple circuit. I just ordered all the components, all I need is some solder and wire.

So to all the GB guitar players out there, have you ever tried making pedals? If so, how hard, or easy, have you found it.

I do have experience in soldering and I am familiarizing myself with reading and understanding schematics but I'll appreciate any tips and inputs you might have.

#2 Edited by SomeJerk (3896 posts) -

I'm quite the braniac and I think it was easy, with the difficulty lying in getting started. It depends on how much some of these builds want to jam into how small a box, you might find the need for a good tabletop area for your projects that has a looking glass lamp and a soldering station and a multigrip thingamajiggger, it helps a lot as things get more advanced.

I went the easy DIY route with my first, took a toy voice-changer megaphone already wired and prepared for a 9v battery and jammed it into a pedal, toggle-switches for settings. Not pretty, but definitely with its uses as I was into prog rock around that time.

(Get a soldering station rather than a handheld iron, trust me. Temperature control is essential. Don't inhale solder fumes, have a very very good light, let nothing be shadowed.)

#3 Posted by mordukai (7837 posts) -

@somejerk: Thanks. Your Megaphone move is quite clever. Never would I think to take stuff like that and use it. Thanks again.

#4 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (552 posts) -

I think it'd be great, but getting into electronics has always seemed really intimidating.

#5 Posted by CandleJakk (769 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: It's not that bad, honestly! There are some good basic kits out there. The only part that's difficult is efficient soldering. Soldering's not difficult, but getting good connections with minimal product use takes some practice.

Not built a pedal (yet- that's a new job wages project for next year), but I've done enough guitar work and circuitry stuff that with a bit of patience, it shouldn't be overly difficult. Just take your time, you'll be fine. Most of all, have fun with it; you can make the best pedal ever, but it's pointless if you don't enjoy the process.

#6 Posted by iragequit (337 posts) -

This sounds neat. I scored an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff pedal cleaning out an apartment at a previous job. From looking online the pedal seems to be around 30 years old or more but it currently does not seem to work. I'd like to figure out how to test it or fix it but don't know where to begin. Any tips? Simple voltmeter to test it?

#7 Edited by Basm321 (409 posts) -

No, but 2 close friends have made a number of pedal...

I'll see my self out.

#8 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (2136 posts) -

It's not something I've ever considered, and I really don't think I could commit to learning how to do something like that. I'd rather take the "easy" way out and shell out some cash for decent pedals.

#9 Posted by mordukai (7837 posts) -

@iragequit: Nice on your find.

As far as fixing it then it's really up to how much are you secure in your abilities to solder and test. If you are not sure then don't take the risk and go to a professional, or better yet, contact Electro Harmonix.

If you decide to take a crack at it then you should start from the simple stuff.

First of all you need to learn a few things:

  1. If you don't know how to then you must learn how to solder. There plenty of good videos online that teach you. Main thing to know is Less Is More.
  2. Always draw the component you are switching and how the wires are connected. Don't rely on memory.
  3. As @somejerk said. Get yourself a good soldering station. Also helps to have a good magnifying lamp.
  4. Get yourself a multimeter.

I know it seems like a pretty penny to invest in and taking to a pro might be the cheaper option but you'll have indispensable tools for future use.

First You need to check if there's power going into the board. Since you say it's an old Muff then it's probobly the one without the LED light. In that case you need to find the point on the board where the positive is. Most of the times it's a red wire coming from the power jack. If you see no power coming from to the board then all you have to do is replace the wire. Also it could be a defective power jack.

Next you move to the switch. Most of the times a broken pedal means a broken switch. In that case just replace it. A new dpdt switch are very cheap and you can find them virtually at any electronic store. I have done it many times. It's very simple and easy and it saved me a lot of times of going to the store to get it fix and paying way more.

If it's not the switch then you can move to the input and output jacks. There might be broken mono jack. In that case just switch them out. They are fairly easy to replace.

If none of these solve the problem then the problem might be the board. In that case take it to a pro. You don't want to start messing with caps and diodes and all that.

Good luck.