DIY Guitar Pedals

The Effects AreaI spent this summer building a number of guitar effects pedals, both for my own education and for my pupils to get an idea of what various effects pedals do. It’s been great fun working with schematics and layouts shared on various internet sites – it’s also been frustrating at times trying to suss out the many mistakes I’ve made along the way.

To date, I have built the following pedals, housing them in old tobacco tins purchased on eBay – for that retro look:

  • Compression pedal: this ‘squahes’ the output signal from the guitar, making quieter notes louder, loud notes quieter and giving greater sustain to long notes/chords.
  • Clean Boost pedal: this acts like a preamp, boosting the signal from the guitar – especially good for single-coil pickups. It also allows an extra boost in higher frequencies for playing solos.
  • Fuzz pedals: I made two of these, one based on the classic Fuzz Face the other on a Big Muff Pi. They both alter the guitar signal’s waveform to make it harsh and buzzy.
  • Overdrive pedal: this is similar to the fuzz pedal, but less so. The signal is only slightly rounded off to give the effect of an overdriven amp.
  • Tremolo pedal: this is a bit like turning the volume up and down repeatedly – it can be sent at different speeds and depths
  • Phaser pedal: not sure how to describe this apart from that it makes a swishy sound. Again the speed and depth of the swish can be changed.
  • Reverb pedal: using a special chip, this pedal adds an echo as though playing in a large room or church.
Compression Pedal Fuzz FaceFuzz Face Overdrive PedalOverdrive Pedal
Tremolo PedalTremolo Pedal Reverb PedalReverb Pedal Phaser PedalPhaser Pedal
Booster PedalBooster Pedal Big Muff PiBig Muff Pi

If you’d like to know how to make these guitar effects pedals yourself, or want to know more about them, please get in touch.