This is a very basic guide for anybody who wishes to scrap together a cheap pedal. I am not particularly adept at this, but it should prove to be a learning experience.

Is It Cheaper?

This depends. Most sites about pedals say that unless you are building a vintage pedal, it is not going to be cheaper, and it will take longer. In theory, this may be true, due to economies of scale, but there are things which are not considered, suchas price markups from the manufacturer, bulk retailer and the end retailer.
Personally, I dont play for any bands or anything, guitar is just a hobby, and I want to play with the effects on my own. Because of this, and a stack of broken stuff (Computers, etc) which I can cannabalize, and a bit of money for parts, I am going to make some effects for personal use. On sites, they tell you that the electronics should be easy enough, but the casing is difficult and costly. But If at home, who needs proper casing. There are many considerations, suchas simple boxes with swiches, or, as i plan to do, chuck it into the guitar and keep the battery in the back, so you just undo a few screws to change the battery. Also included will be methods of making a decent box from scrap parts. Well... If you can make it, you may aswell.

What Do I Need

For Making Any Pedal

  • PCB Kit - It has been recommended to use a PCB kit to make a circuit board, but I do not wish to spend any money unnecessarily.
  • Soldering Iron - Unless you wih to risk twisting every wire and maybe breaking it, or leaving long dangling ends to short out the circuit, get a soldering iron
  • Solder - What use is a soldering iron without solder?
  • Wire Clippers - To cut loose ends off. Old scissors or the such should do!

General Components

  • 2 1/4" Phone Jacks (only 1 jack must be stereo, the other can be any 1/4")
  • 9V battery connector And Battery
  • Wire
  • DPDT on/off toggle switch

General Tips For Construction

This is assuming that you are using a PCB and a Pedal
1. A good way to test the circuit out BEFORE lots of time is invested in building the pc board, I would recommend getting a thin piece of cardboard (or a regular perfboard) and poke holes in it and twist the component leads together in the correct locations (as shown by the schematic). Once a good sound is obtained, than you should have little problem w/ making the pcb and finishing up the project!
2. follow the instructions found in the PCB kit to prepare the copper-clad board.
3. Draw a "practice" layout on paper using circles for the placement of components and wires and draw lines to make the connections needed.
4. Use the permanent marker on the board, following your previous drawing.
5. Use some type of hacksaw, or even a file if you want, to cut out the portion of the pc board with your drawing on it (It's unnecessary, and annoying to work with a 4 or 5 square inch pc board when you really only need 1 or two).
6. Now, re-copy, the traces you made on the pc board (as some probably wore off in the process of cutting it down). Copy it a third time if you like, to make sure you get a thick coat to make a better circuit.
7. Follow the instructions on etching the pc board (use much less than the "recommended" amount of etching solution).
8. When the traces are clear, and all etching looks done, use cool water to get rid of any remaining solution. Then, take off the remaining permanent marker lines using either the other solution provided or steel wool.
9. Now, you can drill the holes for the components, using a small drill bit. Drill wherever there is a "circle"
10. Place the resistors, diodes, and capacitors into their correct holes, lead sticking out the copper side (be very careful about correct polarity!)
11. Bend the leads back, flat against the board. Cut a lead and solder nicely in place. Repeat. (note: capacitors are slightly heat-sensitive, try to solder last and don't take too long with these pieces).
12. Cut/solder wires and 9V connector to pc board, switch, and jacks. (see layout diagram).
13. Place and solder transistors (go rather quickly as these are more heat-sensitive. Also be VERY careful about matching E,C,B correctly)
14. Connect battery and test (at this point you'll either glow with excitement or frown with disgust. If the latter is true, DON'T give up! Be patient. Look over your soldering. Check for polarity. Take things one step at a time.
15. Once you get it to work good, cut holes (using a pocketknife very carefully, or a drill) and put it all in the box
16. Label Input/Output/on/off/volume etc.


I have scoured a few sites And as this list is ever-changing, it will be on my site. Just check it there. It is - Guitar Section, at the bottom.
Feel Free to add any other information/simple designs/methods to this node.