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> Custom Diy Pedals, Gab "signature" Overdrive & Audio Experiments
yoncopin
post Apr 8 2016, 02:48 PM
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I've mentioned this in a couple other threads, but I've started building custom guitar pedals and experimenting with other audio circuitry to make my own gear. As a thank you for all the help he's given me with my playing, I offered to build Gabriel a custom dual overdrive pedal and we have been having fun with the early design discussions over in my army thread. He encouraged me to start this thread to document our project, and for any other projects I have going for anyone who's interested.

After a quick exchange with Kris, he's given me permission to offer my services to other GMCers who are interested in their own custom gear. I very much want to keep learning, up to this point I have been just cloning pedals for my own use, but I want to expand to modding and designing my own. So, if there's an existing pedal you're interested in, maybe we can tweak a one of a kind version for you, or if you have idea for an effect, amp, analog, digital, whatever... throw it up here to discuss the possibilities smile.gif

TLDR; I'm offering to build stuff for GMCers for the cost of materials. I think it'll be a fun collaboration, it will help me get more experience, and you unique gear.


I'm going to continually edit THIS post to add links to suppliers, designs, etc... as a resource for the future, so it doesn't all get spread out within the discussion thread.

Parts Suppliers:
Mammoth Electronics
Smallbear Electronics
Pedal Parts Plus
Tayda Electronics
Mouser
Digikey

Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)
Mad Bean Pedals
JMK PCBs
Grind Customs FX
General Guitar Gadgets
GuitarPCB
TH Custom Effects

Stripboard Layouts
Tagboard Effects
Perf and PCB Effects Layouts
Sabrotone

Information
Runoffgroove
Tonepad

Forums
DIYStompboxes
Freestompboxes
MadBean Forums

Youtube
That Pedal Show
DIY Guitar Pedals


I recently watched a pretty cool documentary on pedal builders too, Fuzz: The Sound That Revolutionized The World. You can watch it (at least in the USA) for free for Amazon Prime members here.




Here's a quick recap of the projects I've done so far:

Madbean Slow Loris (ProCo Rat clone)
Sounds awesome, especially when boosted, used 16 gauge wire for the internals (smaller # is thicker wire) because it was what I had. No internals photos because I could barely get the box closed it was so cramped smile.gif Enamel paint with a hand brushed polyeurethane clear coat wasn't the best finish, uneven from the brushing and kind rubbery and milky/cloudy. Probably durable, but wouldn't recommend.


Sound clip

General Guitar Gadgets ITS-8 (Ibanez Tubescreamer)
Another classic, a Tubescreamer clone. This was a complete kit and I found it a bit too easy, just painting by numbers. I did greatly improve my finishing techniques though. Interior wiring was MUCH cleaner, and I went my lacquer paint for the color and an enamel clear. The waterslide decal went on ok on this one, I learned later it was faster and much easier if you wet the surface before applying. The paint looks great but I wonder about durability.



JMKPCB Testing Rig
This one went almost perfectly. Interior wiring was ideal, some small issues with trying to put a lot in a small box, but not too bad. Decal went on perfect. I started this one with a pre-powdercoated enclosure but when applying the clearcoat used the same "hood" I used for the Tubescreamer, so some green dust got in the clear in some places. Lesson learned. This is an awesome device, it is a test and debugging tool for populated effects boards. It has a simple signal generator and headphone amp too, super cool and really useful.





In progress...
GrindCustomsFX SuperFET
GrindCustomsFX Ultrastoner MKII



This post has been edited by yoncopin: Apr 8 2016, 08:03 PM


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Chris S.
post Apr 8 2016, 03:23 PM
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Ultimate Guitar has a Pedal Building thread in Guitar Building & Customizing - I learned a lot from there.

Best of luck my friend, building and modifying effects is cool territory, a good way to make some side cash doing clones and customizations for friends and friends of friends smile.gif

PS Powder coated finishes will last the test of time, lacquer finishes are cheaper and get the job done a simple bump of the corner of a desk could end up chipping a corner - just my two cents from experience

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Apr 8 2016, 03:25 PM


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yoncopin
post Apr 8 2016, 03:39 PM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Apr 8 2016, 10:23 AM) *
PS Powder coated finishes will last the test of time, lacquer finishes are cheaper and get the job done a simple bump of the corner of a desk could end up chipping a corner - just my two cents from experience


Thanks! I totally agree. I'm still experimenting with finishes to settle on a method I like. The next one I'm trying is using two part epoxy as described here. Non-toxic, fast drying, doesn't need special equipment, and should dry like concrete. That said, I have an air compressor and a powder coat gun and toaster oven isn't very expensive at all. I live in a townhouse, so it's really just about storing the equipment.

I'd also like to try PCB and enclosure etching, but the downside there is it does require hazardous chemicals which I'd have to store and dispose of.

This post has been edited by yoncopin: Apr 8 2016, 03:39 PM


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Chris S.
post Apr 8 2016, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE (yoncopin @ Apr 8 2016, 02:39 PM) *
Thanks! I totally agree. I'm still experimenting with finishes to settle on a method I like. The next one I'm trying is using two part epoxy as described here. Non-toxic, fast drying, doesn't need special equipment, and should dry like concrete. That said, I have an air compressor and a powder coat gun and toaster oven isn't very expensive at all. I live in a townhouse, so it's really just about storing the equipment.

I'd also like to try PCB and enclosure etching, but the downside there is it does require hazardous chemicals which I'd have to store and dispose of.

Have you tried looking into this method?

http://m.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-F...--A-better-etc/

Unlike Ferric Chloride which requires disposal, you can reuse this solution and it even becomes stronger after each use.

This is the method I use, and at some point it will require some disposal after accumulating too much solution but it's not nearly as worrisome as the ferric chloride.

EDIT: there is also a really good free PCB design program I have to try to find for you it's kinda a hidden gem - but it allows you to design the PCB layout yourself for etching, saving you money on prefab boards.

It's just important to know that you will have to move some parts around as a PCB layout is generally copyrighted as an image.

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Apr 8 2016, 04:45 PM


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yoncopin
post Apr 8 2016, 05:52 PM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Apr 8 2016, 11:38 AM) *
Have you tried looking into this method?

http://m.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-F...--A-better-etc/

Unlike Ferric Chloride which requires disposal, you can reuse this solution and it even becomes stronger after each use.

This is the method I use, and at some point it will require some disposal after accumulating too much solution but it's not nearly as worrisome as the ferric chloride.

EDIT: there is also a really good free PCB design program I have to try to find for you it's kinda a hidden gem - but it allows you to design the PCB layout yourself for etching, saving you money on prefab boards.

It's just important to know that you will have to move some parts around as a PCB layout is generally copyrighted as an image.


That Cupric Chloride link is awesome, I'm definitely going to try that. I'd love to be able to etch boards as I was just going to start stripboarding things to move away from others PCBs. That and I don't have to order a bunch of stuff, I can source it all locally. Great tip, thanks. Have you been doing this long? I'd love to make side cash just to keep the hobby sustainable and not invest tons in learning more. Have you managed that?

This post has been edited by yoncopin: Apr 8 2016, 05:54 PM


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Chris S.
post Apr 8 2016, 06:07 PM
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To sell something to a friend, or a friend of friend isn't too much of a struggle - but if you are trying to have a steady supply of income (even a little) that's where the trouble comes from.

Cost is the big problem - in order to keep your prices low/competitive you have to be willing to invest more in bulk and produce as many as possible in one batch.

Order 50 enclosures vs 3 enclosures, painting and baking 4 at a time versus one at a time, etc.

This makes the cost of the consumer lower, but it puts you at more risk sitting on these parts for an undefined amount of time.

The biggest factor is competition - there are so many builders out there - cloners and boutiquers- that to be able to sell a higher quantity is extremely challenging.

I've tried it, and I struggled with it.

My recommendation is keeping things small. Build one or two of each effect, post videos and sound samples on your Facebook or personal website - make a Facebook page dedicated to it for free and go with that.

I've basically built one of everything and if someone wants one i do a parts order for what I don't have - getting a couple extra pieces of the cheaper parts such as resistors and capacitors (you will end up using these values in other designs) and then just building one for them.

I make a couple bucks here and there, nothing to really call income or enough to roll into anything to grow.

Start small, keep it a hobby you can make a few bucks off of and go from there.

smile.gif

EDIT: I forgot to mention to put more emphasis on the more uncommon effects.

Just about everyone has a tube screamer clone, a fuzz face clone, etc.

Not everyone has a clone of a vintage Jumbo Tone Bender.

Those are the types of effects that will catch people's attention a little better.

I can go into a music store and get a used Tube Screamer for the price of your new clone - but if I want a vintage tone bender I will be forking out over $200 - or I can buy your clone of it for a 1/3 of that.

The vintage, hard to find and unusual effects will always be easier to sell. I just built a Jumbo Tone Bender to a buddy I work with who uses it for his bass - he never heard of one so it was easier to peak his interest.

DOUBLE EDIT: I've also sold more of these than anything else haha :

http://www.generalguitargadgets.com/effect...p-switch-boxes/

For all the "tone puristist" who don't quite understand that buffers can actually be a good thing. It's a simple hardware box that converts a buffered effect, such as a boss pedal, into a true bypass effect.

smile.gif

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Apr 8 2016, 06:17 PM


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yoncopin
post Apr 8 2016, 06:36 PM
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I kinda figured it would be a struggle, and I have exactly zero interest in running a side business. Best case scenario would be making 2-3 and sell the extras to make the one I keep free or discounted. Aside from the used Tubescreamers of the world, Joyo and other Chinese pedal manufacturers are selling them for that cheap brand new.

I've been experimenting (as you can see) with different finishing techniques. Are the majority of your builds cupric chloride etched pcbs and powercoated enclosures? Are they pre-powdercoated or do you do it yourself? What do you do for labeling and clear coat? I've yet to find a very satisfying way to do white text on dark backgrounds either. The Rat was white waterslide decal paper that I printed black and cut out, a little kludgy and hard to match any color other than black. How are you drilling your pcbs, by hand or do you have a press?

You should share your projects too! I would love to see them for inspiration and to exchange build tips and ideas. For Gab's pedal I had finally had enough of buying a handful of components for each project and ordered a big stock of popular values from Tayda. It wasn't too bad on the initial cost outlay and should be enough to experiment with a range of circuits. Where do you tend to buy your parts from?

True bypass (shake my head), probably a lot of "transparent" overdrives too wink.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 8 2016, 07:38 PM
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I say the more builders the better smile.gif It keeps the builders making too many pedals honest! I'd humbly suggest adding bits that you don't normally find on pedals, just to keep things different. But it's just a suggestion smile.gif I've always wanted a overdrive with a single band parametric eq to trim the mud out.


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nikeman64
post Apr 8 2016, 10:33 PM
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I think Todd's right here. Adding something that would make a pedal stand out amongst all the others. It would stimulate your creativity, workmanship and buyers potential.

Anyway, it's great that your doing this. Looking forward to a vid from Gab playing trough that pedal !!! smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Apr 9 2016, 03:06 AM
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I get my enclosures already powder coated - it's a huge investment for sandblasting and powder coating equipment tongue.gif

For the PCB's I have a drill press and a ton of bits (they are so thin they tend to break sooner rather than later haha )

Yeah - definitely keep it small. As long as you're having fun with it and learning that's all the matters. I learned real quick that trying to make a business out of it robs all the fun smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 11 2016, 02:37 PM
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Hi mate! Great to find this thread here! I think that this is a cool initiative for everybody here.

I think that Todd's comment is very on spot. We talked a bit about it at Gab's Army. As there is a lot of stuff out there, the secret is to build something unique that stands. Sometimes it doesn't need to be a revolution, but a few elements that other pedals are lacking can make a big difference.

I invite GMCers to share here what pedals they are currecntly using and if there is anything that you think the pedal is lacking in your opinion. This experiences can bring here great ideas for this project. Don't you think so?


For example, I love this pedal:



However I've decided to for for a memory man hazarai because I need the "tap" function.

On a side note, I've always hear my brother (who is a bassist) regreting that most of the bass distortion pedals don't include the "blend" option which is basically a mix wet/dry pot.



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yoncopin
post Apr 12 2016, 01:48 PM
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Todd's idea for a single-band eq and the blend knob for bass distortion are awesome. I immediately did some research on how to build those and are great creative inspiration.

My huge parts order arrived today from Tayda, it's my first time ordering from them and everything looks pretty great. I finished and tested my Zvex SHO clone last night and it worked great. So, I've got two fuzz boxes and the boost to box up and paint, then I'll start on the next project for Gab smile.gif



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 12 2016, 03:39 PM
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Awesome!! Any audio sample of your Zvex SHO clone?


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 12 2016, 04:57 PM
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Well thanks smile.gif Just features that I've always wanted and I've never seen included on a pedal. Those things would certainly set it apart in a very competitive field! Most folks have to use another stomp or two. Orange recently released the bangeetar pedal with more eq control but I'd just like a single band to deal with the bass frequencies to tame them a bit. Would really help on high gain amps which tend to be over bassy on high gain.

QUOTE (yoncopin @ Apr 12 2016, 07:48 AM) *
Todd's idea for a single-band eq and the blend knob for bass distortion are awesome. I immediately did some research on how to build those and are great creative inspiration.

My huge parts order arrived today from Tayda, it's my first time ordering from them and everything looks pretty great. I finished and tested my Zvex SHO clone last night and it worked great. So, I've got two fuzz boxes and the boost to box up and paint, then I'll start on the next project for Gab smile.gif




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Kristofer Dahl
post Apr 13 2016, 08:11 AM
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Very cool project! biggrin.gif

I'm moving this one to the gear section.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 13 2016, 01:19 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Apr 12 2016, 12:57 PM) *
Well thanks smile.gif Just features that I've always wanted and I've never seen included on a pedal. Those things would certainly set it apart in a very competitive field! Most folks have to use another stomp or two. Orange recently released the bangeetar pedal with more eq control but I'd just like a single band to deal with the bass frequencies to tame them a bit. Would really help on high gain amps which tend to be over bassy on high gain.


I hate when gear doesn't include enough EQ controls to make them versatile. It's curious to know that Orange released that pedal, since one of the things that I don't like of their amps (for example dual terror) is how random its "tone" is and it's the only EQ control that includes. mad.gif


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yoncopin
post Apr 14 2016, 03:36 AM
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I couldn't let all those parts just sit there and not build anything! Gab, here's the right side of your dual overdrive pedal, tested and working smile.gif It's based on the Maxon OD820, and has a Gain, Clean, Tone, and Volume knobs. It's almost two in one pedals itself, if you turn the gain all the way down and the clean all the way up, it's essentially a clean boost pedal. It's sounds great to me, I'm kinda jealous. Send me a dry wav recording and I can try to get you a few different audio samples smile.gif



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yoncopin
post Apr 16 2016, 07:37 PM
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Last night I ruined two enclosures by drilling them wrong, so I decided to do more planning before hand. I've also had interior components running into each other, so I wanted to be more sure beforehand. It was also a good opportunity to learn Sketchup. Here's the result:



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yoncopin
post Apr 24 2016, 02:22 AM
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A couple new ones, finally finished. These take a surprising amount of work considering what they retail for smile.gif I built two of each and have family members who will be getting them as gifts. The clear coat was the two part epoxy method I described before. It worked O.K. It definitely looks super high gloss but the sides on the fuzz are kinda streaky/drippy. The Super Hard On boost pedals looked ok, but one of the fuzzes wasn't up to my standards for a gift. I am trying something new, using Pedal Parts Plus to powder coat and drill a custom enclosure, so we'll see how that turns out too. They sound awesome, I need to set up my mic to record Gab's pedal when a few parts arrive. I think I'll do a full audio rundown then.





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yoncopin
post Apr 26 2016, 04:11 PM
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Ok Gab, here's the pedal layout, this is gonna be kinda big! The only enclosure that would fit these dual pedals was a Hammond 1590DD with dimensions of 7.3" x 4.7" x 1.5" (see detailed specs here) My guess is Truetone has a custom printed circuit board and uses tiny surface mount components to squeeze it into a smaller box.









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