Introduction: Guitar-Mounted F/X for $5!

Picture of Guitar-Mounted F/X for $5!
Make a killer tone/WahWah filter effect on the cheap! Project uses a 'Remix' iPod module, made for 'scratching' effects with iPods. The audio quality is actually decent.

The Remix units have hit the discount stores (and ebay.) This one cost only $5 USD! With a 3V power supply, they are easily converted to AA batteries (or keep the AAA supply.)

Unlike many guitar projects, this one requires only minimal soldering and only a few extra parts. And no fabricating circuit boards, etc.

Build one like this for on-guitar use, or encase the guts in a stomp box! (use a volume petal to control the effect...)

And OK--I did have all the adapters and cables (and the textured paint) so the total cost will vary....

Keeping with the 'Ghetto' theme, I've installed one on a cheapo 70's guitar (my Les Paul looks on jealously in the video.) (Oh, and be nice about the playing--this was the first and only 'take'...)

Step 1: Parts and Supplies

Picture of Parts and Supplies

You will need:

Soldering iron and Solder
Small screwdrivers (for electonics or jewelers)
Textured paint (optional)

Cords and adapters (I had these on hand)

With a host of adapters, custom cables don't need to be made (and the remix unit doesn't need any retrofitted jacks, etc.) Ultimately, it DOES make sense to add new jacks, etc. and NOT to depend on adapters.

But this is a quick-n-dirty hack, after all....;-)

Step 2: Disassemble the Remix Module

Picture of Disassemble the Remix Module

Remix units are well built, and there is a sequence to disassembly.

1) The iPod holder is snap-on but pretty hard to remove without breaking. Just cut it at that thin section, and it will pry off easily. The board is still fully enclosed, however.

2) Now remove the screws holding the inner side of the case. There are several. Once removed, the board is still screwed to the outer case side.

3) Remove the retaining screws, also.

4) One step remains--two screws for mounting the control wheel. Remove these through the access slot on the board. After removal, the wheel drops off and the Remix board lifts out.

Step 3: Connections

Picture of Connections

The images detail all the relevant connections.

Step 4: Jumper the 'Effect Bypass Switch'

Picture of Jumper the 'Effect Bypass Switch'

The standard unit has a momentary effect bypass switch. It standard setting is 'Off.' The Remix is only 'filtering' when this button is pressed.

Add a jumper here and the effect is ON all the time (I've got only two hands, and need them to play.)

A remote switch or a foot on-off switch can be added here easily, especially if you build it into a stompbox.

Step 5: Modify the Controller Wheel

Picture of Modify the Controller Wheel

Here's how to reattach the controller wheel you removed during disassembly...

1) Drill a hole in the wheel to access the POT screw.

2) Reattach the inner wheel mount. Use the original screws, and a little glue...

3) Now the POT mounting screw can be accessed from the top of the wheel. Reattach the wheel to the Remix unit.

Step 6: Removing the Pot and Wiring an External Controller

Picture of Removing the Pot and Wiring an External Controller

The control POT on the Remix is 500K. But it can easily be removed and an external controller substituted. So making a wah pedal, etc. is easy.

Step 7: Apply Textured Paint to the Control Surface

Picture of Apply Textured Paint to the Control Surface

I sprayed a couple coats of textured paint (clear) to the surface of the controller. The extra friction really helps the disc respond to hand movements.

Without it, my hand slips quite a bit....

Step 8: Add a Battery Holder

Picture of Add a Battery Holder

This puppy needs three volts, so AA or AAA batteries work great.

You can find a suitable holder @ Radio Shack, or rip one out of an old piece of electronic junk. I use the type that clips to a 9V battery connector, so the holder can be removed easily.

The solder the battery wires to the terminals detailed photo...

Step 9: F/X Chain

Picture of F/X Chain

Like most variable filters (wahwah pedals, etc.), the module sounds best with a bit of distortion to thicken the effect. I used a Zoom 505 pedal.

The standard order for "killer sound" with a old school 'Dunlop' pedal is:

guitar ->pedal -> distortion ->amp

Adding an old-school Wah pedal after the distortion tends to quiet or mute the effect. For the Remix module, I found the output impedance a poor match for my guitar amp. Adding a preamp or a minimal circuit to convert it to hi-impedance output is probably trivial (maybe just a resistor attenuator will do the trick.)

However, the Remix unit is stereo and it's sound quality is quite good compared to an old Dunlop pedal. Reversing the f/x order works fine:

guitar -> distortion -> Remix ->amp

If the former (standard) f/x chain is followed, the guitar MUST be fed to both channels of the Remix input.

Step 10: What's With All the Cables???

Picture of What's With All the Cables???

Possibly due to impedance issues, the Remix unit sound best as described in the 'F/X chain' section. But when wired in this fashion, the signal travels:

guitar -> distortion -> Remix -> amp

This necessitates three sets of cables, unfortunately. A 'stompbox' unit wouldn't have this problem (although mounting the controller on the guitar would still require two cables.)

Step 11: Use

Just turn it on, and play. Rotate the knob for the desired effect. Use as a 'wah,' or just a band-pass filter to boost whichever frequencies you like.

The Remix has a 'zero' point (just above the high frequency boost) where the signal is passed without modification. Left here and the guitar sounds like itself.

It's fairly easy to dial in the 'resonant frequency' of any particular note--even in the bass range. 'Tuning in' to that frequency results in some cool sounds.

I've found that the 'tone' control on the guitar should be set low (3 or 4) or the FX quickly becomes the 'feedback machine!'

There is no signal passed with the switch in the 'off' position.


Nithrate (author)2014-04-05

Put her to rest. She is suffering.

clayharrison (author)2011-02-18

Is this the one?

smithman99 (author)2010-10-25

is there any way to keep this at a one cable maximum?

gmoon (author)smithman992010-10-25

I dunno, probably not. This is a goofy, rigged effect and I wouldn't spend too much time replicating it... It was just a cheap mash-up...

pickboy2mm (author)2010-05-20

you can get any of those sounds out of the way you hold your pick and pluck and finger your guitar as long as you have a decent amplifier.  you couldnt record that guitar because of all the noise and you couldnt play it live because the sound guy would probably kill you.  not being rude.  just want to know the purpose if you already have a les paul?

docnova (author)pickboy2mm2010-07-02

It would be rather hard to get a wah sound with your pick and fingers. ;-)

gmoon (author)pickboy2mm2010-05-20

The purpose? To have FUN.

WTF does my LP have to do with this?

thisonegoesto11 (author)2010-05-23

so you don't need the actual Remix case to make the final product? I was thinking of using the case as a iPod holder in a car thats why I ask. also I remember seeing this nearly a year ago and thinking it would be so fun to do but thought I'd never find a Remix, yesterday I walk into Big Lots and they had one and I instantly remembered this and bought it ha!

citixen12 (author)2010-04-20

 i can't find the ipod attachment anywhere! any ideas? i also want to take your design, flip in 90 degrees, and add a whammy bar.

oweng4000 (author)2010-03-13

could i put this in a wah pedal casing?

gmoon (author)oweng40002010-03-13


I don't recall what the POT value was, though.

millersxtremedepot (author)2010-03-07

Check out my sites modboard page @

brytank01 (author)2008-06-05

Is it possible to put it inside the guitar?

sminc (author)brytank012009-09-15

put mine inside one soon, Maybe ill upload photos along the way? Definitely give credit to gmoon if I do. Will this work on a bass guitar, perchance?

gmoon (author)brytank012008-06-06

Sure, why not? Require some modifications, of course.

jacobguitar (author)2009-09-05

random question, how does that vibrato unit work?

fatboy106 (author)2009-05-22

guitar -> Remix ->amp instead

gmoon (author)fatboy1062009-05-23

Sure. Whether or not a Wah sounds good without distortion depends a lot on the amp...

fatboy106 (author)2009-05-21

could the distortion be missed out?

gmoon (author)fatboy1062009-05-21

Not quite understanding your question...

gmoon (author)fatboy1062009-05-21

It looks like a digital recorder. I don't think the playback and record can happen simultaneously. Might possibly be moddable for a different type of effect...

Koil_1 (author)2009-01-31

Yet another awesome project man. Keep up the good work!

Calligraphy (author)2008-12-03

Yeah experimental would be a good tag for this one! I can't help but be reminded of the guitar solo from Triad ( Tool ). I know the guitarist did a weird setup that had his guitar going into the keyboard, somehow resulting with instant feedback if he so much as let go of the strings. I wouldn't be surprised if you could do a close imitation with this gadget.

sasuke_kun12 (author)2008-08-17

anyone got one of these they can ship to australia on the cheap?

gmoon (author)sasuke_kun122008-08-17

You can find 'em on Ebay, cheap. Search for "remix ipod"....

mubot (author)2008-08-13

killer use for it .... i saw these at BIG LOTS for like $5 and grabbed a few ... also grabbed the drum machine thing they had ... i used 1 of the filters ones in my DIY synth ... cool and simple!

gmoon (author)mubot2008-08-14

Yeah--I've picked up a couple volume pedals from old organs recently...maybe it's time to do this up right. Make a wah pedal and add all the cable jacks, attenuation (for the feedback), etc., that this quick-n-dirty hack lacks....

Metal4God (author)2007-09-24

i wouldn't want to mod my guitar any i'm always afraid ill ruin it! Since i's my ONLY guitar but i might get this for christmas

gmoon (author)Metal4God2007-09-24

Good luck at Xmas! This guitar was a $20 special, so I can mod without destroying a valuable axe...

Metal4God (author)gmoon2007-09-24

ty and btw i think xmas is bad

gmoon (author)Metal4God2007-09-24

Xmas is bad? Care to explain that?

Or are you one of those "don't give gifts because it commercializes the birth of Christ" kinda people?

Metal4God (author)gmoon2007-09-24

I was raised that way. Im Christian! AND Im Proud

gmoon (author)Metal4God2007-09-24

Relax, it's just a abbreviation, like xing (crossing) or xtal (crystal.)

JuCo (author)gmoon2008-06-24

actually, it's jesus' initial... the "X", i mean. (think back on one of those jesus fish thingies that has his name written in it) "X" has been a symbol for christ for about as long as people have been talking about the man. but, churches like to get all riled up about this sorta thing.

gmoon (author)JuCo2008-06-24

Good point...

Metal4God (author)gmoon2007-09-24

well i was tought that Xmas was actual another version of Christmas of santa clause

whoa! can you say 'off-topic'? haha... ok, my turn: 9-11 was an inside job!

Metal4God (author)gmoon2007-09-24

BTW I meant The saying X mas not Christmas it self

DIY Dave (author)2007-10-02

Where did you get the remix ipod thing in the intro and adapter 2 in step 10?

gmoon (author)DIY Dave2007-10-02

The Remix module was had at Big Lots (in the midwest.) If you're not a USA person, it's a discount / closeout type store. I've seen 'em cheap on ebay, too. I had the adapter already, but I'd bet I got it at Radio Shack (you can find all these adapters online for 1/4 the cost at RS.)

bustedit (author)gmoon2008-05-22

I saw these at Big Lots a few months ago, but I bought their robot voice changer instead and wa going to put in in a new case. I guess I'm going back to grab 1 or 2 of these now. Nice, fun instructable.

gmoon (author)bustedit2008-05-23

Thanks--there's lots of room to improve this (I kept it very minimal.) Some attenuation on the output would improve the sound greatly...

DIY Dave (author)gmoon2007-10-04

Thanks for the reply

gmoon (author)DIY Dave2007-10-05

Yep. rock on.

moesboy (author)2008-05-22

they also make the Spin Master Beatz Drum could you do some thing with that

butthead95 (author)2008-03-03

use wire crimps with difrnt ends instead of solder much easier less work you can buy them at crap sales flea markets swap meets go to the hardware guy there mad cheap too and dont 4get to buy the tool crimps saved me solder and burns

Yerboogieman (author)2008-02-25

i have that SAME roll of solder, had it for years

gmoon (author)Yerboogieman2008-02-26

hehe. My's pretty old, too. But I've used more in the last six months than in the previous 5 yrs....

SpeakupforRonPaul (author)2008-01-13

Sounded really cool at 47 before the squeal. Something is not right but the idea of something on a guitar you could "bend" or squelch with your pick hand fingers or a bar would be very widely popular if you get the screech out of it.

About This Instructable




Bio: Go sit in the Faraday cage and think about what you've done...
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