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Picture of Make an easy guitar distortion pedal (STEP BY STEP!)
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So, I decided to make an instructable! this is my 1st one, please feel free to comment on anything and everything.   .... pleeaase comment!




Here's the video of how to do it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ODWJxliqd4

Note: Please Read all steps and read them carefully (if youre just starting at this stuff that is!) if you want to make this right! It should be easy if you follow the steps well.  This is more of a beginners project, you could still make it otherwise!

If you have tried and tried to make guitar effects pedals and have not succeeded, this instructable is for you! Or if this is your very first one then this is definitely the place for you to be. I have not found one instructable or website that gives clear step by step instructions on how to make guitar effects pedals. I found one quite clear with the instructions, and all the comments helped out too. It just lacked the Step by Step part. This is it: www.instructables.com/id/Very_simple_and_cheap_GuitarBass_distortion_pedal/
I am using the design (schematic) from this one as it is a very simple distortion pedal.

lets get started!

Update:

Okay so Amerinidiot1231 was kind enough to create the perf board layout schematic, so that is attached on this page if you would like to refer to it.
 
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sipimanify.17 hours ago

just find out how rectifier diodes look like, i was so wrong xD.

drakkn1 year ago

Works for me - made on a business card because no perf board available - will add a gain pot , volume pot and tone pot (I must have some knocking about .

The capacitors should be nf values not uf in my opinion.

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ugur23 drakkn1 month ago

actually it looks good with business card :)

drakkn ugur231 month ago

Cheers - was fun and it works well and its still on the card

CalebS61 month ago
Could I use a 1000uf capacitor for some super bassy sound or would that just not work?
DanieleP11 month ago

hi! with another transistor and correct resistors it works so fine on my bassline synthesizer!!! sounds so nasty!!! will build other trying some variations based on other projects ;)

DanieleP12 months ago

hi! i'm trying a random transistor and no distortion, just a little less volume and bass ... trying to build with parts found in some broken hardware i have around... this will be the mission of the month :P

Sartrejp made it!2 months ago

You are genius! I bought online an amplifier and it doesnt have distortion, you save with it. Its first one I can complete. The pther two diodes was my first attemp with materials I had. Dindt work, but I could listen to the radio with it.

Than you very very much.

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BillyB58 months ago

What diods did you use? Will it work good with a bass guitar?

Different diodes will give you a slightly different sound so try what you can and choose what you like best! In other words: it doesn't matter as long as they are diodes.
As for using the circuit for a bass guitar, just make sure you use a large value for the input capacitor (where your guitar signal goes).
At the end of the day all that matters is that you like the sound; there is nothing that needs to very specifically be a certain value in the circuit. Swapping the 100k feedback resistor out for a larger one will give you more gain (equals more distortion + more volume), for instance.

I'll end with a jelly bean recommendation: go with an input capacitor larger than or equal to 10uF (whatever you can find) and use 1N4148 diodes as they are cheap and widely available.

hi!!! do you think that we can use speaker directly (outpout)

You could try it but it probably won't work very well (depending on the type of speaker you use). I would recommend adding a buffer or feeding it into an amplifier (best option).
Experimentation should be encouraged, however, and is the best way to find out. Just don't expect too much.

There are quite a few simple circuits to make amplifiers that can be found online that cost less than a buck in parts. Look on google for the smokey or noisey cricket amplifier.

aolson.lenon9 months ago

what is the Wattage of the resistors?and the voltage of the capacitors?

This is a low power circuit so you can just use standard 1/4 Watt resistors. 1/8 Watt resistors would be fine too but are a bit less commonly used. For the capacitors; your power supply is 9V so anything above that will be fine. Electrolytics usually come in 15, 25, 35 and 50 Volt variations so you will be safe either way. For most other types of capacitors (particularly the low values) the voltage ratings usually start at 50V.

How would you add a tone pot ? Would you use a variable capacitor for c1?

Jack Orman has a page on the tone circuit inside a big muff pi:

http://www.muzique.com/lab/dtone.htm

If you want a foolproof circuit just build that one, if you are a bit more experimental just look around at schematics for different effect pedals and copy/modify their tone circuitry.
Variable capacitors are somewhat expensive and generally not supplied in convenient-to-use packages. (Not to mention they are usually only available in the pF to low nF range) This is why variable resistors (potentiometers) are usually used.

Will a 10k ohm linear work for distortion knob

A 10k pot will work but it will give you a little less volume on the lower distortion settings. As for using it for bass, I'm sure it will work to an extent. In the end it's all about what you like so try it! If it doesn't sound good to you just add some filtering.
A tip you could probably use off the bat is to increase the capacitance (value) of the input capacitor as doing so will allow lower frequencies to pass more. Another useful idea is to use sockets instead of permanently mounting components so you can toy around with some values. This would be an alternative to using a breadboard (which I'm going to assume you don't have).
Hope that helps!

hhimschoot made it!3 months ago

Hey Guys! So I decided to make this my first project and it came out sounding amazing! Here's my layout if you want to use it! Thanks for this awesome Tutorial!

Distortion Circuit png.png

Would be really helpful if someone could show me how to connect the Indication LED please :) Thanks

To add a power indication LED just put an LED in series with a resistor across the battery. You can determine the resistor value you need by using:
(Vsupply-Vled)/0.020
If you find the LED is too bright, just use 0.010 instead of 0.020; LEDs are bright these days! Oh yes, just some very approximate common forward voltages of LEDs (Vled):
Red - 1.5V
Blue - 3V
Green - 1.5V
Yellow - 1.5V

Please not these values are just vanilla values that will work and might be out by hundreds of millivolts, but they will get you on the way without needing you to know much (LEDs don't actually have a "forward voltage", this is just a value we use to characterize the LED in it's linear-ish region where it's usually used).

rick.mclean.35 made it!2 months ago

ty

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rick.mclean.35 made it!2 months ago

ty

F64H1KYI9OST7I5.RECTANGLE1.jpg
gdomantic1 year ago

I made mine, and it works. made it with 1n4007 diods, 47nF as 1c and 1m for 1r. but I can't get the distortion potentiometer work:/ great distortion, but I can't control it. anyone has the idea why?

okay, made another one and it works great!

Grass_hopper4 months ago
radriff781 year ago
I tried this project 4 different times already using store bought stuff and stuff I pulled from a old radio and not one of the builds have yet to make any distortion ...lol First I used the 2n3904 with all the resistors and caps as in the schem..Lined up everything as shown and nothing only fart sounds as if a battery was drained tried a different battery tested the other and still the same even though both batts was tested on multimeter and shown good . I then tried adding a series of different resisters 100k then 220k with a few odds and ends together that could wrap around the sun 2 times ...lol They brought up the volume when the battery was connected but still no distortion . I have tried assorted diodes from radioshack ones pulled from a old stereo ...2 different sets of leds and yet no distortion . I did the no pots then tried the pots schematic then scrapped the 2n3904 and found a old transistor marked d1387 and I still get no distortion it will push a tiny bit of distortion out but only because its very bass heavy I used a cap marked 184k for c1 in my search to get this thing working
Try raising the impedance of r1
axlalvaro1 year ago
thanks man it works great!!
I put a 1uF capacitor instead of the 100uF and
a 4.7MOhm resistor for ultra gain

can you tell me wich components did you use?

Sure: I used the same circuit as the one above but I added a third diode, I put a 2,2 MOhm resistor as R1 to get a lot of distortion and replaced C1 for a 47nF capacitor. I tried several diodes and found out that the best sounding combination was these three diodes in parallel and inverting their "polarity": 1N4003 (or 1N4001), 1N5819, 1N4003 (or 1N4001). By inverting the polarity I mean that, just like in the diagram above, every diode's mark (the little line thy have) should be facing away from the marks of the diodes on their sides. I hope I explained it decently.

Would the middle diode have the line up or the line down?

Oh and I did all this because the distortion coming out of the pedal above was too little and it didn't sound great..:)

I meant a tone knob
fatirishmaninc10 months ago
Does anyone have a proprer diagram for this setup with bypass and both potentiometers? Trying to build one with all three and piecing the 3 seperate schematics together is not working.
adam.soergel10 months ago

I put it together and more or less got what I'd call a "tone enhancer." There was no distortion, but it made a pretty nice booster pedal that made my solid state sound kinda tube-y... Asymmetrical clipping with both Silicon and Germanium diodes if someone's interested.

rjohanson made it!1 year ago

I made it, used this wiring diagram

distortion pedal schema.PNG

isn't the output jack wrongly connected to the bypass switch?

Which diods and transistor did you use, mate? :)

vresident1 year ago

diode could be around 1n914 or 1n4148.

agree to drakkn, the C1 and C2 should in nF not uF.

it's simple layout and works

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