An overdrive guitar pedal is kind of like a less harsh distortion pedal. Technically speaking, whereas a distortion pedal clips an amplified waveform at a particular height, the overdrive pedal actually rounds the top of the clipped wave. While this still makes it a bit fuzzy when you crank up the gain, it sounds less extreme than a distortion or fuzz pedal. What is cool about this pedal is that it adds a little extra warmth to your signal when you are strumming gently, but when you really strum hard, the audio spikes up into crunchy distortion territory. While this is generally a very subtle effect, it is actually quite robust in terms of the different types of sounds that you can get out of it. It is great for adding a little something extra to any effects chain.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

(x1) 2N3904 NPN transistor (Radioshack #276-2016)
(x1) 0.1uF capacitor (Radioshack #55047557)
(x1) 0.047uF capacitor (Radioshack #55047555)
(x2) 0.01uF capacitor (Radioshack #55047551)
(x1) 100K logarithmic potentiometer (Radioshack #271-1722)
(x1) 100K linear potentiometer (Radioshack #271-092)
(x1) 10K linear potentiometer (Radioshack #271-1715)
(x1) 2.2M ohm resistor (Radioshack #55049482)
(x1) 33K ohm resistor (Radioshack #55049446)
(x1) 22 ohm resistor (Radioshack #271-1339)
(x1) 3.3K ohm resistor (Radioshack #271-1328)
(x1) 680 ohm resistor (Radioshack #55048032)
(x1) PC Board (Radioshack #276-150)
(x1) 9V battery snap (Radioshack #270-324)
(x1) 9V battery (Radioshack #23-853)
(x3) Knobs (Radioshack #274-415)
(x2) Stereo audio jacks (Radioshack #274-312)
(x1) Foot switch
(x1) BB project enclosure
(x1) 5" x 4" x 1/8" rubber sheet
(x1) 5" x 4" x 1/8" cork sheet
<p>The arrow part of the symbol is the middle pin of the pot. You can simply wire pins 2 and 3 of the pot to each other, or simply use pins 1 and 2 and leave pin 3 unconnected in this case. The circuit will operate the same either way.</p><p>This is a good guide:</p><p><a href="http://www.build-electronic-circuits.com/potentiometer/" rel="nofollow">http://www.build-electronic-circuits.com/potentiom...</a></p>
<p>how to connect this part?</p>
<p>In step 2 there is no image of the schematic!! Can you please re-uplode it :)</p>
<p>Unfortunately, I followed everything in this instruction but nothing seems to work. I don't know if it's correct to connect the barrel lug of the jack which is not connected to ground to ground. Have any ideas, guys? I'm stuck</p>
<p>And i'm using a c2383 transistor instead. Is it good or do i have to change it?</p>
Hello, I'm struggling to pin down the datasheet on your transistor, but one datasheet I observed showed a transistor with a turn on voltage of .45 to .75 while the transistor in this instructable turns on at .65 to .85/.95. Mayb your transistor isn't on. I'm sorry.
<p>Is it possible to do this with DC instead of battery? Some circuits make a hum when you replace the battery for a DC converter (even the finest) :)</p>
<p>Are the grounds on the diodes only attached to the ones facing up, or to both diodes in each set?</p>
<p>I know this Instructable is a little &quot;dated&quot;, but it looks like a fun and interesting project. I am not an electronics guru (I'm kind of a hack) and pretty new to transistor circuits.</p><p>I my understanding right--when you turn down the gain pot (ie, to lower resistance), it increases the gain? The 3.3k resistor is just there to limit the gain of the circuit?</p><p>Thanks for posting/designing,</p><p>John</p>
<p>yes, by turning the gain kob to a lower resistence, the gain gets higer, keep this in mind while making the pedal so you don't have reverse knobs, i've had that a few times and it sucks</p>
<p>excellent, thanks or the response. I know what you mean--several of my op-amp circuits come out that way, and I need to reverse the leads so clockwise=increased gain.... </p><p>I recently purchased a little USB O-Scope which is great for tinkering and testing these things. It would be good to know how high you can go before the transistor distorts, how high you need to go to the get the clippers to clip.... </p><p>Really enjoyed this build. It sounds good and raunchy. I put it in this swirl painted box.</p>
<p>I'm a bit green in terms of electronics, what type of diode should I use?</p>
<p>if it's for a clipping diode, you can use a variety of diodes, you can even use an LED. If you want options, you can make it switchable</p>
<p>How long does the battery last? I mean since we are shutting the battery inside, will I have to screw it open every other day to change the power supply?</p>
<p>if you have a multimeter, you can check the current rating of the pedal and from there you can compute how many hours your battery will last. </p>
<p>Can I replace the resistor 2.2M on the other? I did not find anywhere!</p>
<p>you can series 2 x 1M resistors</p>
This is a cool little circuit but do you know where this came from? I have forgotten who the group was but it was a pop group whose loudspeakers had a tear in one of the cones. They did not have the money or time to replace/repair this as it happened just before the gig. Their audience liked this new sound so much that they dared not repair this and this was then made electronically with tubes ( Early'60 's) New popular sound due to poverty we may add.
<p>The kinks?</p>
The Kinks.
<p>can someone make a video of how to do this step? i only know the very very basic stuff on electronics and am confused. thanks</p>
<p>what are the dimensions for the box?</p>
<p>Thanks for that. I'll wait for it. I'm really struggling with the breadboard version of this project. I tried to connect it to the guitar and the amp. It has a sound but it's just a clean tone sound. I can't produce the expected overdrive sound of this pedal. I'm currently doing this as my project in school. Your help would be very much appreciated. Thanks bro.</p>
<p>Just put this together -- well, a breadboarded version so far -- and it works well and sounds pretty cool! Be sure to pick up the two LEDs and the 1N4148 diodes, which are not in the parts list. </p><p>Thanks Randofo!</p>
thank you so much<br>
<p>I am also confused with the wiring. Would it be possible for you to post a picture of your breadboarded version? Thanks.</p>
Was out of town the past week -- I'll take it apart tonight and take some pictures!
<p>Hey bro. Would you be able to post a photo of the breadboard version that you did? I'm currently working now on this project and I'm just really confused on the wiring. Thanks.</p>
<p>What if i want to remove the TONE potentiometer, could this work? Thabks!</p>
<p>I think it could work; you could put a resistor there with a value somewhere between 0 - 10kOhm, and I think 10kOhm will give you the max. amount of tone and 0 the min. amount. However, I'm just starting with electronics, but this is how I understand it.</p>
<p>Since in the parts list there's two 100K pots listed, one linear one logarithmic, but in the schematic there's one 100K and one 50K pot listed, I was wondering which of those is logarithmic and which is linear? And what is the result if I use a logarithmic where a linear pot is listed, or the other way around?</p>
<p>Verry Nice! I will build it soon :-)</p>
<p>I followed the schematic to the last. But I'm facing the 'clipping' issue. When attack is increased even a little the 2N3904 goes into clipping mode and more than half of my sustain is lost and this happens with my Gain Pot (50k) being at ZERO position. If I increase Gain even a little, the sound becomes utterly torn appart and its beyond what distortion pedal would sound like. Also when I connect it in series with a hand built distortion pedal, the bass frequencies get filtered (Guitar &gt;Dist &gt; OD &gt; Amp). If I alter the position (Guitar &gt; OD &gt; Dist &gt; Amp) the sound becomes a little better but its still not what your pedal sounds like. The pedal alone just sound very lost to me :( I'll upload the image of what I've made up. Any tweeks that I can do it make it like yours?</p>
<p>Sorry I forgot the add, the Vol. also needs to be kept upto 50% and tone doesn't work change anything at all :( I've traced the schematic with my build and its perfectly same. Diodes however were random from my old components box. But as I've read the comments, diodes should effect the tone type and not the over clipping of transistor. What I mean is that my pedal has no clarity at all :( I've checked ground connects if there was a shortage or not. The build seems to be fine except i can't identify any sound at all. I live in Pakistan and its difficult to find components. is it the quality of components that is effecting?</p>
<p>Hi, I would like to know if it's a 50k potentiometer or 100k ? Cause the schematic shows you need a 50k and the list of objetcs shows you need a 100k... Wich pot used ? </p>
love this :) thanks for sharing this..
<p>Put this pedal together and it sounds awesome (especially with other effects). Updating the parts list with what is on the schematic would be nice too. There are a LOT of inconsistencies such as a different pot value, different resistor value (22 ohm and 22k), missing diodes and LED's etc. Overall, it's a rewarding experience for somebody who is brand new to building their own pedals such as myself. </p>
<p>I love how neat and clean everything is, but I do have a concern with the parts list/schematic- it seems like you have parts in the schematic that aren't listed on the list (those extra two diodes, for example), and there's a label for a second transistor but no transistor there (the 1N4148)? Maybe I'm missing something, but I'd love to give this project a swing. Very tight Instructable, friend!</p>
<p>looks good, cosmetically. I find it odd that you went to the trouble of a produced video that didn't showcase the sound of the pedal (or, uh, it wasn't distorted sounding).</p>
<p>Can you tell me more accurate how you connected stereo jacks, my pedal dont work and I think that I have problem with stereo jacks. Can you send me some pic. about step 14.</p>
the schematic doesn't seem to be there anymore?
<p>It is still in Step 2</p>
Hey randy! I am currently making this od pedal and I was looking at the picture of your circuit board and it seems like a lot extra soldering is done on the other side, is it possible to get a clear picture of that? And also it seems that there are two extra resistors on your board that's not listed on the schematic??
I didn't have a 2.2m resistor on hand, so I used two 1M resistors and a 200K resistor in series. <br /> <br />Honestly, the speed at which I might get another picture posted is not going to be very fast. Most of the connections on the underside are largely ground connections. I'd just go by the schematic.
<p>I need the pictures from above and below too! It has been a while since the last time I translated a diagram into a perf board so that could really help me. Please!</p>
Overall price??
How much did this cost overall??
hi, nice instructable. Really loved it. But I have a question. How did you gt that perfect white background for pictures in your instructables. I am also going to post m first instructable and I think that this could really help me. <br>Regards, <br>Devansh.
a combination of shooting them on a white backdrop with a nice set of photo strobes and Photoshop post-processing.
What kind of diodes do you use? I mean parameters

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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