DIY Guitar Effect




Introduction: DIY Guitar Effect

About: I am a researcher/ scientist in pressure metrology, in my spare time i play guitar, building thing, breaking thing,

Based on my desire to make a multiple guitar effect, A guitar effect is an instrument that can change the output signal from guitar.
For that purpose in this project i'm using raspberry pi which acting as a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) . Inside raspberry pi actually a small linux computer ,an installed software like Pure data extended process input signal from the guitar and(using USB sound card) creating processed output signal to the guitar amplifier. The main advantages is you can make you own guitar effect from scratch in your on way.
This Project mainly inspired by:

Step 1: Part List

Main Part
1.Raspberry Pi
2. USB sound Card
3.SD card
4.Guitar + cable
5. Usb cable/USB power supply

6. USB keyboard and mouse
7. Display

Optional Part

1. USB to RCA
2. USB mini card reader
3. RJ45 LAN cable + router (optional)

Please see some comments in picture fore more detail

Step 2: Preparation

Initial preparation. Prepare at least 4 GB SD card and then do the following
note: if you buy raspbian SD card you can skip this step

1. Formatting the SD card
Install SD formatter for formating SD card ,To get this program can be obtained from link below

2. Installing Rasberry Pi program
Download Rasbian from and un-zip make an *.img file

to install raspbian wheezy using win32 Disk imager from

if you still confused reffer this link fore refference
After finish Put the SD memory to rasrberry pi

Step 3: The First Try

Do follwing step
1. After the an linux in the microSD card put in the adapter and place it in the raspberry pi.
2. connect to display connection i use RCA connection via USB to RCA so i can see in my laptop, you can also use HDMI display output, RCA output to monitor/television
3. Connect USB keyboard and USB mouse to raspberry pi USB port.
4. Connect to raspberry pi LAN port using LAN cable to router.
5. Connect to 5 V dc power supply

and see the blink LED at upper right corner of your raspberry if successful you will prompt to raspberry configuration
1. Expand the SD card(choise1)
2. Enable at boot to desktop(choice 3)

more detail for this setup

If you lucky it will show in the last image , congratulation

Step 4: More Detail Setup for Guitar Effect

Remote using SSH and vnc server

sudo ifconfig
sudo vncserver

Install Pure Data extended

install usb sound card some problem with raspberry that request USB 1 specification it means that after connection your keyboard and mouse will not work that why we use ssh/vncserver

code for down grade is
sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

note :if you have problem how to get back to USB 2 put sd card into your PC using USB to sdcard and modified  /boot/cmdline.txt by removing dwc_otg.speed=1

Step 5: Try the Sound

A little bit tricky to make Raspberry pi to work because USB 1 for sound card but i still made it. After a month of no result
you will see how it working

sorry for bad video recording!!

Step 6: Future Development

My own pd software
Raspberry pi Head less
Usb Midi controller

Step 7: USB MIDI Controller (update 21-11-2014)

USB MIDI controller that I use is KORG Nanocontroler.

I assign the midi for each effect you Can see this midi device is working in sound test. If you pressed the a key, it will lit the led and also send message to pure data at Raspberry pi see changing value every time you pressed.

Step 8: Wolfson Audio Soundcard

After changing/ buying from 1 $ to 50 $ I have some problems with USB 1.1 it resulting not quite good result. and make the USB not working is pain in the ... .

I decided to buy this sound card that use all the external pin (GPIO) well.

Step 9: Putting All Together in Chasing

Step 10: Finished Product

This guitar effect consist

1 input guitar input.

3 output (line out, headphone out, speaker output 1.4 Watt )

16 foot switch, 10 potensiometer.

Step 11: Possibelities

This Effect still can act as USB midi.

If needed Arduino can provide litle display connect to USB port ( Arduino + 5510 nokia display)

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    6 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations, it looks amazing. I am interested in the case but I do not have experience with electronics. Do you know where I could buy the stuff necessary to build the case the way you did it?


    6 years ago

    Hi im about to do this but im going to stuff it all inside the guitar.


    Reply 6 years ago

    It might be possible if you change to raspberry pi A+ small enough so it can fit to guitar body

    Carrion Crow
    Carrion Crow

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Is the Wolfson audio card worth the cost for this project? I have the Pi2 and I am considering making a similar project but I probably won't bother if I am to encounter stutter as with other USB audio interfaces in many postings about low-latency audio I/O using the Pi. What would you recommend having made this?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I think Wolfson audio card much better compare to usb sound card (m-audio) because for audio quality of Wolfson audio still have small noise but negligible if you compare when using usb sound card.

    But I still want to use usb sound card for next project, so now days i will try various usb sound card and using pi 2 also. I will let you know if I have something nice in progress.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    12. just up date like adding tube 12 ax7 in the output side.

    13. I'm not selling this one .is it to much cost but you can make your on idea of guitar sound should like. But I want make smaller version using pi A+