Fuzz Pedal

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About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

Once you have your guitar and learned how to play in time with a metronome, the only thing left to do is rock out. However, as you might have noticed, no matter how hard you rock, it just does not sound right. That is because you are missing something. As many guitarists will tell you, the secret to rocking out is actually fuzz. Before you can do any serious rocking out, you are going to need to build a fuzz pedal. Fortunately, making your own fuzz pedal is a lot easier than it may sound.

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Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

- (x2) 2N3904 NPN Transistor
- (x2) 100K Ohm 1/4-Watt Resistor *
- (x2) 10K Ohm 1/4-Watt Resistor *
- 22 uF Electrolytic Capacitor
- 0.1µF Ceramic Disc Capacitor **
- 0.01µF Ceramic Disc Capacitor **
- 10K-Ohm Horizontal-Style Trimmer
- 5K-Ohm Linear Taper Potentiometers
- 100K-Ohm Potentiometer
- Multipurpose PCB
- SPST Lever Toggle Switch
- (x2) 1/4" Mono Panel-Mount Audio Jack
- Hexagonal Control Knob
- 9V Battery Snap Connectors
- Alkaline 9 Volt Battery
- DPDT specialty stomp switch
- Sturdy metal project box

* Carbon film resistor kit. Only kit necessary for all labeled parts.
** Ceramic capacitor kit. Only one kit necessary for all labeled parts.

Please note that some of the links on this page contain affiliate links. This does not change the price of any of the items for sale. However, I earn a small commission if you click on any of those links and buy anything. I reinvest this money into materials and tools for future projects. If you would like an alternate suggestion for a supplier of any of the parts, please let me know.

Step 2: Mark

On the top surface of your project box, measure in one inch from one of the shorter edges. Next, make two marks that are 1/3 and 2/3 of the way between the edges of the shorter distance. These will be for the potentiometers

Measure in one inch from the opposite side of the front of the case. Make another mark that is 1/2 way between the two edges. This hole is for the stomp switch.

On the side of the case make two marks for audio jacks where you would like, so long as they won't interfere with any of the other parts that will be installed.

Following the same logic as the audio jack marks, make one last mark for a toggle power switch.

Step 3: Drill

Drill the two holes for the potentiometers with a 9/32" drill bit.

Drill a 1/8" pilot hole for the stomp switch and then widen it to 1/2".

Drill two 3/8" holes for the audio jack.

Finally, drill a 1/4" hole for the power switch.

Step 4: Solder

Build the circuit as specified in the schematic.

For now, don't worry about attaching the potentiometers, stomp switch, audio jack or power switch to the circuit. These will be wired in later, after they have been installed in the case.

Step 5: Wires

Attach a black wire to the center pin of the 5K potentiometer and a red wire to the pin on the right.

Attach a black wire to the left pin on the 100K potentiometer and red wires to the two other pins.

Step 6: Audio Wires

Attach a black wire to the ground lug on each of the audio jacks. Attach red wires to the signal lugs on each of the jacks.

Step 7: Install

Install the audio jacks and the DPDT stomp switch into the metal case.

Step 8: Wire

Solder each of the red audio wires to one of the center lugs on the DPDT switch.

While you're at it, solder together one set of outer pins.

Step 9: Attach

Attach the potentiometers to the circuit board as specified in the schematic. Keep in mind that one of the potentiometer wires will be later attached to the DPDT switch.

Step 10: Cut Brackets

Cut out two brackets using the template file attached to this step. They both should be cut out of non-conductive material.

I cut out the larger base bracket out of a thin cork mat and the smaller potentiometer bracket out of 1/8" rubber.

Step 11: Put in the Pots

Line up the rubber bracket with the holes in the case and install the potentiometers into the case.

Step 12: More Wiring

Wire the remaining potentiometer wire in line with the audio-out jack's wire on the DPDT switch.

Connect a wire from the remaining DPDT terminal lug to the audio-in point on the circuit board.

Step 13: Power Switch

Connect the red wire from the 9V battery connector to the center terminal of the power switch. Connect another red wire to either of the switch's outer terminals.

Step 14: Switch

Install the power switch into the case.

Wire the black wire from the 9V clip to ground on the circuit board and the free red wire from the switch to +9V on the circuit board.

Step 15: Power

Plug in the 9V battery.

Step 16: Case Closed

Install the large insulator panel between the circuit board and the bottom plate of the casing.

Screw the case shut.

Step 17: Knobs

Attach your knobs onto the potentiometers.

Step 18: Plug and Play

Plug your guitar to audio-in and your amp to audio-out. Then, rock out.

5 People Made This Project!

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189 Discussions

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alexisdrosopoulosrandofo

Reply 5 weeks ago

Thank you very much, I'll definitely check it out. It just seemed very cool with the template.

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randofopotentiaaahmeter

Reply 5 weeks ago

Cool! If you have a moment, can you please post an I Made It! comment on the project? You just need to upload a picture. I like seeing what people make. :)

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potentiaaahmeterrandofo

Reply 5 weeks ago

added some info, though a bit chaotic.. :) the box I used is a flipped upside-down old meassuring device. It had some holes in it already but they didn't fit so I used the bottom and drilled some new holes.

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guilhermeferro01

2 months ago

hi, I have a question.
Can I change the transistors for equivalents? and the trimmer can also exchange it for an equivalent?

1 reply
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jorgemath

2 months ago

Excellent.

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kaidun

Question 3 months ago

I dont understand why there's no cable on the 5K Pot on pin1.
The scematic shows a connection to the eremiter of the 2N3904.
And do i have to connect pin3 to pin2 of thr 10K trimmer as well the pin3 to pin1 of the 5K pot?
thanx

1 answer
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randofokaidun

Answer 3 months ago

The pot is being used to adjust the resistance on the emmiter, and therefore only two pins are needed. You only use the third pin when you want to create a variable voltage divider which adjusts the output voltage of the center pin. In this case we don't need it.

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Thunder2001

5 months ago

I’m new to this kind of stuff, I can figure out the schematic, just need to wire the bored can someone give me a diagram on how to just wire the bored it’s self ? Thank you

1 reply
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MarcoC270

Question 7 months ago

I don’t find one of the 10k resistor in the diagram. Please help me thanks

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TomB447

8 months ago

So after working off the images and troubleshooting for a while, I realised that the emitter of one of the transistors wasn't connected to anything in the photos. At least, not clearly. If you, like me end up having one of the pins on one of the transistors not connected to anything, connect it to ground. I have a working fuzz now ;)

1 reply
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randofoTomB447

Reply 8 months ago

It's likely connected on the underside of the board. It's best to always go by the schematic.

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ErikE39

Question 10 months ago on Introduction

I am pretty confused about the capacitors "0.1µF Ceramic Disc Capacitor" shows up in the diagram as 0.1uF. When I try to find this in a guitar pedal website like Mammoth I can't find that value. I found it on mouser.com "Ceramic Disc Capacitors .375LS .1UF 500V +80/-20%" and I guess everything looks fine except the voltage https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Vishay-BC-Components/S104Z93Z5VL83L0R?qs=MZE%2f3ll%252bp%2fba6C%252bzoK7Jpg%3d%3d.

The other capacitors are rated at 16V https://www.mammothelectronics.com/products/general-purpose-electrolytic-capacitors?variant=25348166023. Does the voltage matter? I am on using the right capacitors from mouser?

and I apologize for not buying from the links you provided but they don't sell single units.

1 answer
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randofoErikE39

Answer 9 months ago

The voltage just needs to be greater than the highest voltage being used in the circuit. 16V or higher should be fine. The Mouser link looks correct.

As a general rule, for any capacitor value less than 1uF, you only need to make sure that it is the proper capacitance and not polarized (i.e. not an electrolytic capacitor). For capacitors 1uF or higher, as a general rule, it should be an electrolytic capacitor (and polarized).

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Nitr0

Question 1 year ago

What does the 10k trimmer control?

1 answer
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randofoNitr0

Reply 1 year ago

In short, it is used for biasing. Adjust it until you like what you hear.

While I could have assigned a fixed resistor value, I left it in the design this way because it is particularly useful if you change the values of any of the 2N3904 transistors to some other type of NPN transistor.