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How to Build a Fuzz Pedal

How to Build a Fuzz Pedal

Scouring the internet for the new and potential fuzz pedals is something most of us do. You never want a great new fuzz pedal to be released and not get a whiff of it. Did it ever occur to you that you could actually build your own fuzz pedal? Not from a DIY model but from scratch all the way up to a finished product? It sounds like a great and enticing idea right? Well, it is and, it is not only an idea but something that is very doable especially when you have the right tools and information. So, here we go.

What you will need

There are two groups of things that you will need. There are the tools that are required for the job and there are the parts that you will need for the construction.

Tools

  • Drill
  • ¼” screwdriver
  • Drill bits 9/32” ½”, 1/8” and 3/8”

You will also need the components which you will need to make the fuzz box. These might differ depending on the tone that you would like to achieve but for the sake of this tutorial, here are some that you could think of.

Quantity Description of part
1 Audio connector
5 22µF capacitor
1 9V battery
1 100kΩ potentiometer
10 100kΩ resistor
1 9Vbattery clip
1 ¼” shaft knob
10 10kΩ resistor
1 Protoboard
1 Toggle switch
1 5kΩ potentiometer
5 1.0µF capacitor
1 Aluminum enclosure
5 2N3904NPN transistor
5 0.01µF capacitor
1 Aluminum enclosure

Review the parts

Once you have collected all the parts, cross check to make sure that you did not miss some of the others and also to make sure that everything is as indicated. Remember that these might vary depending on the kind of fuzz that you’re looking for.

Mark the top surfaces of the project box

This is the aluminum enclosure and you will need to measure about an inch from the shorter edges. Make two makings. The first one should be one thirds of the way from the shorter edge and the other should be two thirds of the way. These are what you will use for the potentiometers. From the opposite side of the front case, make mark that is halfway between the two edges for the stomp switch. One the side of the case, you can make another two marks for the audio jacks then make the last mark for the power switch.

Drill

For the potentiometers, user the 9/32 drill bit, 1/8 drill bit for the stomp switch and then widen it to a ½”. For the audio jacks, use the 3/8” and ¼” for the power switch. These will act as the pilot holes for the respective switches and the audio jacks.

Solder the components

Based on what you might have in mind, the circuit is subject to change. Depending on the plan you have you can solder the components together. However do not add the stomp switch, the audio jacks and the power switch to the circuit. These are usually added after the circuit has been installed in the case.

Attach the potentiometer wires

You have to make sure that you attach the wires in this case correctly. On the 5K potentiometer, attach a black wire on the center pin and the red one on the right pin. On the 100K potentiometer, the red wires go to the center and the right pin while the pin on the left takes the black wire.

Bring in the audio wires

The audio jacks have two signal lugs and each has a special function. As such you should make sure you get the wiring correct in this case as well.  You will need to attach the red wires to the signal lugs on the audio jacks and then the black wire to the grounding lug. Repeat the same for the other jack as well.

Attach the stomp switch and the audio jack to the casing

It is time to use the pilot holes that you had made earlier on. You have to remember which switch goes where so that you do not get confused. If not, you can try and label them to make things easier. There is not much skill required for this but you have to make sure that the switches are on tight enough.

Wire the switch

Once you have added the switch to the casing, its wires will go first. Start by soldering each of the red wires to the center lugs on the DPDT switch then solder together one set of the outer pins to create the switch.

Attach the potentiometers

While doing this you have to remember that one of the wires of the potentiometers will be attached to the DPDT switch later on so for now you can leave that hanging.

Mark the Brackets

The brackets should not be made from a conductive material. You can use a thin cork mat for this or rubber or a combination of both. The smaller bracket will be used for the smaller potentiometer and the other one for the larger one.

Place the potentiometers

Before you go ahead, first try to line up the rubber bracket with the holes that you had made on the casing where the potentiometers are supposed to fit then add the potentiometers.

More wiring

Remember the wire that was remaining on the potentiometer? It is time to connect it in line with the audio jack wire on the DPDT switch wire from the remaining lug terminal.  This should go to audio in point on the circuit board hence you have to make sure it is done correctly.

Connect the power switch

Take the wire from the 9V battery connector and connect it to the terminal at the center on the power switch. The other wire from the battery terminal can be placed on either of the outer terminals on the switch. Once this is done you can now install the power switch on the casing but remember to connect the black wire from the clip of the battery to circuit board’s ground. The remaining free red wire goes on the circuit board.

You can place in the battery after finishing up with the connections.

Close the case

Once all components have gone into the case, you can now close it up and place the knobs on the potentiometers.

You’re all done! You can take your guitar plug it and take your new fuzz box for a test drive.

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