One of my hobbies is building guitar effect pedals. I used to build electric guitars but it got kinda hard to keep them all since they took up so much space. I know just enough about electronics to be dangerous, and I can solder pretty well so this hobby is fun for the most part.
I spent a good part of the past weekend building my second BSIAB2 distortion pedal. There wasn't anything wrong with the previous one I built, but there were a few modifications I wanted to try and I didn't want to mess with desoldering components just to play around with it.
I got the pedal from General Guitar Gadgets and they just so happend to have a sale on the BSIAB2 this month (10% off) so I decided to buy another one and do the modifications on the new build.
A note for any aspiring guitarist who wants to try their hand at building an effect pedal: learn how to solder first! Learn and practice good soldering skills before attempting to do any of these pedal projects. You'll save yourself frustration of destroying your kit. Trust me on this!
Anyway, I don't usually bother painting the guitar pedals I make, but since I planned to run this pedal with my bedroom setup all the time, I decided to put the effort in and make it pretty.
I went with the Van Halen red, white and black stripes because this pedal is supposed to sound like Eddie Van Halen's original Marshal 100 watt Super Lead. It is the closest thing in a pedal to getting that sound, so I thought, why not?
Audra and I went to a variety of automotive stores looking for paint. I wanted a nice sparkly, candy red. It was tough to find here in Hawaii. Eventually I found something close enough and started to get to work.
Okay, so for those of you who are curious: the knobs aren't labeled but this is what each one does. From the far left is the volume knob. This controls how loud the effect is. The middle knob is the tone knob. This controls the overall tone of the effect (low to high cut). The last knob at the top row is the gain knob. It controls how much distortion or gain the pedal puts out. The silver knob in the middle is a new modification to the pedal called a contour knob. This knob allows you to control the contour of the mid-range frequencies of the effect. The toggle switch next to it is a fat switch which basically cuts
R6 on the circuit board.
So how does it sound? Pretty awesome. I A/B'd it to my original build and there is so much more versatility to the sound with the contour knob installed. I'm still experimenting with different components on the interior. It really does give you the sound of a Marshall amp in a small pedal. Impressive! Maybe one day I'll record some clips of my own with it.
You can see the results of the finished build below:
- Then we spray it with the white paint making sure to cover the entire pedal.
- Once it dried, I took off the tape. I had to use an xacto knife to make sure the paint didn't peel away.
- This is what it looked like with the tape taken off.
- Now we tape it up again. This is how Eddie did his first red, white and black guitar!
- Here's the case after I shot it with the candy red. I stood them up on plastic cups.
- Again, had to use an xacto to remove the tape. Did it very slowly.
- Completed case!
- Here's the main circuit board of the BSIAB. I have a few resistors in there.
- A look at the work bench with all the parts laid out and the build instructions.
- Some finished pictures....
- First, I painted the enclosure black. Then I taped it up.