Last year around this time I was given a cool gift for a music geek. It was a “build your own clone” electronics kit from (yep, you guessed it) buildyourownclone.com. Since I am currently spending time sitting around with my leg in the air, I thought I’d finally put it together. Since I was a good boy this year Santa brought me a Pedaltrain pedalboard, so it seemed like a good time to get some pedal stuff together.
This particular kit was for their Classic Phaser. It was well packaged, and I had printed out the instructions from the site when my initial excitement was high. I pulled all the parts out, heated up my soldering iron and went to town.
The directions are pretty straightforward – following the instructions and the circuit board layout resulted in just the cutest little schnookie of a circuit board:
Once the board was together I had to assemble the mechanical parts of the pedal. The inputs and potentiometers and the foot switch all get connected to the enclosure with washers and nuts.
Once the hardware was in place it was time to wire everything together. While I was doing that I remembered what a pain in the ass soldering in tight quarters can be. Overall, though, there weren’t many connections so it wasn’t that big a deal.
When all the inputs and pots were wired up I made the connections to the circuit board. The board has two plastic stand-offs that have double-sided tape on them. The stand-offs actually attach to the bottoms of the two potentiometers that are mounted on the case. Christmas Ale seemed to make things start going very smoothly at this point, by the way.
Once everything was mounted and connected, I threw a battery in and connected a guitar. The final step was biasing the JFETs using the trim pot on the circuit board.
Surprisingly everything worked like a charm. It sounds pretty cool. Here’s a little clip of a riff from a forthcoming tune:
So that’s a “hand-wired” pedal. You can buy hand-wired pedals now (like this), but they cost 150% – 200% of the price of one of these kits. All told it took me a few hours of work over the course of a couple days. I have to come up with some labels or stickers to give the enclosure some personality, but that’s the fun part.