Books and advice in starting to build, please!

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Hey guys,

I’ve recently realised that I need to be involved in music in some shape or form. My band has gone fully south now and having had some time away from gigging, it has shown me that I need a new music venture...

So, I’ve recently taken up the piano which I am really enjoying,
but I remember modding a couple of my guitar pedals years ago and loving the practical side and seeing how I could make my pedals sound even better from some quite basic mods.

The thing is, My knowledge of electronics is basically non-existent.

I've looked into books on this subject and whilst it is pretty thin on the ground I have come across Wampler’s ‘how to modify guitar pedals’, which looks pretty great. Does anyone know where I can get this for less than £55 in book form? I’d rather buy it than download a pdf online. Not only to support the author, but I won’t read it on the laptop.

The reason I’m looking into this is obviously the interest in pedals, but also the idea that in years to come, I could possibly start building and selling a few pedals on the side, if I became good enough of course. It would give me great satisfaction in being actively involved in the music scene (now that I’ve given in and realised that now I’m 25 years old, I’m never gonna be a rockstar ;) ). 

So, apologies for the essay, but does anyone have any advice or book recommendations for beginners with a bit of a dream? I’m assuming that any basic books on electronics is a good place to start...Then I can feed the knowledge into building pedals, and possibly amps at a later stage? 

Let me know now if it sounds daft too- I can take it :)

Thanks all,
Luke


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3408
    edited July 5
    Craig Anderton writes books about this sort of topic. One title is something like Electronics Projects For Guitarists.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • valevale Frets: 1039
    edited July 6
    two books by craig anderton 'diy projects for guitarists' & 'electronic projects for musicians'.

    brain wampler's pedal books 1 & 2.

    defnitely search out the collected schematics & experiments of tim escobedo. not a book, in so much as a random brilliant collection of schematics drifting around the interwebs. they are amazing starting point for ideas.
    so many so called boutique things 'stole-borrowed-took-influnce-from' starting points found in his work. so he deserves far more recognition & respect among musicians who use pedals than he gets. a seminal figure in pedal world.

    def check out RG Keen's website AMZ. lots of resources & expert advice.

    & sites. diystompboxes & freestompboxes & diy guitar layouts (gfx) you need to sign up to immediately. gfx has a really good forum that is really accessible & friendly. the other two are for once you have got going.

    well that's all i can remember now from my 'devi-wannabe' pedal making days, but enough to keep you going for a few years. best of luck & be warned, it's a terribly addictive hobby.
    hofner hussie & hayman harpie. what she said...
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  • moominman2moominman2 Frets: 9
    Thank you both- hugely helpful and loads of things to start looking at! 

    I’ll dedicate some time over the weekend to check it all out and see where I need to go. 

    Im hoping it will be addictive, so that’s good to know :)

    Much appreciated,
    Luke
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  • springheadspringhead Frets: 114
    RG's site is geofex.com. Mountains of information but he hasn't updated the appearance for decades! Ages ago he published some "technology of " guides explaining classic pedals like the Fuzz Face, Wah, Univibe, Tubescreamer. I thing there are several boutique pedal companies that are in business now after swatting in his site.  He also hangs out at diystompbox with some very knowledgeable chaps.  

    Get yourself a bread board, build something simple like a fuzz face, treble booster etc and experiment with changing component values. 
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 14075
    Art of Electronics, Geofex and diystompboxes. 

    Analogue guitar electronics is all pretty ancient stuff; the future is in building a DSP platform in a pedal and developing algorithms. Or endless TS clones.

    Or what I used to do; semi-modular routers. Being able to design and make your own PCBs is a useful edge. 
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • moominman2moominman2 Frets: 9
    Thanks so much guys- really helpful stuff!

    Its going to be a big learning curve for me...But I’m quite looking forward to it.

    Cheers!
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3416
    I'd recommend an assemble a Tele/Strat in a weekend course - really helped my confidence & skills.

    And the Haynes Guides (Strat, Tele, Les Paul) - really great books.

    Stewmac has an endless selection of HowTo videos

    Also, Crimson Guitars Guild subscription is worth the cost.
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • moominman2moominman2 Frets: 9
    Thanks Jalapeno- I’ve seen that courses near me are about £800 though (London/ Kent), and I already have my direct access motorbike course in mind for when I have a spare £800, ha ha. Is this quite expensive and are there cheaper ones I can look into?

    Also, great idea with the Haynes manuals for guitars. Despite asking for pedal building info, it obviously integrates into each other, so I’ll check them out.

    I love my amps too (being left handed, guitars are sparse!), so this is also something I’d like to venture into at a later stage once I’m competent in pedal building. I’m not expecting this to be overnight and I am quite happy for the next few years to focus on gaining the skills and experience for this.

    I must however keep grounded- getting a bit ahead of myself already and am already thinking of names for pedals, ha ha.

    Thanks all,
    Luke
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