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Blog

It's 2017 and you can become a builder, too

Sebastien Vezina

First of all, happy 2017 to everybody! The 1 year mark for Ground Control Audio is approaching fast and we couldn’t be more excited for what’s in store in the coming year. One of these exciting things is a series of blog posts about pedal building - or what you need to know to become a builder, more precisely.

Clearly, we are in a golden age for guitar effects. Becoming a builder is now more accessible than ever. Still, many first posts on forums are asking "how do I start?" with very few replies going beyond "read the sidebar!". So, here is, with this little series, my best attempt at answering the question. I’m not sure how regular these posts will be, but we’ll see.

Before diving into the specifics, let's get one thing straight:  you will need a certain level of understanding of electronics. Whether you follow an existing layout or design your own circuit, randomly swapping out parts until a circuit magically works just won't happen. If it does, chances are you won't be able to replicate it and you likely won't learn anything.

Like it or not, becoming a builder requires time, effort and dedication. Since understanding the electronics behind pedal building is the most difficult, and by far the least covered part, this blog aims to make the ride a bit easier by providing information I wish I had when I first started, and in the right order.

So before you go out and buy yourself an expensive soldering iron and a handful of transistors, please take a few hours and read up on voltage, current, resistance, Ohm's law and Kirchoff's laws. Everything else, including this blog, is built around this basic knowledge and skipping these is asking for unnecessary trouble.

Here are some good reads to get you started:

Voltage, Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/voltage-current-resistance-and-ohms-law

Kirchoff’s Voltage and Current laws

http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/dccircuits/dcp_4.html

Before we go ahead and continue this series I would like to make the following disclaimer:

I am not an electronics engineer. Like most other builders, what is now a business started out as a hobby, which quickly turned into a passion that drove me to spend countless hours reading books, asking questions and experimenting. It took a good 2 years of studying and tinkering before I could confidently call myself a builder. There are hordes of people out there that are more experimented than I am and I can make mistakes, so please, if you know better, by all means, feel free to let me know.

Lastly myself, as an individual and Ground Control Audio, as a company, take absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for what you do with the information you find on this website. Use it at your own discretion and try not to hurt yourself or set your house on fire.

Electricity is dangerous. Respect the electron.

See you next time