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DIY Stompboxes => Building your own stompbox => Topic started by: residentmothman on March 17, 2021, 03:40:49 AM

Title: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: residentmothman on March 17, 2021, 03:40:49 AM
Hello, so sorry to bother, but I come with a question regarding building onboard guitar effects. I have an obsession with them I canít quite explain, and as I prepare to build my first guitar, I want to make an onboard reverb. But hereís the catch: Iíd like it to be a single on and off switch. Switch it on and you have the reverb. Is there some resources I could be directed to in making something extremely simple like this?

Thanks,

Molly
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: Sesh on March 17, 2021, 04:21:58 AM
Hello, so sorry to bother, but I come with a question regarding building onboard guitar effects. I have an obsession with them I canít quite explain, and as I prepare to build my first guitar, I want to make an onboard reverb. But hereís the catch: Iíd like it to be a single on and off switch. Switch it on and you have the reverb. Is there some resources I could be directed to in making something extremely simple like this?

Thanks,

Molly

Some sort of belton brick reverb (essentially a lot of digital delay chips in one small package), perhaps? That's a very easy to DIY digital reverb. It'll get a sort-of-lo-fi, spring reverb-ish sound, if you're into that stuff.
If you like it more hi-fi, the Spin FV-1-chip has some stock reverbs that should be doable as well beneath the pickguard.

I'd recommend you google these chips + pcb  - especially if it's the first time you're building a diy effect. So google like "Belton Brick diy pcb". Look for the simplest one - the smallest and with the fewest controls - Ideally, none, except on-and-off. But I think most people building reverbs like these prefer at least a depth pot. So it might be hard to find a pcb without any controls.

What I'd recommend you do is you build it, and instead of using regular potentiometers, you use the smaller trimmer potentiometers (trimpots) and turn the potentiometers/controls and find a spot you like. So you end up simply with only on-and-off as controls on the pcb. Test it with 9v battery and adjust the trimpots to taste.

You should have space for both the circuit and a 9v battery powering the circuit. Be warned - it might eat up the batteries somewhat quick as opposed to a say a fuzz like Vox incorporated into their old guitars (requires way less power). So if you can incorporate a separate easy-to-open plate of some sort for the 9v battery (I know a lot of guitars/basses with active pickups has this), I would suggest that, too.
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: antonis on March 17, 2021, 05:52:15 AM
Hi & Welcome..  :icon_wink:

Could you plz be more specific about your query..??
Especially about : >Iíd like it to be a single on and off switch. Switch it on and you have the reverb.<
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: BJM on March 17, 2021, 06:48:45 AM
Hi Molly,

It's a nice idea to put effects in the guitar, it's done before but I think with effects that usually go first in the pedal chain (EQ, overdrive etcetera). Do you use other pedals/effects? Reverb usually comes last, but may you want to feed a reverbed signal in  a fuzz or something like that?

Gr.

Bert
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: Fancy Lime on March 17, 2021, 06:49:34 AM
Hi Molly,

welcome to the nuthouse!

I take it that you have no practical experience with building guitar effects? The thing is, reverb is a relatively difficult one to start with. There are building blocks like the Belton Bricks that make it easier but getting those to sound right for your personal taste is still quite demanding and potentially frustrating for a beginner. Digital chips like the FV-1 even more so unless you have a background in microcontroller programming.

The other thing is that reverbs are power hungry. There is a reason many reverb pedals do not have a battery compartment. I would not put one in a guitar unless I also added a phantom power supply, which is another thing that sounds simple but is difficult to get to work reliably without running into noise problems.

The third thing is that most people like their reverb near the end of the signal chain. Are you sure you want yours at the beginning? If so, you will almost certainly need to add a booster in front of it and wrap a compander around it to avoid excessive hiss noise and horrible clipping of the digital chips. The Belton Bricks may have a compander included, I'm not sure.

Sorry, I don't want to derail your enthusiasm. Just trying to warm of common pitfalls and frustrations. Maybe starting with something simple, like an onboard fuzz would be useful to get your feet wet and let you develop a sense of what is feasible and how to work around difficulties.

Hope that helps,
Andy
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: Mark Hammer on March 17, 2021, 08:19:44 AM
I have a 40+ year track record of being skeptical of on board effects.  Consider that:

1) Turning effects on or off with your hands is more disruptive to playing than using your foot.
2) More onboard electronics means more weight.
3) There is limited space available to install controls, requiring compromises in what controls or functions one makes available.
4) Effects require power, which either means making room for batteries (and the weight they provide), or using stereo jacks and 3-conductor cable to allow for external power.  Battery compartments either need to use metal inserts for retaining screws or else risk damage to the guitar's finish and loss of thread integrity.
5) Onboard effects impose a degree of inflexibility when it comes to order of effects.  You can't put what's in the guitar after something on the floor.

There are more reasons why I'm not big on onboard effects, but those 5 are enough.  My view is that if something can be done "better" or easier on the floor (i.e., off the guitar) then that's where it should be done.  Exceptions would include simple onboard boosters or buffers, that improve signal quality and fight what long cables do, and occasionally simple EQ-ing, so that one doesn't have to approach the amplifier to make adjustments and risk feedback.  Sustainer units would also be included, since that's something you can do better ON the guitar than OFF it.  Assuming it is compact and light (power source included), I suppose an exception can also be made for wireless transmitters.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: deadastronaut on March 17, 2021, 01:34:22 PM
^ this....
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: stallik on March 17, 2021, 03:42:03 PM
For me, reverb should be near the end of the effects chain. Putting it into the guitar would mean limiting how well other effects would perform.
The other thing is that I use more than one guitar
Title: Re: Guitar pedals, in particular onboard effects, where to start?
Post by: iainpunk on March 17, 2021, 05:24:02 PM
i have had several onboard effects on different guitars, basses and other stringed instruments, mainly wah, fuzz or boost.. if you want to use more pedals than just the one in the body, its more convenient to have it laying on the floor next to the rest, if you are dead set on using only one effect for the sound your after, onboard might be an option, especially if the instrument is (semi)hollow.
i don't think reverb is a very good option for onboard tho, you can't use any kind of distortion/overdrive/fuzz anymore due to total noise wash that comes with reverb before dirt. unless you like shoe gaze, i'd recommend putting another type of effect onboard.

if you insist on reverb, you might want to look in to those cheap ebay/amazon micro pedals, since they are light, small and convenient.

cheers