Author Topic: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...  (Read 2015 times)

cajone5

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Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« on: November 04, 2018, 11:25:56 AM »
This has been on my mind for a while now. I donít mean this to be dramatic or anything. I just figured Iíd share my thoughts after doing this for about 7 to 8 years or so building effects for myself and occasionally for others.

I started this for two reasons. First was for fun. Because itís fun and rewarding to build something yourself. I also did it figuring Iíd save some money and could possibly make some if I developed enough skill. This second reason quickly travelled itself to be impossible. You definitely donít save much money building for yourself, and if you factor in the cost of your time and the requirements for space, part inventory, etc. it quickly becomes clear itís not going to be worth it for the cash savings. And I could share stories about the sad state of trying to sell these things but Iím sure youíve all heard them before and likely experience them first hand as well.

So, more recently, Iíve grown up a bit, got engaged, moved further in my career, got a few dogs (3), working to finish my dissertation, trying to keep up with health and fitness, etc. And Iíve found thereís little ďfreeĒ time left after all of the necessities. Iíd like to spend that free time doing something I enjoy but I feel and I do enjoy building, but my time spent on building means a sacrifice of time playing guitar and learning to be a better musician. But the backlog of partial builds keeps calling me back... so I am giving serious thought to calling it quits... after I clear out a few large projects that are unobtainable pedals (PLL, some interesting fuzzes, etc.). Iím sure Iíll miss it but with the low cost of gear and the huge range of stuff out there, Iím thinking Iíll come out financially ahead and with more available time for other pursuits if I give it up.

Anyway, thatís where Iím at. Thanks for letting me share madbeaners.

pickdropper

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2018, 11:46:09 AM »
There's also a middle ground where you do the occasional project, but don't make it a major focus of your life.  I am pretty sure that all of us that have been building for a while have hit at least one stage of burnout (and maybe more).  A hobby that becomes stressful or feels like an obligation usually isn't worth doing.  The point (for me at least) is to get away from stress when I'm soldering.

So, do what you have to do to make your life as happy as relaxing as possible.  Whether that means walking away permanently or just stepping away until you get the itch to build again.  If you decide to dig back in, we'll be here when you get back.
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cajone5

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2018, 11:50:19 AM »
I guess to clarify ^ this is more what Iím considering. Giving up except for very specific cases where something isnít easily obtainable or available. And then, just purchase the parts for that one project, complete it in a relatively short amount of time and donít accumulate other projects or inventory in the process.

This years PIF season will most likely be filled with all kinds of parts from me...
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 11:51:57 AM by cajone5 »

jimilee

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 11:50:28 AM »
So, Iím in the first year of working on my Bachelors, I work, Iím a father, Iím learning to play guitar and occasionally, just occasionally, I come across something I want to build. I donít use any of the build anymore, mostly logic on my laptop. I just donít have time to build BUT it wonít always be this way. Iím not tired of it, and I sure donít have time for it...right now. I do it for itís therapeutic aspect, not interested in making money. Built a couple of pedals with my daughter because she wanted to. I will build again some day, but not right now. 

Just a thought.


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timbo_93631

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2018, 02:26:22 PM »
yeah, I don't really build much anymore, staying really busy wth my pickup winding and building the occasional amp.  I keep collecting parts and build some things here and there, and lately the diablo_chris stuff has totally gotten my attention, but for the most part I am shelving my pedal builds until my kids get bigger and I have more free time.  I'd call it a season of not building, not "giving up" the hobby altogether.  If pedal parts took up a ton of space maybe I'd view it more in those terms, but because I use the same workspace to build pedals as I do to wind pickups and do guitar repairs and setups I guess I have no real need to clear it out and restart when I have more time in the future.
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jubal81

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2018, 03:11:00 PM »
The whole landscape is radically different than it was 8 years ago and it's changed the calculus. Order of magnitude more options and much lower prices. EH itself is selling the famous Muff variants and you pick them up for about the cost of building one.


Plus, most of the players I run into are where Jimi's at. "Yeah, anymore I just plug into the laptop ..." Easy, cheap, kid friendly and gives a satisfying sound, especially if distortion & delay is your default.


Speaking of which, anyone have recommendation for MacBook app?
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diablochris6

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2018, 03:28:41 PM »
Weíll be here for you with open arms if/when you decide to build more. I have more pedals than I know what to do with (especially since my rig for a long time was a sole Boss DS-1), but I enjoy the practice of building/creating and finding ways to incorporate my kids by using their artwork or letting them use a screwdriver. Allow for a time for dry spells and find ways to evolve your hobby to make it more inclusive for people you want to spend time with. Thatís my two cents.
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gordo

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2018, 03:44:17 PM »
Same thing here.  I've come off a few years of binge building and at some point you have to think you're just repeating yourself.  Plus I'm old as dirt and am facing a big downsizing effort spearheaded by my wife and after years of pushing back I have to admit that she's right.

That said, I like the therapeutic aspect of being alone with my thoughts while I build and I really enjoy the time.  I can easily scale back.  And of course every time Bean comes out with a board I pounce on it, so old habits die hard.  I wasn't planning on a Wavelord but then again it hasn't been released yet :-)

nzCdog

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2018, 04:12:39 PM »
I hear you man. I've built almost nothing over the last few years, but when I get my teeth into a new project it energises me... So long as I can follow it through to completion.   After reality life has been quite out of balance since starting my new job and study... I made the conscious decision to buy a blackface amp kit to build.  Financially I could drop the same money on a used version of the original, but it's not the same.  Building guitar stuff is a journey, and I'm happier when Ive got a project on the go.

jimilee

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2018, 04:27:06 PM »


Speaking of which, anyone have recommendation for MacBook app?

I use logic, it just sounds cleaner than garage band. I bought it on eBay for around 35.00 downside is, you canít update it, upside is, Iím only recording, and playing at home for kicks, so it doesnít bother me too much.


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BrianS

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2018, 06:30:05 PM »
Out of pretty much boredom, not necessity, I went back to work in February.  Building pedals kept life interesting and productive for the last 4 years.  Ive got a box full of boards in various stages that I go out a couple of times a week and work on.  After working as an adult babysitter (Iím a construction manager for a new home builder) for 9-10 hrs just going out and soldering a couple of parts just relieves a lot of the days frustrations.  Iíve got two of the pedals Iíve built on my board (a Pale Horse and a Bolviator) so I too have gone the commercial route for the most part.  But I still get a huge sense of satisfaction when I get one of these things to work.  I still scan the board daily just to see the interesting stuff going on.  Pickdropperís builds and enclosure finishing still just amazes the heck out of me. 

Gordo my wife just shakes her head when she goes back and looks at the mass of pedals Iíve built so I know exactly where youíre coming from. 

And Cliff after having that DD-500 you sold me for a year it is on my board now.  Echo delightful. 

cajone5

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2018, 08:26:52 PM »
^glaf itís treating you well. Iím using an MS3 and awaiting a Skreddy echo. Those two will have me covered for sure.

I think my main problem is allowing too many projects to build up. The back of my mind pull to make progress and finish them is quite distracting. I donít like leaving things unfinished. Once Iím through the handful of unobtanium partial builds I have going Iíll probably quit for a bit and focus on playing. I will probably also get rid of much of my parts inventory as well to clear my mind and squash the temptation to accumulate more projects. Then Iíll just keep an eye on things and get one project at a time when something comes out that piques my interest and is not readily available.

Oh and if I could build like some of you guys who make beautiful pedals inside and out (pretty much everyone but me here at this point) I may give even more time to the hobby it than I do. As it stands I canít bring myself to do anything but plain enclosures... graphic design, etching, etc. are fortunately beyond my capabilities and limited attention.

stringsthings

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2018, 12:13:37 AM »

... I think my main problem is allowing too many projects to build up ...


solution:  1) stop posting on the forum
               2) get your ducks in a row
                3)  finish a project
                  4) go back to step #2
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alanp

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2018, 01:20:52 AM »
As it stands I canít bring myself to do anything but plain enclosures... graphic design, etching, etc. are fortunately beyond my capabilities and limited attention.

I'm with you on this!

As to the OP -- I'd say put your DIY gear in a box in the shed for now, and come back to it in a few months. It could, as others are saying, just be burnout. A big question is where do you get the joy from? Is it in the soldering, or the actual playing, or both?
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Willybomb

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Re: Considering giving up on the DIY pedal hobby...
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2018, 02:51:27 AM »
This is something I think about occasionally.

I'm certainly on a dry patch at the moment.  I tend to populate a lot of things and then do the boxes all together and that's why you'll see a run of 4 or five from me every so often.  Right now, I've pretty much built everything I need, and I'm more along the lines of revisiting past builds and doing them better.  My "Stealth" multi effect is going to be redone into a DD, as is my "Random Stranger", probably using more pcbs, better (straight) drilling, better artwork, just better all round.

But what am I really looking to do?  I dunno.  There's around 35 pedals in this house currently (and a fair few out on loan), and some stupid number of pcbs and veros in various states of completion.  I've got more MIABs that I know what do do with, and while they all sound pretty good I'm still not massively content with the sound of any of them.  It's damn near impossible to sell DIY pedals, as someone else has noted.

I have other hobbies - I like to build plastic models (but even that has it's own levels of self imposed standards that are taking some of the fun out of it), and of course I play guitar.  Just not enough of it.  With the baby and work, there are also other things I need to take care of first.

Maybe I'll take the next step and learn how to breadboard so I can take all the best bits of my favourite drives and see if I can finally get what I'm looking for.