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First Pedal Build Suggestions

Started by burnsbabe, December 30, 2021, 08:15:23 PM

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Hey folks, I'm a new-ish player and am finding myself interested in building pedals as another part of the hobby. I'm looking at the Mean Bean options for sale, and struggling to figure out where to go. My amp has a foot switch to turn on it's overdrive, so I'm probably set there for a bit (until I get good enough to build the Klone). I was considering a looper, or some kind of delay pedal, but figuring out which options on the shop are those, and finding an easy one that's still well featured seems opaque to me. Thoughts?


I'd say a looper or delay is going to be a bit ambitious for a first project?

Maybe start with a fuzz, they tend to be fun and not too hard to start with.

That's my 2 cents anyway  :)


I like your Green Bean idea or even the Klon isn't too difficult for a first build.  Mad Bean's Klon is a 1590A format (mini pedal), so, that would be a challenge but there are other big formats out there.  As mjg stated, loopers and delays are not a good choice for a first build.  Although, some of the digital delays (PT2399) are straight forward.  You can download and take a look at the build docs for a few projects you are interested in to get a good idea.


Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I suppose it makes sense that a larger Klon clone would be reasonable, while the mini here is a bit cramped for a first try. I double checked the shop, and see the Green Bean is a Tube Screamer that seems pretty achievable. Guess you can't really have too many overdrive options, and my amp is a 33W that has to get pretty loud for my apartment for the OD really does the thing anyway.

Thanks for the thoughts! I still have to get tools and such, but now I have a possible direction to go in.


Not to "up-sell" you or anything, but most of the basic overdrive/distortion and fuzz projects are pretty easy except for the possible difficulty of the ones requiring germanium transistors (because of parts availability). And, I do still have some of the Fuzzy Britches boards to give away which is a very easy build for any level.

Something like the SnackShack or Donut are incredibly easy to build and does not have to be put in a 1590A by any means. It could be put in a 1590B. Plus, they are cheap!

But, if you are unsure on buying parts, etc, then I would suggest looking at some of the AionFX kits. They will have everything you need and are incredibly well documented.


A kit is definitely a good starting point.   One of the biggest hurdles with getting started in this field is sourcing parts.   Having a kit, especially with a pre drilled enclosure takes all of that stuff out of the mix so you can focus on a successful build.  After you've gotten through that, then you'll find that you can be a lot more adventurous.   The AionFX kits are top notch and great places to start.  I did one of those with my teenager that has gotten into guitar.

The Madbean boards are great and the docs are excellent with good info for sourcing the less common stuff.


Wow, no PT2399 belays, I didn't realize they were all gone. Among my first was a delay, a compressor, a phaser, and possibly an overdrive.

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Pedal building is like the opposite of sex.  All the fun stuff happens before you get in the box.


More good info. This is exactly what I was hoping for! I'm checking out Aion FX now. I'll find something that feels right, and I've got a while where I need to acquire the tools anyway.


Aion FX has a Klon clone. I'm sold, I think.


Good old Rangemaster is a pretty safe first build. Not many components, and it's pretty good.
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Aion has a Deep Blue Delay kit which is a very good sounding delay that shouldn't be too difficult.

There are many good threads on here about where to source parts. Stompbox parts, Love my Switches, Tayda, and many other places are pretty easy to order from once you start knowing what to look for. Always order some extra parts to, so you can have stuff on hand when you want to build something.

My advice is to not be afraid to try Veroboard and Perfboard builds when you are starting off. Circuit boards are very nice to work with, but using stuff like vero and perf open up options for builds. There are literally thousands of good layouts for each online, for almost any effect you can think of.

Good luck, and have fun!


Just finished an OCD build.  Pretty easy and a great sounding overdrive.



Aion Klone kit arrived in the mail today!


I'm only putting my two cents in because I don't know your experience level. Take it from me, the two tools I own now that makes ALL this easier is at least a middle of the road adjustable soldering iron, and a panvise to hold the boards. You will swear a lot less when building ;). Painter taping the board over a 2 gang electric box is better than nothing.
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