Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DIY Tremolo Pedal

I finally got around to adding tremolo to my guitar setup this past weekend thanks to the EA tremolo kit offered by General Guitar Gadgets. The kit included the resistors, caps, transistors, LED, PCB, jacks, pots, knobs, footswitch, wire, and case--everything to put together a complete stomp pedal. The instructions are downloaded from their site. The build took about 4 hours from start to finish with a couple breaks and was a lot easier than it first appeared when I opened the box. The most time-consuming part was figuring out the resistor values. I have red-green colorblindness and it took a magnifying glass. The pedal sounds great. It has a volume control which allows you to match the volume when the pedal is bypassed. The speed control has a wide range, as does the depth control. The led flashes at the speed rate when on. I have an 80s-era Fender solid-state amp that has a great clean channel and spring reverb but no tremolo. The amp has an effects loop located before the power amp so I patched the tremolo pedal in. At first I thought that something was wrong in the build, as the pedal only worked when in bypass, but I realized that I had reversed the cables into and out of the pedal. So I quickly fixed that problem. Make sure you use a new battery--I used an old one and didn't realize how great the pedal is until I switched it out. Highly recommended. I am not a great solderer, but this actually wasn't too hard. I used small diameter solder for the first time which works great. It also helped to clip off the extra length of the components as I went along to make more room to get at the next point. Once you start cramming everything into the case the soldering gets a little harder, so measure all the wires carefully to make as much room as possible. I might swap out the red LED for a blue or green one just for fun. I don't have any interest in finishing it--nothing wrong with raw aluminum and masking tape.

1 comment:

  1. I have red-green colorblindness and it took a magnifying glass.

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