Top 5 Specification & Top 5 Constraints: Guitar Pedal

As my project is a guitar overdrive pedal, the main thing I am prioritizing is the functionality of the circuit that will create the guitar distortion sound. I am prioritizing this circuit functionality because without an operating circuit to distort the original signal from the guitar, the pedal is basically a box of unusable electronic components that will probably kill the guitar signal to the amp making it effectively unplugged. Another thing I am trying to highlight within my project is the transparency aesthetic. I want this aesthetic to be the main aesthetic when people are looking at my project. This aesthetic will allow the inner working circuit of the pedal to be showcased. Additionally, since the circuit of the pedal will be showcased, another prioritization I want to focus on is the inclusion of LED light in the circuit that will bleed out of the acrylic casing. I think that this LED light will be a good touch to the overall project as it will not only light up the circuit board but also be an eye-catch for my project. It also might add another digital or circuitry aesthetic to my guitar pedal. While less important, I am going to try and prioritize the addition of a volume, tone, and gain knobs to the pedal. This will allow the pedal to have increased tone control over my guitar’s signal while I am playing. With these additions, which are mainly contingent on if I can figure out the electronics for the knob potentiometers, I will be able to adjust exactly how I want the overdrive distortion to sound. This feature will be nice as every song has a unique tone and will need a different sounding overdrive. If I can get the volume, tone, and gain knobs working then I would consider the guitar a great success for functionality and would look a lot closer to professional overdrive guitar pedals that are already on the market. 

I definitely think that my greatest challenge for this pedal project is my limited skills and knowledge about putting together circuits. I have limited knowledge with circuits as my only real knowledge comes from the electronics class I took my junior year in MechE. However, with enough youtube, research, as well as a large custom guitar pedal circuit community on the internet I think I will be able to figure out the circuit well enough to get the pedal functioning. I also have little experience with soldering which I will need to be doing to the final circuit board to ensure the circuit will survive moderate wear and tear. I have soldered in the past but it will be a process to relearn it for a circuit of this size. While I have a very good idea of how I will use laser cutting to cut out the shape of my pedal casing and then acrylic glue or epoxy to fasten the casing together, I have never done this and am interested to see how well the epoxy will work. From my understanding, after a long enough cure time the epoxy will act as a solidified glue and be fine. However I am nervous to see how this works out in reality. 

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Collin Ruprecht
    April 11, 2024 12:12 am

    I can’t wait to hear how it sounds! What is the range of frequencies this potentiometer will be able to cover?

  • Ethan,
    I like the idea of transparency and being able to see the inner workings of the guitar pedal. I am curious if you plan to add any ornamentation by engraving the acrylic? Also just a suggestion, but if if you want the ability to disassemble the pedal, you could use slot and groove construction and then use fasteners to hold it together.

    • Ethan – this looks like a promising start to the project. One thing I was curious about was whether you were planning on using the knob that comes with the potentiometer or would you 3D print an extension? I think it would be cool to make a bigger knob with a fun design.


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