These are some facts to consider if you hope to make your own effects pedal. Firstly, make sure the guitar enclosure you end up picking isn’t too small because you will need a bit of weight to your pedal to prevent it getting shoved across the floor when you’re rocking out.
Apply a similar strategy when choosing a push-button footswitch. That is to say, your foot is going to be stomping down on this pretty hard so you want something nice and hardwearing. When it comes time to place the footswitch, make sure it is positioned at least 5cm in from the enclosure’s edge. Any less than this and the pedal is liable to flip over when you stomp down on it.
Of course, there are other knobs that you’ll need to use on your pedal and one suggestion is to give chicken heads a try. So called because they are round with a pointy bit that shows what you’re selecting (thus shaped a bit like a chicken’s beak), chick heads not only have retro appeal in their looks, but can make selecting the right settings for your effect easier in the dark due to their shape.
You need to make use of three-pole switches as a minimum when considering latching (push-on, push-off) applications, so that you can hold both a confidence LED coupled with a true-by-pass set-up.
Consider the polarities being used in your effects pedal when deciding on what jack socket to go for. This is because mixed polarities require plastic jacks to avoid any nasty accidents. That is, too often the sleeve of the jack will touch or rub against the enclosure casing, which is, more often than not, made of metal. However, if polarities aren’t a worry, than open-frame jack sockets should stand you in better stead as they last longer.
Also, don’t forget to set your input jack over the left or right side of your stomp box, looking down at it, depending on if you’re a left-handed player or right-handed player. If you play right-handed and have your input jack around the left you will soon realize there is a cable always fighting with your feet and legs.
It is wise to steer clear of battery holders within your pedal because it is common for batteries to shake loose during jam sessions owing to pedals getting kicked around on stage. To combat this, work with moulded assemblies in order to ensure your batteries stay conveniently in position.
Last but not least, if you’ve implemented DSP or tubes inside your effects pedal it is wise to avoid the hassle of rechargeable batteries which, by nature, need to be charged constantly. To combat this, select a low voltage DC power jack, either plastic or metal dependent on your requirements.
Mackenzie O'Brien at Buddyz McHenry. Since going professional less than one year ago Mackenzie has performed at over 40 venues in Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin as well as in the downtown areas of Chicago, Madison, Nashville, and Austin A mix of covers from Americana, Country and Folk music: Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Hozier, First Aid Kit, Tracey Chapman and many others. Mackenzie was named a featured singer in Madison Wisconsin's Chick Singer Night 2017.