Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: How do guitar pedal circuit boards work?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    16

    How do guitar pedal circuit boards work?

    How do guitar pedal circuit boards work?
    How does a guitar pedals circuit board actually work?
    Like just say a distortion pedal, what actually makes the distortion? is there a certain chip or something, then what does all the capacitors and transistors and resistors do?
    and same with Boost pedals?
    Please explain!
    peace

  2. #2
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    28,475
    A distortion pedal or overdrive pedal is really just an amplifier, just like the preamp part of your guitar amp. Think about a table radio in your home. Tune it to a station. Turn it up loud. there comes a point when you turn it up farther and it starts to sound crappy. The speaker starts flapping or the sound gets all gravelly, or whatever - it sounds bad. All that is distortion. Distortion merely means whatever comes out is not like what went in.

    And on many guitar amps, if you keep turning the amp up, after a point, the sound is no longer clean, it gets all... distorted.

    Some distortion is pleasant, some sucks. And not everyone agrees on which is which.

    There are many ways to cause distortion. Poke holes in your speaker cone, and it will become distorted. Most littel OD pedals basically amplify the signal from your guitar so much it runs out of room inside electrically. The voltage changes run into the floor and ceiling. We call simple limits on the signal "clipping."

    Electronic circuits are combinations of various parts to do a job. What actually makes the distortion is the whole circuit. The parts work together as a team. Think of the motor in your car - it makes power to turn the wheels. One might ask, "What actually makes the power, is there a part inside?" And the answer is that the motor makes the power. it needs all the individual parts to do it, but no one part is the source of the power.

    Just so in your distortion pedal. A simple circuit might be based around an integrated circuit chip we call an "op amp." Op amps are capable of amplifying. But one needs certain voltages fed to it (like a car motor fuel line) to work. And there are other parts that determine how MUCH it amplifies. (the throttle) Some parts need different voltages from other parts, so certain parts are used to keep them apart. (fuel filter keeps dirt out of the carbuerator) Some parts might be there to set or alter frequency response or tone. (gear shift)

    Of course some circuits are real simple - a transistor or two and a few parts, or maybe one little op amp IC. other pedals may have several op amp ICs and use one to feed the next, which feeds the next etc. That is more complex, but it allows the whole circuit to do more than just one section could. (8 cylinders can make more power than 4 cylinders) And there are extremely complex pedals that use digital signal processing to get various effects like reverb and chorus.

    A boost pedal might be just a little extra amplification without pushing things too far, while a distortion pedal adds a LOT of extra amplification. In practice the two would not be identical, but you could take a distortion pedal and only turn it up a little but and use it for a boost.

    I hope this simplistic exlanation helps. What you are really asking is how does electronics work, and well, that is a lot to explain in a post or two.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    16
    Thank you so much dude, that was really helpfull, cleared some things up for me.
    i really appreciate your help.
    Im becoming extremely interested in electronics and im trying to get into some electronic course's.
    Im also very curious to how a Flanger or a phaser works, but Enzo im not expecting you to explain it, you'v done enough ;D
    so who ever else reads this, explain, roughly how does a flanger or phaser work?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,478

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 18
    Last Post: 02-01-2010, 11:22 PM
  2. Moog Guitar pickup - how does it work?
    By uvacom in forum Guitar Tech
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-04-2009, 01:59 PM
  3. guitar jones pickup parts that work ?
    By realtonecustompickup in forum Pickup Makers
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-04-2009, 11:39 PM
  4. will this circuit work?
    By yunger in forum Theory & Design
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 02-20-2009, 09:01 PM
  5. How does the tonestack circuit work??
    By jenks in forum Theory & Design
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-28-2008, 02:29 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •