How to Make Volume Control Pedals for a Guitar

Written by lisa wampler
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If you've been interested in building boutique guitar effects pedals but you don't know quite where to start, you'll likely find that starting with a basic volume pedal will be an easy way to learn. This is a good way to learn basic concepts of how to use the components used in more advanced wiring schematics. Since the volume pedal is passive and does not require electricity to run, it's a great way to get started.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Plastic project box
  • Two Guitar input jacks
  • 500K audio taper potentiometer
  • Knob
  • Shielded guitar circuit wire
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Wrench
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bit
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Drill a hole for the audio taper potentiometer on the top of the project enclosure and one hole on each side of the project box for the jacks. The locations of the holes are up to you but placing them in an aesthetic manner will yield the most professional results.

  2. 2

    Mount the audio taper potentiometer to the top of the project enclosure. The body of the potentiometer should be inside of the enclosure and the shaft should protrude through the top.

  3. 3

    Mount the jacks to the inside of the enclosure. The solder connectors should be inside of the enclosure.

  4. 4

    Turn the enclosure to show the electronic components. With the potentiometer solder tabs on the bottom, bend the right side solder tab on the potentiometer so it touches the side of the potentiometer casing and then solder it to the casing.

  5. 5

    Cut two wire leads of shielded guitar circuit wire in three inch lengths and then strip one half of an inch from each end of the wire.

  6. 6

    Solder the centre wire of one lead wire to the positive tab of the left hand side jack. Solder the corresponding ground wire to the grounding tab of that jack.

  7. 7

    Solder the other end of the lead wire to the centre tab of the potentiometer. Then solder the corresponding ground wire to the back of the potentiometer casing. The input side of the pedal has now been soldered.

  8. 8

    Solder the centre wire of the second lead wire to the positive tab of the right hand side jack. Solder the corresponding ground wire to the grounding tab of that jack.

  9. 9

    Solder the other end of the lead wire to the left tab of the potentiometer. Then solder the corresponding ground wire to the back of the potentiometer casing. The output side of the pedal has now been soldered.

  10. 10

    Screw the bottom and the enclosure casing back together and the attach the knob to the shaft of the potentiometer.

Tips and warnings

  • The cable that connects to your guitar should plug into the right side of the enclosure and the cable that leads to the amplifier should plug into the left side of the enclosure. To turn the volume up, turn the knob to the right. To turn the volume down, turn the enclosure to the left.

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