How to Build a Wah Pedal

Written by simon foden Google
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How to Build a Wah Pedal
Automatic wah pedals are housed in a typical pedal enclosure. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A wah pedal is a musical instrument effect that primarily is used for guitar. The key part of the internal signal processor is a band-pass filter. The guitar signal passes through the filter, where the frequency of the signal is manipulated. With foot-operated wah pedals, the position of the foot-operated rocker pedal determines the frequency parameters of the outbound signal. With automatic wah pedals, the adjust of dials on the pedal determines the frequency parameters. Building a wah pedal allows greater scope for customisation.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pedal enclosure
  • Blank circuit board
  • Op-amp chip
  • IEC power supply
  • 1/4-inch jack
  • Rocker teeth strip
  • Resistors
  • Capacitors
  • Transistors
  • Potentiometer
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Phillips screwdriver.

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  1. 1

    Source the parts. Purchase all of them together in an effects pedal kit, or individually purchase them. The advantage of the kit approach is that all the parts will be compatible, and a wiring schematic is included. Purchasing individual parts allows for more control over how the pedal sounds.

  2. 2

    Read and study the schematic, which displays the layout and value of each board-mounted component. Effects pedal kits typically come with a schematic. If parts are sourced individually, use a generic wah pedal schematic as a guide.

  3. 3

    Cut a piece of power wire for each board-mounted component, and cut one piece of ground wire for the IEC power supply socket.

  4. 4

    Assemble the blank circuit board. Fit the resistors, capacitors, transistors, op-amp chip and potentiometer onto the turret board. Place the board face down, and solder the connector pins to the brass strip that runs along the base.

  5. 5

    Mount the 1/4-inch jack onto the pedal enclosure. Slot it through the pre-drilled hole,, and solder a wire between the jack and the op-amp chip on the circuit board.

  6. 6

    Solder the circuit board into the base of the pedal enclosure. If you are building the foot-operated version of the pedal, connect the rocker teeth strip to the potentiometer on the board.

  7. 7

    Mount the IEC power supply socket. Solder the red power wire to the output terminal on the jack, and connect it to the positive eyelet on the board. Solder the black ground wire to the second output terminal, and connect it to the negative eyelet on the circuit board.

Tips and warnings

  • Colour code the board-mounted components with the schematic with coloured marker pens.
  • Only solder in a well-ventilated area.

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