I am an electronic engineer and designer of original guitar pedals. Have had an intense passion for electronics and music since I was 12 years old. Combined my two favorite things into my business Eager Electronics. Ask me anything.

https://twitter.com/EagerElectronic/status/1015838706228318209

Here's proof

If you find me interesting enough then here is links to my social media presence

https://twitter.com/EagerElectronic

https://www.facebook.com/EagerElectronics/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EagerElectronics

I want to thank you all for your fantastic questions!

Comments: 418 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

Brianphase90184 karma

With the massive influx of boutique pedal builders flooding the market in the last decade... what makes your product special? Are you creating new designs or merely changing the value of a few components to slightly alter the tone of common designs?

EagerElectronics212 karma

This is a great question that I've been waiting for.

I have my own unique designs and I try to innovate in whatever ways I can. For example, I have an analog spring reverb pedal which was previously hard to come by I think due to the impractical nature of shoving a giant metal spring inside of a small enclosure. I also experimented with multiple parallel distortion circuits when I came up with my Weed-Man fuzz design.

It would be way too easy to make clones of popular pedals. I like a challenge and I like to make things really convoluted and complicated for myself for some reason.

Brianphase9046 karma

Are you using a spring for said reverb pedal? Or the Holy Grail chip?

EagerElectronics106 karma

I have an actual spring. Found some that are used in eurorack modules.

ebullientpostulates46 karma

Shhh...trade secrets...

EagerElectronics90 karma

Secrets REVEALED

Ayavaron7 karma

Do longer springs sound better?

EagerElectronics29 karma

There are ones with longer decay times which reverberate for longer. There's definitely a different sound with ones that are physically larger as well. Might just boil down to personal preference again.

Ayavaron12 karma

What if you put a bunch of them in a box together and could mix among them?

EagerElectronics18 karma

Sounds like an interesting idea. Also a really big box.

MonkeySherm3 karma

I just picked up the Chris Martin headroom reverb with a real spring tank - SO much better than the hall of fame I replaced with it. Where can I learn more about yours?

EagerElectronics5 karma

I have a video of a friend messing around with it.

https://www.facebook.com/EagerElectronics/videos/396494947441174/

Also our YouTube there's some more.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTPTEHwaNVZrG0KUDl_tmag

compost2 karma

On the youtube video (i didn't check the facebook one) the button presses are edited out. How does the spring tank react to being stomped on. I'd really like a spring tank in my signal chain but always thought it have to be an amp-top box.

EagerElectronics3 karma

Alright I need a better demo video. I haven't noticed any problems stomping the switch. The reverb doesn't ring out unless you kick the chassis.

kumaclimber149 karma

If you could only have 4 pedals what would they be? Not including a tuner

EagerElectronics231 karma

A Fuzz pedal, distortion, boost, and probably a reverb. Sounds pretty basic but I'm a metalhead so covering those bases.

IAMApsychopathAMA78 karma

No wah, kirk would be dissapointed.

EagerElectronics23 karma

Sorry Metallica

chumjumper10 karma

Why would you get a boost pedal? Aren't there many better ways to do that without giving up 1/4 of your pedal economy?

EagerElectronics4 karma

Just a little extra kick

ashbyashbyashby-29 karma

[deleted]

EagerElectronics31 karma

Okay well I probably wouldn't blast all the pedals at the same time unless I'm covering your little brothers garage stoner rock band. I think reverb has its place with distortion like in solos, etc.

ashbyashbyashby-24 karma

[deleted]

EagerElectronics8 karma

It's nice to have a really good amp I agree. I guess pedals aren't for everyone (just more crap to lug around with you). To each their own i suppose.

whereismytinfoilhat56 karma

Any advice or someone that’s interested but doesn’t even own any pedals yet?

EagerElectronics141 karma

Go to a music store with your guitar and mess around with pedals for like 6 hours.

himanxk35 karma

Do you build pedals for instruments other than electric guitar (specifically bass?)

What's your favorite pedal for a bass? Do you ever use guitar pedals for bass

EagerElectronics46 karma

I feel like I'm being redundant but bass fuzz is amazing. I don't have any Bass pedals yet but I would love to get into it soon.

Using guitar pedals for a bass doesn't always work right since they are built for different frequency ranges.

himanxk7 karma

Thanks for answering!

What's your least favorite type of pedal?

EagerElectronics15 karma

I've never really been a fan of noise gates. I still use them though haha. I feel like it is really easy to make them sound horrible and suffocating.

himanxk7 karma

What do you think of digital amp synthesizers? Do you think they sound as good as pedals? Do you hear a noticeable difference in quality? Would a normal listener notice a difference?

EagerElectronics15 karma

There is definitely a difference. I use BIAS myself sometimes, but there's nothing like some good tubes. Digital sounds noticeably flat most of the time.

I don't think a normal listener would care because they are used to Beyonce booty synthesizer mass produced media.

himanxk5 karma

Lol okay what about normal listener who listens to something other than Top 40. People who listen to rock and blues and stuff.

EagerElectronics2 karma

I would say so. There's a different feeling.

triface129 karma

Was there anything that surprised you about building pedals?

What's your favourite type of pedal to build?

If you had to choose one: electronics or music?

How did you get into building pedals? What's the first pedal that you built?

EagerElectronics32 karma

I would choose music probably. I can't remember a time when I didn't play the guitar. My problems just melt when I pick one up.

EagerElectronics27 karma

What surprised me was how big the pedal community is. It's awesome to communicate with people and be a part of it.

EagerElectronics23 karma

The first pedal I built was a Fuzz Face clone similar to what Jimmy Hendrix used.

Triathloneer4 karma

Do you have a Uni-Vibe clone or something similar?

EagerElectronics7 karma

Not yet great idea though. Haven't tackled anything like that yet.

EagerElectronics17 karma

My favorite pedals to build are ones that are the most challenging. For example I was working on a reverb pedal with a physical spring tank inside of it. There were a lot of design challenges but I learned so much.

EagerElectronics6 karma

Thanks for all the questions!

Playisomemusik13 karma

Why the fuck are you wearing jorts?

EagerElectronics37 karma

Jorts are the new shants.

Doom123432112 karma

Have you looked at the ElectroSmash PedalShield’s before? I just built one and am working on some software for it. I’d be really interested if a Hi-Fi version of that would be possible, with proper high resolution ADC. What’s your thought on DSP versus pure electronics?

EagerElectronics15 karma

Yeah programmable guitar pedals are very interesting. I think that digital electronics are fantastic and can sound great and be very versatile. I could see a nice shiny ADC working great for something like that. Instead of an arduino maybe more discreet microcontroller components like an ATTiny or something similar.

Personally when it comes to analog vs digital for guitar effects, I always prefer the analog version. Sometimes analog can be less practical but there's a certain life that is lost in digital IMO.

bajanga112 karma

I’m not an all that educated On this subject but I’m always talking to my roommate who’s just got a degree electrical engineering. I was suggesting we make our own pedal for a fun project. I want to ask if you have any suggestions on how to start building pedals? What is a simple effect to achieve? Do you know how to make a tape loop pedal? (Those are our favorites.)?

I love music and it’s been really fascinating listening to my friend explain how music and electricity are connected and how important understanding it is to the recording process.

EagerElectronics19 karma

If you want to start building I would suggest building clones at first to get an idea of how different things work. Easiest to start with would be boost or overdrive. Just find something you like the sound of and go from there.

Tape delays and tape loops sound really great. I know you can just modify a walk man if you want for this purpose or any tape machine really. I haven't built on yet but definitely a good fun project to get into. Also maybe check out bucket brigade analog delays, which are another type of analog delay with a similar effect.

bajanga14 karma

Thanks for my answering my question! Very helpful! Now I have one for you! What is your favorite pedal to use and how is the effect achieved?

EagerElectronics13 karma

Honestly a good fuzz pedal always does it for me. It just smashes down the guitar sound to make it as dirty and gross as possible. To each their own haha.

thordog135 karma

A good resource to check out as well is /r/diypedals

EagerElectronics3 karma

Agreed

Dovecroft10 karma

Periodically, certain pedal types seem to become extremely popular, e.g. the recent (ish) run of Klon-a-likes, previous to that, there was a period where transparent drive was the holy grail, and TS clones prior to that. What do you think (if anything) causes this, and do you see it as ultimately beneficial or harmful to your industry?

Secondly, there seem to be an increasing number of ‘pedal celebrities’ , like Analogue Man, Keeley, etc. Are there any that you particularly appreciate or aspire to emulate? If so, why?

Thanks :)

EagerElectronics11 karma

I think music itself goes through a lot of trends, that may be why pedals do as well. I would find it beneficial because new trends could challenge me to innovate new designs and improve my skills.

I don't know if I would aspire to emulate anyone else, but competition is amazing and seeing what competitors come up with as far as new designs is exciting.

RodMagnum6 karma

I’ve a degree in EE and have put together a few pedals (both analog and DSP-based) and have always been somewhat interested in the idea of turning my hobby into a business. My question to you is -

How did you get to the point where you design and build pedals that people actually want to buy? And how did you handle the costs of building them when you were starting out?

Of course I’d like to quit my day job and do something like this, but I’d have no idea where to begin.

EagerElectronics3 karma

Trial and error mostly, and you need to find out when to leap from your day job to your business which isn't always easy.

turbofeedus6 karma

Two questions;

  • Any good books or info sources you'd recommend for someone who is comfortable assembling effects, but wants to get into the nitty of gritty of what each component does in circuit and why it's there in that specific value?

  • Do you feel that recent international trade restrictions are going to significantly impact your business, and if so, how are you planning to compensate?

EagerElectronics14 karma

Okay first question. Sources that are fantastic for learning about pedals.

https://www.electrosmash.com/

https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/

and one of my favorite books is "123 Robotics Experiments For The Evil Genius" (a little off topic but great for electronics knowledge)

turbofeedus1 karma

Awesome, thanks. I knew about electrosmash, their recent MXR article is awesome. I didn't know about allaboutcircuits though.

EagerElectronics1 karma

allaboutcircuits isn't pedal focused. It's mostly just electronics theory, but its really detailed and easy to understand.

EagerElectronics1 karma

As far as international trade I haven't come across anything too serious. The only thing I've noticed so far is a tax placed on orders to Australia.

puhzam6 karma

Are the electronics between different sounds, say chorus and flanger, wildly different or are they very minimal? Meaning, do you use the same PCB for everything and tweak it a little? (edit: spelling)

EagerElectronics11 karma

Most of the time effects like chorus, flanger, reverb, delay will have radically different circuitry and design considerations. However pedals that mainly amplify a signal like boost, distortion, fuzz, overdrive, will have pretty similar ideas when designing them.

That being said I think there are things that always remain similar between pedals such as input and output buffers, and power supply sections.

ToBeADifferentPerson5 karma

How do physical pedals modulate the signal of a guitar (i.e how does a distortion pedal add distortion)? And does this principal change with the various types of pedals (reverb, looping, etc.)? I know I could google this but i wanted to see what a pro would say about it. Thank you so much!

EagerElectronics11 karma

Many effects have different methods of creating sounds. For example a distortion pedal would amplify the signal so loud that it clips off the top of the signal which causes distortion.

The principal would change and become more sophisticated with different effects. My reverb pedal has a physical spring inside it that vibrates when a signal is passed through it for example.

It's always a learning process to figure out how different effects will work and how to implement them.

Triathloneer4 karma

What resources would you suggest to someone who has some basic knowledge of circuitry but wants to build guitar pedals/play around with guitar circuitry for his own purposes?

Insular_Tahitian3 karma

What sonic characteristics have yet to be fully explored in a pedal? Is it combinations of effects like slicer/delay/octave? Are there sonic effects that have been explored but haven't reached their true potential yet?

EagerElectronics12 karma

I'd like to see an Owen Wilson "wow" pedal.

handnn3 karma

I'm great at soldering and decent at troubleshooting when I fix/mod Pedals on my own, how do I take the next step toward understanding what I'm doing/ making decisions/choosing components for mods and builds?

EagerElectronics3 karma

Read books and study electronic theory.

Imaskeet3 karma

Can you tell me a little about the business side of it? What kind of red tape did you have to go through? Are you an LLC and did you have to go through any kind of certification to sell your products (UL, FCC, etc)? Thanks!

EagerElectronics5 karma

No LLC just a sole owner. There's no certification required by law in the USA, especially because there's no high voltage involved with the pedals.

PeakOfTheMountain3 karma

How did you get into this?

Also, my first post got deleted for not being a question. But, I have a friend who does custom pickups. Y’all should collab on a project!

EagerElectronics4 karma

Custom pickups sound awesome I'm totally down to talk about it. I got into this because I've always been into music and messing with electronics. My parents lost it when I was a kid I just took apart everything.

leclittoris3 karma

What can pedals do that an amp can't? Let's go with the Line 6 Spider as an example

EagerElectronics18 karma

Many people prefer things such as amp distortion and amps with built in reverb. As for effect pedals there is something to be desired in the many flavors of pedals. If you want a new interesting effect, it saves you from buying a brand new amp to achieve a radically different sound.

Magnificent_Z10 karma

There's also people like me who want a 5150 but can't afford it so we just run the pedal even though it's not the same

EagerElectronics5 karma

You and me both haaa

lambPony2 karma

What do you think about the True Bypass/buffered switching debate ?

EagerElectronics2 karma

Doesn't matter really. Personal preference. I make all my pedals true bypass, you could just get true bypass pedals and a dedicated separate buffer pedal.

KevinDurante2 karma

Does age actually add “character” to pedals? Have an old MXR Distortion+ from the 70s and love how it sounds but is it really because it’s 40+ years old?

EagerElectronics7 karma

I don't think its the age per say, more maybe it uses a chip that hasn't been in production for decades that has a different sound.

ice_crown2 karma

Do you like your chorus before or after your distortion?

I saw your BOOst pedal I think on r/diypedals and have been wanting one for looks alone. Have you tried it out on a bass at all? Other than it looks rad, can you sell me on the extra price over the EHX Mole or the Spark?

EagerElectronics3 karma

Chorus i put after distortion, but that might just be me.

We tried it on a bass one time it has a frequency range that is really broad so it sounds good. We use really good solid components like Nichicon capacitors, and it's all hand wired and tested.

There's a lifetime guarantee for free repairs. We also communicate with everyone involved with our pedals ie. this thread hahaha.

wil_dogg2 karma

If I send you a list of my gear could you recommend how to best chain what I have and what pedal you make would fit in and complement my rig? I’ve acquired some good stuff over the years but haven’t played in a decade, now that the kids are off to college I can set up a music study room.

EagerElectronics3 karma

Sure I would love to give it a shot. I'm sure others in this thread would have their opinions as well. It also all depends on types of music you like to play.

wil_dogg2 karma

https://imgur.com/gallery/Qs3hlPA

Guitar is a Telecaster Mexico with custom Lind Fralin pickups.

Amp 1 is a circa 1965 Arbiter Power 100 4 channel 100 watt beast. These were general purpose PA amps that predated Sound City and HIWATT versions, sharing a lot of circuit design with the Pete Townsend 4 channel custom amps. It sits on an Avatar cab with 2x12 Tonkers.

Amp 2 is a circa 1984 HIWATT Biacrown era 50 watt with the OL overdrive-lead circuit. Current speaker is a cheap Fender replacement and I have an early ‘70s FANE speaker for it that needs reconed.

I think you can see the pedals.

My thought was to have several chains of pedals feeding the Arbiter’s 4 inputs, use the separate volume controls on the Arbiter to control/blend those tones, and then have the HIWATT with a single short chain for a crunch WHO sound. Also if I add guitars then each guitar to its own input on the Arbiter.

Lots to work with, probably too much for a noob like me who has more money than skill.

EagerElectronics2 karma

Got some pretty sweet gear. You might have to play around with different connections a lot, that's the best way to get what you personally want to hear out of it. From the pedals you have there's tons of gain there. Maybe too much even so less might be more? It's really what sounds good to you like I said.

wil_dogg1 karma

Yes gain is there tho the Arbiter alone is a very clean sound and the HIWATT has to be loud (too loud for the bedroom) to get any distortion. I’m thinking a Dre verb could be added. In general are there best practices in the order of chaining pedals?

EagerElectronics2 karma

I would really see how it sounds both ways in terms of order.

Redsox9332 karma

I checked out your Etsy and was wondering what goes into setting the price? Meaning some are $80 and others are $200 plus is it more materials or time to build the pedal.

EagerElectronics2 karma

It's a combination of material cost and time to build.

WiseauTheWise2 karma

What do you think of Kirk Hammett's use of the Wah pedal?

EagerElectronics3 karma

Metallica sucks fight me

Tamespotting2 karma

Have you thought of moving over to modular synths? Or modular synth type of guitar pedals?

EagerElectronics2 karma

Hell yes I love modular synths. Definitely working on some of that.

Bodark432 karma

Op-amp IC's. Is there a point to trying to design without them? Or do you just throw in the towel?

EagerElectronics2 karma

Yes discrete op amps and other discrete transistor circuits are totally sick.

hotmetalslugs2 karma

Eric Johnson and his belief that different batteries make a pedal sound different: how insane is he?

EagerElectronics2 karma

Batteries all have slightly different voltages so I can see that being possible.

Ayavaron2 karma

How do you know when a pedal is bad? What signs indicate this pedal will be a nightmare? How nightmarish can a bad pedal really be?

EagerElectronics5 karma

I repaired a friends pedal one time, it was a Ditto looper. I dont mean to bash this one company in particular, but the foot switch was a crappy tactile switch on the circuit board with a flimsy button on top. Almost like a button on a Playstation controller or something.

Just cheaply build mass produced garbage makes me sad.

leftbeefs2 karma

man, i love tc, but their switches are definitely lacking. i feel like they’re probably the most innovative pedal company around though, so i cut them some slack

EagerElectronics3 karma

I totally agree with you. they have some sick designs. Like that mini ditto is super useful.

Ayavaron2 karma

How do you know if one fuzz pedal is better than another fuzz pedal? What feelings do you look for in your heart?

EagerElectronics10 karma

For me a fuzz pedal must make me feel disgusting. Like the feeling I get when I haven't washed my face in the morning.

slightlyuseful2 karma

I'm kinda in to electronics and like to make weird little circuits from things I got en masse at Radio Shack before they closed. Definitely interested in guitar pedals since I play, so what's the simplest circuit in your opinion? A simple overdrive? Thanks!

P.S. Love the topic btw

EagerElectronics6 karma

Dude I miss Radio Shack so much, I used to work there and watched it crumble beneath my feet lol.

Build a really simple single transistor boost/overdrive type thing. Something like this Then you just need some 1/4 inch jack and there you go.

TheBigBaby2 karma

How long did it take you from your first build attempt to your first working prototype? I have an engineering background (not EE though) and have always wanted to try something like this but don’t know where to start!

EagerElectronics4 karma

Usually I play around with something on a breadboard for a week or two, then build a prototype on a perf board or something. That usually ends up sounding different from what I expected because layouts tend to make a difference, so I go back to a breadboard to tweak some more. Rinse and repeat a few times (or many) until I get it just right.

If you don't know where to start, build a clone of a pedal you like that doesn't look too complicated.

feral21122 karma

In regards to your reverb pedal, have you experimented with different springs? I would imagine that different lengths, thickness and metal types would change the sound.

EagerElectronics5 karma

Yes there are a few different decay times, impedances, voltages, number of springs, etc in different tanks that are interesting to play around with. The other challenge is finding spring tanks that are small enough to be practical inside a pedal.

turbofeedus2 karma

Another question regarding your reverb, did you go off any existing pedal format spring verbs? There's not too many out there, and seems like people have had mixed results based off known designs. What tank did you end up using?

EagerElectronics2 karma

I looked at a bunch of different circuits and figured out some different ideas after bouncing off them. I used a little Accutronics tank for a eurorack module.

FoxBearBear2 karma

Do you think one day technology on our smartphones will become good enough to simulate any type of pedal with an app and output good quality sound to an amp ?

EagerElectronics2 karma

Maybe eventually. I think there will always be nostalgia for analog though.

FoxBearBear1 karma

I tried my iPad and iPhone with that icable or whatnot and it sound like a cracking mess.

Tried garage band on a Mac with the RockBand cable and I got the same sound.

Even when playing Garage Band the sound is “weak”, bass lacking with the same “color”.

But when playing directly with my old Vox amp the sound is “profound”....

EagerElectronics1 karma

Well there's nothing like a real amp. Processors have limitations like latency.

bio_soul_bauer2 karma

What are your thoughts on digital pedal boards? Decent or way inferior to actual pedals?

EagerElectronics3 karma

I think it's worth it if you want a ton off effects at your disposal. Pedals give you more specific options though.

grnmtgrl2 karma

What's the average cost of materials for building a pedal?

EagerElectronics4 karma

I would say it varies wildly from something like a boost pedal to a more complicated design like an analog reverb. Most of the time you could build a really killer pedal for 50-100 dollars.

aBeaSTWiTHiNMe2 karma

My Wah falls flat to the toe all the time. What can I do to pop the pedal off and tighten it to stay where I leave it?

EagerElectronics2 karma

The pot might be adjustable depends on what it is. Or maybe just a rubber stopper or something under the toe if you want the ghetto route.

Indetermination2 karma

Is this the kind of thing you might be able to try at home as a hobby?

EagerElectronics4 karma

Yes absolutely it's the best kind of hobby. You can spend time building a pedal you like and it will be cheaper and more fun than buying a pre-made pedal.

GuyanaFlavorAid2 karma

Start off on general guitar gadgets and tone pad. Are you able to find SAD1024 chips anywhere for a reasonable price these days?

EagerElectronics6 karma

They aren't in production anymore so finding an original one would normally be expensive. There are companies that still manufacture similar chips like coolaudio.

EagerElectronics1 karma

Here's our Etsy shop if anyone is interested.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EagerElectronics

thiney491 karma

Is this sort of a Lego type assembly, where you buy various electronic and connect them to get a desired effect, or are you actually designing circuitry to modulate the sound yourself?

EagerElectronics5 karma

I design my circuits from scratch, math formulas and all. Sometimes it takes months of tinkering to get something right since the real thing always sounds different than on paper.

buckhenderson1 karma

Can you give a high level step by step process for designing and building say a distortion pedal?

EagerElectronics1 karma

I would say start with a simple Op-Amp amplifier, and add on from there. Add clipping diodes, different gain amounts, additional Op-Amps, input and output buffers, tone controls, filters. Listen to how it sounds and tweak it as you go until it sounds the way you want it to.

Brianphase901 karma

Are you on Haunting Mids? TGP?

EagerElectronics2 karma

No but I just looked it up. Apparently I have a lot to learn about the interwebs.

ReekusReekusReekus1 karma

What are your circuits based off? Do you really consider them original?

EagerElectronics1 karma

They are original designs. I base them on common electronic theory, or the way they sound. Also I use information from many different pedals for ideas.

For example, I've never seen another pedal that does what my Weed-Man does. It splits the signal into two, one path for bass frequencies and one path for mids and highs. Then it distorts and clips them separately before recombining the signals.