guitar electronics

Working on the electrics of your guitar

How to replace your guitar pickups

Squier telecaster bridge raised showing the underneath of the pickup

Guitarists sometimes replace their stock pickups in the hope of improving their guitar's tone. This step by step guide shows you how to swap your existing guitar-pickups for new ones. 
The instructable is written by John Smith who changed the bridge pickup on his Squier Telecaster  to a Seymour Duncan Little '59 in the hope of a more Les Paul type of sound. But the same technique should be equally useful for other guitars.

Ruby Amp in a Magic 8-ball

Ruby Practice guitar amp housed in a magic 8 ball

The Ruby Amp is a great little battery powered solidstate practice amp. The design is based on the Little Gem design which in turn comes from the Smokey Amp designed by Dave Stork on The design uses relatively few components and is a good DIY project. Cigar box guitar maker J.K. built a Ruby Amp but found himself hunting for a suitable enclosure for it. Then he noticed an old magic 8 ball that looked just right with a perfect sized hole for the speaker.

Is this a good amp? ...<Shakes ball vigourously>... Signs point to yes!

Make a cracker box amplifier


This is a sample project from MAKE magazine, which shows you how to build a cracker box guitar amplifier for around $5 . It only shows the first few pages of the project, but it gives the schematic for the circuit and you should be able to work out how to finish it yourself. For the full article you will need to buy issue 9 of MAKE. Or why not subscribe: it's an excellent magazine for would be inventors and often features music related projects.

Make a USB guitar


USB ports are everywhere these days, so why not put one in your guitar? This project from PCMag describes how to embed a USB audio interface in your guitar. This digitises your guitar's signal ready for recording on your PC's hard drive.

The project requires the following bits and pieces: an M-Audio Session USB interface, a USB panel jack, a Switchcraft 11A jack, a Switchcraft 12B jack, some aluminium sheet and screws. The total cost of parts is about $80 (not including the guitar).

Make a custom fuzz face


This is a PCB (printed circuit board) layout for designed for fuzz face effects unit. The circuit is designed so you can tweak the cicuit to get different tones. It uses sockets you can easily swap components in and out of your fuzz face.

Using this circuit the designer claims you will be able to make the following fuzz face variations:

Make a metronome


When you're playing in a band, going a little out of tune is forgivable but if you lose timing the whole thing falls apart. To help your timing why not try this metronome project?

Electronic parts needed: A 555 IC, 3x 1K Ohm Resistor, 2x 22uF 16V Capacitor, a 9V Battery, an 8 Ohm Speaker and a 250K Ohm Potentiometer. The tools required depend on how you want to put it together: in the project the guy uses a breadboard (no soldering required) but you could use a copper board and solder it together to make a more permanent item.

Fit a Kaos Pad into a Guitar


Following on from yesterday's post about the Alesis AirFX guitar, I thought someone must have put a Korg Kaos Pad into a guitar, and it turns out some guy called Phil has already done it. The Kaos Pad is a multi-effects unit (designed for electronic musicians and DJs) with a square touch sensitive pad. As you move your finger around the pad you control the powerful effects processor, moving left or right up or down or in an arc affects different aspects of the effect.

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