Most Common DIY Guitar Effects Pedal Components & Parts To Stock Up On
The data in this guide is correct as of Q1 2021. If anything is missing that you would like included, please let me know.
How did I compile this list?
I compiled this list by downloading the build guides for every single PCB available on the Pedal PCB site (as of Q1 2021). I then went through each of these guides and pulled out all of the components necessary to build that specific pedal, including the quantity required for each pedal.
The only components I omitted from this list were the pieces of hardware common to all pedals. These include 3PDT switches, input & output ¼ inch jacks, 2.1mm DC power jacks and indicator LED’s.
This list does look at the below components along with their corresponding values:
- Integrated Circuits (IC’s)
- Internal Trimmer Potentiometers
The data behind this can be found here:
However, the following article will provide you with a top-level analysis of this huge data set without having to dig through everything yourself.
Most common resistors for building DIY guitar pedals
Resistors are one of the most common electrical components needed to build DIY guitar effects pedals. When looking at any circuit, you will find you will need to source a handful of different values in order to get the effects pedal up and running. You can read more about resistors and what they’re used for in my beginners guide to resistors for DIY guitar effects pedals.
The most common resistor value used when making DIY guitar effects pedals is 10K (10,000) Ohms. Throughout all 457 guitar pedal PCBs I analysed, I found that 1,546 10K Ohm resistors were used making this the most common value of resistor for building guitar stompboxes.
The second most common resistor value used for building DIY effects pedals is 4K7 (4,700) Ohms. Interestingly, the 10K Ohm resistor value, which is the most common value, is used almost twice as much as the 4K7 Ohm resistor in second place.
You can find the top 25 most common resistor values for building DIY guitar effects pedals, below:
If you’re looking to really get into this hobby, I would strongly recommend stocking up on these values as you will find yourself reaching for them time and time again.
Where to buy resistors?
When it comes to purchasing resistors, you could buy a premade kit containing ‘common’ value resistors. However, these will be common for general electronics and not DIY guitar effects pedals. Therefore, I would recommend picking these up in individual value packs. Here is a list of links to Amazon where you can pick up these single value resistors in large quantities:
|Resistor Value||Amazon Link|
However, if you would prefer to purchase these from an independent stockist, you can check out this list of retailers around the world where you can buy resistors for DIY effects pedals at very reasonable prices.
Most common capacitors for building DIY guitar pedals
Capacitors are the other most common component type you’ll find when building DIY guitar effects pedals. They’re generally used for signal filtering and power conditioning and any given circuit will make use of a few different types. In effects pedals, we’ll use ceramic disc capacitors, film capacitors, tantalum capacitors and electrolytic capacitors. If you’re new to building your own effects pedals and would like to learn more about capacitors and their functions within circuits, take a look at my beginner’s guide to capacitors for DIY effects pedals here.
The most common capacitor value used when making DIY guitar effects pedals is 100nF (nanofarads). This is a box film capacitor which means there it doesn’t have any polarity and they’re generally used as coupling capacitors. This means that they allow AC (Alternating Current) to pass through them, but not DC (Direct Current). They can also influence the amount of bass that runs through the circuit. Of the 457 guitar pedal PCBs I analysed, I found that 949 100nF film capacitors were used making this the most common value of capacitor for building guitar stompboxes.
The second most common capacitor value for building guitar effects pedals is a 1uF (microfarad). This is an electrolytic capacitor that is used for storing and releasing electrical current into the circuit. This is almost as common a component as the previous value and in the 457 pedals I analysed, I found that this value of capacitor was used 742 times putting this in second place.
You can find the top 25 most common capacitor values for building DIY guitar effects pedals, below:
If you’re just starting out with building your own effects pedals, I would strongly recommend building up a stockpile of these values as you will find yourself using them time and time again.
Where to buy capacitors?
Just like resistors, when purchasing capacitors off of the internet, you could buy a premade kit containing ‘common’ value resistors. However, as with resistors, these will be common for general electronics and not DIY guitar effects pedals. You will also find that these sets only contain a single type of capacitor. For example, a selection of box film capacitors or a variety of electrolytic capacitors. Therefore, I would recommend picking these up in individual value packs. Below is a list of links to Amazon where you can pick up these single value capacitors in large quantities so that you can start building up your stock:
|Capacitor Value||Amazon Links|
Alternatively, if you prefer to purchase these components from independent stockists, you can check out this list of retailers around the world where you can buy capacitors for DIY effects pedals at very reasonable prices.
Most common transistors for building DIY guitar pedals
Transistors are a very common component in guitar effects pedals. However, unlike resistors and capacitors, not every pedal utilises transistors and may instead use an integrated circuit (IC). Within effects pedals, we generally hear people talk about silicon transistors and germanium transistors. Especially when it comes to fuzz and drive circuits. However, if you’re new to this, check out my guide to transistors for DIY guitar effects pedals here.
The most common transistor used when building DIY guitar effects pedals is a J201. This is a JFET that has, unfortunately, become harder and harder to find with many fakes appearing online. Unless you’re willing to work with an SMD version of this transistor, you may need to find a substitute like the 2N5457. However, when making any substitutions, you may need to tweak the circuit to change the filtering to ensure the pedal sounds as desired. Of the 457 DIY guitar pedal PCBs that I analysed, I found that 127 J201 transistors were used making this the most common transistor for building guitar effects pedals.
The second most common transistor used for building guitar effects pedals is the 2N5088. The 2N5088 is a low noise, high gain NPN transistor making it a perfect option for fuzz or high gain effects pedals. When doing my analysis of the 457 pedal circuits, I found that this transistor was used 84 times making it a fantastic value to try and stock up on.
You can find the top 25 most common transistors for building DIY guitar effects pedals, below:
Not all transistors will have the same sound even if they are technically the same. This is something that you have to play around with and once you understand how they work, you can start swapping out different values to see which combinations you prefer. If you’re just starting out with building your own guitar effects pedals, I would strongly recommend building up a stockpile of these values as you will find yourself using them time and time again. Also, as these components can be sensitive to heat, it’s very easy to ruin them before you even get your pedal up and running. Always have spares!
Where to buy transistors?
For some of the more common multi-purpose transistors, you can pick them up in selection boxes. These sets may contain a handful of 2N2222, 2N3904 & 2N3906, however, the rest may not be of any use to you when building guitar effects pedals. Therefore, I would recommend picking them up individually. For the most part, the transistors used in more modern pedals will be simple to find. Unfortunately, when it comes to the more vintage style pedals and more specifically, germanium transistors, they’re a little harder to find and therefore, more expensive. Below is a list of links to sites where you can pick up these transistors in large quantities so that you can start building up your stock. Please note that not all transistors will be available through Amazon but I’ve tried to provide Amazon links where necessary:
|Transistor Name||Amazon Links|
|10||MPF4393||Not Available On Amazon|
|16||2N1308||Not Available On Amazon|
|19||PF5102||Not Available On Amazon|
|21||OC71||Not Available On Amazon|
|23||2N5133||Not Available On Amazon|
Alternatively, if you prefer to purchase all of these components from independent stockists, you can check out this list of retailers around the world where you can buy transistors for DIY effects pedals at very reasonable prices.
Most common integrated circuits (IC’s) for building DIY guitar pedals
Integrated circuits, also referred to as IC’s can have many uses in DIY guitar effects pedals. You will find ICs in drive pedals, delay pedals, modulation pedals, buffers and everything in between. Most of the integrated circuits in this list are 8 pin chips, but we also have 14 pin and 16 pin chips as well. It’s important to understand what you’re using and how it will fit into your circuit.
The most common integrated circuits (IC) used for building DIY guitar pedals are TL072 low noise JFET input general-purpose operational amplifiers (op-amps). Some of the most famous pedals to make use of the TL072 are the Marshall Bluesbreaker and the Klon Centaur. However, the list of pedals using this IC could literally be endless as it’s such a flexible little component. Of the 457 DIY guitar pedal PCBs that I analysed, I found that 257TL072 ICs were used making this the most common integrated circuit for building guitar effects pedals.
The second most common integrated circuit from my analysis was the JRC4558. This is also a JFET operational amplifier (op-amp) and is a different flavour on the more common TL072. Other alternatives are the NE5532 (the IC in 12th place) and the OPA2134 (currently in 10th place). The JRC4558 op-amp claimed notoriety with the Ibanez TubeScreamer with some players claiming that different versions of the chip sound ‘better’ than others which is a myth with no real evidence to back it up.
You can find the top 25 most common integrated circuits for building DIY guitar effects pedals, below:
Where to buy integrated circuits (IC’s)
Most of the IC’s in this list are very common and you shouldn’t have any real issues sourcing them from your favourite components dealers. The only chips that may be a little more expensive to pick up are the vintage bucket brigade (BBD) chips used in delay/modulation pedals. Below is a list of links to sites where you can pick up these integrated circuits in large quantities so that you can start building up your stockpiles:
|Integrated Circuit||Amazon Links|
|6||FV1||Not Available On Amazon|
|23||CD4017BM||Not Available On Amazon|
|25||CD4046N||Not Available On Amazon|
Most common diodes for building DIY guitar pedals
Diodes in guitar effects pedals can have a few different applications. They can be used to protect your circuit from reverse polarity power supplies, create clipping in gain pedals or highlight when a pedal is turned on or not. The last one here refers to LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) which my analysis omits.
The most common value diode from my analysis was the 1N5817 Schottky diode. This has a low forward voltage drop and high switching speed and in most of the circuits I looked at, they were used as reverse polarity protection components. Of the 457 pedals I looked at, I found 513 uses of the 1N5817 diode. The majority of the pedals in my analysis contained one of these diodes as voltage protection but there were some pedals that used them in a clipping stage so it’s definitely worth stocking up on these.
The second most popular diode value in my analysis was the 1N4148 silicon diode. The most common application for these diodes, from what I found, was to have these as clipping diodes within gain pedals. This diode is a more efficient replacement for the 1N914 and shouldn’t have any notable differences in sound. From the 457 pedal schematics I analysed, I found 449 1N4148 diodes were used making this another fantastic component to keep a large stock of.
You can find the top 25 most common diodes for building DIY guitar effects pedals, below:
Where to buy diodes?
For the most part, many of the diodes in my list are still in production or are readily available. However, there are still a few in here that are a little harder to come by. A good example of this is the 1S1588 diode used in the Analogman King of Tone pedal. Like the J201 transistor, there are many ‘fake’ versions of this diode reportedly being sold so it’s important to do your research before you buy and always purchase from a reputable source. Below is a list of links to Amazon where you can pick up most of these diodes in large quantities so that you can start building up your stocks:
|Diode Value||Amazon Links|
|9||MA856||Not Available On Amazon|
|13||1N916A||Not Available On Amazon|
|14||BA282||Not Available On Amazon|
|15||1N916||Not Available On Amazon|
|18||1N456A||Not Available On Amazon|
|20||1N4678||Not Available On Amazon|
|22||SH270||Not Available On Amazon|
|23||1S1588||Not Available On Amazon|
For the rarer vintage diodes, I would recommend checking out some of the below sites:
If you have any other suggestions, please let me know and I’ll update my list to include them.
Most common potentiometers for building DIY guitar pedals
Potentiometers, most commonly referred to as ‘pots’ are the components we, as guitar players, interact with to fine-tune the sound of our pedals. They’re essentially a variable resistor that allows us to alter specific values of our circuit without having to open them up and manually resolder components every time we want to increase the output, gain or frequency response of our pedals. Some pedals may only have one potentiometer whilst others can have 6 or more.
The most common potentiometer value for guitar pedals is B100K. This is a potentiometer with a maximum resistance of 100K Ohms with a sweep that is linear. This means that as you rotate the knob, the value changes in a very logical manner. It’s a gradual but even increase in resistance. Of the 457 pedals that I analysed, I found that the B100K potentiometer was used 358 times. Interestingly, this value was most commonly used in tone stacks to control the bass, middle and treble frequencies of a pedal.
The second most common potentiometer value for effects pedals is the A100K. This may be the exact same value as the potentiometer at the top of our list. However, this potentiometer has a logarithmic sweep meaning that the largest change in resistance happens within the first few notches. You will most commonly find logarithmic potentiometers used with volume controls but this can vary from circuit to circuit. Of the 457 pedals that I analysed, I found that the A100K potentiometer was used 264 times making it another component worth stocking up on.
You can find the top 25 most common potentiometers for building DIY guitar effects pedals, below:
Where to buy potentiometers?
Thankfully, all of the potentiometers on my list are readily available and very affordable. The only question is what format you want them in. Most potentiometers used in guitar pedals come in a few different formats. There are potentiometers that solder directly onto a PCB, potentiometers with right angle legs that stand away from the board and there are potentiometers with simple solder lugs so you can place them wherever you wish. Which ones you choose to use are really your personal preference. Below is a list of links to Amazon where you can pick up most of these potentiometers in large quantities so that you can start building up your stocks:
|Potentiometer Value||Amazon Links|
|10||C100K||Not Available On Amazon|
|11||C10K||Not Available On Amazon|
|18||C50K||Not Available On Amazon|
|20||W20K||Not Available On Amazon|
|22||C5K||Not Available On Amazon|
|24||C500K||Not Available On Amazon|
|25||C1M||Not Available On Amazon|
Most common trimmers & trim pots for building DIY guitar pedals
Not all pedals put every control on the outside of the pedal. There are a few pedals that contain small internal potentiometers for even finer tuning of the circuit. These are operated with a small screwdriver and are generally reserved for transistor biasing. However, there are the odd few pedals that allow you to shape the tone of a pedal further with internal trimmers. Also known as trim pots.
The most common trimmers used in guitar effects pedals are 100K Ohms trimmers. Of the 457 effects pedals that I analysed, I found that this component was used 62 times. As I said, these aren’t in every pedal so they aren’t a common component.
The second most common trim pot value is 10K Ohms. Again, these are usually reserved for biasing transistors to ensure they’re interacting with the wider circuit correctly.
We don’t have too many different varieties of trim pot values in guitar effects pedals, but here are all of the different values that I found:
Where to buy trimmers & trim pots
Just like with standard-sized potentiometers, trim pots are relatively easy to get a hold of and whilst they may come in a few different styles, they will all do the same job. Below is a list of links to Amazon where you can pick up these internal trimmer in large quantities so that you can start building up your stocks. These are especially useful if you’re going to be producing fuzz pedals or analogue delay pedals:
|Trimmer Value||Amazon Links|
Most common enclosure sizes for building DIY guitar pedals
Every guitar effects pedal needs an enclosure as a way to protect the circuits from damage when stomping on them to turn them on and off. The industry as a whole only really uses a handful of different basic enclosure styles making them simple to pick up online. That being said, there is nothing stopping you from finding something a little different and really standing out from the crowd. If you were to choose something outside of the below selections, I would recommend that they are metal (to help with grounding), strong (as they’ll be stomped on) and simple enough to work with (as you’ll need to drill them).
The most common enclosure style for DIY guitar effects pedals is the 125B. This is a little larger than the Hammond 1590B enclosure and it provides a little more room on the inside and is a better candidate for top mount jacks. This is something that has become more and more popular over the years as pedalboard sizes continue to grow. Of the 457 effects pedal schematics that I analysed, I found that 408 (89%) utilise this 125B enclosure. These are much cheaper to buy in bulk so stock up on them if you plan on doing a few different builds.
The second most common enclosure style for DIY effects pedals is the Hammond 1590BB enclosure. This is similar to the 125B or the 1590B. However, it is twice the width making it the ideal choice for two-in-one pedals or pedals that require a second footswitch. Of the 457 pedals that I analysed, I found that the 1590BB enclosure was used in 27 builds. Like the 125B enclosure, this is still much cheaper to buy in bulk, but I doubt you’ll be making too many two-in-one pedals so it may take you a little longer to work through your supplies.
As previously mentioned, we don’t have too many different varieties of enclosure in guitar effects pedals, but here are all of the different styles that I found:
Where to buy enclosures?
Most of these enclosures are easy to get a hold of. However, the wah enclosures are quite expensive as they’re so specialised. There are some places online that stock them, however, I’ve never actually purchased one so I can’t attest to their quality. In this instance, you may wish to seek out old broken wah pedals from eBay and repurpose them for your own builds. Below is a list of links to sites where you can pick up these enclosures in large quantities so that you can start building up your stocks.
|Enclosure Style||Amazon Links|
|4||Wah||Not Available on Amazon|
There you have it, if you’re looking to get started with building DIY guitar effects pedals and take it seriously, these are the components that are all worth stocking up on. If you would prefer to shop around and purchase your parts from independent retailers take a look at my guide on where to buy DIY effects pedal components for the best prices.