DIY Guitar Effects Pedal Kits – What Are They & Where To Buy Them?
DIY guitar pedal kits are a fantastic way to get started with this hobby. Companies that sell these kits will piece all of the components together for you, along with a set of detailed instructions on how to build the pedal. If you’re a complete beginner to building guitar pedals, check out my beginners guide here.
There are a couple of sites where you can buy DIY effects pedal kits that I’ve personally dealt with and would recommend, but we’ll get into that later.
What Is A DIY Guitar Pedal Kit
A DIY guitar effects pedal kit is a set of components, hardware and a PCB that will enable you to build a fully working guitar effects pedal. All of these parts will have been hand-selected by the company selling them to ensure you have as few issues building the pedal as possible.
Every full effects pedal kit I have purchased has come with the following items:
Bagged and labelled components (resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors & IC’s)
Printed circuit board (PCB)
¼ inch input jacks
DC input jack
Aluminium enclosure (based on standard Hammond sizes)
Detailed parts list
Schematic and build instructions
It’s important to know that not all DIY stompbox kits come with an enclosure as standard, but the parts list should always tell you this before purchasing. Some companies will also offer pre-drilled and even pre-painted enclosures to make it even easier for you to get started. This will obviously cost a little extra, but it’s well worth the money until you’re comfortable enough to do it all yourself.
Why Should You Buy A DIY Guitar Pedal Kit
If you’re a complete beginner at building your own guitar effects pedals, purchasing a complete pedal kit should be a no brainer.
All of the parts have been selected and collated for you to match the exact requirements of the PCB for the pedal you’re wanting to create.
When starting out, you want to make it as easy as possible for you to get those first few builds working. Spending hours building a pedal for it not to work and having no idea how to fix it is heartbreaking and can be really demoralising. We want to minimise this risk as much as possible.
As you get more comfortable building your own pedals, you can start declining some of the additional services like enclosure drilling and painting. Not only will this save you some money, but it will also help you get a better idea of the process for future builds when you’re working from scratch.
When you’re happy drilling and painting the enclosures, you can then purchase the PCB only and move onto sourcing your own components and hardware.
If you’re not yet familiar with all of the necessary components for guitar pedals, check out my guides here:
Once you’re happy that you know what you’re looking for, you can start building up your supplies of components. I’d always suggest buying more than what you need as it will make future builds much quicker. A guide to buying these components can be found here:
Where To Buy DIY Effects Pedal Kits
If you were to look on eBay, you will likely find a number of sellers advertising their DIY guitar effects pedal kits. However, after buying a few kits from eBay, I quickly found that the quality of these kits varied quite drastically. One pedal came without any instructions and another came with the wrong value resistors. Therefore, I would strongly recommend sticking to reputable online stores.
To help make this as easy as possible for you, I’ve created a bit of a directory of DIY guitar pedal kits along with links to the places where you can buy each kit. These have been grouped by brand and pedal type, but the search box on those pages will get you where you need to be.
Here’s a breakdown of some of my favourites guitar effects pedal kit retailers:
Where To Buy DIY Guitar Pedal Kits In The UK
If you’re based in the UK, one company that you’ll struggle to beat are Fuzz Dogs Pedal Parts:
They have an ever-growing list of pedal kits based on famous pedals and whilst they don’t always overtly make the comparison to the pedal the kit is based on, they leave enough subtle hints to help you figure it out. Check out my DIY guitar pedal kit & PCB directory for help on deciphering these.
Another company worth checking out in the UK are BitsBox:
These pedal kits are for more advanced builders as they contain precut stripboard instead of printed circuit boards. Their kits are a little cheaper, but this is down to the generic nature of all kits coming with the same baseboards.
Where To Buy DIY Guitar Pedal Kits In The US
If you’re based in the US, your best local DIY stompbox kit supplier is also the ‘king of DIY guitar effects pedal kits’. Build Your Own Clone (B.Y.O.C) have been running since 2004, have more than 80 different kits available and have sold more than 100,000 pedal kits worldwide. They have a fantastic reputation for creating incredible guitar pedal kits and are well worth checking out:
Another guitar effect pedal kit supplier worth checking out is effectspedalkits.com. They are a newer company than Build Your Own Clone, but their site is modern and their build documentation is incredible. You can take a look a look at a sample of their documentation here:
You can find a list of all of their stompbox kits here:
Where To Buy DIY Guitar Pedal Kits In Europe
If you’re based in mainland Europe, your local supplier is a German site called Musikding. They pull together DIY effects pedal kits from over a dozen different companies from across the world and offer them at affordable prices. Buying these kits from the original dealers may come with large shipping fees depending on where they’re based. However, shipping from Musikding will never exceed €8.90. You can find all of their pedal kits here:
Another European supplier that I’ve come across, based in Poland is Guitar Electronics. I’ve never purchased anything from them but they have some great reviews and a varied selection of guitar effects pedal kits. You can find all of their stompbox kits here:
Where To Buy DIY Guitar Pedal Kits In Australia
If you’re based in Australia, a guitar pedal store in Brisbane called ‘Pedal Empire’ stocks Build Your Own Clone (B.Y.O.C) pedal kits. You can find these here:
This can be a fantastic way to get a hold of reputable pedal kits without paying for expensive shipping costs.
If you have spent any time researching DIY guitar pedals on YouTube, you will no doubt have come across the DIY Guitar Pedals YouTube channel. It’s a fantastic channel full of very detailed and informative videos. However, the owner of this channel also sells his own effects pedal kits. You can find these here:
Again, this isn’t a company I’ve ordered from before but after spending hours watching content on his YouTube channel, I’d be comfortable to recommend him.
Beginner DIY Pedal Kits
Once you have chosen a company to buy your pedal kits from, you need to decide what pedal to build first.
If you are completely new to soldering and working with electrical components, I would suggest a simple boost pedal or single transistor fuzz. The lower the number of components required to build the pedal the easier it will be for you to get started.
If you have some experience and you’re happy working with electrical components, you can try your hand at something more advanced. The greatest thing about building your own guitar effects pedals is that no pedal is truly hard to build. Some just contain more parts than others and the skills needed to create them are pretty much the same.
To help you get started, I have created a list of pedal projects for beginners that would be worth checking out:
DIY Guitar Pedal Kit Alternatives
An alternative to buying a pre-made guitar pedal kit is to create your own kits using a printed circuit board (PCB) and components gathered from individual suppliers.
If this is a route you would prefer to take, you can view my guides here:
If there are any pedal kit suppliers that you think I should check out, please let me know. If I then have a good experience with your suggestions, I will update this article to include them.