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Effect Pedal Building – One Pedal

Students will hand wire one guitar pedal of their choice in just an afternoon. Instructors will demonstrate construction techniques and give lectures on how to read schematics and layout diagrams, select components, use a drill press and a soldering iron. Students will build their guitar effects pedal from a full kit with all the components necessary to complete the pedal. No experience is necessary. An excellent introduction to electronics!

Effect Pedal Workshop


An excellent introduction to hand-wiring audio circuits and electronics. This course offers lectures, demonstrations and a hands-on workshop.  All aspects of pedal building from reading a schematic to hand wiring a complete circuit will be covered. Topics covered will include:

  • Reading and understanding schematics and layouts
  • Point to point wiring vs. etched pc boards
  • Components and how to identify and understand their function in the circuit
  • Soldering techniques
  • Hand wiring a circuit
  • Layout and drilling an enclosure
  • True bypass switching


Students may choose from one of the following kits to build in this class:

Electro Distortion –

Based on a vintage circuit that has become the blueprint for all that followed it.  A simple circuit capable of a range of drive from mild to the sound of an amplifier being pushed to the limit.

Hyper Silicon Fuzz –

A wild modern fuzz unit capable of controllable self oscillation and feedback. This is a powerhouse.

Fuzzright –

This is the sound of 1960s psychedelia. An effect similar to the scuzzy opening notes of the Stone’s “Satisfaction” (though that may have been a Maestro fuzz).

Square Wave Distortion –

This pedal emulates the sound of a signal that’s hit a brick wall. It’s a unique ripping effect that will cut through any mix.

Digital Reverb –

This hall reverb has a very slight modulation and separate controls for reverb and dry signal. Go from subtle effect to nothing-but-verb. This circuit has more components than the others and may require more time to build. All students are welcome to build it, but we suggest this one for students with some experience with soldering and/or circuitry.

OctavUp –

It won’t make you sound like Hendrix on Purple Haze because nothing will. But we can dream. This pedal is capable of producing sounds ranging from subtle ring modulation to tones one octave above the notes you are playing. Known to behave radically different depending on how hard you push it and where it sits in your effects chain.

PFL Passive Feedback Looper –

This is a pedal that everyone should own. This passive unit has many uses. Connect a chain of pedals through the send/return loop and engage them all at once via the PFL footswitch. Make a noisy tone-sucking vintage pedal “true bypass” by routing it through the PFL and taking it out of your chain when not engaged. The real fun is the “feedback” switch. Now you can dial in the amount of output signal is fed back through the loop, producing unheard-of mayhem.

BitCrusher (analog) –

Go lo-fi. This pedal mangles your signal via downsampling, or reduction of the sample rate (there are no bits involved). An aggressive effect for the more experimental of you. If you’ve ever wished that your guitar sounded more like a Speak & Spell…

Materials and Supplies

The school provides each student with their own individual workstation and all the tools and shop supplies necessary to complete their project.


11am – 5pm, on Saturdays or Sundays


$150 + cost of one kit

Tuition includes instruction, hands-on workshop, use of a dedicated guitar service bench, specialized tools and the shop supplies necessary for the completion of this project. Kit choice is surcharged.

Pedals Effect Pedal Building


Ian Schneller is the founder and chief instructor of the Chicago School of Guitar Making. With over 800 handmade instruments bearing his Specimen name, he brings a wellspring of knowledge to the classroom with the mission of perpetuating the tradition of handcraft and design innovation. He has shown his work in a variety of museums around the country and is a faculty member of the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How to Register:

Registrations are limited to 8 students. You can register for any of our classes online, by phone or in person.

Register Online

Make your selection of the class dates you wish to attend (and if applicable, the type of kit) in Available Dates column on the upper right of this page and click ENROLL NOW > Enter the required information and then proceed to pay by clicking the Paypal button and choose your method of payment. NOTE: It is NOT necessary to have a Paypal account to use their service.

Register by Phone 773. 489.4830

Call us if you prefer to register over the phone with your credit card. We will send you a confirmation via email, or by snail mail if you prefer.

Register in Person

Come by the shop during business hours and enroll using case, credit card or a personal check.

Hours of operation:

Monday – Friday: 12 – 7

Saturday: 12 – 5

Map our location


Click Here for a list of nearby places to stay during seminars, along with transportation information.