Effect Pedal Building – Two Pedals

Construct two guitar pedals in a fully equipped workshop under the guidance of an expert. Students will build each pedal from a kit prepared by the instructor. Each student will build a power booster and their choice of the following: Fuzzright, Hyper Silicon Fuzz, Electro Distortion, Digital Reverb, Square Wave Distortion, OctavUp, Passive Feedback Looper, or the BitCrusher . No experience necessary!

pedals multi 2


An excellent introduction to hand-wiring audio circuits and electronics. This workshop teaches students how to build their own guitar pedals, read schematics and layout diagrams, and select components. 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 will build a power booster pedal along with one of the following kits:

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.


This is the sound of 1960s psychedelia. An effect similar to the scuzzy opening notes of the Stones’ “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.


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…

multi pedals


Weekends: 11 am – 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday


Tuition: $195

Plus 2 kits: $160

Tuition includes lecture/demonstrations, personal instruction & shop supplies. The school provides each student with their own individual workstation and all the tools and shop supplies necessary to complete their project. Kit is surcharged.


Richard Phillis Richard is a guitar builder, repair technician and surface finisher at Specimen. He teaches Effects Pedal BuildingGuitar ElectronicsElectric Guitar BuildingLap Steel Guitar BuildingGuitar and Bass RepairSetup & Maintenance for Guitar and Bass and Finishing Techniques at the Chicago School of Guitar Making.

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 cash, 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.



Choose Date
Expired October 15 & 16
Saturday & Sunday 11am - 5pm
$195.00 (USD)
+$150.00 (USD) Two Pedal Kits
Expired February 4 & 5
Saturday & Sunday 11am - 5pm
$195.00 (USD)
+$150.00 (USD) Two Pedal Kits
Expired April 1 & 2
Saturday & Sunday 11am - 5pm
$195.00 (USD)
+$160.00 (USD) Two Pedal Kits
May 27 & 28
Saturday & Sunday 11am - 5pm
$195.00 (USD)
+$160.00 (USD) Two Pedal Kits


Classes are taught by Specimen owner Ian Schneller, or guest instructors Richard Phillis, Pete Mueller or Kye Kennedy. The course description will state who the instructor is for the given class


All classes are held at Specimen located at 1240 N. Homan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois. Click here for a map

Student Feedback

Click here to read student feedback about our school

Mail In Registration

Please download this form if you want to register for a class by mail