Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Parts Selection for DIY Boutique Guitar Gear

Probably many of guitar DIY fanciers would like to make a real boutique guitar pedal or use some high-grade parts in a guitar wiring. In this post I would like to show you my selection of capacitors and resistors, that I'm using in preamps and guitar wirings. All of them are selected as parts with good relation between price and quality. They are also quite easy to find in online stores.

red Wima and brown Elna caps


Vishay MKT1813
Vishay MKP1837
Wima MKP 2
Wima MKP 4
Wima MKP 10


Elna Slimic II
Nichicon KZ
Panasonic FC

This is a selection of caps with very good characteristic. They are quite well balanced and will not make your pedal sounds harsh. There are some sonic differences between them, but it's hard to describe. The best way to chose the best one, is to test them and judge by yourself.
The list showing only these capacitors that I know. I believe that there are more good caps on the market.

I think that presented caps are good enough for guitar pedals and wirings. There's no reason to buy some more expensive stuff - a difference can be unnoticeable or hard to judge is it for better.

BTW, maybe you read somewhere that electrolytic caps sounds worst than film, so you should use electrolytics only where it's really necessary. It's true, if you are thinking about popular, cheap parts. In this case it's different. You need to know, that there are electrolytic capacitors made for audio gear purposes. They can be sometimes even better than some film caps (not in passive guitar wiring). My list shows examples of these 'good for audio capacitors'.


Selection of resistors also can be important. Many different types of resistors have different precise of made and used materials. If you have a lot of high value resistors in a pedal, it can make more hum/noise.
I recommend to use '1% , metal film resistors'. It's a quite economical stuff.

I think that listed parts will be working very well in guitar stomp-boxes and similar gear. They are easy to get in good prices. Cost of them should be lower than cost of a typical guitar effect metal enclosure. It's the very reasonable way to go for a good sound.