Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Electronic Projects for Guitar (Penfold, RA)

Rating: 4
Year: 1992
Genre: Music, Electronics
Read again? Yes

Of the three musical electronics project books, this one was the most difficult to understand, since the author uses British (or European? Metric?) notation on some components. Once I got used to that, though, everything fell into place.

Not that I ever built any of the projects. I got some ideas from Penfold's book, all of them added to a big folder with all my other electronics/music stuff, but nothing ever seemed to get built. I was always working on something else--fixing a car, learning a song, playing along with Rush tapes (NEVER the LP's!), stripping electronic components from broken TV's, radios, or whatever. I've got a sizable collection of resistors, capacitors, and all storage.

Penfold gives us 16 projects after a cursory course in soldering, assembly, and testing:

Guitar preamp
Headphone amp
Soft distortion
Auto-Wah (he spells it "Waa")
Wah-wah pedal
Dual Tracking effects unit
Treble booster
Dynamic treble booster
Dynamic tremolo
Direct-injection box
Improved distortion box
Thin distortion unit
Guitar tuner

The schematics, assembly drawings, and parts lists are well-done; the projects are built up on simple breadboard with point-to-point wiring, but since there doesn't seem to be anything critical you could probably get away with the "dead bug" assembly method to make things take up even less space.

Some of the schematic symbols and part numbers didn't match anything I'd seen before, but that was before the Internet and Google, so sourcing most of the active components (transistors, integrated circuits) or equivalents shouldn't be too hard.

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