Build Your Own Guitar Distortion Pedal – an Introduction to Electronics

Part of CreateWorld 2016

Matt Gray

This workshop will get decidedly old school, showing how to make your own guitar effects using actual hardware (rather than clicking buttons in Garage Band). Bored with the two billion transistors in your Macbook? Come see how creative you can be with two transistors instead.

We will start with electronics basics, including resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors, and move on to how to stick them in a box to make your guitar playing sound just like Hendrix.* We will talk about sourcing your components, including hard to find ‘mojo’ parts for that special unique sound.

For those who are interested in creating stuff other than guitar stomp boxes, this workshop will cover basic electronics and hardware prototyping. If you have been interested in electronics but didn’t know where to start, this workshop will get your diodes pointed in the right direction.

(*workshop may not result in you actually sounding like Hendrix.)


Matt spent the last 15 years working at The Australian National University as a programmer, but recently decided to take a career break. He now spends his days tinkering with electronics, reading books in his hammock, gardening, and has plans to build an electric bass guitar from scratch.