Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Building a quick Brian-May-style treble booster on Veroboard

It was a friend's 44th birthday a while back, so I decided to make a quick pedal for him.

I'd been wanting to try out a Brian May treble booster based pedal for a while, and I found this one at

Veroboard is also known as stripboard or perf board, and looks something like this:

Whichever terminology you use, make sure you get a board with lines/strips of copper and NOT one that has each hole insulated from the next like this:

I like building circuits on Veroboard, since it’s simply a case of following the picture. You don’t even need to understand how circuits work (although it would obviously be helpful for trouble shooting).

Anyway, here are the simple steps to making a Veroboard pedal.

1. Cut your Veroboard to size (in my case 12x5, erm, holes).
EDIT: In hindsight it would have been better to make this 14x5 which would allow an extra hole either side of C1 to attach the wires to the tone switch. So learn from my mistake and make yours 14x5.

2. Now "cut" the tracks wherever you are instructed to do so (you are just cutting through the copper, not the whole board). In the case of this particular circuit, between the pins under R1, C1, R4, and R6. The result after cutting would look something like this:

3. Solder the components on. Note that the copper strips are on the underside of the board, and the soldering is just like when you get a pre-made circuit board. Here's what mine looks like after soldering. Please ignore the fact that I'd also added some cables before taking this photo.

4. Finally, you need to wire up the enclosure. This circuit was so simple that wiring up the enclosure was the hard bit. If you are unsure how to wire up a stomp box enclosure, then have a look at my blog post over here:

5. Here’s the finished result. I didn’t have any time to make the enclosure itself look good this time around. My apologies in advance for the silly name.

Veroboard is very cheap and there are a LOAD of good circuits out there that use it. Here's just one example of a site that has a few:

As you can see, the Veroboard layout is much easier to follow than trying to read a circuit diagram, kinda like reading guitar tabs when you can't read music.

Some of the projects don't even need you to cut any of the tracks.

This Brian-May-style treble booster was a very simple circuit to build and works extremely well. In fact I think I may build one for myself too.