Anyone doing their own mods here?


New member
The unshakable itch to get my hands dirty with electronics has hit once again.. after over a decade of lying dormant. I have a few pedals at home (boss DS-1, danelectro daddy-o overdrive, CS-3, MT-2 etc) which I'm dying to have a go at. A few questions for anyone who's doing their own mods here:

1. Where do you get your schematics from? I finally bit the bullet and got IndyGuitarrist's schematics yesterday, but is there any other source for mod schematics? IG's mods are quite limited, for example, if I want to mellow down the distortion on a boss mt-2, there's not much info.

2. Where do you get your components? I know many people go to sim lim tower, but any specific shop you recommend? Or do you guys get stuff from RS/Farnell direct?

3. Do you use a desoldering pump or a braid?

4. I'm not sure how deep I'll go into this, but right now I don't expect to spend too much time or money on it, so what soldering tools, etc, would you recommend? Is it worth getting a soldering work station? How much would that cost?

Thanks for any advice!
Go to Sim Lim tower and shop around. You will find the stuff you need there. Congratulations on the choosing the DIY route. Even if your standards eventually fall short of the pro modders, it is a very satisfying journey. However fun DIY is, it is also usually more expensive than getting someone to do it.

yup, modding is fun, juz de-soler and solder back into the pads, unlike building from scratch onto a stripboard, but first, learn how to read resistor and capacitor values before starting, it'll be a bitch if you buy what you think are the correct values, then go home finding out that they are not
Yah, got to brush up on my electronics stuff, I'm supposed to have studied all that during graduate student days over a decade ago. Getting a bit rusty now.

Actually, I wouldn't mind building from scratch. About 10 yrs back when I didn't have the money to buy boss pedals I'd built a fuzz-distortion using a two stage op-amp circuit (I guess we'd been learning about op-amps in class at that time). It used to clip like hell and produce mad distortion sounds, good fun for home use.

GC I'm not sure if it's going to be more expensive than getting someone else to mod it, I've got about 3-4 pedals which can do with mods. If you're talking about custom mods, each one would cost around $80+++, done locally.
4. I'm not sure how deep I'll go into this, but right now I don't expect to spend too much time or money on it, so what soldering tools, etc, would you recommend? Is it worth getting a soldering work station? How much would that cost?

i can't answer the other 3 questions but I'll try to answer the last qn.

- 1 Soldering Gun, please get the "gun" version with higher wattage (mine reads 30-70W) rather than the pen with lower wattage.
- 1 Soldering Paste
- 1 Soldering gun holder. You can use a milk can for that.
- 1 Coil of solder.
- 1 Coil of iron (optional)
- Some sandpaper (to clear away if the solder sticks onto your soldering gun).

oh, and get a wire stripper if you're working with a lot of wires. Wire strippers are one of the most ingenious stuff ever made. :)
Thor, any reason to get the soldering gun instead of the pen type soldering iron? Most people I see use the pen. I know that the gun heats up very fast (5-6 sec) and is typically consumes 80-140W. Any other reason?
Hi Sepultura,

I second what GC said about it being a hobby, and costing more than commercial modders or builders anyway.

For one thing, there are already 2 esthablished modders frequenting Soft, namely randolf and eddy. They have done a lot of mods already and have the modded pedals for you to try out beforehand. I think a standard DS1 mod will cost around $40 or a little more from these guys. I believe they would also have the technical material you procured recently.

Their price seems very reasonable and justifiable for players who want to mod.

I also personally do modding, also at $40 for a standard DS1, but I mainly do amp repairs and modding is upon request only.

There is a lot of thing that might go wrong when you DIY, especially if you have a long learning curve. You are learning on your own expense, will be costly affair. Rewarding if you got the right stuff, disasterous and costly if you are clueless in the first place. I have seen disaster jobs done by DIYers which even I sometime cannot undo the damage.

Good luck on your pursuit. Happy modding

(My tip: Remember, a lot of mods reported are more hype than what its made out to be. They are just selling their e-books and whatnot, so don't be too dissapointed if it turns out like a premature ejaculation. Better to work more on your hand skills, I mean guitar playing lah....hahaha)
Thanks Mike, that's why I'm starting off with a cheap Dano daddy-o, so if it gets screwed up, not a big problem. I'm not new to electronics, just that it's been a very long time (10+ yrs) when I used to build my own amps and eqs.

My SD-2 was modded by Randolf, and he's done a great job on that one.
heh... been wanting to buy that ebook to save time on research but no need lah... I don't mod ALL pedals. Just the ones I've done research on and comfortable with.

Also I've got no time to do MORE mods. Gotta balance up mod time, building time and spend time with the better half time. :lol:

mikemann said:
I believe they would also have the technical material you procured recently.
the gun simply is much faster and there's a button for you to press (to heat faster i suppose?), rather than a pen which usually is low wattage and takes much longer to heat.

having one that heats up faster gets you to solder much faster and make less mistakes, and imo prevents you from overheating the components while you struggle to solder.
Hmm.. ok, maybe I should have a look at the gun. In the mean time I'm playing around a bit with the tools we have here in our embedded systems lab. Neat temperature controlled $300 soldering stations, etc. But still a pen type unit.
Hakko soldering irons are the best to me. Been using them since... uhm... since... 1997. :D

Less than 20 bucks last me more than 2 years.
Imagine having bought all the tools, and spent a small fortune on commonly used components. Then you discovered that 50% of the components you bought is not the exact kind of components used for your project.

To make things worst, you have spent the better half of the day at sim lim tower locating the elusive 2-3 components to complete the list, but to no avail. Some of the shops are rude to you (note. they have a reason for being rude). You swear never to patronise those shops again ( will find out later these shops are there for a reason, you might have no choice to patronise them one day, due to their speciality).

So what do you do?? Proceed with the project, with that few components unfilled??

So you go on to fix up all the things. Things look good in the beginning, but as the project progresses, you loose track of some of your past work. You get confused, and muck up the project. Unlucky, you messes up the original pedal with no clue on how to proceed.

Lucky, you manage to fix up everything and mistakes made. Or so you thought??? You plug it in. Unlucky, the pedal sound worst off than it began with, and you scratch your head on what is the possibility.

Is it that few missing components??? Is it the components you used are not suitable?? Do you made any mistake in the process of the project????

Lucky, the pedals works, but the sound improvement is barely noticable. And weeks into usage, you encounter problems with your modded pedal......

Let us do a stock take.... you have spent about $150-300 so far on tools & components and parts, spent 2days or more at simlim square, endured being put down by rude shop keepers or shunned, spend 3days or more on that one project without much result to show............

A typical singaporean adult earns about $2000 per month, which translate to about $80-90 per day, so you have min used 5days, like $400 plus the tools and parts lets say $ far your nett loss is about $600. Just to do ONE pedal.......... :wink:

Heehee.........I am not saying what will happen, but what might happen......heehee

I have being thru all these already........back when I got my first vacation pay........So these experience you can take from my mouth, as a real account, worth a lot if taken. If not, good luck.

Well, if it's a hobby only. Be prepared to pay for it as an hobby would be (like fishing, cycling, radio control car, real car....etc). It can be cheap but you will achieve little. It will cost you tons if you are really serious about it. (a decent simple fluke meter cost $200plus, a decent branded scope cost over $1K)
hmm ya the stuff at SL tower is really limited in terms of components. if you're hunting for stuff like the 4558 chips found in TS9 etc, get them online in batch of 5 or something, or buy multiple components from various websites online. don't even consider using other suitable ICs because the sound will definitely be different.

remember also not to rush your projects. keep things one at a time, your chances of making mistakes are much less.
I usually get my stuff from the basement "Space Electronics" at SL tower. I try to build a relationship with the shopkeeper there so sometimes I order certain componenets from them if they don't have it in stock somehow

Brian from indyguitarist has been sending me a lot of emails recently regarding the promotion of the complete mod kit for $25. I thought I didn't need the extensive coverage he has on all the pedals. Just want to know for those who has purchased it, how detailed is it? Does it specify each individual component and its effect on the overall change of tone?

For diy forums, I recommend :

Quite extensive information there.
I am not sure why you have had such a negative experience, but if one has prior experience with electronics, it is quite simple. I just completed my first mod today and posted another thread on that.

As long as you are methodical, procure the right components, maintain a log of your work and proceed in a systematic way, you should have absolutely no trouble. I was stuck at one point where a resistor was the wrong value and I got no output, but it took me all of 1.5 minutes to identify it and replace it.

Dunno where you're getting your equipment but your estimate of $600 is truly incredible. In all, I'd have spent around $4 on components. I am not sure why you need to spend $200 on a fluke meter when you can get excellent ones for much less (mine cost me $23 six years back).

If you know what you are doing, it can be cheap and the results can be excellent.

mikemann said:
Imagine having bought all the tools, and spent a small fortune on commonly used components. Then you discovered that 50% of the components you bought is not the exact kind of components used for your project.