Tips & Tricks

8. Easy diy speaker stands

You can make speaker stands using furniture legs. Just add a wooden base and another piece to support the speaker.

tabletop speaker stands

larger stand
furniture legs

upper end

7. Easy diy pedalboard connections

connector for
      pedalboardExtension jacks offer an easy way to build connections to / from pedalboards. I use this just for guitar input but you can combine several to one mounting bracket. Aluminum is probably best material for the bracket, whatever shape you prefer.

6. Guitar cable tester

picture of the

Malfunctioning cables are a constant annoyance to any musician. This system helps you to check cables by freeing your both hands to bend and abuse the cable.

First part is a short extension jack cable with banana plugs connected to a multimeter with a buzzer (or some other beeper). Connect the cable under suspicion to the jack - if the buzzer sounds you have a short.

Second part is another extension jack with shorted terminals. Put this to the other end of your cable and this time the buzzing should be continuous while you handle the cable.

5. Simple resistance box

resistance box picThis is a cheap alternative to a real decade box. It helps you to find a suitable resistor, like a transistor´s bias resistor in a stompbox, without calculations.

Just clip this to the circuit and rotate the knobs until you´re happy.

There´s just three (or more) linear potentiometers in series. The scales do not have to be accurate, I use a multimeter to read the value. Potentiometer values can be (10), 100, 1k, 10k, 100k, 1M, (10M) - whatever suits your needs.

4. Clothespin Clamp

Old trick but perhaps you didn´t know this one.

3. Cheap alternative to real saddle files

picture of welding
        tip cleaners(This is not my original idea, read about it somewhere). A professional saddle file set is expensive. A cheap welding tip cleaner tool like this might be good enough for occasional use. You can find one in a hardware store that sells welding tools.

I use a caliper to select right size tool for each string. They seem to work fine, at least with soft nut material, like plastic. I use these only for fine tuning, other tools are much faster if you have to start with a blank nut.

2. Buy or build a ESR-meter

esr meter pictureThis is a valuable tool if you repair electronics or use junk components (like I do). ESR-meter is the only way to properly check electrolytic capasitors.

It is relatively easy to build and there are many schematics available in the net. I would still recommend to buy a factory-made instrument - they are not that expensive. Calibrating your diy meter is a time consuming process.

I built my own meter since I already had suitable parts in the junk box. Accuracy isn´t that great but it works well enough with ordinary electrolytics. This, like most home made meters, is useless if you want to measure low-esr caps like those used in computer motherboards.

1. Get a audio measurement program

frequency plot
      example pictureA program that can measure the frequency response of a circuit under development is really usefull, especially if you are working with filters, eq-circuits or wah-pedals. Suitable programs can be found for free in the web and usually no extra hardware  is necessary. Programs use your pc´s soundcard output to send the measuring signal to the circuit and soundcard input to read the results. I have used HOLMImpulse v1.4.2.0 which, in my opinion, is simple and easy to use. The example plot above shows the frequency response of the cab simulated output of a Digitech Tone Driver pedal.

©Jukka Korppi 2018
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