Clone Kits

We are glad to serve DIY enthusiasts with our guitar effects clone kits, however there’s a few things we want to make clear as well as offer some tips to beginners.  Hopefully this page accomplishes just that.

I’m new to building circuits, where do I start?

I think choosing a good soldering iron is an excellent place to start.  While a “budget” or “convenient” soldering iron may be appealing, you might find yourself wishing you had bought a better one sooner than later.  And the quality of the iron DOES matter.  I’ve used both and I’ll never regret buying the better unit.

Choosing a soldering iron

I think there’s a few things to take into consideration and one very important one I learned was “the availability and pricing of new/replacement tips”.  I bought an iron that I couldn’t find replacement tips for and it went through the tip rather quickly, pretty much making it a waste of money.  Hakko, from what I understand, is the best brand out there for the most part.  The problem is, they know it and charge accordingly.  I found a gem recently, the Aoyue 937+ Digital Soldering Station.  The reviews spoke highly of it and from the several hours of usage I’ve had with it, I too recommend this one.

I’ll add other recommendations as I hear from readers, but that’s the best I’ve got at this time.

Getting the bare essentials

You’ll need a few items to get going.  Here’s a brief, but not comprehensive list:

  • Hookup Wire – We recommend our 24AWG hookup wire for wiring kits.  It’s a great size and we have 1o colors to choose from.  A variety of colors are helpful, however 1-2 colors will get you started.
  • Jumper Wire – Almost every kit will require you adding “jumpers” to connect certain segments of tracks together.  I highly recommend some of our 24Awg 0 Ohm Jumper Wire / Bus Wire, but you can use CAT5 wire as well.  We also sell CAT5 by the foot if you need some.
  • Solder – We recommend a 60/40 solder.  We offer a great quality solder, Kester 44 Rosin Core Solder 60/40 .031 1 lb Spool, that comes on a plastic spool and is a great size for soldering these sized projects.  You don’t want to get too thick of solder since you’ll be more likely to make a mess with it and too small of a size will deplete faster.

A few extra helpful items

  • Desoldering Wick – Perhaps this should be under bare essentials, but I do recommend it.  If you make a mess, this stuff is like paper towels for a spill.  We have different widths of desoldering wick and which width is merely a matter of preference.

 

Ok, I have the essentials, what next?

Start soldering!  I recommend finding  a small, inexpensive project to start with.  You’ll almost certainly make some mistakes and keeping the cost minimal is a good idea, especially if it becomes completely ruined.  So choose a cheap effects kit or another soldering project and dive in.  You might check out a few Youtube videos to get you started on the basics of soldering.

I recommend checking out our video tutorials on building one of our guitar effects pedal kits, which will walk you through the process step-by-step and are sure to be very informative.

I built it, but it doesn’t work … what now?

I think Mark at tagboardeffects did an awesome job at explaining this.  Visit http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.com/2012/05/fault-finding-build.html and that’ll get you started.  You can also post comments to the tagboardeffects post for the particular effects kit your building, just follow the link posted in the kit description in our store.  You can also contact me and I’ll do my best to help.

Clone Kit Ethics

The views held on this topic vary as greatly as do those regarding politics.  There’s some great points made and I won’t go into all of the details, but here’s how we view this topic and we hope no offense is taken.

  1. Clone kits are NOT authentic duplicates of the originals.
    If you want to buy and build a kit and expect it to sound identical to the original, you might be disappointed.  While they do usually sound very similar and almost identical at times, they aren’t identical.   Some pedal manufacturers use very unique parts that sometimes are long out of production and unavailable to the majority at large.  (Read about the Klon Centaur and the germanium diodes used by the original designer/builder).   Without identical components, the sound will vary to some degree.  Also, some of the layouts have also been modded from the original schematic based on feedback and preferences at tagboardeffects.  Be sure to read the remarks at tagboardeffects for that kit since any mods from the original circuit are usually mentioned there.
  2. Clone kits are NOT a way to rip off the designer.
    If you want the actual pedal, then by all means buy the original.  The amount of technical skill, time in development, then the care given to build the pedal is well worth what they charge.  The clone kits are not sold for the purpose of undercutting them.  They are sold for the purpose of the enthusiast being able to build a circuit that has practical use and to experience the reward of it.  Some people like to tinker and try modding the circuit to create a different effect/customize it for personal taste and a clone kit is far more ideal for this than an original.  I think those who can afford to buy the original and value the quality of the original will do just that … buy the original instead of a clone.
  3. Clone kits should NEVER be manufactured and sold!
    They are intended for personal use and enjoyment.  If you want to share them with friends, sell your own personal build, etc., this is usually acceptable, but to start producing them in quantity and selling them for profit is RIPPING OFF the designer.  I’ll warn you now, you’ll get shunned by most communities that catch you doing this.  If you want to build a kit to test it out, then sell it for a reasonable price to recover your cost so you can move on to a different kit, I don’t see the problem with this.  But the moment you start manufacturing multiples of the same kit and selling it under a different name, it’s considered ripping off the original designer of their work and expertise.

Ultimately it’s up to you on how you use these kits.  This is where we stand and what we recommend.

Be fair, have fun and enjoy.  It’s a lot of fun building these kits and we put a lot of work and effort into sourcing only quality parts that will yield a great sounding build once completed correctly.  We package and label the components separately, making it much easier to assemble the kit and taking the hassle out of locating correct parts.

We want to make it a fun experience and for it to be an enjoyable hobby for years to come.