The Pedal

PARTCIPATE IN YOUR TONE! – Quickly install, audition, remove, listen, modify, and change more than 25 different components to create your own sound. Learn to define your Gain, Volume, Tone and Drive – from deep blues to cutting metal. Don’t worry… The fully-illustrated and photographed instructions will guide you and make suggestions where to start. Then you can make changes from there, based on what you hear. You want more distortion? Less treble? More volume? Change it! All the parts are included, and there literally half-a-million ways to configure an AUSTINDRIVE… Which tone will you end up loving?


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Originally conceived with my friend and college professor Bob Kostlan, we wanted to create some affordable DIY pedal-building workshops that students could actually learn something from, not just “Build it.”

This pedal was designed to springboard new DIY builders into the world of pedal-building, pedal mods, and circuit design. The AUSTINDRIVE project is not a “Solder these parts here” kit… or a “We think you’ll like this sound” pedal. Students will change resistors and control the gain of operational amplifiers, try different capacitors to filter-out high frequencies, and audition different diodes and 4 different Op-Amps to clip the signal and produce distortion. There are more than 525,000 ways to combine the parts in this single kit. That’s 525,000 different tone combinations! Everyone gets the same parts… But no two units may ever be built exactly the same way… And that’s awesome!

It’s Free
I’ve made my fully-illustrated DIY Plans and circuit design FREE so that anyone can build it, and I’m offering educational discounts on parts kits for students and faculty. If you are not a student and can afford a regular price kit, feel good knowing that paying a little extra keeps prices low for college and high-school students. A win-win.

This project may also dispel or ignite some myths about “magic” parts that give pedals of a certain vintage or brand a “spark” that can’t be duplicated. Yes, there are extremely unique, complex, and great-sounding overdrive pedals available, but are some worth the hype just because they have a special Op-Amp, vintage diodes, or a “Revision 1.0” circuit? You can decide.

In June, 2020, I wrote the manual, drew the illustrations, and photographed the build. I sent beta-test units to musicians, studio owners and friends. Some of the audio samples you may have heard online are from those beta-tests. I also spent hundreds of hours researching different parts, looking at circuits, trying dozens of prototype circuits in my garage, and re-learning my college electronics degree. I created this circuit. However, I owe a lot to pedal builders that have come before me. Everything in this circuit has been done before… but maybe not in this type of way before AUSTINDRIVE.

Stop chasing your sound… Create it. Participate in your tone! Build an AUSTINDRIVE pedal.

– Rick