The best DIY music gear we found on Reddit

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The best DIY music gear we found on Reddit

Words by Mixdown Staff

Featuring the Grief-Case, the Terminator Pedal, and more!

In some respects Reddit is little more than a dank and cavernous pit sitting at the centre of cyberspace. A space for faceless bigots and chauvinists to reinforce damaging stereotypes and further blur the line between ‘free exchange of information’ and hate speak.

However among some of the less despicable communities on Reddit are some great spaces to investigate information about DIY instruments and gear.

Read all the latest features, columns and more here.

We took a little adventure through Reddit to search for the most interesting DIY musical pieces we could find.

The Darth Vader Pencil Case Spring Reverb

Spring Reverb is a pretty approach to reverberation that gained notoriety for its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and portability. It was first introduced by the Hammond Organ Company some 50 years ago as a built in effect for their organ range.

It was so successful that they built a stand alone reverb unit that was famously employed by Leo Fender in the 1963 Vibroverb Guitar Amp.

It seems as though the basic principle of the old spring reverb unit is being implemented in a host of DIY projects such as this little Star Wars number. It’s been put together by a novice, but it’s a tidy looking unit.

Electric Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitars are hardly innovative. Plenty of people put together cigar box guitars and share them in communities like Reddit all the time. They’re built to different specs and to serve different purposes.

The origins of the Cigar Box Guitar date all the way back to the early 19th century. The cigar box was used as the resonator of the guitar, and often a broomstick would be used as the neck. Presumably people made use of cigar boxes because of the accessibility of them at the time.

While they might have been crudely built interpretations of the instrument, they hold a significant place in music history. It’s nice to see people still putting them together.

The Pony Amp

When you wake up after a long night drinking it’s hard enough to make good use of your time, let alone make good use of your time AND good use of the vessel you spent all night drinking from.

One particularly thirsty Redditor has whipped up this little practice amp, recycling a small keg and using it as an enclosure. While it’s not likely to set the world on fire from a purely sonic perspective, it makes a good ‘conversation piece’ at dinner parties, standing as a reminder that, at least once, something good has come from your drinking.

The Grief-Case

We weren’t drawn to this briefcase pedal board because of its innovative design. Much like the cigar-box guitar, the briefcase pedalboard has been a pretty popular concept amongst musicians for quite some time. Mainly because you can buy a beat up suitcase at the Salvos for about eight dollars, and even the most cost effective pedal boards will still set you back at least five times that amount.

That said, you can’t just take any old suitcase and use it in place of a pedal case. You need to reinforce the floor of it (and also the top and sides if you want it to protect your pedals at all), and you’ll always be stuck with the inconvenience of having an open suitcase present on stage when you play with the top facing the crowd.

It’s a well laid out pedal board, but it’s probably not going to do the best job of protecting the pedals. On the plus side it does have a pretty awesome name.

The Terminator Pedal

There’s nothing quite like a hand painted pedal that says, “hey, I’m not just a guitarist, I’m an artist”. A contemporary fascination with classic analogue guitar effects has spurred on a wave of hand painted units inspired by the aesthetic of psychedelic mainstays like the big muff or the Fuzz Factory.

This might not be hand painted, but it’s certainly individually designed. It’s not a distortion pedal as you might have assumed, and “it’s not a tunah’ either. It’s a standard footswitch, but it’s a very tough looking one.

BMO Mute/Volume Pedals

Hand-painted guitar pedals are becoming all the more popular, as guitarists look to personalise their set-up even further. When it comes to mute/volume pedals, there isn’t too much room for uniqueness, so Redditor noicedream hand-painted his custom pedal, creating the much loved BMO character from the popular cartoon Adventure Time.

It looks so sweet and innocent that you’d almost feel bad stomping on it.

NES MAX Square Wave Oscillator

Modified retro gaming consoles are always appreciated in the Mixdown office. We have already seen the crazy Guitar Boy – the fully functioning Game Boy guitar, but this Reddit user has created a device that is on par.

In a world where synthesisers are becoming more prominent in music as the days roll by; it can be a very expensive investment for a lot of up-and-coming musos/bands.

It may not be feature-rich like a lot of synthesisers, but Redditor AMULETSATX has turned a simple square wave oscillator into an eye catching, and very unique, modulator.

Black Market Custom Amp

In terms of DIY gear, this Redditor has one of the most impressive collections. Although pedals are his main game, Redditor robotgraves’s most spectacular feat is his custom made amplifier, which he now builds-to-order for boutique amplifier company Black Market.

The Dreadnought 100 is an EL34 push pull 100-watt clean massive amplifier that definitely packs a punch. You can check out more of his gear here.

Custom Speaker Cabinet

When you really want a specific style cabinet but find out that it is no longer manufactured, you can either search the web for a used model, give up all together, or the most logical option: build it yourself. That’s just what this Reddit user did.

Modelled from the Peavey Classic 212 Speaker Cabinet, Reddit user Notamethdealer49 constructed this custom cab out of ¾ inch birch and the baffle out of ½ inch pine, with finger joints for extra support.

To achieve the unique front shape, he sawed the face in half, and then used doll rods to reconnect to two halves. The end result looks pretty impressive!

This article was originally published January 11, 2016.

Surf Reddit for more, and send in what you find!