The Coolest Electronic Toys You’ll See At NAMM

Winter NAMM is the world’s largest trade show for musical instrument makers. It is a gear head’s paradise, filled to the brim with guitars, synths, amps, MIDI controllers, an impossibly loud section filled with drums, ukuleles, and all sorts of electronic noisemakers that generate bleeps and bloops. Think of it as CES, only with products people want to buy. We’re reporting no one has yet stuffed Alexa into a guitar pedal, by the way.

As with all trade shows, the newest gear is out, and it’s full of tech that will make your head spin. NAMM is the expression of an entire industry, and with that comes technical innovation. What was the coolest, newest stuff at NAMM? And what can hackers learn from big industry? There’s some cool stuff here, and a surprising amount we can use.

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Homemade Tube Screamer clone


[jonboytang] documented his construction of a clone of the famous Tube Screamer overdrive pedal from a set of plans found at tonepad. The tonepad site says you can use the plans to build either a TS-9 or a TS-808, both of which have been classic staples in every guitar player’s setup since the 70s. Although the old parts are no longer available, these new variants still have a really nice sound.

This project is really just a look into [jonboytang]’s etching and enclosure building process, but it may be useful for someone. The build and the circuit look really simple so this would be a great project for guitar players looking to learn how to etch their own PCBs. If you need more information on etching, we would suggest starting out by reading our How-To on etching single sided PCBs. If you are lazy and would rather spend a little money, check out tonepad’s online store. They have a board for this project and many others.