Electronic Effect Pedal Class - Roberto-Venn

    roberto venn specialty pedal 1920x700 Electronic Effect Pedal Class


The Roberto-Venn Electronic Effect Pedal Class is journey into analog effect pedals taught over two weekends.  This class will also serve as an introductory seminar in basic electronics.  The student will be given a list of tools to purchase for this class.

This course is a prerequisite for entrance into Roberto-Venn’s Amplifier Design and Construction course to ensure the student possesses the necessary background to be successful in the amplifier class.  During the first weekend of class the student will be introduced to the most basic concepts of electronics including: Ohm’s Law, series and parallel circuits, capacitors, inductors and semiconductor devices.  In keeping with Roberto-Venn’s tradition of hands-on education the pedagogical approach will be laboratory intensive, with an attempt to keep lecture to a minimum.

Having introduced the student to basic electronics theory the first weekend, the second weekend will be dedicated to building and testing a replica of the Dallas-Arbiter Rangemaster distortion pedal.  This is the pedal made famous by Tony Iommi and Eric Clapton.  It’s a simple pedal but represents one of the most fundamental solid-state circuits: the common emitter amplifier.  Studying this circuit will introduce the student to the concept of analyzing, building and testing a circuit.  Having some of the basics under their belt, the student will be prepared to study electronics at a level advanced enough to understand how a guitar amplifier works.  Additionally, the student will be able to play Iron Man and Sunshine of Your Love…if the student can play Iron Man or Sunshine of Your Love.

While it’s possible to purchase a kit yourself and assemble it for about half the cost of the class, the experience of learning from an expert in the field is worth the additional cost.  Instructor led learning will eliminate the confusion that comes from trying to build with nothing more than a schematic and a wiring diagram.  And you will leave class with an actual understanding of how your pedal works!


Jim Kramer is an electrical engineer with more than twenty-five years in the industry.  He specializes in circuit design and firmware development.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Ottawa University.   He has worked for such companies as Qualcomm and Intel. Jim was trained on vacuum tube electronics in the United States Marine Corps where he worked on air traffic control radar systems that still contained tubes and discrete transistors as late as the 1970’s.

Jim is a trained musician with both a jazz and classical background.  He studied music at Scottsdale and Mesa Community Colleges in Arizona where he played upright bass, violin and trumpet in various jazz ensembles and orchestras.  His favorite guitars are the Gibson ES-175 and J-45.  He loves JJ vacuum tubes because they are named after his hero, J. J. Thompson, who discovered the electron.