Video: DIY Effect Pedal Board Demo

This one’s for the gear-heads, like me*. We’re back from the East Coast and have some downtime between shows, so I figure it’s high time for a demonstration of all the wacky effect pedals we tour with. This is the actual rig used at a bunch of shows this year.

EDIT: the VW pedal is a Phase 45, not 90. Slip of the tongue.

I learned how to build these effects with the help of various online forums, like:

The Tiny Giant amp circuit board is from

The intro and outro music is from our most pedal-heavy song, “Slow Boat to China,” from our brand new album, Tortoise.

*Laura, for instance, finds this all very, very nerdy…

Another Homemade Amp: Tiny Happy Giant!

DIY Tiny Giant guitar amplifier

Getting ready for our upcoming tour of eastern Canada has me taking stock of what we need for the trip. My homemade Fender 5F2-A amp isn’t loud enough for most shows, so I’m working on a bigger tube amp (based on an Ampeg Jet), but it won’t be ready in time.

Enter the Tiny Giant, an amplifier design from (whose projects I fully endorse). Based around the use of laptop power supply, as there are a gazillion of them floating around without a functioning laptop to give power to, the Tiny Giant bypasses the danger of high-voltage and allows for a very compact, yet powerful amp.

This happy little dude is capable of putting out 20 watts of crystal clear clean volume (depending on the speaker) and cost me about $40 to build (including getting the power supply off eBay). We’ll be taking it on tour as a backup along with a homemade speaker cabinet I made out of an old reel-to-reel box—the pair sounds awesome!

In fact, lately I’ve been playing it through a 1/2-sized Jay Turser I got for $60 (pictured below with the homemade cabinet), so that’s an entire rig that sounds great for only about $100!

Check out the build thread at for more info. I’m going to try to mod mine to include a jack to supply power to a couple pedals for added portability…

DIY Tiny Giant guitar amplifier