Buying Parts

Stocking your Bench: Parts You'll Want and Where to Get Them

Back when I got started in stompboxery, I was constantly finding a schematic to build only to realize that I didn't have the right part. So I'd order it. Then on to the next schematic, on to the ordering, and so on. Over the years, I've built up bins of parts so I have pretty much everything on hand. Along the way, I developed (and later discontinued) the Beavis Board as a commercial product. One of the key aspects of the Beavis Board was determining the correct mix of parts so many projects could be built out of the box.

And since then, I've received many requests for a comprehensive 'Getting Started' parts list. So strap in, get out your credit card, and let's get going


You'll need 9 volt batteries. See later on this page for info on power supplies which are great and save on batteries) but you will always want to have 9 volt batteries laying around. Note: Only chumps buy batteries retail. The markup is unbelievable. Buy them through online wholesalers.


Capacitors - Ceramic

Low-value ceramics: small caps in the picofarad range. These are dirt-cheap, and you can get assortments pretty easily. Look for assortments on ebay and Here's a great collection from smallbear.
  • 10pf-800pf


Capacitors - Poly Film

Mid-value poly film: the most common type you'll use. As with ceramics, having 5 or 10 of the most common values is always good. You can get assortments from various places, or buy single value parts. Here's a great collection from smallbear.
  • 1 nf
  • 2.2 nf
  • 3.3 nf
  • 4.7 nf
  • 10 nf
  • 22 nf
  • 33 nf
  • 47 nf
  • 56 nF
  • 68 nF
  • 100 nf
  • 220 nf


Capacitors - Electrolytic

Get a bunch of radial electros in values from 1uf to 100uf. The brand and type isn't really key on electrolytics. Collection.
  • .22 uf
  • .47 uf
  • 6.8 uf
  • 1 uf
  • 2.2 uf
  • 10 uf
  • 22 uf
  • 33 uf
  • 47 uf
  • 68 uf
  • 100 uf
  • 220 uf



For chips, the most common parts are opamps. A small collection of single and dual opamps will be a welcome part of your collection. Consider TL071/072, TL081/082 and the JRC4558 parts. You may also want to stock some small power amps for various projects, like the LM386 or JRC386. Of course, there are bazillions of chips out there, but this selection will be a good starter.
  • 741
  • TL071/TL072
  • LM833
  • JRC4558
  • RC4558P
  • LM386 (N1,N3)
  • JRC386
  • 555, 556 timers
  • LM567
  • CD4049UBE
  • 40106



You'll want some small signal diodes like for power supplies, clipping, and various other tasks. 1N914 and 1N4148 for various projects. Germanium 1N34A are good for vintage type tones. Also stock up on 1N400x diodes, they are very useful for power supplies
  • 1N914
  • 1N4148
  • Germanium 1N34A
  • 1N400x



The most common enclosures you'll run across in stompboxes are the Hammond 1590 series. It's always nice to have a few 1590B, 1590BB or the MXR-size enclosures around for your next build. PedalPartsPlus and SmallBear both have great selections of enclosures.
  • 1290NS
  • 1590B
  • 1590BB
  • 125A
  • 1790



1/4" stereo and 1/4" mono are the in and out jacks for just about every stompbox out there. Get some switchcraft 12A and 12B parts, they are inexpensive and top quality. For power plugs, you'll want a supply of 2.1mm plastic jacks (not metal).
  • Switchcraft 12A 1/4
  • Switchcraft 12B 1/4
  • 2.1MM power jack



Almost every stompbox you build will have at least one pot. And every pot needs a knob. Check out my knobs page for a lot of good ideas and sources. (On a personal note, I am a knob freak, and collect them in an almost rabid fashion).
  • 1/4" knobs with set screws



In general, the most common pots you will use are 16mm single-gain pots. Alpha is the most commonly used manufacturer for these. Have a supply of common linear values (1K, 10K, 25K, 100K, 500K, 1M) and common audio taper values (10K, 100K, 250K, 1M).
  • B1K
  • B10K
  • B25K
  • B50K
  • B100K
  • B500K
  • B1M
  • A100K
  • A250K
  • A500K
  • A1M



You'll want 5% tolerance metal film. You can do 1% tolerance with no problem, but 5% is a bit easier to read color-code-wise and is standard in most stompboxes. The best thing you'll do for your shop is to order a selection of values. They are dirt cheap and super easy to buy. Like these from Smallbear: 1 2 3 4 1k, 10k, 100k
1,10, 100, 120, 150, 220, 330, 470, 560, 1.5k, 2.2k, 3.3k, 4.7k, 15k, 22k, 47k, 220k, 470k, 1m, 10m
2R2, 15R, 22R, 33R, 39R, 47R, 51R, 68R, 82R, 180R, 270R, 390R, 510R, 680R, 820R, 1K2, 1K8, 2K7, 3K, 3K9, 5K1, 5K6, 6K8, 8K2, 12K, 18K, 27K, 33K, 39K, 51K, 56K, 68K, 82K, 120K, 150K, 180K, 270K, 330K, 1M5, 2M2, 3M3, 4M7



Transistors and chips can fit into sockets instead of soldering them directly to the board. Key advantages here are, when you screw up, it is easier to pop a chip out of a socket than to desolder it. Also, it allows you to taste-test different types of transistors or chips as you build stuff. Get some 8-pin dip sockets for your opamps and some strip sockets for your transistors, diodes, caps, etc.
  • Strip sockets
  • Transistor sockets
  • 4 pin DIP socket
  • 8 pin DIP socket
  • 9 pin ceramic tube socket



Almost every stompbox is going to need a 3PDT switch. You can get them dirt cheap at 4 bucks the last time I checked. Having a basic collection of SPST, SPDT, and DPDT toggle switches on hand really helps when you are doing more interesting designs, or perhaps modding pedals.

Note: There are a lot of sizes of toggle switches, make sure you don't get some giant switch as you'll sometimes find on surplus sites. For a great resource for the correct size of toggle switches, check out Small Bear's Toggle Switches section.
  • SPST toggle
  • SPDT toggle
  • DPDT toggle
  • 3PDT toggle
  • 4PDT toggle
  • 3PDT stompswitch
  • 4PDT stompswitch



Every shop should have a basic collection of bipolar silicon transistors. Look through schematics and projects to find the most common. I typically like the have 2N3904, 2N4401, 2N5088 and 2N58089 parts on hand. Also a collection of FETs like the J201, MPF102, and BS170 are good. Finally, germanium transistors are pretty much a requirement for older vintage designs. But they are usually too pricey to justify a large collection. Also, consider a smattering of MOSFETs for fun.
  • 2N2222A
  • MPSA18
  • 2N3904
  • 2N5458
  • 2N3906
  • 2N7000
  • 2N4401
  • BS170
  • 2N5088
  • J201
  • BC109
  • MPF102


Preamp Tubes

Tubes can be fun, even in low-voltage stompbox designs.
  • 12AU7
  • 12AT7
  • 12AX7



I've been through lots of wire choices, almost all of them lacking in one aspect or another. I have settled on #24 pre-bond. I order multiple spools in different colors. This wire is great: it is pre-bonded which means that after you strip it, the individual strands are still held together. It is flexible and forgiving, and the gauge is perfect for stompbox use. Having multiple colors on hand is invaluable because it allows you to color-code things as you wire them. Try doing a complex pedal with nothing but white wire, I guarantee you'll be frustrated :)
  • #22 and #24 hookup wire


Parts Suppliers

Here's a round-up of places to buy parts for your projects. Contents are based on my experiences in buying all sorts of stompbox innards over the last few years.

Who Web Site Printed
Pros Cons
Stompbox/Guitar Gear Specific

Small Bear

Focused on stompbox making--you won't have to wade through thousands of mystery parts to find what you need.

Good stock list

Basic search

Online ordering/shopping cart

None Inventory is very focused on stompboxes. You won't have to sift through tons of mystery parts to find what you are looking for

Good selection of enclosures, pots, chips, transistors

Decent selection of NOS transistors

Replacement/repair parts for older pedals

Doesn't ship as fast as the big boys
Mid-Tier General Suppliers


Big huge mega-supplier.


Millions of parts

Basic, advanced, and filtered search

Online ordering/shopping cart/project manager

Links to datasheets

Links to catalog page

Huge, black and white phone book Everything you would ever want

Powerful web site

Super fast shipping

Because of the sheer breadth of products, double and triple check what you are ordering. You'll end up with mystery pots or SMD chips if you aren't careful
Huge Mega-Suppliers


Mid-tier supplier with a color catalog and some good deals.


Lots of parts

Basic and advanced search

Online ordering/shopping cart

Links to datasheets

Links to catalog page

Compact color catalog. Color does make a difference! Great mid-tier supplier for stompbox stuff

Offer a ValuePro line of lower-priced components

Color catalog!

Site can sometimes be slow

Search is good, but not up to Mouser or Allied

Allied Electronics

Big huge throbbing mega-supplier, but a bit pricey on some parts.

Millions of parts

Basic, advanced, and filtered search

Online ordering/shopping cart/project manager

Links to datasheets

Links to catalog page


Huge color catalog. Best in the business if you like to see things first Another big supplier, stocks interesting things that often aren't at the other big sites

Fast shipping

Costly. Allied is not always the best deal in terms of price.


Big huge throbbing mega supplier with a crappy web site.


Millions of parts, probably one of the biggest selections around

Absolutely CRAPPY website. Basic search, but an interface that dates back to the 1980's.

Huge (really) black and white phonebook-style catalog Huge selection

Good prices

As with other mega sources, do the research to make sure you are ordering the actual part you need.






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