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Electronic Classes at Community College

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I'm thinking about taking some electronics classes at my local community college. Does anyone have any advice on whether community college classes can help with building electronic effects?


I'm thinking that it might be a good idea to learn some of the basics of electronics. And if I have a professor who is relatively hip, he or she may be willing to give feedback on musical projects that I am trying to build.


The only thing that I have built that works so far is a Tube Sound Fuzz kit from Paia. I put together a Ring Mod kit but I haven't gotten it to work.


Here are the course descriptions of some classes I am thinking of taking.


ELHT 314 - Circuit Analysis I

Credits: 5

An analytical introduction to direct and alternating current fundamentals essential in all phases of electricty and electronics. Topics covered include Ohm's law, Kirchoff's law, Thevenin-Norton and Superposition theorems, impedance, resonance, series and parallel circuits, resistors, capacitors, inductors, batteries and meters. COREQUISITE: ELHT316

College: Business Mgt. & Info Tech

Department: ELCT


ELHT 316 - Circuit Analysis I Lab

Credits: 3

Basic experiments in AC and DC circuit analysis including familiarization with basic test instruments, series and parallel circuits (using resistors, capacitors, inductors, batteries and power supplies) and applications of electrical laws and theorems. COREQUISITE: ELHT314

College: Business Mgt. & Info Tech

Department: ELCT


ELHT 315 - Fabrication Techniques

Credits: 3

Rendering of isometric and orthographic projection drawings. Soldering techniques, fabrication of sheet metal enclosures and production of printed circuit boards using photographic and etching methods will be covered.

College: Business Mgt. & Info Tech

Department: ELCT


It seems like the two Circuit Analysis classes mainly deal with theory and the Fabrication Techniques class would be more about building electronic devices.


Also, a little bit about myself, I am 24 years old and I have dropped out of a few colleges. Lately I have been temping doing warehouse work and living with my parents. My dream is to make effects for a living, but it might be nice to have a career in electronics to fall back on.


I hope this isn't too much information, but it seems like there are a lot of smart people on this forum and I hope I can get some useful advice. :thu:

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I say definitely go for it. The fact that you dropped out before means only that you were uninterested or unmotivated. Since you have a goal you'll probably find more success this time. Once you take the first few steps, you'll be on your way.


I dropped out of high school and now I have 2 degrees working in a field I enjoy and it started just from taking a couple of art classes at a community college.

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The answer is in your post.

If you want to build effects for a living, you need to know all that stuff. Either you pick it up from books, or go to school.

If you want to work for somebody else, you're gonna need some type of formal education.

I say, sign up.

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It would be good to get those electronics courses - I took them myself at a community college. I think they let you take calculators now to figure your phase angles and whatnot instead of those stupid old rulers with the sliders on them (what were those called?). The US Army has electronics training schools too and you're not too old for that yet - you won't be building effects though during working hours probably. One of the real good techs got assigned to R&D in my unit and made me a cool overdrive pedal for the guitar out of some of those overpriced $10K chips the government purchases, hehe.


Anyway some people get their courses and degrees all at once - others stretch it out a bit like me. We'll say you're working towards your degree and switching fields to electronics - happens all the time! It's a success story in the making :thu:


Good Luck


PS Don't forget to look into some of Craigs books - he did some analog and IC effects projects and could explain some of it here I'm betting.

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Just like anything, classes only give you the basics. Most things you want to built will be in what's called an "Electronic Cookbook", available thru Radio Shack. But the knowledge to build comes from classes. Go for it. I am a community college graduate. Kcbass

 "Let It Be!"

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I've got my associates degree in electronics engineering from a community college. You will learn a lot about electronics, but if you're not up on your math you'll need to take more classes than just the electronics courses. Electronics is just about all math.


You can design and build effects without the 2 year degree, but with the degree you can design and build a lot of stuff.


a.k.a. "El Guapo" ;)


...Better fuzz through science...



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Bluestrat is right (well, a lot of the folks above are right)...


1) Electronics is all about math.


2) You can go to college or educate yourself to the same level. It's all a matter of motivation and doing. Nobody is stopping you from picking up a book in electronics. The next step is to go hitting places like jameco.com or mouserelectronics.com, or even Radio Shack for a pile of parts. You'll need to make an initial investment into some test equipment, such as a DVOM (lots to choose some, mine is a Fluke), some wire cutters/strippers, soldering iron, etc. You can get started now and see if it's something you want to do.


3) Studying electronics in general will teach you how to build just about anything, which is a valuable skill for employment.


4) Something that starts to happen when you study electronics as they relate to music, is the name "Craig Anderton" starts to pop up all over the damn place. He appears to be a legend in that field, and has a number of books in print. I don't own any yet but i've been eyeing Electronics Projects For Musicians lately.


I'm sure someone here has it and can comment on it.

Dr. Seuss: The Original White Rapper



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There's just something infectious about building your own musical gear, isn't there?

Myself, I'm a electrical engineeiring major at WSU in Detroit. I love working on any of those things- amps, mixers, you name it.


Right now I'm working on a simple simple circuit tohook up a subwoofer to by recording setup: a summing amplifier (L+R into one singal) followed by a low-pass op-amp filter and output that into an old bass amp.


Looking at your projected courseload, I'd say that it is heavy but doable, although I'd definately study my ass off this summer so that nothing they present is new- that'll help you quite a bit. (it's what I've done; so far this summer I've read Intro to op-amps and active filter design, the Op-AMp IC cookbook and the Inroduction to electroacoustics and audio amplifier design)


If you want a really good starting place,

go to this site here. Look at the projects and read through all the articles. Its the single best source for audio-electronics that the net has to offer...

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Go for an AA. That courseload is only 11 credits. You need 45 for an AA. I don't know how much you're going to get from that. You won't get hired as a technician, much less a designer. I see nothing about microprocessors.


The Fab class seems a bit dated. If you want to design electronics, you shouldn't be bending sheet metal.


If you get the AA it can apply to an EE. You won't be doing much designing with less than an AA. Hit or miss, maybe, but no career.

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Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll probably also be taking a technical math class in addition to the above classes, so that would bring my total credits to 14 this semester. The other recommended class is a speech or composition class but I already have those credits.


I bought Electronic Projects for Musicians a long time ago when I was in high school. I learned some basic electronics in high school in an Aviation Mechanics class. It's only been in the past few months or so that I have become very passionate about building effects. I'll be seeing an advisor at the community college tomorrow morning, so that I can start signing up for classes.


BlueStrat, I checked out your web page and the amps you built look awesome(they sound awesome too)!


Originally posted by kylen:

The US Army has electronics training schools too and you're not too old for that yet - you won't be building effects though during working hours probably. One of the real good techs got assigned to R&D in my unit and made me a cool overdrive pedal for the guitar out of some of those overpriced $10K chips the government purchases, hehe.

That's a pretty funny story. I have a friend in Des Moines who was a computer specialist in the Army and he has a lot of funny stories.


I'll keep everyone posted on how I'm doing. I'd like to buy some used textbooks on the Internet because textbooks are so expensive. It looks like used textbooks are sold on half.com, but if anyone knows of any better sites let me know.

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The electronics course seems like a great idea. I learned the hard way and I wish I had taken the time for some formal study.


Have you checked out these places too:


DIY FX Hangouts










And what might be the ultimate DIY project for guitarists:




So far I've built two hand wired tube amps and a couple dozen stomp boxes. I had to stop myself though because it was getting too expensive. Besides I have more toys than I need at this point. I even sold a bunch of handmade FX boxes to some friends who are still using them. the Tonepad and General Guitar Gadgets sites are great because you can get nice printed circuit boards for many FX "clones". These make the projects much slicker and more like a kit. I've started to design my own circuit boards now since I can use the software at my job as an electronics technician. Also the Runoff Groove site has some cool FET preamps that look like a nice projects. I've done PCB layouts for some of them and built one so far, check them out, they have soundclips too.


Good Luck and have fun!

Mac Bowne

G-Clef Acoustics Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

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