Monday, 1 September 2014

Effdub Flapjack OD

Stumbled on to an older Effdub design. This one's based loosely on the Hot Cake and should deliver similar overdrive sounds. Could even solve the oscillation issues a few folks experienced with our original Hot Cake layout.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Vertex Axis Wah / BBE Ben Wah - ON HOLD

I've put this on hold because the inductor used has a number of connections and although only 2 of them are being used it may make it difficult to mount on vero.  So I will put it on hold and maybe look at doing a daughterboard for the inductor, or maybe even using a different type like a Fasel which will be easier to mount on the vero board.  If anyone has any inductors they want to try then post info about them and I'll look at the best way to adapt what you have to this layout with possible just a couple of extra links required.  

Update 2: I have changed the layout to incorporate a Fasel inductor for the time being, but will add mods for other inductors as required.


Thanks very much to CodeMonk for all the hard work he put into the degoop and trace.  I think most of you will know this story already.  Basically Vertex have been selling their Axis Wah for $349.99 and it turns out that it's a verbatim $149 BBE Ben Wah which has been gooped and relabelled despite Vertex claiming they were hand made in the USA with custom wound inductors.  They even sell a NOS version which is $50 more, and which has absolutely no NOS components in it, just the same BBE board with a different pot.

So basically it's the modern day Freekish Blues story with the other similarity being that Vertex are another TGP favourite and some people on there with absolutely no self respect will still argue Mason from Vertex's case and not hear a bad word said against him.  Amazing how fanboyism can turn some peoples' brains to mush to the point they refuse to acknowledge the damning evidence staring them in the face.

I love guitar effects, and companies like Vertex and Freekish Blues give the industry a bad name, making it difficult to trust new manufacturers and products on the market for fear that you're being ripped off.  Hopefully when Vertex endorsers like Landau realise what company they are associated with, Vertex will go the same way as Freekish Blue.  Just beware for Mason's next company popping up in a guitar shop near you!

For anyone who would like to see more info about it you can check out this web site where you can see some of the degoop pics along with a hilarious rebuttal from one of Mason's cranially challenged TGP admirers.  Worth a read:

In next weeks episode.  How Vertex's totally gutted and rebuilt (in USA allegedly) Boss volume pedal is in fact a Boss volume pedal with the tuner out components removed [shaking head facepalm smiley required].

Out of respect for the manufacturer who deserves the credit I'll include BBE's marketing first:
Ben Wah is based on a 1967 Class A circuit design that featured the unique Halo inductor. We re-engineered and custom-tuned the Halo inductor and potentiometer to re-create the expressive tones made famous by players like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. All components are hand-wired for the ultimate in vintage authenticity

We didn't stop there. Ben Wah adds amazing versatility thanks to its “Harmony” control to help fine tune the Q/peak response. The verdict? Guitar Player Magazine had this to say in a wah roundup article:

...the BBE Wah has the sweetest, most musical voice of the bunch. Its potential to be a first-pick wah for any kind of music earns it an Editors' Pick Award. - Guitar Player Magazine"

and now Vertex's:
The Axis Wah is the finest representation of a 1960's style Wah with a few modern additions. It is designed to produce the most vocal characteristics reminiscent of the classic Wah tones we know and love, yet provide a smooth and rounded top-end that doesn't get too bright. Each unit includes our custom hand-wound HALO inductor, hand-made custom potentiometer, and hand-picked components to give this wah its distinctive voice.

Hmmm sounds similar?

This layout uses a Fasel inductor instead of the Eleca used in the BBE simply because it is more suitable to mount on vero.  If you prefer to use the original Eleca then I will do a separate daughterboard that will take into account the pin arrangement in the Eleca

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone

Request.  This effect needs a 3V supply and is a positive ground effect so I've included a 3.3V regulator and an ICL7660S to provide the -3V (ish).  You can omit that and power it with a pair of AA batteries or standalone 3V power supply if you prefer, but if you do remember to wire it as a positive ground effect.

Consider socketing the 1K5 resistor to experiment with values to get the best sound out of it, or maybe replace it with a 10K trimmer.

Description from Music Radar:
"The daddy of all stompboxes: the first commercially produced transistor-based guitar effect pedal and also the first fuzz box. First made in 1962, it took until 1965 to catch on when Keef used one on Satisfaction – and the world of guitar tone was changed forever. The FZ-1 used three germanium transistors to amplify and clip the guitar’s signal creating fuzz, glorious fuzz…"

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

CBS Arbiter Doubler

Thanks to Pawel for his schematic posted on FSB.  I can't find much info on this one or clips, but it is very close to being a Foxx Tone Machine so that should give you a good idea what to expect.

Pawel traced two units with the second being slightly different, using BC109 transistors, the 100K Q3 base resistor is 150K, the 5n cap is 3n3, and all pots are 100K log, so build whichever one takes your fancy, or socket the positions to try both.

Demo of the British Pedal Company Doubler which is a copy

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Freekish Blues Alpha Drive

As pretty much everyone must know by now this pedal was a re-badged Joyo Ultimate Overdrive with 3 resistors added, and that in turn is a very lightly modded OCD.  But the TGP favourite Freekish Blues Alpha Drive does still have a lot of fans who will argue to their back teeth that the sound in more important than being deceived, bent over and shafted by a builder.  So I thought I may as well include a layout so we can build one and see for ourselves whether it is indeed worth losing all self respect over.

This could have been made simpler by using pot values which more closely matched the originals + parallel resistors but I didn't want to do that because this method will give you odd tapers which may be part of the "magic", and so I wanted this to be exactly as per the Alpha Drive.

The Joyo UOD made a couple of small changes from the OCD, including a couple of value swaps and a slight variation in the mosfet clipping.

I do expect this will sound and feel different than both the Joyo and the OCD, so certainly worth a build even if it's just for comparison purposes.  But I would like to stress that the $35 Joyo is extremely close to the $160 Fulltone OCD for those in the market now Voodoo Lab has stopped making them.

Amusing original BS:
Freekish Blues is proud to present one of the best overdrive pedals on the market:

The Thaddeus Hogarth Signature Pedal: Alpha Drive

Working closely with the east coast singer-songwriter, guitarist and Berklee Guitar professor, Freekish Blues has developed an ultra-sensitive, clear, amp-like overdrive pedal that cuts through where others fall short.

Thaddeus, an award winning guitarist has been using high end Dumble or "D-Style" amps such as the Two Rock Custom Reverb Sig 1, Ben Harper's 100 Watt Custom Reverb Sig 1, Bludo Bludodrive, and the Quinn SDO in his line-up for some time.

He had been in search of the ultimate versatile pedal that could deliver those tones along with a wider range of tones from rock to blues, from classic to contemporary and fusion. Even a relatively clean boost is possible with this pedal! The Alpha Drive has a very smooth but articulate quality that one will find pleasing.

This pedal has been played against some of the finest Dumble style amps and pedals on the market today. Pedals such as the Ethos Overdrive, Zendrive, Dumkudo & Zenkudo pedals. That being said the Alpha Drive at this price can't be beat.

The controls - Volume, OD and Tone - actually make a difference, and the pedal cleans up with a lowering of the guitar volume. Featuring a true mechanical bypass foot switch and internal components normally found in the circuits of tube amplifiers, this pedal is built like a tank! The battery can be changed in seconds with the easily accessible secure battery cover. No screwdriver required.

The Switch: The Rock up switch gives a little bit more of a midrange presence edge allowing you to cut through. The Blues down switch gives you that warm brown bluesound. This would be great for the folks who have single coil vs hum-buckers or just to get an extra bite, depending on the instrumentation in your band...I like both, depending on the song.. The switch acts very similar to a Dumble Mid Switch.

Here's what Thaddeus himself said

"After a lifetime of amps and pedals, I was in search of the ultimate do-it-all overdrive pedal. Of course I had been using Dumble-inspired amps for many years, but my love for the traditional sounds of the tube-screamer and even the sound of a cranked deluxe reverb fueled my desire to create a high-quality pedal that covered all the bases. I think of this pedal as an extension of my instrument rather than an effect. You can leave it on and turn the OD control all the way down to get what amounts to a clear boost, or you can dial in varying degrees of overdrive all the way to full sweet fat saturation! The overdrive and the volume control are interactive, very much like tube amplifiers with a gain and master control. The tone control actually works! I am very proud to have my name associated with such a high quality product created by my family at Freekish Blues. I hope you all enjoy many great times making music with this pedal!" - Thaddeus Hogarth

Thanks Ken