Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Menatone Blue Collar (early version)

Manufacturers description of the original:

FAT,FAT, FAT. Did i mention FAT? That might be the best word to describe the Menatone Blue Collar.  Absolutely brilliant on a Strat is another way I've heard.  Creamy and syrupy with greasy overtones is a third. This was my second production pedal.  I launched it in January of 1997 as the other side of the coin to the open sounding Red Snapper. The Blue Collar is a compressed, mid hump, singing bluesy overdrive that just seems to sit in the mix without any fuss.  Its presence control lets you dial in just the right amount of "pick attack" so that you can sound thick as molasses but still cut through.  Did I mention the Blue Collar is absolutely brilliant with a Strat?

Video of the newer version but should still give you a good idea:





23 comments:

  1. Verified, works great, originally had the tone and presence pots mixed up and seemed a bit better. Might play with the pot values a bit.

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    1. That was quick! Thanks for verifying. Let us know what you think of the pot changes if you experiment.

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  2. Definitely on my build list. After finishing Red Snapper i think i might try King of Britains too.. Menatone designs are great.
    +m

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    1. Before you do the KOTB, let me look over it again. Someone had problems with it and I have been over it a few times but no harm in another check over. Although having said that, you've verified a few in the past that other people have had problems with as well! :o)

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    2. And they all work. :)

      It only takes patience.. And time. Some circuits need to be built with time. For example, all muffs i've done - i needed to rebuild each board because i built them with "left hand" and too quickly. Too much debugging, knifing and resoldering can lead to board being beyond repair. It may still seem ok, but it'll just never work.

      Measuring components is one way to ensure the outcome. It's really boring and time consuming, but on a few occations i wished i've done it before building the board and not afterwards. If i want to try something out quickly, i don't do it. If i'm building something for a friend or some classic for myself - then the measuring is mandatory. (I still don't get it how to measure caps reliably..)

      I'm on a boxing streak again, so it'll be a while until i'm back to building boards. Only 13 finished boards left waiting to be boxed. :) (might not box them all though...)
      +m

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    3. Sound advice. There are plenty of people who have built effects who would have gone through a lot less stress if they'd measured certain components first. Me included in the past. For the sake of 15 minutes it's well worth the effort. I must admit that I don't do it every time either, and I don't tend to do it with components that I trust where I have measured in the past and the values have always been spot on. I will always measure electrolytics though, particularly the ones I got at bargain basement prices, because you just never know.

      I bought an expensive multimeter which I hoped would do everything but I found it annoying when measuring capacitance. For nF values or low to medium uF it is fine but it just couldn't seem to get an accurate reading for pF values, and high uF values seemed to take ages for it to get a reading. So I bought one of these just to see how well it did:

      http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180759161571

      Not from that seller and mine is yellow instead of blue but it appears to be exactly the same meter. That reads everything I throw at it perfectly and quickly, and now it's the only thing I use. Peak have got a nice one too and I am a fan of their transistor tester, but it is expensive and this does a great job without the extra bells and whistles.

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  3. I finally got tired of wondering about the caps after a build went awry. I bought a multimeter that tests capacitance as well. only issue is that the range is from 10nf up to 10mf. I think the next model up had a wider range of cap testing. Wish I had spent the extra $20 to get a fuller range....live and learn.

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  4. Hi Mark, do you have the schematicc of this one?

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    1. http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb41/JHSNRW/early_Blue_Collar.gif

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  5. What's with the 47u cap? I'm building this on a breadboard from schematic. Do I need the electrolytic cap?

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  6. I really would like to see the schematic of the MK3 version of the Blue Collar, it seems to me it sounds better (for my taste).
    :P :P

    Thanks :)

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  7. Fits well in a 1590a and sounds great despite a couple minor component substitutions. Next an etch for the box.. thanks guys! https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=829007037116386

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  8. Does anybody know what t1m does to mod this to make it the Punch Drive? If so, what about the mods to the Red Snapper to make it a Touch Drive?

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  9. Hi there !
    Does anyone else have a clean sound when the effect in working ?
    I've wired a true bypass switch, and it appears that the effect let the sound passing through but not any subtle distortion on it.

    Any idea?

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    1. Hey Satcher - I just built this and am getting the same problem - tone, presence, and volume pots are functioning fine, but the gain only adds a *tiny* bit of more volume, and no overdrive at all. I'll troubleshoot tonight and post back what I find.

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    2. Swapping ICs (tried a TL072) made no difference, so I swapped the diodes (1n914) for some !n34 Germanium (lover clipping threshold) and I started getting some overdrive. My guess is that there might be a tweak needed to the schematic to get more gain out of the IC and get the 1n914 diodes to start clipping more. Anyone else built this and had luck with it? Thanks! joe

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    3. The schematic called for a 12k resistor in the feedback loop, instead of 10k as in the layout. I popped in a 15k to see how much more gain I would get and it was HOT - so much gain that with the presence all the way up it would oscillate. So I popped in the 12k as per the schematic and that is perfect. Satcher, try that and see if you start getting overdrive instead of just clean tones.

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  10. Hey there! I love this circuit, but I would like to get some more treble from it! Where should I mess?

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  11. hello, tried this one twice from scratch last night and got nothing ...i think IC was something like 4volts all over

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    1. Around 4V all over sounds about right (except pins 4 and 8 of course). So it may be a good idea to try an audio probe and see where the signal is dropping out.

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    2. Hi all,
      this is the first post for me. :) Some weeks ago i've try the Blue Collar first series and i fall in love with it. Last week i've found a Menatone Blue Collar v3 used and bought. Unfortunatelly the sound was very, very, very different from the first series. I mean it sounds good but the sound is different. What i'm asking is that: I'm able to welded and i built several guitars but i know very very very basic concepts of the electronics. in your opinion would i be able to build the Blue Collar Menatone first series looking your schema? Is there any kit already packaged for the components? There is some manual or video that I can follow? thank you very much!!!!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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