Sunday, 26 August 2012

DAM FR70 FuzzRong

Info from David Main about his original:

We begin with a re-cap. The FR-69, our take on the early bird Mosrite Fuzzrite. The germanium powered glass shattering freak show. As stated on the page for said pedal my only real interest there was because of the awesomeness of Ron Asheton and the Stooges. In other words, there is no real nerd obsession with the pedal itself. Thanks to a trip to London a visit to a Soho's Original Bookshop and the discovery of Robert Matheu's outstanding book on the Stooges I think it maybe wise to dispel the "Ron used a Fuzzrite" myth once and for all, that is until someone shows me a picture of Ron actually using one.
Robert's fine book has several fine shots that clearly show Ron actually using a Vox Tone Bender. Other photographic material that can be sourced on the internets show Ron with what appears to be a Marshall Supa Fuzz. Either way, it ain't no Fuzzrite. In a nutshell and in my head at least. Dig the early Stooges fuzz tone? Get high, get a Vox. Simple.

So what has this gotta do with the FR-70? Not a damn thing. Just explaining what we ain't doing here. So this new Fuzzrong is...? Outta the whole Ed Sanner family of pedals and the different versions produced the one I always had a genuine soft spot for were those made with the freaky little orange encapsulated Sprague circuits. Louder, chewier and with mightier balls. I've always been fond of the general sickly thickness and the almost psychedelic nature they seem to have. This is basically our salute to the those funky little orange packages of filthy fun.

Operation scratch 'n' sniff

Like with all good workings it began with a sacrifice. An offering to the Fuzz God. The pre-selected healthy young virgin was carefully dissected to reveal the inner workings and the bounteous gifts of the unknown. With much suffering and toil the knowledge of the highest degree was gained. Our dissected orange goddess became the starting block for what you see here. The FR-70 is not a direct clone but and very gentle tuck and re-shape. It's difficult to generalize too much as the Sprague modules were not or at least don't appear to be 100% identical tonally when in use. Like with any discrete fuzz circuit you will always have some play or movement in the delivered fuzz tone. The sacrificial lamb was an example I found particularly pleasing. The gentle refinements then move it into a somewhat more balanced state that aid reproduction for a more modern parts selection.
Constructed like her greasy twin sister the FR-70 uses the same methods of assembly and the same principles of design as the GB-83. Specially selected silicon devices are the foundation to the whole circuit. Very precise gain levels had to be matched and then reproduction to achieve the desired balance in tone. The same detail is then applied to the whole pedal. Basically every component and part is selected for overall sound quality and performance.

Psychedelic goose fat

So the tones from within the tin. The first thing to note compared to the FR-69 is that the overall operation is more stable. The gain spread on the Depth control is much more even with a greater extension of the mid and low frequencies. The general position that the FR-70 takes is an offering of tones that are situated in the low mids with a punched out boost over into the highs. It's not quite scooped as such but a subtle high and low kick is dB boost is apparent. The gain and sustain levels are also more stable and maybe more user friendly. For example, the FR-70 is not a screamer from the get-go. Again something shared with the GB-83 is that you have to put the work in and use the right gear to get to your destination. The FR-70 does have the where with all to get fatty and rancid with some pleasing fuzzed-out compression but the subtleties are also an important factor in my head so the ability to draw pretty flowers with trails of magic dust is there for the taking too. I guess like the GB-83 it is somewhat tool like. It is a fuzz generator but you have to give it the instructions. Not quite a blank canvas as such but fully able to work with and around you. It's sick & rong but only as much as you are, my dears.

Compact layout:

Mojo layout:

Thursday, 23 August 2012




Better get back to layouts then because there's going to be no more sunbathing! :o)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer

As the schematic recommended trying different values for the 22K resistor, I've included a 22K trimmer instead so you can experiment for yourself but you might want to use a 50K so you can tweak with higher values too.  If you aren't bothered just solder a 22K resistor between pins 4 and 6 instead.

Info from the manufacturer:

Is it a fuzz? Is it an instrument? Is it a rogue angel bent on audio revenge?

Rhythmic oscillation and industrial fuzz in a true bypass package.

Handmade in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Powered by 9v “Boss style” power plugger.

The Great Destroyer has found it’s way into the hands of Alan Sparhawk, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Korn, K O Y L, and Pussy Makes Three.

Monday, 13 August 2012

EHX Civil War Big Muff

Jeremy just mentioned it and as I had the template to hand and it would only take 2 minutes I thought I'd include this one.

I've got another schematic which is identical other than the 430p caps which are shown as 500p, but you're always best experimenting with those anyway on a case by case basis to make sure you're avoiding any fizz.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Catalinbread CB30

Info about the original from Catalinbread:

The CB30 is designed to give you jangly, dynamic, responsive overdriven tones, just like it's British 30 watt counterpart. The tone controls work exactly the same way as the actual amp, where the more the treble and bass increase, the more scooped the mids become, making it capable of being quite hollow and jangly. The CB30 can be dialed in for that immediate attack, compressed mid range honk, finished by the shimmery high end jangle, an elusive sound for many players. Like all the foundation pedals in our line it sounds excellent on its own, or when stacked with other pedals (no really, just wait until you put a treble boost in front!)

As owners of the real deal know, the amp has an amazing touch sensitivity, with the ability to go from clear and chimey, to that unique overdrive character with just your picking dynamics. The CB30 has the same response, and cleans up extremely well with your guitar's volume control. The CB30 is true bypass, and comes in a rugged silkscreened case, has black aluminum knobs that feel great, and are easy to see on stage. If you're looking for an expressive, chimey overdrive, we think you'll enjoy the CB30 for years to come.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

MXR Phase 45 modded

Now Miro has verified the original, here's a modded version of the Phase 45 and offering a few useful addition such as external Bias and a Mix control, Phase 45 / Univibe 10:1 Ratio switch and a Rate LED.  The switch is 2 position 4PDT but you could also split it and use 2 x 2 position DPDT which will then allow you to select the caps individually offering a little bit more versatility.

I actually managed to get this 2 columns smaller because of the removal of some components and others going on the switch instead of the board, so it will easily fit in a 1590B.

Germanium Transistor Tester

I'm lazy and use a Peak DCA55 to measure transistors which will automatically give you the leakage reading for germanium with the added advantage of identifying the pins for you so you don't even have to refer to the datasheet. This is an alternative from information posted by RG on the Geofex website and will allow you to measure gain and leakage for much less money.  The layout is for PNP transistors but to test NPN just reverse the power and DMM connections.

Have a look through the article on Geofex for further information, but the main procedure is included with the layout:

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Catalinbread Naga Viper

I like the small ones, they only take 5 minutes, and I bet it isn't much longer than that until someone verifies it! :o)

Info from Catalinbread about their original:

The Naga Viper is a booster in the grand old tradition of the Dallas Rangemaster "Treble-Booster".  The Rangemaster has been used by many influential British guitarists including Tony Iommi, Brian May, Marc Bolan, and KK Downing and Glen Tipton of Judas Priest.  These guitarists, while completely unique in their styles, share the Rangemaster secret of boosting their cranked tube amps into a juicy, harmonic-laden rock tone that always cuts through the mix.

The Naga Viper is our version of this famous circuit and it enhances the classic circuit with the addition of two extra controls - Range and Heat.  The original Rangemaster had just one control - Boost.  The Range knob is a continuous control allows you to go from classic treble-boost to a full-range boost and anywhere in-between.  The original could only function as a "treble-booster".  The Heat knob gives you control over the gain level, unlike the original which was fixed at maximum gain.

Why a "treble-booster"?  Well, it is not like merely turning up the treble control on an EQ pedal.  Besides enhancing treble response, it adds its own subtle harmonic distortion and gives you a lot of "push" to really saturate the front-end of your tube amp.  But remember, the Naga Viper has a Range control that allows you to dial in exactly what frequencies get boosted.

The traditional way to use a treble-booster is to plug it straight into an already cranked and overdriven tube amp like the Marshalls, Laneys, and Voxes the British guitarists used.  Since the amps were already cranked up, a full-range boost would result in a muddy sound with no definition.  That is why we want to boost "treble"!

But in this modern era of electric guitar, many guitarists use overdrive pedals that emulate the sounds of cranked big amps into their smaller combos.  The Naga Viper is carefully voiced to allow you to boost your "amp-in-the-box" pedals too to get those famous juicy, saturated sounds at "reasonable" volume levels!  In particular, the Naga Viper was made to go with our Dirty Little Secret MkII and CB30 overdrives.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

MI Audio GI Fuzz

6 knobs plus a Bright switch, and still needs an onboard trimmer.  I will be extremely impressed with anyone getting this in a 1590B!  Basically it's a modded silicon Tonebender MkII and it must be one of the most tweakable ones out there so I'm sure it would be a great addition to many peoples collections.

Info from MI Audio about their original:

The GI Fuzz is a high gain fuzz design, featuring a trio of ultra low noise, high gain silicon transistors. This is not a fuzz for the faint hearted. It has about 20db more gain than a Fuzz Face, so you can think of the gain achievable as being equivalent to a a Fuzz Face at full tilt being driven by a booster! This is military spec fuzz, complete with a camouflage green aluminium enclosure and stencil script. The GI Fuzz is not a clone of anything out there.

MI Audio settled on a design which makes the GI Fuzz one of the most versatile fuzz pedals out there. At last, the fuzz pedal has joined the 21st century! No longer the 2 knob, unstable, radio receiver of yesteryear. You get 6 knobs, an internal trimmer, a 3 position switch, and the ability to create anything from fat bluesy tones, to traditional fuzz, to all-out sustain, to gated, synth-like bleeps.

  High Gain silicon fuzz.

  Fuzz generated by a trio of high gain silicon transistors

  Ultimate flexibility with the following 8 controls (1 internal):

        ● Fuzz - from nothing to all out fuzz
        ● Load - input impedance control
        ● Bias - controls the bias of the 2 transistors
        ● Body - midrange control
        ● Tone - balancing control for controlling highs and lows
        ● Volume
        ● Bright switch
        ● Internal Gain trimmer.

  Professionally powder-coated and silk-screened enclosure, measuring only 4.3" x 2.2"


  A huge gain range, from nothing to sustain-for-days

  It can be used as a low gain device (for a fat bluesy bite), which is fairly unique for a fuzz pedal, since fuzz pedals tend to have a very narrow range of gain.

  To tame this pedal, there's an internal gain trimmer to wind things back (which I recommend)

  Load control, which is a variable input impedance. This can be used to match the GI Fuzz to humbuckers as well as single coils (Fuzz pedals tend to have low input impedance which is a better match for single coils. Now you can also use humbuckers without any problems). You can also use it to go from a tradition fuzz sound (low input impedance) to a more articulate sound with detailed highs (high impedance)

  A bias control to set up the operating point of the transistors, from a fat symmetrical fuzz, to an asymmetrical 'mosquito' buzz, and beyond, to a gated synth-like sound (almost sounds like your amp is about to die!)

  Body control, which full range mid range control. The mids, of course, are the most important frequencies for determining how your guitar tone sits in with the rest of the band.

  Tone control, which controls both lows and highs, as opposed to simply a high cut filter. This is like bass and treble controls rolled into one. The combination of the tone and the body controls is like having a low/mid/high EQ

  Volume control with output to spare. You can use the GI fuzz to overdrive your amp.

  3 position bright switch to help tame the top end. This is useful if you're going to use your GI Fuzz with a bright 'modern' voiced clean channel, or if you're going to use the GI with overdrive pedals (which tend to be darker, and by comparison, make a normal fuzz sound shrill).

Friday, 3 August 2012

Wampler Black 65

A few requests for this so I thought I'd better get it sorted.  Info from Wampler about the original:

Over the years, we've had tons and tons of folks asking us when we were going to produce an overdrive pedal that emulates the sound of a cranked Fender® amp.

When Brian decided that he was going to see if he could do it, he wanted to ensure that it was perfect. Looking back at it now, we think he must have spent a good 9 months breadboarding and prototyping lots of different ideas, a/b-ing each one with various Fender® amps, tweaking and changing until he found the sound that was accurate.

Once he got a sound that he was 100% happy with, he took it to Nashville studio ace Brent Mason to test it out. To be certain, Brian also took several pedals by other companies that are supposed to do the same thing. Brent knows Fender® amps better than anyone, and Brian knew if Brent thought it was good, we were onto a winner. Long story short, Brent LOVED it!

We've heard guys say they hear The Twin®, some say Vibrolux®, some say Deluxe Reverb® when they play this pedal. Whatever they hear, it still has that "Blackface" type of sound that we were looking for. When you turn it up, it's going to break up more like the amp would if you turn it up.

With the additional of the boost switch, you can increase the gain to make it sound like the amp is being driven harder.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Retro Channel The Fuzz

I thought this would be an appropriate place for a reminder of this blogs policy on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:

DMCA statement: All media used within this site with the exception of linked youtube videos, is the intellectual property of the author, including but not limited to photographs, schematics and interpreted layout diagrams. Manufacturers and product names are mentioned solely for circuit identification, and where applicable their trademarks are the property of their respective owners who are in no way associated or affiliated with the author. No cooperation or endorsement is implied.

This may also be a good place to note that Section 512(f) of the DMCA creates liability for "Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section (1) that material or activity is infringing"

Now that's done ....

This was originally marketed as a proprietary circuit (erm .... Tonebender) which allegedly used a custom designed "Fuzz IC" which presumably therefore no one else would have access to (erm ... CA3046).  Now it is apparently a modern take on the MkII, I'm not going to quote the sales spiel directly but you can read all about it here.

As usual I am often keen to emphasise that when a nice sounding effect is released by a good builder you should endeavour to support him and buy his products so he can continue creating pedals.  As such I'll be making this one myself.

My interpretation of the circuit and again, company and product name used for identification purposes only.   I would also point out that building this will not give you an original Retro Channel - The Fuzz, to obtain one of those you will need to buy one from the manufacturer or one of his appointed resellers.  This will only allow you to build a pedal with the same circuit in a smaller box for less money.  Enjoy!

"Pirates?  What pirates?"

Update 11-08-2012

     IC transistor pins

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Vox Repeat Percussion

.. awaits comments asking what the bloody hell is that! :o)

I think a few people will like this, a really great sounding tremolo.  The 2N2646's are obsolete but still available from a number of places, RS, Farnell, Mouser and a few sellers on eBay.  They're not as cheap as the more common silicon transistors but definitely worth getting in for this. 


Modified to include a depth pot and altered values for more output.

Version with all of the above and a couple of extras including a Tone switch which switches the input cap to give you an option to prevent any low end loss, and a Fast/Slow rate switch.

Ross Distortion

"Tan" version:

"Black" version:


Some of you may be thinking this layout looks pretty familiar, and yes, it is extremely close to the ZW-44 Zakk Wylde overdrive.  So close in fact that I've included a switch that will select either the GT-OD or ZW-44 on the fly.  I've got an original ZW-44 and really like it, but watching some of the clips I think I like the sound of the GT-OD more so I'll certainly be adding this to the collection.

Info from MXR about their original:

Built from the ground up with the best available components, the MXR GT-OD Overdrive pedal creates smooth, warm, and classic overdrive without excess noise or tone coloring. The simple controls make it easy to dial in a great tone quickly-from crunchy rhythm tone with chord clarity-to sparkly and harmonic-rich lead tones with tons of sustain. You won't find an overdrive that is more organic, responsive or open sounding.

    A traditional overdrive that provides powerful, cutting, transparent overdrive tone with great definition
    Adds sustain and gain without adding excess noise
    Place in front of an overdriven amp for screaming lead tones
    Indestructible die-cast housing