Cerberus Fuzz and Dirt Triumvirate (+Demo Videos)

A couple of Fuzz pedals I have been working on.

Its safe to say I love me some Fuzz!

First of all, I did a couple of demo videos for both of these circuits which can be seen here:


Hope you enjoy the vids!

Cerberus Fuzz.

The Cerberus is a ‘3-in-1’ pedal with Octave, Fuzz, and Tone circuits. All three circuits can be switched in and out of the signal path for a variety of tones.

I find this a cool circuit to play around with, and it covers a wide range of fuzzy requirements.

The Fuzz circuit is based on the Coloursound One Knob Fuzz. Basically a Fuzz Face with bigger, hairier, balls… 😉

The Octave circuit is the classic Green Ringer circuit. It can verge between clean octave tones (especially when playing with a neck pickup above the 12th fret) to glitched out, ‘my guitar is having an aneurysm’ mayhem when playing chords etc.

The Tone circuit is the classic Big Muff Pie tonestack, with a standard recovery gain stage. There is also an internal trimpot to set the level of mids (from scooped to boosted).

Cerberus Fuzz

Cerberus Fuzz.
Three headed fuzz monster!

Cerberus Fuzz Gutshot

Cerberus Fuzz Gutshot

Dirt Triumvirate.

The Dirt Triumvirate is a ‘3-in-1’ pedal with 1 Boost and 2 Fuzz circuits. All three circuits can be switched in and out of the signal path for a variety of tones.

The boost circuit is based upon the classic LPB1 circuit, with an internal DIP switch to switch between treble, mid and full range boost.

The Fuzz1 circuit is the classic Bazz Fuss. This is a really cool sounding circuit and can provide a variety of cool tones.

The Fuzz2 circuit is based on the Coloursound One Knob Fuzz. Its fair to say I am a big fan of this circuit!

Depending on control settings the Dirt Triumvirate can go from a nice crunchy overdrive to all out Fuzz chaos (noise, feedback, oscillations, etc.).

Dirt Triumvirate

Dirt Triumvirate

Dirt Triumvirate Gutshot

Dirt Triumvirate Gutshot

The Cerberus Fuzz is one of my ‘standard’ pedals (ie. not custom). If you want one building please get in touch; its a really cool circuit with lots of (Fuzzy) uses.

I will also be offering PCB’s for the DIY’ers out there. If you would like more info just get in touch.

Ampmaker SE-5A

se5a1

se5a1

I finally got a chance to finish up my Ampmaker SE5A recently.

I had been looking to build another amp for a while (I already built a Fender Champ Clone+ Mods), and being in the UK, the options available for ‘kits’ is not as exhaustive as it is in the US.

However, us Brits do have one advantage over our US chums; we have Ampmaker.com!

Barry sells good quality kits at a good price, so I had no hesitation ordering an Se-5a from him. Actually building the thing up took longer than expeceted (an hour here and there over a 6 month period).

The build was really straightforward, and Barry’s build guides are top notch. Building pedals is one thing, but with amps, there is the potential to cause serious harm (or even death) by not being carefull; so I took my time and checked everything twice before soldering.

First impressions is that is is a cool amp; totally different in character to the Ampmaker WF55 (a Fender champ clone) that I have built previously (which totally figures).

It totally sings with my Les Paul, where as the WF55 prefers my Tele/Strats.

Its also quieter than my WF55; I’m think this may be a combination of me doing neater wiring this time around, and also due to the TMB tonestack cutting a lot some dB’s out of the signal (both amps have 1 power valve).

With ‘everything on 11’ the amp totally sings, and has a real nice Marshally crunch to the tone. Its not overpowering at full whack either; my ears weren’t bleeding!

I’m already planning mods. First one is to add a ‘gain boost’ cathode bypass cap (prob 10uF) to the first preamp valve. I installed a push/pull pot so that should be really easy. I may also mod the tonestack at some point. I’ts trebly enough for my taste so I definitely won’t be adding any treble bypass caps.

The head cab was made by ‘Cabs by Chris’ his work can be seen on the Ampmaker website. Its really cool. I may have to get myself a matching cab.

se5a2

se5a2

I cannot recommend Ampmaker.co.uk highly enough. I didn’t have to ask Barry (the owner) a single question about the build, which I thinks speaks volumes about how good his instructions are. The build info is really straightforward. I have been building this thing on/off for about 6 months though (half an hour here and there) so I definitely took my time with it.

Hope you like the pics, I’m pretty happy with the neatness of my wiring on this!

se5a3

se5a3

se5a4

se5a4

 

A couple of builds…

A couple more builds to show.
First up is a Mad Professor ‘Deep Blue Delay’ clone I built up. The filtering is a bit more severe on the repeats than a stock Deep Blue Delay, giving the repeats a ‘warmer’ sound. I went for a ‘Space Echo’ look on this one, and think it came out pretty cool:

 

Echophonic

EchoPhonic Analogue Style Delay

EchoPhonic Analogue Style Delay

EchoPhonic Analogue Style Delay

EchoPhonic Gutshot

EchoPhonic Gutshot

 

Next up is a classic DIY FX project; the AMZ Mosfet Booster (see here for info and schematic: http://www.muzique.com/schem/mosfet.html).

This is a clean boost, using a Mosfet transistor (BS170, just like the ZVex SHO), however, unlike the ZVex SHO, it doesn’t crackle. Overall I think its a far nicer boost than the SHO circuit is.

I built this into a 1590A, a super small enclosure. They are cool for things like buffers, boosts etc.

Rainstick

Rainstick

Rainstick Gutshot

Rainstick Gutshot

 

 

 

Tonmeister

Been busy times at SJ Effects the past few weeks.

One of the things I have been working on is my Tonmeister design.

The Tonmeister is a 3 band equaliser based around the 3-band Baxandall active equaliser design. The circuit also comprises of an input buffer, and output gain stage, to increase versatility.

The circuit can be used for many applications, including:

  • As a versatile tone control/equaliser for amps with no tone controls (Fender Champ etc.)
  • ‘Tone sculpting’ after/before other effects (the Tonmeister is great fun to tweak running after an Overdrive/Distortion/Fuzz pedal).
  • A buffer.
  • A Treble/Mids/Bass/Full range booster.
  • It also works great on Bass guitar!

I’m really loving this circuit at the moment; its incredibly versatile, kind of an ‘always on’ pedal. I’ve found it really cool running after Fuzz pedals to ‘shape’ the overall tone of fuzzes.

There is an internal voltage inverter circuit that enables the circuit to run at +9/-9V. This allows for more headroom to be available than with standard ‘9V only’ boosts and eq’s.

I’m considering the Tonmeister becoming a ‘standard’ SJ Effects pedal (along with the Tesla Cannon and a few other things) in the near future.

If you would like me to build you one just get in touch!

Tonmeister

Tonmeister EQ and Preamp

Tonmeister Gutshot

Tonmeister Gutshot

Tesla Cannon

This is a Russian Big Muff I built up on one of my Big Muff PCB’s I have just got back from the fabricators.

Its based on the Green Russian variant (as used extensively by one of my favourite guitarists; Dan Auberach from the Black Keys). Its great for Garage Rock/Stoner Rock fuzz tones.

There are two DIP switches on the PCB to select between Diode and LED clipping. It changes the distortion character from what I would describe as compressed and smooth (silicon) and open and crunchy (LED’s).

I went with a distressed finish on this one to fit the theme.

I’m hoping to make the Tesla Cannon a ‘standard’ SJ Effects pedal (ie. non custom) once I have fully nailed down the circuit to how I want it, more details (and soundclips) to follow soon!

 

The Tesla Cannon: Weapons Grade Fuzz Tone!

The Tesla Cannon: Weapons Grade Fuzz Tone!

Tesla Cannon Gutshot

Tesla Cannon Gutshot

 

Prince Albert

Here’s a few quick pic’s of my Catalinbread RAH clone that I built for myself.

I called it ‘Prince Albert’ 😉

I used PCB mounted pots (which I use for most builds now), which made the wiring a lot less of a headache!

As with all Catalinbread circuits, this thing rules. There is a lot to learn from their designs IMO.

Its another cool JFet overdrive (my favourite type) that responds really well to picking dynamics, and loves Humbuckers.

Check out their stuff at http://www.catalinbread.com.

Prince Albert Overdrive

Prince Albert Gutshot

Latest Builds…

Here are a few builds I completed recently.

They all use the new graphics/decal method I am using from now on.

TREMOLO

This is a Tremolo I built up based on the EA (Electronics Australia) Tremolo circuit.

This circuit has been around since the 60’s, and is kind of a DIY classic.

Its a really cool, old Fender amp like, tremolo. The modulation is nice and smooth.

I guess there is a reason why this circuit is still so popular after all these years!

The toggle switch is for switching out the modulation to use the pedal as a clean boost/preamp.

The preamp has a really nice, warm tone, so I thought it would be helpfull to have the ‘boost mode’ as an option.

EA Tremolo with boost only switch

EA Tremolo Gutshot

FURBALL FUZZ

Furball Fuzz

This is a Fuzz Face variant I built, based upon the Dunlop Eric Johnson Fuzz. I used different transistors than the Dunlop version (the Dunlop uses BC183’s, mine uses BC108’s), but used similar components and biased it to give a similar tone to the Dunlop EJ Fuzz Face.

The PCB layout I did uses Axial components for that vintage vibe and ‘mojo’ factor.

I have to say that Eric Johnson has definitley got an ear for what constitutes a nice Fuzz Face; kudos to him for tuning this circuit to his liking as its really cool!

Due to the way the circuit is biased you get a nice  chewy, hairy fuzz. Its usefull for a lot of things, not just playing Eric Johnson covers!

Furball Fuzz with Percy the Piranha

Furball Fuzz Gutshot

 

Eternal Guitars ‘Betty’…

I thought I would write a short write up about a guitar that I custom ordered a while ago…

Meet Betty, built by the wonderful Dave Walsh of Eternal Guitars.

I had been looking for a Tele for a while, researching and trying out different types (ranging from Squiers all the way through to Fender Custom Shop models) to find ‘the perfect Tele’.

I eventually decided that I was basically after ‘Keef’s’ Micawber, but with a less aged (read battered!) look. I’m not the biggest Stones fan in the world, but I am a fan of old maple neck ash Tele’s with a humbucker in the neck position.

I stumbled across a review of one of Eternal Guitars Tele’s in Guitar and Bass Magazine. It was really cool to see there was someone in the UK building ‘relic’ style Fenders to such a high standard.

I contacted Dave, and he was really helpful and informative. He was extremely quick to respond to all my queries and questions, and made sensible suggestions and mods to try and get the spec down to what I was after.

After a few emails discussing the spec, I put a deposit down for ‘Betty’ to be built. I had never previously had a custom instrument made exactly to my specifications; I usually just mod cheaper guitars myself until I am happy with them.

The customer service Dave provided was exemplary. He even sent some necks through the post to me to try out before committing to a certain shape. I eventually settle on a ‘V to C’ neck shape; super comfy and perfect for me. I asked for a lightly aged finish, with the neck pickup the ‘right’ way around and also positioned a little further from neck heel than ‘Micawbers’ usually have. The fretboard was also specified at a flatter radius than an original 50’s Tele.

After a few months, Betty was born!

It (sorry ‘She’ 😉 ) plays perfectly. The setup was perfect as soon as I received it; no changes necessary. The finish was also perfect and carried out exactly to my specifications and how I had asked it to look. My favourite pickup setting, strangely, is the middle setting; which used to be my least favourite on Teles. There is definitely a ‘magic’ to HB fitted Tele’s!

I honestly cannot fault this guitar on any level. I can see myself keeping ‘Betty’ forever, and my Tele requirements have also been well and truly covered!

Hope you like the Pic’s. I would highly recommend Eternal Guitars to anybody. Send Dave an Email see what he can do for you!

 

These are a few of my favourite things…

Been a while since I have posted anything; time flies when your having fun.

I thought I would post a recent builds/other things here.

‘Sloppy Kiss’ Magnatone Vibrato

First up, is the ‘Sloppy Kiss’ vibrato (based on the Bigfoot FX Magnavibe).

This is a Vibrato based on the old Magnatone amp’s vibrato circuit.

Its a real ‘swampy’, subtle effect. I don’t usually like Vibrato’s pedals but this on is really cool.

The original Bigfoot FX Magnavibe can be purchased at Bigfootfx.com.

Pics!

Sloppy Kiss Vibrato in Trapezoid Hammond Enclosure

Sloppy Kiss Gutshot

Gravyboat Fuzz

This is another Gravy Boat Fuzz pedal I built recently (Fuzz Face/Coloursound OKF variant). It has a decal style that I am currently experimenting with; I think it will look really cool after a bit more tweaking.

Gravy Boat Fuzz.

Gravy Boat Fuzz Gut Shot

In the pipeline…

I got a load of prototype PCB’s back the other day. I’m gonna be a busy boy building these up.

The PCB’s include:

  • A discrete Baxandall EQ/preamp. For use with amps that have no tone controls).
  •  An Overdrive of my own design. Its using a Mosfet slamming a JFet Mu-Amp gain stage.
  • A Voltage Doubler/Inverter. This is for bumping up +9V supply to +18V (handy for JFet dirt boxes), or inverting a +9V supply to -9V.
  • Tim Escobedo’s 9V MS-20 filter (see schematic here). I want to build this to run loops etc. from my DAW through.
  • State Variable Filter. Has BP, LP and HP outputs. We’ll see how this one pans out, it may need some tweaking.

I’m looking forward to building these up and checking them out. The EQ and Overdrive are my original designs so I’m pretty excited!