Pedal Builds #3 – TS/Dist+/OCD The search for overdrive

Right… where was I?

Ok, onto some effects. Somehow, in the process of reading about loopers I came across some overdrive kits, and after a bit of reading, decided to go with a classic Tube Screamer kit. I thought the box design I did was pretty good:

Tube Screamer

Sadly, I realised pretty quickly that a TS is not really my thing. To be fair, at the time, I didn’t have a tube amp, but I do now, and I still don’t like the honky mids. I will probably sell this on eBay when I get over my sentimentality.

So I quickly tried my hand at another pedal, this time a clone of the MXR Distortion +. This has a really nice smooth saturated distortion, for crisp power chords, and it’s been on my board ever since I built it (I’m pretty sure I’d leave it just for that sparkle, actually!):

Distortion +

Some months later I tried leading sung worship on the electric, and I wanted to have a couple of different ‘stages’ of drive, so I had the TS and Dist +  stacked. But I hated it. During the practice I just couldn’t get a sound I liked from the TS, and I literally came home and ordered a kit for an OCD clone, which I’d been reading about, and watching youtube videos of (which is practically useless when it comes to assessing pedals, actually – too many variables, plus, all anyone does is play show-off bluesy lead licks, which is not what I’m after).


I was much happier with the OCD than the TS, but I’ll admit, it’s a love/hate relationship with this pedal. With the gain turned right down it gave me some nice crunchy, just-breaking-up, overdrive (stage 1) before the Distortion + kicks in with a bit more grunt (stage 2), but that’s really not what this pedal is made for, and it’s like keeping a lion on a leash made of twine. This thing is pretty unruly, and I’ve never really managed to get it consistently to do what I want.

Which leads me to the search for a more transparent overdrive….. which I’ll cover next time.

2 responses to “Pedal Builds #3 – TS/Dist+/OCD The search for overdrive”

  1. Daniel says:

    how did you make the labeling of your DIY stompboxes (e.g the screamer)?

    • Findo says:

      Hi Daniel,
      for these ones I used an Inkjet Waterslide decal you print the design to it, spray a thin layer of clear laquer, and when that’s dry, let the decal soak in water for 30 secs and then it slides onto the enclosure. That is then followed by clear coat(s) – HOWEVER, I’ve stopped using this method, because I’ve been disappointed with the results, namely, cracking a few months down the track, which is probably due to me putting too thick of a clear coat afterwards.

      Lately I’ve been doing etching, which involves iron oxide and a laser printer..
      check out forum for some good tutorials.

What do you think?