Pedal Builds #4 – assorted builds

Before I continue with my overdrive builds, we’ll take a short detour to some other pedals. I think I’m quite out of chronology now, anyway (edit: this post ended up going backwards!). I’ll start with a nice one, the Tap Tempo Tremolo which I built from this kit:


I called it the Tune Shaker, which was a little play on ‘shaker tunes’. It has a cowboy, even if shakers aren’t exactly cowboys… but whatever. I like tremolo a lot, and I’m surprised that it’s not as common on pedalboards as it is. This pedal does it all really, with 8 different waveforms, and selectable subdivisions. It’s lots of fun, and I like the sparkly baby-blue paintjob.


I was trying to build an optical compressor but was having trouble with the circuit I was trying to build, and got frustrated and just order this kit based on the DOD 280 Opto Compressor:


It’s a good kit, and great compressor pedal, which blows the Behringer DC9 I had way out of the water. It’s really transparent, though taking the sustain past 2 o’clock and strummed chords lose their attack. I like to use it for boosting the signal a little as well. It’s one of those effects that you don’t really notice, unless it’s not there.  I’m pretty happy with this design too. DOD280 Compressor

I did try building another compressor around the same time, a variation on the famous Orange Squeezer. It was one of my first pcb etches, using a design transfer from Madbean pedal. With a laser printer and some photo paper and an iron, it’s possible to transfer a resist onto a piece of copper-plated board, which can then be etched with something like sodium persulphate.

Orange Squeezer

The only thing I like about this pedal is the green and orange paint job. Some people love the squeeze kind of compressor, and it turns out, that I don’t. I probably didn’t need to box up the circuit to find that out, but I had this box sitting around from a failed attempt to build a Green Ringer modulator. The only place I had left to drill a hole for the sustain knob was right above the footswitch, which is a terrible place for it to be. I’d try and sell this, but I think it’s too ugly. If anyone wants it, let me know..

And here’s another kind of ugly little pedal I made:


This is also a re-purposed box. It was originally a little volume / attenuator I’d built to try and tame the TubeScreamer (before I realised I actually wanted a distortion pedal). This was, if I recall correctly, my first non-kit effect. I watched this video on youtube about making a 10min fuzz, and taking  the circuit (dead simple!) I made a vero-board layout and put it together. It’s a pretty wild little one-knob fuzz, fun, but not something that would live on my board.

Another 1590A box I built early on was this A-B changer:A-B

Basically, you can use this to switch between two amps, or turn it around the other way and switch between two guitars into one amp.. At the time, I was pretty chuffed because I figured out how to use a dual-colour LED, which changes from red to green depending on which channel is activated.

And lastly for this post, another ugly little 1590A build:


This was another simple circuit.. I forget which boost circuit it was exactly, but it didn’t last long. I ended up completely taking the footswitch for another build and then putting another circuit inside, but the box is currently empty, an ugly green colour, & sitting in my parts box, because the base screws got a bit stripped.

That will do for now.


What do you think?