There aren’t many pedals out there that an astute DIY enthusiast can’t build. However, if there’s one company that keeps pushing the envelope away from the same tired, easy to build overdrives and fuzzes it’s Electro Harmonix. Case in point, their Freeze pedal—a sound retainer effect—is next to impossible to piece together on my own. Thankfully Laura was kind enough to buy me one for my birthday and even kinder enough to give it to me a month and a half early!
After a quick test so she could see how happy I was, it was off to the drill press to add some holes into my new gift. In the end, as the above video describes (with a first attempt at annotations too!), I changed the stock stomp switch, went with an expression pedal jack to optionally control the effect level my foot, and added an effects loop. The latter allows me to run just the ‘frozen’ signal through things like a tremolo or phaser and not affect my guitar signal at all.
I couldn’t really find any guidelines on how to do any of this online (the usual suggestion of disconnecting the wiper of the level pot and inserting the effects loop there didn’t work), so I ended up tracing the circuit with an audio probe. All told, I took the ‘send’ signal from R3 and returned it to the wiper of the level pot (there could be an easier way, but I’m no guru—just a lunatic with a soldering iron).
That said, if you’re looking to do this to your own Freeze just be aware that it’s all SMD components and I almost lost R3 a few times (it’s about the size a hangnail). But you know what they say, “He who dares…” blah blah blah.
We used this newly modified bad boy at a show on the weekend and it worked really well. A friend later remarked that he what sounded like an organ playing under my guitar, which is exactly what I was hoping for!