Based on a tried and true classic circuit (the Bazz Fuss), each pedal is tweaked to sonically destructive perfection then custom painted with splattery chaos.
Featuring a simple 1-knob configuration and built for use with standard 9v guitar pedal adapters, the custom Dog Is Blue Fuzz is the perfect tool for quick and dirty mayhem. Great for leads, feak-outs and general musical terror.
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!
I’ve been teasing this for a while, but the first batch of the limited run of custom Dog Is Blue fuzz pedals is finally ready! The design is basically a more efficiently laid out version of the kickass little Bazz Fuss circuit that is all ballsy, synthy and nasty fuzz. Check out the video above for a quick demo of the prototype (the only one with the power jack mysteriously on the front…) and there are in-progress photos below.
I’m a sucker for delay. Some guys can’t get enough fuzz or will pay a gazillion dollars for the ‘perfect’ overdrive, but my weakness is for anything that let’s my guitar get repeated ad nauseam in all manner of zaniness*.
I usually have at least one delay pedal with me on stage, but I’ve always wanted one that really pushed the envelope, which is where guitarPCB’s ‘D’lay’ circuit comes in, as there are some really zany mods that can be added with the stomp of a switch. See the video above for what I mean, as I added as second stomp switch that, when held down, lets the repeats in my signal ramp up like crazy (you can read about the mods here). It’s already been a lot of fun at the last few shows.
Not only is it a very fun pedal to use, but take a look at that awesome tin! Fossil was kind enough to send me a box full of their watch tins after I expressed that they were perfect for building pedals (in my humble opinion, anyway). You’ll be seeing a lot more of these beauties!
Not only that, but I recently found a weird old amp at Goodwill called “The Can” and couldn’t resist checking it out. It’s a solid state amp from the 80’s that’s shaped like a gas can. Made in the Crate factory in St. Louis, there were supposedly only 10,000 of these made. It’s actually pretty cool sounding too!
Case in point, the very versatile and useful Paramix circuit from Guitarpcb.com (designed by Tonmann). This sort of pedal can be a bit difficult to explain (as you can no doubt infer from my nonsensical ramblings in the video demo), but, while it’s no in your face fuzz or swirly phaser, it adds new options to how things like your fuzz or phaser can interact. You can almost think of it as allowing them to live beside each other instead of mashing on top of one another.
Just trust me when I say it really is an awesome pedal. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, would I? Also, that oranges and lemons tin is pretty great anyway…
I cobbled this blinking band sign together a while back (painted using a similar spray-paint method as shown in our video for “Raise Your Dead (Reprise)”), but it’s one of my more precarious DIY efforts so it’s often out of commission. I fixed it up again the other night and thought it’s time to finally show it off.
It’s got 2 settings: the first just has the lights on constantly and the second has them blink to the input of Laura’s trusty Korg Polysix. You can see my lovely assistant demonstrating that for you above (we had to do a few takes, as she’s a real ham. At least one version ended with her yelling “Dog Is blue” while fist pumping…in retrospect I definitely should have used that one!).
I want to repaint the name and make the words themselves light up, but it does the job in the meantime!
It’s been a while since I built a new guitar pedal. Putting together that gallery of all the ones I built in 2011 made me realize that I only finished a half-dozen or so the whole year. I guess that means I’m spending the rest of my time actually making music, right?
In any case, here’s a lovely lady I like to call ‘Stuttering Ginger.’ As I explain in the video demo below, I had to eat a lot of candy to empty that tin out (the pedal builders diet?). What’s inside now is a very choppy tremolo circuit called the ‘Stutter Trem’ designed by Forced Fire Pedals.
She’s a real beaut and I don’t actually have a standalone tremolo these days, so she’ll fill that niche very nicely. Check out the demo below if you want to hear me ramble…
With all the hype the Klon Centaur pedal gets I couldn’t help but try my hand at a project based on its likeness. This isn’t really a clone, as guitarpcb.com (where I get a lot of circuit boards for these projects) has stripped their MKC1 down to the bare essentials, while also adding some really useful modifications, like a bass toggle and extra stomp for even more gain.
I can’t really say how close to the “real thing” this circuit is, but a) it’s a great sounding overdrive and b) this build reminds me how perfect Fossil watch tins are for building pedals.
I’ve started gigging with this bad boy and it works very well with my BYOC 250 (the first pedal I built) to create some great lead sounds.
It’s been a while since I had any time to build a pedal. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have taken the time to build this one…but I couldn’t resist. A friend of mine recently picked up a secondhand Blackstone Mosfet Overdrive and was raving about it. After some digging online I had to give it a try.
Without getting too technical, it’s basically a “dual channel” overdrive that allows you to toggle between 2 different gain settings in one pedal—pretty useful if you want to dial in a crunchy rhythm sound then punch up the gain for a solo. All told, I’ve been having a ton of fun with this one and recommend checking it out. Of course, for the sake of masochistic exhaustiveness, I’m going to build a similar project by the fine fellas at runoffgroove.com called the Double D (both use the same chip for a similar dual channel idea…) to compare.
That said, this is one of the rare builds where I’d almost have preferred just buying the thing. For one, it’s not just another repackaged Tubescreamer, and also the real deal is about half the size of mine and looks great. Check it out for yourself at the Blackstone Appliances page.
Oh, and I found the awesome tin at Goodwill for $0.99. Those of you who follow us on Twitter know about the excellent records and things I’m always picking up there (got a ton of great stuff today, including The Art of Noise, This Mortal Coil, The The, The Boomtown Rats and more…).
This one’s for the gear-heads, like me*. We’re back from the East Coast and have some downtime between shows, so I figure it’s high time for a demonstration of all the wacky effect pedals we tour with. This is the actual rig used at a bunch of shows this year.
EDIT: the VW pedal is a Phase 45, not 90. Slip of the tongue.
I learned how to build these effects with the help of various online forums, like: