Tres Hombres.

This here is a trio of distortion boxes.  The circuit was originally published in the *great* Ken Anderton book “Electronic Projects for Musicians”.  Later a version of it with a few minor tweaks was built by Way Huge Electronics (the original issue of them) and marketed under the model name of “Red Llama”.  Those now fetch somewhere around 1 zillion dollars on ebay (okay, a few hundred).  Anyway the circuit is a refreshing change of topology using a CMOS hex inverter for the gain stages, and sound-wise the results are pretty damn cool.  Its kind of a halfbreed….not wild enough enough to be a fuzz, not tame enough to be an overdrive.  Its a good overall distortion and sonic-thickener.  Its my own personal go-to whenever i just need a distortion pedal. 

These three were all built and sold some time ago.  Controls are volume and distortion/gain, just like any good pedal should be….


Ahhh….finally some fresh builds.  This one was built for Doug of the great, slow, huge, earth-moving, fuzz-blast machine, Bad Dream.  I’m sure that Doug has a last name, but I dont know what is is.  In my phone his name is saved as “Douglass Von Shreddingham” so lets just go with that.

Doug was looking for something to replace his Big Muff.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Big Muff, but you know sometimes you just want to expand outward into similar but different territory.  I suggested the Foxx Tone Machine and that was that.  Doug wanted to go with the classic layout so I did.  All of the knobs, jacks, and the octave switch are on the side, with the bypass on top.  This unit is 100% true to the original with some modern touches like true-bypass switching, an LED indicator, and optional AC power jack.  This circuit absolutely SMOKES.  Doug loved it through his rig (a cranked plexi or two) and said “its so clear and fuzzy”.  Seems like an oxymoron but whatever…..fuzz forth!


Ahhh yet another old build.  I’ve really gotta start getting off my ass and building more shit so that I have new and interesting topics to talk about.  Anyway, this is a build that I did awhile ago for Mr. Ben Murphy (Bright Men of Learning, not enough other bands).  Ben came to me with a simple request: 

Can you make me a stupid pedal? Something farty? Maybe some sort of octave-fuzz or something? It should sound like something’s seriously wrong with it. Everything I own sounds too “nice”.

So after some messing with an initial prototype, i built this thing for him called the Benergy.  The original design is based off of some parts of the Mid-Fi Peace Gun circuit, with some tweaks here and there.  The sound is bright and fuzzy, kinda spittle-buzzy here and there, with an almost ring-modulator-like resonance.  Ben put it up next to some boutique Fulltone fuzzes and called the comparison “hilariously awesome“.  Controls are frequency and resonance, and the color scheme is white on white per request from the owner!

Lawyer blues.

Tube Screamers!  I *hate* Stevie Ray Vaughn and it makes me want to hate these pedals, too, but I cant stay mad at you, Tube Screamer….you totally rule.

This is spot-on recreating of the TS-808 classic.  The buffers have been left in, it uses a new production 4558 chip, and man does it kick ass.  These pedals are kind of subtle compared to a lot of others.  There’s not a huge amount of boost, and there’s also not a huge amount of squishy overdrive…..there’s just enough.

Orange droolius.

This is a pretty standard JFET type of booster which came about as an accident.  I had been making one specific tremolo for a few people (Erick Coleman, Will Adams) who, while they liked the tremolo, seemed more a fan of the boost/preamp that it gave then the actual  tremolo effect.  That isnt really a new phenomenon, though……EVH was known for running through the pre-amp of an echoplex without any echo effect just for some boost.

So at the request of Erick I isolated out the input gain stage, made some small mods to it, and built it as a standalone boost.  Per the man himself it sounds like “Link Wray in a box”.  Thats a lot of hairdo for such a small pedal.

Erick’s was orange and he named it the Orange Droolius, which sounds like a keeper to me.

Kustom klipper.

This is a custom overdrive built for master horsetradesman Erick Coleman.  Its a standard diode-clipper type of overdrive; the same mechanism used in pretty much EVERY overdrive ever made from Klon to Tubescreamer to Guv’nor to Rat.  This particular one is based on the most simple of those clipper circuits, the old Electra Distortion.  It has a single transistor providing the gain, and then switchable diode pairs which clip the signal for the overdrive effect.  Each switch controls the switching diode in one direction, and switches between a silicon diode, no diode, or a germanium diode.  This allows Erick to to jump around between a lot of clipping, a little clipping, no clipping, and any asymmetrical variety in between that suits his ears.  Pretty dang cool.  The controls here are gain and output volume


This is also old news but worth a post.  Not my first amp build, certainly not my last, but one of my favorites that i’ve done.  The circuit here is a basic one:  the Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe.  So many classics were recorded through one of these and so many greats love them (Billy Gibbons, Neil Young, Mike Campbell, etc)

For this amp the power section has been doubled to provide around twice the output (~25watts).  A few other mods were also made to tailor the circuit to my liking.  Black tolex with a brown faceplate and oxblood grill.  Most of the hardware came as a packaged kit from Weber, but a number of substitutions have been made for better parts.  Tubes are GZ34 rectifier, 4 6V6Ss, 12AX7, and a 12AY7.

My use of ellipses is abysmal.

This one was made for long-time Mexican Roy Mata of Black Congress.  Its a combo pedal starting with a vintage Foxx Tone Machine circuit on the right.  The Tone Machine was this absolutely killer fuzz from the seventies that’s always been semi-hard to come by.  Gibbons used them and so did PFunk and Frampton! Its *kinda* like a big muff, but also not like a big muff all in the same and so it winds up being a kickass option for people that want that muff sound with a bit of variation.  The sonic differences are that this guy has a much more flat tone stack so its not missing the mids, like a muff is known for.  Also the fuzz is a bit more *fuzzy* to me…less smooth. The originals included a toggle switch to turn on a zany octave-up type of effect, but Roy didnt want that so I left it off.  Following that in the chain is what else but a boost!  Sometimes you just want the fuzz and sometimes you just want people to shit themselves.  This one has you covered.

Post title stolen from Chester Soria!

Trio of MkII ToneBenders

These are a few months old but they’re worth mentioning.  Three ultra-mojo clones of the original Solasound MkII Tonebender from the 60s.  Each uses old-stock 2N1304 germanium transistors with mallory and sprague caps, housed in a slightly oversized 1590J enclosure.  They’re totally basic fuzzes but totally amazing ones at the same time (very early zepplin!).  I have one, Will Adams (Lower Dens, Ka-Nives) has one, and Erick Coleman (The Speed Knobs, Saturn Missile Batteries, StewMac Trade Secrets!) has the other.

CE-2: part 2

This is a pretty basic clone of the original Boss CE-2 Chorus built for hairdo-enthusiast Cley Miller of Young Mammals, Wicked Poseur, and Hamamatsu Tom and the Bareback Hell Stallions Band.  Absolutely killer classic-sounding chorus out of this circuit.  It has an added mod via the toggle switch which switches off the chorus modulation and leaves straight vibrato.

This is CE-2 ‘part 2’ because its actually the second one that i’ve built for Cley.  The first was stolen from him at a club in Houston (my first thieved pedal!).  I’ve also built this circuit before with some tweaks for bass for Geoff of Lower Dens.