This is an older build for my tight bro Adam Wentworth (Bloodhorse, All Pigs Must Die). I dont remember specifically what he was looking for or how our conversation went then, only that we decided on building him a Rangemaster.
What is a Rangemaster, you might ask? Oh man….have you heard any recordings from any 1960’s or 70’s British rock bands? There’s probably one of them on all of the guitar tracks. At the time players were looking for ways to brighten up their dark British valve amps, and Dallas Arbiter developed the Rangemaster. Its a booster, which helps overdrive your amp, but its also a TREBLE booster. That means that it boosts your high notes more than your notes, which as you can imagine is great for ripping sustain-rich solos. The originals weren’t even pedals, they were little boxes that sat on your amp and pretty much stayed on all the time. The Rangemaster and a Vox AC30 is theee Brian May sound, if that tells you anything.
This Rangemaster was built with an AC187 germanium transistor and also features a tone knob which blends between two input caps to color the sound to your liking. The knobs are tone and boost.
Also be sure to check out Bloodhorse’s awesome pink floyd spae-metal record HORIZONER.
Do you know about the DOD 555-A Performer Distortion? Its a classic distortion effect that DOD made in the early 80s and man was it a weirdo. It ran off of TWO 18V power supplies and (surprisingly for a DOD product) didnt blow ass. It actually sounded quite nice in a vintage RAT kinda way. Good for overdrive, and great for full-up grinder distortion.
Well I had one but the case had just gone to complete shit. The flimsy DOD switch was busted, the battery door was gone, the knobs were all broken, and the pots were going too. Solution? Re-house it in a sturdy enclosure with a rugged-ass switch, new pots and new knobs. Even better solution? Make the enclosure gigantic!!! I also added a small charge-pump board to provide 18V supply off a standard 9V power supply, so no dealing with 2 batteries. Proceed, shredders.
Who doesnt love the Fuzz Face? It’s a CLASSIC. Its what almost every legendary guitar hero in the 60s started with, and while many of them moved on to other fuzzy landscapes, its hard to deny the universal appeal of these badass little dudes. If you dont love the fuzz face even a little bit, you might just have something terribly wrong with you.
This guy is a relatively stock germanium fuzz face. Its not completely stock for a few reasons. First off, tracking down the vintage AC128 or NKT275 germanium transistors is pricey and unnecessary, in my humble opinion. Second, these original units were of a reverse polarity from most modern pedal devices, which makes using external power supplies complicated, and that just sucks in this modern world. So fuck all that. I used some new old stock 2N1302 germs with smashing results. Everything else is stock values with Sprague and Mallory caps.
I liked this one so much that I made another, this time using old-stock Soviet germaniums (ГТ311Б!) of appropriate gain. Sounds just as sweet and just as fuzzy.
Both of these lil’ ragers are still available at the time of this post.
Yet another Foxx Tone Machine!!! These things are just so cool that I cant help but suggest them to everyone who’s looking for that fuzz they’ve been missing. This one’s for Josh Valleau (of Imani Coppola’s and John Legend’s bands….seriously). Think about that next time you hear a fuzz ripper from one of them.
Per Josh’s request this one had no LEDs, and a top-mount for the knobs and octave switch. Josh picked it up from me Saturday and said he played with it all afternoon and that it was “KILLER”.
This pedal is for the incomparably cool Mark Twistworthy. Mark runs one of my favorite blogs called Texas Punk Treasure Chest (although he’s slacking on the El Flaco posts) and is also in a few extremely kickass bands like The No No No Hopes and Come and Take It. Mark also was a clerk at my local record store when I was a teenager and has a great mix-up story about selling a kid a copy of Youth of Today’s “Break Down the Walls”, when the kid was actually looking for Musical Youth’s album “Youth of Today”. Pass the dutchie, Cappo.
Ahhhh anyway…so Mark was looking for something to dirty up his bass sound. After some discussion we determined he was after a fuzz box, and I knew it just had to be the basic fuzz. The origins of that circuit are the great Bazz Fuss which was supposed to a fuzz FOR bass, although it kills with guitar as well. So there you go….simple….easy….fuzzzz.
I told you more delays were coming! This one is for the esteemed Mayor of Greenpoint Brooklyn, Mr. Rich Hall. Rich asked me for a one-box space machine that would satisfy his fuzz and delay needs, and the one restriction was that it needed to be sparkly orange. I like those kind of orders!
The front end of this guy is the basic fuzz. Its just such a perfect fuzz-tone and its small, one-knob, and hassle-free. Perfect for a combo pedal like this. The left switch and left-most knob control the fuzz. That feeds a standard analog delay circuit which is controlled by the right switch and the right-most three knobs (delay, blend and feedback). You can use the effects independently and they’re great as-is or use em together to blast off to planet facemelter!
I have no idea what’s going on right now but people want delays! Maybe its the cold weather? All I know is that i’ve got requests for 4 delays right now, and another one in limbo that I havent committed to yet. DELAY SEASON.
This particular analog delay is an old build from when I was testing prototype boards for a fellow builder before they went into production. Its based off of the old Way Huge Aqua Puss. Its a great sounding delay but they also get a lot more stupid with addition of some mods, and man do I like stupid.
The unit in question here is a pretty standard analog delay topography with control for delay length, blend between wet and dry signals, and feedback (how much the delayed signal feeds back into the circuit for repeating, decaying, delays). When the feedback is turned down you get just one delay, but as you turn it up you get multiples like you’re yelling “echo” into the grand canyon. Turn it up even more and the circuit starts to freak out because its becoming a closed loop that just wants to repeat upon itself infinitely….and thats where it gets FUN. But its also totally not fun needing to kneel down while you’re rocking out to turn the feedback knob. Solution? A footswitch. One switch is the standard on-off switch and the other is a momentary switch which dimes the feedback when youre pressing it down, and sends the thing into oscillation heaven. KICK. ASS.
More mods to come on future builds….
This is another one of my Wrong Modulators for JC Rodriguez (Sohns, Scholars and Thieves) from San Antonio. The circuit is identical to ones ive built and posted about before but the box on this one is especially cool. Its a purple that I could only describe as GRIMACE purple. Its topped off with a bright blue LED, and the thing just looks so tuff.
I realized that some previous posts might have come off like I was talking shit on the venerable old Big Muff, and thats just not true at all. Its such a widely used fuzz that sometimes people need alternatives, but its still one of my favorites and has been since I got my first one in 1997.
My first foray into the world of Big Muffs was the “russian green” muff produced by Sovtek, and it blew my mind. Years later and i’ve played or cloned every variation of the Big Muff and the russian green is still my favorite. This is a faithful reproduction of the russian green that was built for Evan Craig.
As soon as I was done building this one I was so stoked on how awesome it sounded that I immediately build another one on the premise that sooner or later someone would need one. A few weeks later my buddy Bryce (Colonel Records) picked it up as a Christmas gift for his brother, Aidan. Here it is, in slightly smaller packaging: