Posts Tagged ‘ Big Muff ’

Klone-Trooper (Bare-Bones Klon Centaur & Skreddy Mayo)

So this is the first time I’ve combined two effects into one enclosure. It was an interesting process and the only real difficult part was fitting both circuits into such a small space. The original Klon Centaur circuit can take up quite a bit of real estate (view my other post on the Klon Centaur) and I doubted that I would be able to fit it into the same enclosure as a modified big muff with mids switch. Luckily, I was able to find a vero layout for a Klon Centaur that omits some of the features of the pedal, but greatly reduces the footprint.  The schematic that I used can be found at, which is a fantastic educational resource for learning about the why and how of pedals.

So what did I lose by using this bare-bones Klon layout? First of all, you lose the charge pump. I won’t get much into it here, but many say that the charge pump is crucial to the “Klon” sound, while others feel that it is unnecessary and by simply swapping the other op amps in the circuit you can still retain that Klon tone. As well, I used a true bypass system in this build. While the original Klon features a buffered bypass, while considering the amount of space (or lack of) I was working with, I felt that true bypass was a good choice. As well, some pedals are finicky when they are fed by a buffered signal, and I was unsure of how the “Mayo” side of things would sound with a buffered signal pushing it.

Klon Centaur Skreddy Mayo Gutshot

Even though I was using a deeper enclosure it was still somewhat of a challenge to fit both of these pedals into the same space. I think perhaps if I had used solid core wire I would have been able to clean up the wiring a bit, but at the cost of (IMO) reduced durability. I find that while solid core while retains it shape much better stranded wire is a bit more “giving” and can be moved around more.

So anyways, after the usual debugging/cursing it’s all ready to go. The “Mayo” side has quickly become one of my favourite Muff circuits. The addition of the mid switch gives me the option to boost or cut the mids while still giving me the option for the “stock” sound. I’d have to say I prefer this over the usual tone bypass switch that I’ve put on other muff builds. I used standard 2N5088 transistors as I could not find a decent source for NOS 2N5133 transistors that were in the right hfe range for a “reasonable price”. I kind of feel that spending over $10 a transistor is a little bit silly (feel free to disagree) when the clipping diodes are doing most of the work.

The Bare Bones Klon, on the other hand, I’m still impressed with, but it does lack the output of my other Klon Klone. I find the bare bones circuit to be a bit less versatile, and while I’m not the biggest fan of using it with my amp set up clean it sounded amazing boosting it when already overdriven, or boosting another pedal (like the Mayo!)

Klon Centaur & Skreddy Mayo
A note on the LEDs. If you’re planning on using white LEDs make sure that your CLR (current limiting resistor) is a larger value that what you would normally use. While on most builds I’ll use something in the 4-6K range with a blue or red LED, with the whites I find I must use a value of 22K, and even then they still are fairly bright!

Electro Harmonix Op Amp Big Muff and another Lovepedal Purple Plexi 800

Hey everyone. After a crazy few months of starting a new job I’m finally back to building pedals. Today we’re going to look at one of my favourite variations of the Big Muff as well as my (current) favourite Marshall-in-a-box pedals with a few surprises along the way.

I think the Op Amp Big Muff is my favourite because of its uniqueness. Instead of the usual 4 transistors this version features two small IC chips. Well how does that affect the sound you ask? Personally I think it provides the muff with a bit more gain and mids, both of which are wanted in my opinion. I built this pedal almost a year ago, but I thought I’d like to revisit it as I recently found out that the Op Amp muff was used by Billy Corgan on the Smashing Pumpkins’ album Siamese Dream. Here’s what mine turned out to look like:

I stole that graphic from a Middles Ages textbook that I have kicking around for some odd reason. The uneven surface texture on the enclosure is a result of a brass brush on a dremel, and the font is the same font used on older Big Muffs. It all makes the pedal look somewhat “Doomy” but I like it.

You’ll also notice a little toggle switch near the top of the pedal. That’s the tone-bypass switch, which was a stock feature on the 1978 Muff. Basically it takes the tone control circuit out of the pedal and provides you with a less-fizzy more middy sounding muff, which I find cuts through the mix of a band.

On to the PP800. I built this for a friend in Montreal. He requested a modification to enhance the bass response. Going back to my training in pedal-building 101 I experimented with changing the value of the input capacitor to fine-tune the amount of bass response I was able to get two values that really work both for single coils and for humbuckers. Here’s a few pics of the completed build.

Improved PP800

The enclosure looks much more purple in person. After using a very nice DSLR at work I’ve decided to upgrade from a crappy cell phone camera to something more legit. If you have any camera recommendations please let me know!

I finished the pedal with Silver Marshall knobs and a frosted white LED.

Finally, here’s a a little tip when building a PP800. I’ve noticed that quite a few people’s clones have a very annoying high pitched squeal when the gain is turned up to 11. My solution to this problem is to replace the 10R resistor connected to lug 3 of the gain pot with one of a slightly higher value. I use a 47R resistor in its place and I get none of that squeal, even at higher gain and volume settings.

Next up will be a pair of KLONES and a Tube Screamer of some sort. Stay tuned!

Heyhey (Electro Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff)

Welcome to my pedal building blog. I recently complicated my Masters and now that I have a bit more free time I finally got a around to starting this blog. Here you’ll find some pics of recent builds, information and tips about pedal building, and some links to various blogs of like-minded individuals. To start out here’s a Green Russian Big Muff I completed yesterday. We’ll start with a shot of the populated circuit board.  I use vero (strip) board for the majority of my builds. It’s pretty straight forward and it’s easy to find various schematics for different pedals. I just ordered a few different PCBs, so be on the lookout for those in future posts.

I’ve been working on cleaning up the wiring inside my builds. It’s still not near the level of OCD I’m looking for, but it has greatly improved since the first pedal I built (A 386-based fuzz IIRC).

Unfortunately as you can see I’m not the best photographer. The only camera I own is part of my ancient cell phone. Eventually I’ll purchase a camera (sure sure) but for now we’ll just make best of Zach Morris’ cell phone camera. Finally here’s a shot of the completed build. I used Krylong “camouflage” paint on the enclosure. It’s very easy to work with and has a very nice flat finish. Perfect for Sovtek pedals or for that Sherman Tank that’s been on your front lawn for the last few decades. As you can see I still hate working with Waterslide decals. Maybe the ones I bought off Ebay aren’t the best quality (the engrish instructions certainly aren’t) but no matter how careful I am I still get a few air bubbles. Oh well, they work well enough. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first to put this line on a pedal, but I think it’s pretty appropriate.

That white footswitch washer kind of ruins it I know, but it’ll stay until I find a suitable metal replacement. The pedal fired up right away and compared to my IC muff the Greenie has a bit less gain but far more output and BASS. It has a warehouse of bass. Great Success!

See you next time.

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