Hot Fuzz

Previously I’ve posted on a fuzz box that I made for Paul Digs. Recently Jamie Roberts asked me to build him a custom remake of the old Electroharmonix/Sovtek Bigg Muff fuzz pedals. I was speaking with Paul and the fuzz I made for him didn’t really suit his needs so I decided to design and build two fuzz pedals. Starting with any number of the dozens of Big Muff Schematics available on line I tested the circuit and made a couple small modifications… asymmetrical clipping. I used Eagle Cad to draw up the schematic and generate the gerbers and then sent out the custom boards for manufacturing through Batch PCB. They have an exceptional service and are extremely easy to deal with. I highly recommend them.


That was essentially the most difficult part. Upon receiving the boards back I mocked up the enclosure layout, drilled my holes and then sent out the enclosures for chrome plating. This was expensive, $80+ per enclosure, which was more than half of the entire cost of each pedal but it was worth every penny. They came out stunning. Exceptional knobs, custom silk screening, and pots with 11 detents. Up to 11! Having finished I would only have changed two things. I would have included a power on LED and included a 9v battery clip instead of just a DC power supply. Nearly all parts were sourced from mouser. The only exceptions were the footswitch, jacks, enclosure, and knobs.


Unfortunately I don’t have sound samples but these things squeal and pump out some serious gain. But, as with anything analog with that much gain you get a significant amount of noise. Not really a problem when you’re playing… just when you stop.


You can see the detailed photo set here on Flickr.

DJ Paul Digs Fuzz


This is my second design from scratch that I put together for DJ Paul Diggs. He mentioned to me he wanted to add some fuzz to his Fender Rhodes and this seemed like a great chance to take a stab at an original design. Well, almost original. The distortion circuit is a portion of a larger circuit which I found on the web but unfortunately did not document. The remainder however, the sweepable low pass filter and second tone control I added in myself. Overall this is a pretty versatile sounding fuzz box with a pretty wide range of tones. It utilizes diode clipping so it still can be a little harsh although with the filter and clean/dirty mix you it can be tweaked for a nice sound. This is hopefully only the first version, I’ll be working with Paul to refine the tone and the layout to hopefully make this a perfect compliment to his Rhodes and bring about the sounds of classic rock years gone by like those from Joe Zawinul and the likes of Weather Report… though that’s just my taste, I’d bet it will end up a bit different.

This time I actually took notes and threw together a schematic. I’m hardly an engineer and my understanding of analog circuits is elementary so I welcome suggestions and criticisms from anyone familiar with these types of things. As with the other projects you can see detailed photos on the build at Flickr.

More photos, comments, and the schematic can be found on Flickr here:

Paul’s Fuzz

Sound Samples:

Unfortunately I neglected to sample this box before popping it in the mail. Version II will definitely have samples. That will be better anyway.  Incedentally I’ve repalced this fuzz with a better one.. the Big Muff Mod.

Crash Sync

The Crash Sync is a John Hollis design who’s schematic can be found here. There are dozens of examples of these on the web.  They’re pretty popular among DIY enthusiasts and not terribly difficult to throw together.  John’s site has a number of great projects that center around Op Amps and are very affordable to complete.

I typically use whatever components I have available, either bought or raided from old gear, so when putting a project together there are some inevitable changes.  In this project I used different Op Amps and added in a bypass switch (with lights of course) to pass the original signal.  As far as I can tell using a different op amp hasn’t had a noticeable impact on the sound of this awesome little box. Lastly, like all of my boxes so far, I haven’t wired them up for use with a 9V… which is fine for me, but others might find it an inconvenience.   See the full flickr set for detailed photos.

Many more photos and comments on this build can be found on Flickr here:

The Crash Sync

Sound Samples:
Before #1
After #1

Before #2
After #2

Oregano Crunch

This is the first distortion “box” I designed myself. Admittedly it was a haphazard process of jamming parts together with only minimal understanding of what I was doing. It uses a couple diodes and an LED as well as a couple of op amps to give this guy some seriously gut busting distortion.

Looking back I now know I have some bias problems which cause some unpredictable behavior but my poor design notwithstanding, this is well suited for sound-design/sampling. It however is not functional as a typical signal processor. I neglected to label the inputs and the knobs so I always have to f with it to get it working, an amateur move, but I think it adds a little something… like a what-the-hell-does-that-do kind of something.

The most noticeable feature is the enclosure. As you could guess by the name it’s all tossed in an Oregano spice jar. Even if you don’t like the sound you can’t deny it smells delicious.   Not to mention there’re some LEDs in there but, no battery operation.  I don’t know why; that would have been pretty easy to accomplish. I recently went back to draw up a schematic of this circuit. armed with more knowledge of what i was doing I realized half these components weren’t doing jack and i was just overdriving an unbiased op amp.

Be sure and check the full photo set on Flickr and listen to the sound samples below.

Sound Sample:  oregano_before, andoregano_after.