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    The preamp board wired up. This is the original preamp board. The circuit was adding a simple reverb circuit that totally ruined the sound of the amp so later we bypassed and removed this part of the circuit. The third socket from the left and its associated circuitry were removed.

    The preamp board wired up. This is the original preamp board. The circuit was adding a simple reverb circuit that totally ruined the sound of the amp so later we bypassed and removed this part of the circuit. The third socket from the left and its associated circuitry were removed.

DIY Fuzz.Bender Germanium Tone Distortion Pedal

 

Here it is as the Duo.Glassix Fuzz Bender. This video has been featured at both http://www.hackaday.com and http://www.makezine.com.

Thanks guys!

Catch the details, links, and schematics below the video!

The pedal is a cross between the Fuzz Face of Jimi Hendrix fame and the MKII Professional of Jimmy Page fame. The footswitch on the left switches between the 2 modes and the footswitch on the right bypasses the effect. The knob on the left is the attack knob which adjusts the disortion charachteristics while the knob on the right controls the output volume. Both of these pedals are considered to be the holy grail of distortion pedals and many a dollar has been spent in acquiring either. Here I have combined them into what is arguably the finest distortion device ever presented to musicians. I have used military grade Germanium transistors in the circuit to prevent the dreaded temperature based instabilities and also to provide the healthy germanium creaminess both of these pedals were known for.

First of all the basic circuit is the Fuzz Face. There is a ton of information about this pedal online but this is what I used to create this pedal:
http://www.geofex.com/article_folders/fuzzface/fftech.htm

And:
http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/fuzzface.php

Now… The Colorsound MKII Professional Tonebender circuit: Be warned this is a beastly fuzz pedal. The circuit is not to complicated since it is only one gain stage more than a typical Fuzz Face added to the front of the Fuzz Face circuit. You may find information about the MKII Tonebender here:
http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/mkII.php

And here is the specific schematic I used:
http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/mkII/mkIIschematic.gif

You will note there are many variants of each schematic and pedal. I specifically chose the earliest versions of each pedal to work with simply because these are the ones using the Germanium Transistors. Later versions of both of these pedals switched to Silicon Transistors which changed the sound. Some people prefer the sound of Germanium over Silicon and vice versa. Some folks even like to mix and match and you will encounter many such circuits on the WWW.

The problems with these types of pedals are their strange POSITIVE ground power supply (on earlier models) and transistor gain drift with temperature (also on earlier models). Later models switched to Silicon for stability and consistency not to mention being much cheaper. Transistor biasing can affect the sound and sonic tone of these pedals and you can certainly hear differences between a good or bad biasing of the transistors. The way I recommend to build the circuit is on breadboard so you can swap out biasing resistors to fine tune the circuit to your particular transistors and their specific gain structures. Take my word for it. It will be much easier to do on breadboard then after you have already soldered the board together. There are several locations to acquire Germanium Transistors. Steve Daniels over at http://www.smallbearelec.com/ provides both gain tested and pre-biased transistors and resistors sets. He also provides non-tested transistors for a few bucks less but you must measure and test each transistor to find its gain and biasing resistor amounts etc… Or not! The companies that built these pedals did no such thing. They simply built pedals using the next part grabbed out of a bucket of parts. So with that said the tone is completely up to you.. Its your pedal so build it so it sounds amazing to you and that is good enough!
Here it is in its final form as the Duo.Glassix Fuzz Bender. The pedal is a cross between the Fuzz Face of Jimi Hendrix fame and the MKII Professional of Jimmy Page fame. The footswitch on the left switches between the 2 modes and the footswitch on the right bypasses the effect. The knob on the left is the attack knob which adjusts the disortion charachteristics while the knob on the right controls the output volume. Both of these pedals are considered to be the holy grail of distortion pedals and many a dollar has been spent in acquiring either. Here I have combined them into what is arguably the finest distortion device ever presented to musicians. I have used military grade Germanium transistors in the circuit to prevent the dreaded temperature based instabilities and also to provide the healthy germanium creaminess both of these pedals were known for.

First of all the basic circuit is the Fuzz Face. There is a ton of information about this pedal online but this is what I used to create this pedal:
http://www.geofex.com/article_folders/fuzzface/fftech.htm

And:
http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/fuzzface.php

Now… The Colorsound MKII Professional Tonebender circuit: Be warned this is a beastly fuzz pedal. The circuit is not to complicated since it is only one gain stage more than a typical Fuzz Face added to the front of the Fuzz Face circuit. You may find information about the MKII Tonebender here:
http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/mkII.php

And here is the specific schematic I used:
http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/mkII/mkIIschematic.gif

You will note there are many variants of each schematic and pedal. I specifically chose the earliest versions of each pedal to work with simply because these are the ones using the Germanium Transistors. Later versions of both of these pedals switched to Silicon Transistors which changed the sound. Some people prefer the sound of Germanium over Silicon and vice versa. Some folks even like to mix and match and you will encounter many such circuits on the WWW.

The problems with these types of pedals are their strange POSITIVE ground power supply (on earlier models) and transistor gain drift with temperature (also on earlier models). Later models switched to Silicon for stability and consistency not to mention being much cheaper. Transistor biasing can affect the sound and sonic tone of these pedals and you can certainly hear differences between a good or bad biasing of the transistors. The way I recommend to build the circuit is on breadboard so you can swap out biasing resistors to fine tune the circuit to your particular transistors and their specific gain structures. Take my word for it. It will be much easier to do on breadboard then after you have already soldered the board together. There are several locations to acquire Germanium Transistors. Steve Daniels over at http://www.smallbearelec.com provides both gain tested and pre-biased transistors and resistors sets. He also provides non-tested transistors for a few bucks less but you must measure and test each transistor to find its gain and biasing resistor amounts etc… Or not! The companies that built these pedals did no such thing. They simply built pedals using the next part grabbed out of a bucket of parts. So with that said the tone is completely up to you.. Its your pedal so build it so it sounds amazing to you and that is good enough!

It seems as though I will hopefully be manufacturing a couple of productions runs of the updated version of this pedal. Same specs and transistors and mostly the same circuit but 4 modes of operation as opposed to the 3 modes this pedal has. By the way the owner of this pedal still loves it and uses it everyday both on stage and in the studio. I also constructed his custom designed 100 watt tube amp as well as the channel switching device. He has had no problems at all in the past 4 years with any of them. The only things in his rig I did not make were the guitar and the cords and the pick. I have made two more of these pedals and they sold right away. I barely had time to finish them because they were so eager to use them. The creamy lusciousness of the germanium allows full chords as well as single notes unlike a lot of modern distortion devices. I will make an announcement on this thread when the new pedals are available for sale if anyone is interested. I have not had the time nor the place to do any electronics work in the past few years due to life and medical problems but now I am back to stable again so look for new devices again soon! My website is http://www.duoglassix.com . My YouTube channel is also DuoGlassix.

One Response

  1. Generally I do not read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice article.

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