Welcome to the Revolution

Hi there, welcome to my blog - La Revolution Deux. It's an odd name - but I like it! Here you will find all the info on my various DIY Guitar effects builds, amplifiers and guitars. Everything from a humble Ibanez tubescreamer to the holiest KLON Overdrive.

You may also find a few effects builds that I am looking to move on - usually in exchange for other effects/gear/cash. You can always check my ebay account to see what I've got up for grabs.

Have fun, enjoy the blog - Fred Briggs :-)


Feel free to get in contact with me about anything you see on this blog or with any general questions about guitars, amplifiers and effects, I'll be happy to answer! Just click the button above to email me directly or alternately my email address is fredbriggs2007 [at] googlemail [dot] com

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Friday, 25 September 2009

Blackstone - Mosfet Overdrive

In the realms of solid state overdrive pedals a lot of contenders claim to be "tube like" and have that tone which only a true vacuum tube can provide. However, few actually deliver on that promise. After having played around with the Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive circuit I can safely say - it sounds damn good! Certainly tube like and very responsive. This is partially to do with the CMOS inverters found in the circuit design (Which is where the mosfets come in, within each inverter stage are two mosfets ;-) For those that were wondering) but is also partially to do with the interesting use of the front end opamp gain stage.

For anyone looking for a different tone than the standard tubescreamer I'd recommend you give one of these things a go! Check out the youtube demo, I love the tone;

Here's a schematic drawn by RipDivot; http://www.mediafire.com/?eqs17owjkdf8kip

And here is RipDivot's excellent vero layout;

For a great PCB layout check out Madbean's Mysterioso ; http://www.madbeanpedals.com/projects/MysteriosoJR/docs/Mysterioso_JR_ver2.pdf

Here are some images of a great build done by MichP -

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Fred Briggs - Silver Orchid OD/Boost FOR SALE!

Update - Sorry it took this long to put up a SOLD notice, this one went in the first few hours!. I'm sorry if you emailed after it went! I'll be putting up some more of my builds in the future. They are all sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, I don't do auctions (unless the pedal is on ebay of course!).

Hello hello, I have one of these beauties for sale. It's all made up and ready to go, it's the one pictured. It's a low/medium gain OD/booster. Check out the instructions sheet image below for more info. It's a super dynamic pedal capable of tones from bright and light clean boost right through to a sturdy rock 'n roll bark. I'd like to keep it for myself but I need some cash for parts to build up a new mini amp :-) (1.5 Watt Plexi anyone?!)

I'm looking for £75 for this one (approx $125 or 85 euro) Shipping in the UK is £4, shipping to the US is $20 and to 7 euro to Europe. All shipping is first class and fully insured. Send me an email if you're interested/have any other questions :-)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Fred Briggs - Hummingbird Overdrive

Here's another one. I've had a lot of emails for this one. The best way I can describe it is as an "enhancer" - it makes and already good overdrive tone better! It produces a great low overdrive, the compression and shimmer controls are very interactive with regard to both the gain/clipping structure and the overall tone and feel of the device..

This design was born from a challenge set to me and a few others by Bjorn of BJF effects to build a circuit that sounded like the honeybee. Soulsonic came up with a very elegant and simple design called the Hunny Bunny: http://www.soulsonicfx.com/?page_id=88 (I love that circuit). The Humming Bird De'luxe is what I came up with and you can see the schematic below.

Here's a vero layout by Harald Sabro (http://www.sabrotone.com):

[NOTE] One of the capacitors is marked as 47k on the schematic - this should read 47n. Point B goes to the input of the mosfet stage.

Fred Briggs - Silver Orchid Overdrive

I've been away for a while. I'm back and here is a schematic for you! It's a great overdrive and boost, a development on from my standard overdrive. Add a switch to the diodes for extra fun :-)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Catalinbread - Dirty Little Secret

This is a fairly new offering from Nic at Catalinbread effects. Check out the page here: http://www.catalinbread.com/DLS.html

There are plenty of demo videos on the Catalinbread website but here is an extra one;

The Dirty Little Secret has been getting rave reviews for a while now and that was enough to spark peoples curiosity as to what was going on inside. The guys over at freestompboxes.org opened one up and this is a schematic drawn up by WhiteKeyHole;

Here is the part list;

Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret - Part List

Part Value

C1 0.05uF
C2 100pF
C3 0.22uF
C4 4.7uF
C5 0.05uF
C6 0.022uF
C7 470pF
C8 200pF
C9 0.05uF
C10 47pF
C11 2.2uF
C12 0.033uF
C13 10uF
C14 100uF
C15 0.003uF
C16 147pF
POT1 100KB
POT2 100KB
Q1 2N5457
Q2 2N5457
Q3 2N5457
Q4 2N5457
Q5 2N5457
Q6 2N5457
R1 1M
R2 47K
R3 10K
R4 1M
R5 1M
R6 4.7K
R7 470K
R8 22K
R9 200K
R10 4.7K
R11 22K
R12 200K
R13 1M
R14 470K
R15 12K
R16 1M
R17 1M
R18 47R

A great vero layout from Harald Sabro (check out his site here for more great vero layouts; www.sabrotone.com);

As you can see - stacked mu-amp stages, a great way to get some serious marshall rock tones. I've not built one up yet but when I do I'm going to give mine an adjustable voltage supply ranging from 18V - 4.5V, these stacked mu-amp stages react very differently to altered supply voltages, articluate and dynamic at 18V and a softer, more compressed feel as you lower it down.

All in all the Dirty Little Secret looks like a great little pedal, much fun to play with :-)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

BJF - Dyna Red Distortion :-)

[Note] This post also contains the Bearfoot FX Dyna Red Distortion [Note]

Everyone loves the Dyna Red - A great sounding overdrive/distortion circuit from Born of BJFe. A great, dynamic response with a smooth top end ar features of this great unit. Here's a demo video;

Check out the schematic here;

This schematic was reversed from a dyna red which had been modified by Bjorn himself to produce more character in the lower mids, Soulsonic found that by replacing the 0.47uF cap on the feedback loop with a 0.1uF cap that the original sound was restored.

Integrating the bass control of Paul C's Timmy circuit could work wonders, go on, give it a try!

Here's a perf/pcb layout for you;

Many thanks to all involved over at freestompboxes.org :-)

And now the Bearfoot Dyna Red Distortion, here's the scheme;

For more great info on Bjorn's stuff get over to the BJFe forum (http://www.bjfe.org) and ask some questions, Bjorn always puts an interesting answer down for you :) Get involved with the HoneyBee Project too!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Skreddy - Screwdriver Overdrive

This is a nice project, again from the Freestompboxes disection table. A very dynamic, natural sounding  overdrive from Marc at Skreddy pedals. I know lots of guys out there have been asking for this. So here is a schematic :-)

Demo video is here:

Check out the full thread on the discussion of the Screwdriver in the freestompboxes thread here:

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Zvex Nano Head Schematic?

Yep. It's here alright, I actually drew the schematic up on this one! -

Check it out. Note that the power supply in the scheme is not the original switching type as used in the nano. It'll make no difference to the sound, all the power supply needs to do it provide 230VDC to those plates! You could sub in the power supply from this amp here: http://jjs.at/electronic/class_a_subminiature.html

Demo video:

This was kindly provided by a freestompboxes.org member, many thinks :-)

View the thread here: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=511&p=55083#p55083

Here are some good links regarding sub-mini tube amps - http://amps.zugster.net/projects/subminiature

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Emma - ReezaFRATzitz

Well, well, well. I just built this thing up. What a suprise - I loved it, which is a suprise seeing as I loath the sound of the "Tube Sound Fuzz" that this circuit seems to have taken it's inspiration from. I really love the Bias control and the tone control is very effective too. It's a much better distortion (In my opinion) than, say, a Rat. Pretty dynamic and cleans up well with the guitar volume pot. A nice find, I've recently started exploring CMOS technology with a view to developing my own distortion! I knew that invertors *could* be used to create a nice distortion as inside those little CMOS invertor blocks there are MOSFETs, and we all know how nice they are :-) Check the CD4069 datasheet here: http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/datasheets/90/206781_DS.pdf

Here's a demo video for the Reezafratzitz;

Anyhow, here is the Marketing blurb from the Emma website:
"Just when you thought you had seen the strangest name for a stompbox, EMMA offers up the Reezafratzitz! Like it's unconventional handle, the RF-1 is a unique type of OD/Distortion unit that stands out in an extremely crowded playing field. The RF-1 offers incredibly rich, full-bodied crunch that is so close to tube-amp overdrive that you''d be hard pressed to choose which was which. The secret to the RF-1's amazing tone lies in it's Bias control. This knob allows the user to morph between Class B and Class A biasing, altering the harmonic structure of the signal and providing a much wider variety of tonal options than your standard distortion. In Class B mode, the RF-1 exhibits a thick, chunky grind similar to a Marshall or Fender amp. Class A mode provides sweet, singing saturation worthy of the finest Vox AC30. Additional controls for Level, Gain, and a Hi Boost/Hi Cut Tone circuit allow the user to fine tune the RF-1 to taste. When you're ready to set trends rather than follow them, the Reezafratzitz will provide the audio inspiration you need to set yourself apart!"

Here is a project put together by thn.technik;

You'll notice this project has a "Bass/mids" mod performed on it, this slight alteration adds a lot of new tones to the pedal and is well worth doing. 

I must say a huge thanks to all those involved - you know who you are! For more info and build reports visit the freestompboxes.org forum.

Landgraff - Dynamic Overdrive

I didn't realise that I hadn't posted this before. Anyhow, the Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive, is, wait for it, a Tubescreamer with a 2 position toggle switch to change the clipping diode type from simple silicon diodes to red LEDs. hmmmmmmm, it's all very familiar...

It's got a great tone;

Check out the schematic below... (See who it's drawn by ;-) ooooooooooohohhhhhhhwwwww) for fun compare the Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive and the Clay Jones Overdrive....

Monday, 2 March 2009

Fred Briggs - Hummingbird Overdrive

I've been working on this pedal for around two months now. From conception to completion it is the longest I've ever spent on a stompbox project. I think it's paid off. Prepare yourself for some "mojo" chatter, here it goes -

The original idea was to create something a little like the BJF Honeybee Overdrive - a slew rate limited overdrive pedal which produces lovely soft overdrive tones (Slew rate is the rate at which a device can react to changes in a signal's amplitude - if you limit the slew rate the audible effect is a softening of the higher frequencies). Unlike the Honeybee though I wanted to keep the highend of my signal intact, unlike the roll off produced when you "dig in" to the Honeybee (created by what I believe is a feedback capacitor from diodes that clip to ground to the - input of an op amp chip, confirmation will be coming VERY shortly :-).

I started out looking at how slew rate limiting was achieved. Mostly it involved the use of an op amp chip such as the LM301 or CA3130 (Keep this chip in your head - I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it in the very near future! ;-) and an external compensation capacitor. I didn't want to use a chip in my design so I decided to go discrete! I started by taking the discrete op amp circuit from the boss blues driver circuit, well know for it's dynamic response to playing styles. This was my starting block. From there I made significant circuit modifications, firstly to induce considerable slewrate limiting and secondly to create a soft, dynamic overdrive that can be stacked very nicely with other gain pedals. After I had my basic sound I then fine tuned each individual section of the build, hand selected parts and tuned values to their optimum tonal values. I settled on a mixture of Metal Film and Carbon Composition resistors with a combination of Paper in Oil, Silver Mica, Metal Film and Tantalum capacitors. 

This rampant, unaffected parts selection ended up with a bill that was not too cheap but definitely worth it; this is, without a doubt, my favorite overdrive pedal. It is as dynamic as the Fulltone OCD while being much softer and playable at higher volumes. The high end is tamed and efficient, it'll still be there even with the gain maxed and volume low and it's always soft and syrupy with a chewy texture that allows notes to melt out from the fretboard. The "Nectar" control I incorporated allows a steady increase in low-end response meaning that you can lower the bass content for bass heavy amps while paying through humbuckers or twin the Hummingbird with brighter, single coil equipped guitars such as the telecaster without any compromise in playability.

I'm so happy with this design that I'm building myself another - the Hummingbird De-Luxe with two extra controls for "Sag" (Which you can see on the gut shot as a small black trim pot) and "Shimmer" (A treble boost/cut control). Check out the shots below!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

How did you make that Reverb?

In my previous post HERE I showed how I'd turned a Behringer RM600 Reverb Machine from useless to great. After multiple requests; here is the schematic that I used for my switching and mixing sections:

As you can see I used a Super Hard On for the PreGain circuit and to buffer up the front of my mixer, three other opamp buffers are then used to isolate various parts of the signal chain with the final op amp being used to provide a stable 1/2 V bias point. Series low pass filters on the output of the reverb line help to greatly soften any noise produced by the reverb circuit (Which is running 100% wet). By running the preGain control high and using the two mix controls effectively there is basically no increase in noise while using the circuit at all (A great improvement). I'm very happy using this circuit for other projects as well, I'll be using it on a Behringer EM600 Echo Machine in the future. Have fun using this while rehousing all those bargain pedals into super cool (USEABLE!) effects :-)

Monday, 23 February 2009

How to turn a poor reverb into a very useful reverb.

I've been working on this for a few days now. I purchased one of these: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/RV600.aspx, a Behringer RV600 Reverb Machine for a couple of quid. It's supposed to be a replica of the Line 6 Verbzilla pedal (more info on that one here: http://line6.com/tonecore/verbzilla.html) and it does a pretty good job of emulating it too. There are ton of very useful reverb tones to be had here. However, there was also 3 major problems with the stock unit:

1) The case was plastic and definitely not up to being trodden on for long!
2) The stock switching was useless. If you had trails on and the mix set below about 80% there was serious tone suck, if the mix was 100% wet and you turned the thing off it didn't pass your signal at all!
3) There was a noticable noise increase while using the pedal.

OK, so simple. A rehouse was in desperate need! I also decided to build up my own switching and mixing system around the pedal instead of trying to adapt the stock unit to perform how I wanted (It's all SMD so not ideal to take a soldering iron too!). 

The switching/mixing system I designed allows you to have trails on the switching but also to true bypass the unit. I added independent wet and dry level controls and a preGain control (I used a Zvex SHO as the preamp circuit) which controls the boost of the signal before it hits the front of the 'verb. The set up I produced, with the separate wet/dry level & preGain controls in combination with a few sneaky low pass filters, allows much lower noise operation than the stock single "mix" control present on the Behringer RV600. There is no distinct increase in noise between on and bypassed!

Below you can see what I eventually produced. Controls from left to right: PreGain, Wet Level, Dry Level, Tone, Decay, Delay, Mode.

Check out the neat custom Hammerite & Jackson Pollock paint job :-) On the left of the internal gutshot you can see my custom switching/mixing circuit. I'll be posting a schematic of my switching/mixing circuit soon so stay tuned if your going to be embarking upon any Behringer rehouses....

Next up the Behringer EM600 Echo Machine ;-)

P.S Thanks to SuperVelcroBoy for his heads up on things to look out for while rehousing Behringer stompboxes.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Way Huge - Aqua Puss Analogue Delay

Woooooo. Thanks to FSB we once again have a fresh project over at freestompboxes.org. The Way Huge Aqua Puss has, for a very long time, been the holy grail for analogue delay freaks. Well Joe Gore was kind enough to donate his to the cause and took some great gutshots which allowed a schematic to be formed......

It seems there is nothing new inside. It's a standard Boss DM-2 clone with top quality parts! Still a great project to get involved in though. Check the thread out here: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4216

For a schematic, PCB and layout (Much thanks to Bajaman :-) check out his little project folder: http://freestompboxes.org/members/bajaman/Baja/Baja%20Wet%20Cat%20Analog%20Delay/

He calls his version the "Wet Cat" - build it, if you can find the ultra rare MN3005!

P.S On FSB right now there is a buy in of MN3005 chips so if you want one get down the freestompboxes forum and post up :-)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Friday, 9 January 2009

BJF Honeybee Traced?


That's what some want to see! Visit the above link to contribute or visit the freestompboxes forum to read the *huge* thread regarding this wonderful gain box :-)

Fred Briggs Overdrive

Here it is, a mix of Zvex Super Hard On, Lovepedal COT50 and my very own Fred Briggs magic.

My favourite circuit to date :-) Build it, it doesn't disappoint!

Fred Briggs - Fuzz

Here is an interesting take on the classic fuzz face design. Note fun "Sag" control and the piggy backed transistors which allow you to tailor the gain of the first transistor just to taste :-) This thing can go from light overdrive to full of spatter fuzz depending on your guitar volume and the sag control setting. Build it up - you won't be disappointed!

Here are a few pictures of my completed build:

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Nick Greer - Green Giant

Thanks again to the Freestompboxes community (samhambone for the original scheme and purplepeopleeater for the cleaned up version) we have a schematic for the Nick Greer Green Giant overdrive pedal. As you can see it's a simple "Electra Overdrive" with a pot added between the diodes and the signal to raise the clipping threshold. It's an interesting control which I have been using in a range of designs at the moment too. Check it out :-) Thanks again Freestompboxes.

Here is a description taken from the Greer Website:

"One of Nick Greer's personal favorites. Formerly built by Greer Amplification for endorsers only. A basic distortion unit with a limiter between the output of the signal and the clipping section of the diodes. The knob is labeled clean mix and allows the user to limit the amount of signal being distorted, resulting in a sound much that of the clean signal being mixed in on top of the distorted signal. Great for country, rock, and blues players who want good sounding distortion with the ability to dial the amount of hair."

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Lovestuff - Porkies = Lovepedal Believe

Here is another lovepedal wonder. A gut shot of the early "Believe" pedal. As you can see by comparing the gut shot to the PCB from general guitar gadgets; it's a Dan Armstrong Green Ringer octave clone.... You can find the General Guitar Gadgets project here.

The Green Ringer is a great little octave circuit. Try it after an overdrive like a tube screamer or RAT for some great octave up tones :-)