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

Search This Blog

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Fred Briggs - Super OCD

Fred Briggs - Super OCD Schematic
The Fulltone OCD has been an overdrive favourite for many years now. It's got a really nice tone when your amp is set right (I prefer it with Marshalls I must say). Well, I've always thought about modifiying the basic circuit (which itself is based around the old Voodoo Labs Overdrive) to give it a little more variety and use over a wider spectrum of tones.

As you can see the "Super OCD" has a few extra controls:

- Firstly the "Bass" control - it's nicked from Paul C's Timmy pedal and works very well to add in pregain bass for more low end response.

- Secondly the "Saturation" control, this allows you to increase the clipping headroom of the circuit and have an overall "cleaner" tone while dialling in just the required amount of diode clipping.

- Thirdly the "Boost" control, I've configured the second opamp to allow a range of clean boosts to be selected to really allow you to push the front end of your amp into overdrive.

- The final control I've added is a switch to go between 9 volt and 18 volt operation. The 18 volt operation adds extra headroom to the circuit to stop the opamp clipping from fogging up the tone. The 9 volt operation retains the original headroom seen in the OCD.

- Other changes include alterations to the Tone control and a swap of opamp from the TL082 in the original OCD to the Burr Brown OPA2134. These changes all add up to create a really nice overdrive/distortion box. It's got all the original Fulltone OCD tones in there and loads more. If you like the original OCD you'll love the Super OCD :-)

Here's a vero layout by beedotman, it's unverified at the moment, if you build it report back please :-)

Here's the discussion topic on freestompboxes.org: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&p=183753

B K Butler - Tube Driver

The B K Butler Tube Driver has been used by several of Rock Guitar's greats - David Gilmour and Eric Johnson to name just two. There are many schematics out there as well as a wealth of PCB projects. I've looked to compile the best and most reliable for this post. If you're wondering how these things sound here's a demo for you:

Firstly a gut shot of an original unit from around the '79-80 "Garage" (He originally made them in his garage!) period:

And a hand drawn schematic along with notes:

You could build that one if you fancy, however, bajaman took apart a reissue B K Butler Tube Driver and posted up his own project which is verified and working, and sounds great to boot - it also includes an interesting "Bias" mod which allows you alter the voltages seen on the tube's grid which will alter the character of the clipping:

B K Butler BAJAman project schematic

PCB Layout
PCB Top Layer
PCB Bottom Layer
Tube Bias mod layout

Footswitch wiring key
And here's the freestompboxes.org thread: http://www.freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1171

Wampler - Pinnacle Distortion (Limited Edition)

The Wampler Pinnacle Distortion. This one has been requested - here's the details. Firstly a description from the Wampler Website:

"Zeke Clark, Edward Van Halen's longtime renowned guitar tech played through a pinnacle and this is what he had to say:
“I've played tons of pedals that promised that “Brown Sound”... this pedal NAILS it better than anything I've ever heard or played.”
-Zeke Clark, former tech for Eddie Van Halen

Sometimes you need extreme gain, sometimes you need mild overdrive...this pedal does that with an awesome “Brown Sound”! It has an extremely tweakable EQ - from scooped mids to tons of warm mids, all with the turn of 2 knobs.

This pedal has 4 knobs -- two separate tone controls that act as a sort of parametric EQ, gain and volume. It also has a 'bright' switch that adds a ton of variety and is very handy when playing a dark sounding amp, as well as another toggle switch that will give you high gain “Brown Sound” tones.

Pinnacle v. Pinnacle “deluxe”
The Pinnacle and Pinnacle Deluxe share the same great tone. The difference comes in the form of a couple special features found on the Deluxe version that make it more involved for us to make, but which add some extra versatility for you. While the standard Pinnacle has a toggle switch to control its Gain Boost, the Pinnacle Deluxe has that same functionality on a foot switch, so you can kick it in without having to bend down in the middle of a song. The only other difference is that the Pinnacle Deluxe has an additional, internal volume adjustment (just in case you need to go to “11” on the output volume). Because of the added switch, the Pinnacle Deluxe is a little bit larger than the standard Pinnacle, something to keep in mind if you're running a packed pedal board.

Which Pinnacle is right for you isn't a question of tone, because they both nail that coveted “Brown Sound”..! It just comes down to whether you need the special features found on the Pinnacle Deluxe, or prefer the smaller footprint of the standard Pinnacle."

And a demo video of the Pinnacle in action:

And here's the schematic for the Limited Edition version of the Pinnacle:

And here's another schematic, supposedly for the Pinnacle II:
Looking at the schematic you can see it's the basic dual micro booster circuit developed from the BSIAB II Diy circuit. They do sound good, give it a try. There's no layout yet but you can probably adapt the BSIAB II layout for use...

Here's the Freestompboxes.org forum topic: http://www.freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14966

Fred Briggs - E11even - Marshallesque Booster/Overdrive

Here's the schematic:

And here's the last in my series of Fender / Vox / Marshall themed boosters/overdrives - The "E11even" (Spinal Tap reference intentional). It's designed for those classic Marshall overdrive tones, plexi / jtm45 sort of stuff. It's based around the old mosfet booster design I love with a few tweaks. The bias control is essentailly a saturation control for those diodes, setting it high gives you more headroom and a smoother more spanky (hehe) overdrive, a lower setting gives a more gritty tone. The Body control allows you to alter the bass content and overall frequency gain structure of the circuit. When the body is at 470k you've got the classic Marshall mid/high boost filter (almost, with that 1M resistor to ground you don't quite get the same level of low end roll off but it works with this setup). One suggestion I have for a mod is placing the saturation control over one diode only so that you can dial in some really interesting (and extreme!) asymmetrical clipping structures...

For the protection diode you can use a 12v zener or just a red LED. I use a 470kB (linear taper) pot for the Body control but some may like the taper of a log pot here - it's up to you...

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Fred Briggs - 'Face - Fenderish Booster/Overdrive

Here's the Face MKI schematic:

I really like this one, it's a booster/overdrive with a nice Fendery feel and voice to it. As you can see there are some values which you can alter on the schematic that allow you to tailor the tone to your exact needs. Firstly the supply voltage - the lower the voltage the less overall gain and clipping you'll get, more voltage = more gain and clipping. The jfet choice also makes a difference to the tone of the circuit; 2N5457s give more gain but are more compressed sounding (better for the Fender "tweed" emulation) than the MPF102s (better for the larger Fender "twin" type emulation) which have more headroom but less gain. You can use almost any jfet type in this circuit 2N5458, J201 (I didn't like these, they were too compressed and gainy - almost fuzzy!), you just need to find your type! If you want to learn a little about jfet's and their properties check out this article over at runoffgroove: http://www.runoffgroove.com/fetzervalve.html. Finally the 3n3 tone cap can be altered to your preference, a higher value will lower the high end gain, a lower value will allow more high end drive.

In my final build I'll be using MPF102 jfets running at 18V with a 4n7 tone cap to keep the high end under control. This setup provides a nice "cranked twin" tone and is really dynamic and reactive to your playing, a decent low end is retained while it still fizzes out at higher gains.

Here's the schematic for the version I built up (note the altered tone control which, I find, works better with the MPF102 jfets):

I took inspiration  from a range of sources for this little circuit; firstly this patent from 1943: http://www.muzique.com/amz/SRPP.pdf

And this microphone preamp (1997):

And one of Tim Escobedo's excellent circuit snippets - the Syrupp Booster (2002):

All comments are welcome, for the freestompboxes.org topic check here: http://www.freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16321

Friday, 24 February 2012

WIP - Projects in the pipe line!

Ok, so I've got a few projects in the pipeline. First up is a continuation of my work with boosters - I've already published the "'64 Vintage" (a Vox voiced boost/overdrive), I've got the "E11even" (A Marshall voiced booster/overdrive) and the "'Face" (A Fender voiced booster/Overdrive) to release soon. I really like these three designs and I've been building them in conjunction with each other to ensure that they stack really nicely. When you've got all three you can interchange their positions and settings for all sorts of great overdrive tones :-)

Also on the bench is my version of the much acclaimed Fulltone OCD, which is probably one of the most popular boutique pedals ever. The Briggs version is super versatile with diode switching options, a saturation control, bass and treble controls, a boost control and an option to switch between 9V and 18V, all the old OCD tones are there but the options to go crazy and craft your own sound are huge. I'll be putting this one up in the next few days!

So that's what's coming up - is there anything else you lot would like to see? Any custom designs or interesting concepts? I'm open to suggestions!

Toxic Pedals Muddy Drive = Another repainted JOYO Ultimate Drive...

Ala Freakish Blues the people behind "Toxic Pedals" have gone and done the "buy cheap JOYO clones, repainted/rebrand them and then sell them on as your own." trick. It turns out the Toxic Pedals "Muddy Drive" is the Joyo "Ultimate Drive" (Which is itself a clone of the Fulltone OCD/Voodoo Labs Overdrive) which has been repainted and had a few values on the circuit board switched. Here's some images of the Toxic Pedals "Copenhagen Muddy Drive":

Here's an image of the Muddy Drive (on the left) compared to the Joyo "Ultimate Drive" (on the right):

And if that's not enough here's an image of the top side of the Muddy Drive PCB:

Now, there's nothing technically/legally wrong with doing this. I just think it's a bit cheeky, wouldn't you agree?

Here's the topic on freestompboxes.org: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=16287

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Klon - Buffer

People like the Klon, they like anything to do with the Klon. People have been building up the Buffer section of the Klon and selling them as a standalone unit. Well, there's the schematic of the buffer section and here's a vero layout from Mcaviel:

Now many people ask me why use a buffer? What does it do? The short answer is that if you use 1) Long cables or 2) Lots and lots of true bypass fx or 3) Low input impedance FX (Fuzzes, Wahs) then you are probably experience "Tone suck" - a loss of high end "sparkle" with your tone. A Buffer can be used to counteract this when used in the correct position. For an excellent article covering buffers and their use check out this: http://screaminfx.com/tech/why-and-when-to-use-a-guitar-buffer-pedal.htm

Monday, 20 February 2012

Pete Cornish - LD-1 - Buffer

Pete Cornish doesn't like true bypass: http://petecornish.co.uk/case_against_true_bypass.html

So inside all of his pedals he includes a buffer to aid the switching process and act as a line driver for the remainder of the pedal chain. He sells these individually as the LD-1 (and LD-3 with the mute switch and tuner output).

Here's a description from the Cornish Website:

"Our low noise discrete component Class A pre-amplifier has been specifically designed to overcome the problems often encountered with amplification of Electric Instruments fitted with magnetic transducers.

A frequent cause of these problems is the mismatch of the impedance in the electrical circuit between the pickup and subsequent equipment: this mismatch has been completely eliminated with the introduction of our LD-1™ Line Driver.

The input impedance is identical to a high quality tube amplifier and our Class A Pre-amplifier also features a highly effective RF filter which will help prevent interference from nearby radio transmitters.

The pickup output should be connected directly to the LD-1™ input with a low loss, screened cable; the LD-1™ output can now be fed to any effects or volume pedals (if used) and then on to the amplifier, using fully screened cables throughout.

A further use of the LD-1™ is to isolate long cable feeds which can cause signal and tone losses at the end of an effects chain, particularly if the final effect has a high impedance output (for instance a 250KW foot volume pedal). When using many effects it can be beneficial to add a LD-1™ mid way along the chain thus preventing a build up of signal losses that can occur with mismatched impedances between effects."

Well, someone's taken a few Pete Cornish pedals apart and here's the schematic for the buffer:

And here's a vero layout from IvIark (http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.com):

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Colorsound - Power Boost / Overdriver

[Colorsound Overdriver]

[Colorsound Power Boost]

This is the classic pedal for that Beck/Gilmour tone. Build one - you won't be disappointed! Look - here's Jeff Beck with his:

Here's the Colorsound description:

"So what's the difference between the Power Boost and the Overdriver ?? Um . . . .nothing ! Except the case . The Power Boost was born in the late sixties - the idea was to give guitarists a boost . . . . . in power , and it did ! Guess it was just luck that when you turned the pedal up full it sounded like the best stack ever ! We we're really popular with glaziers in those days , windows were shattering right accross London ! Then the pedal was taken to the Dallas trade show where it was given a huge standing ovation ( like clapping - the guitars hadn't been invented yet ) and a bunch of flowers - you see the American market was ready for the sound but felt it looked a bit too . . . well . . .orange .

So , it was rehoused in a grey hammerite case , called the Overdriver , Jeff beck made 'Blow by Blow' with it , and the rest , as they say , is a mystery . . I mean history ! Recently I was lucky enough to be presented with three , unused Power Boosts circa 1968 - they we're still in their packing , never been sold - they sounded just great - just like a new one ! No kidding - I A/b tested the pedals old and new and blindfolded I couldn't tell the difference . . . well I could have felt for the master volume - we have added that - windows are expensive these days !"

And a demo video of the Powerboost/Overdriver in action:

Here's some gut shots:

And the schematics of the different variations there have been over the years:

And here's a vero layout for the Overdriver:

Here's a great article covering all aspects of the Overdriver/Power Boost: http://www.kitrae.net/music/Music_mp3_Colorsound_Sound.html

And the forum topic on freestompboxes for extra tips and discussion: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1153

Univox - Super Fuzz

"This is my Fuzz pedal. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My Fuzz pedal is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my Fuzz pedal is useless. Without my Fuzz pedal, I am useless. I must play my Fuzz pedal true. I must play harder than my enemy, who is trying to outfuzz me. I must outfuzz him before he outfuzzes me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my Fuzz pedal and myself are defenders of Rock 'n Roll, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen." - Fred Briggs, 19/02/2012.

The Univox Superfuzz is an absolute classic - it's buzzsaw power fuzz tone has been employed by many of Rock's greatest guitarists. One of the best known users of the Superfuzz was Pete Townshend of The Who - he used it for that classic big box fuzz tone on his later records and was the reason his tone sounded so damn good on the "Live at Leeds" recording.

Here's some more info from thewho.net regarding Pete Townshends use of the Super Fuzz:

"The U-1093/U-1095 Univox Super-Fuzz fuzz pedal represents a key part of Pete Townshend’s classic stage sound. He used versions of the Univox Super-Fuzz between 1968 and 1978. You can hear the effect clearly in recordings from this era — the signature “buzz saw” sound during leads and rave-up outros.

Pete began using the Super-Fuzz in late 1968, likely November or December, with the first documented occasion being the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in Wembley on 11 Dec. 1968, which also represents Pete’s and John’s first known use of their Hiwatt-badged Sound City stacks.

Prior to this, he used a variety of fuzz pedals in his setup, including the Sola Sound Tone Bender in 1965/66, Marshall Supa Fuzz in 1967–68, as well as employing a Grampian spring reverb unit for distortion in 1967–68, and, most recently as the August 1968 U.S. tour, the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.

He used the first version of the Univox Super-Fuzz, the metal grey version, on stage from late 1968 to mid- to late-1971, when he switched to the reddish-orange die-cast version with the large pedal surface. He used this version until 1978, where the last use of the pedal was 15 May 1978, at the Shepperton show filmed for The Kids Are Alright."

And here's an image of him stomping on it:

Rock and F**king Roll!!

Here's yet more info taken from the Univox Super Fuzz wikipedia article:


The circuit was designed in the late 1960s by the Japanese company Shin-ei, (who also produced another well known fuzz box, the Shin-ei Companion FY-2) and manufactured in Japan by Unicord. The first Super-Fuzzes were made in 1968, and production continued until the late 70s.


The first units were made in a simple stamped sheet metal box, painted grey, with a blue Univox sticker on the top. Around 1970 production was changed to a die-cast metal box, with a large pedal featuring a rubber cover that had the words "Super-Fuzz" embossed on it. The first die cast units were either grey or black, with a green or black foot pedal. Around 1973 or so, they were all produced with an orange pedal, with a green or blue foot pedal. The later models also featured an internal trim pot for controlling the octave balance.

Alternative manufacturers

Although the Univox is the most well known incarnation of this circuit, Shin-ei licensed this circuit out to dozens of manufacturers, including Ibanez, Apollo, Companion, Shaftsbury, Mica, JAX, Kent, Teisco, Marlboro, Royal, and many others. With a slightly altered input stage, the circuit is identical to the Ibanez Standard Fuzz. Sometimes it was packaged with a wah pedal, or with the tone switch being a footswitch, or both. This circuit is also very similar to the famous Fender Blender and Roland Bee Baa. More recent applications of this circuit type can be found in Guyatone's TZ-2 Fuzz, MJM China Fuzz, Black Candy Superfuzz Deluxe, Prescription Electronics' OUTBOX, BOSS's FZ-2 HYPER Fuzz, and others, although most tend to agree the newer versions do not sound quite the same.

This unique fuzz tone is an octave fuzz using two germanium diodes to produce the square wave clipping. The controls are 'Balance' (volume), 'Expander' (fuzz amount), a two position 'tone' switch, and an on/off footswitch on top. There are two unique features of this device that set it apart from other distortion and fuzz pedals. The first is that the full-wave rectification of the circuit produces an upper octave as well as a slight lower octave. This also gives the sound a lot of compression and gives a mild ring modulator effect. The second unique feature is a tone switch that engages a 1khz filter that "scoops" the mids, giving a very fat, almost bassy tone, unique to this circuit.

Today, the Super-Fuzz is being manufactured under the name "Classic Fuzz" by Wattson Classic Electronics, which is in no way associated with Univox, Unicord, or any of the original companies that manufactured the Super-Fuzz. Other versions of the Super-Fuzz circuit are available from boutique companies like 73 Effects and Black Cat.

Super-Fuzz users

Notable musicians who have used the Super-Fuzz include:
Pete Townshend of The Who
Poison Ivy of The Cramps
Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney
J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.
Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins (Although he was much more famous for using the Fender Blender and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff)
Fu Manchu
Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys
Hillel Slovak of Red Hot Chili Peppers
Joe Preston of Thrones
Tony McPhee of The Groundhogs
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana (Although he mainly used the BOSS DS-1 and DS-2.)
Josh Homme of Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss
Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks[1]
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys uses the Ibanez Standard Fuzz, a nearly identical circuit in an altered housing."

And if you still need extra help understanding how this monster sounds here's a nice demo (It's one of the older grey models):

And here's how one that isn't so battered looks (I much prefer the look of the orange ones!):

Pretty damn awesome! Now, you're gonna want to build one now - here's the Super Fuzz schematic and some close relatives:

Here's a schematic for the Ibanez Fuzz Wah that is very similar:

And the Boss Hyper Fuzz FZ-2: 

[Here you can see the control layout]

[nice tidy insides!]

And here's a great clone of the original circuit board from http://members.fortunecity.com/uzzfay/home.html :

Alternately if you don't like PCBs here's a great vero from Mike Livesley:

Here's a great post from mictester that answers some common Super Fuzz questions:

"LucifersTrip wrote:
I finally got around to reading this killer thread...Excuse me if I missed it here somewhere, but I was just curious about a couple things I didn't come across that I was surprised wasn't discussed.

1) What would be a typical hfe of a 2SC539 and 2SC828 in an original Superfuzz?
(my guide shows 90-700 for the 2SC539 and 65-700 for the 2SC828, which is a large range)

- The 539 had a slightly better noise spec. The 828 seemed to be almost any old transistor that came off the line and they couldn't fit into any particular category! In my experience, the circuit works best with high hfe for the first two transistors and lower for the rest. I used BC109Cs for the first two transistors and then a CA3046 for the rest. Sounds really good!

LucifersTrip wrote:
2) Since there are 2 different transistors (2SC539 for Q1,4,5,6 and 2SC828 for Q2,3) used according to the schematic,
why does it seem everyone is subbing all the same transistors for Q1-Q6?

- The types aren't too critical, though it helps if the long-tailed pair are matched and the resistors around them are matched too - you get much more octave that way. Almost any silicon transistors will work well in this circuit!

LucifersTrip wrote:
3) Did anyone try any germanium subs (and re-bias) for any of the transistors?

- There's no point. It wouldn't sound much different, and it would be quite temperature sensitive. The biggest change you can get is by using silicon instead of germanium diodes for the clipper!"

For more info check out the great thread on the freestompboxes.org forum: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3354