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

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Top Tone - Light Drive / Pete Cornish SS-2

Pete Cornish has been at the helm of the stompbox production queue with clientele ranginf from Lou Reed to Noel Gallagher and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. The SS-2 is now discontinued and has been replaced with the SS-3. However the SS-2 remains a solid favourite and it looks like it's circuit secret is out and about.

Here's a demo video of the Cornish SS-2 in action (Versus the Gearmandude's [I swear this guy is Jack Black!) own 808 remake. I actually prefer the sound of the Luther Drive here...):

The Top Tone Light Drive is a straight circuit clone of the SS-2 and MWichini of the freestompboxes forum has produced this schematic of the unit:

[NOTE - The tracing of this pedal is still in progress - check out the link to the freestompboxes forum topic to check it's progress!]

As you can see it's nothing new in the world of stompbox distortion. However, this is missing one of the classic Cornish components - that input buffer he always talks about (Note this is taken from the SS-3 description):

"The input to this unique device is our universally acclaimed High Impedance, Unity Gain, Class A, Buffer Preamp with it's superior RFI rejecting capability (to eliminate Radio Station interference) and Low Impedance Audio output, allowing the use of extended cable runs from the SS-3™ in bypass mode. The fixed High Impedance load presented to the Guitar allows the pickups to operate at their optimum, even when several effects units are connected after the SS-3™. The Unity Gain Buffer also prevents "Ghost Distortion" being audible in Bypass Mode. Our effects get the most benefit from being fed into a clean, full frequency response amplifier and I recommend that when you receive your pedal you connect it up without anything else in line, just Guitar/Pedal/Amp, and discover the way the controls interact, both with themselves and the guitar/amp controls. Adding the rest of your effects, you may find that you need to make slight adjustments to these to compliment the constant signal provided by the SS-3™."

However, we've got a schematic for that too, here it is:

So basically what you've got to do is run one of those buffer circuits in front of the Light Drive circuit and you've got an SS-2.

Personally I'm not a fan of the sound of the SS-2 but I guess David Gilmour has more say on tone than myself, just ;-)

Here is the on going thread on freestompboxes.org: http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=16071


  1. Hi Briggs,

    Congratulations on the site!!!

    I have assembled SS2/Ligth Drive and was not good.
    Please verify the scheme, I have an LD and the tone is different, this is more fat.
    I think the resistors R9 and R17 are not correct; I measured on the board of the solder side, because of the components side is impossible, have plastic mass in all PCB.
    Tell me how you remove the mass of the board; or do you kick values like me :-)

  2. The reverse of this pedal is still going on, check out the freestompboxes thread to see how it's going.

    To remove the plastic "goop" you can use a hot knife or a heated screwdriver/soldering iron. You need to be careful or you can damage the components if you hit them. Most people just pick away with a sharp knife... Hope that helps :-)

  3. The schematic is complete an correct now. So you can try again. ;-)

    Cheers Mwichni.

  4. Can anyone who tried to build it confirm this is the correct schematic?
    Professor Beard


Comments are welcome on Revolution Deux. However, please do not spam links to unrelated sites - these comments will be removed! Thanks - Briggs.