Author Topic: diode in electric guitar/bass?  (Read 2788 times)

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fuzzy645

diode in electric guitar/bass?
« on: February 15, 2012, 08:06:25 AM »
I have heard rumor about a strange concept (strange to me anyway), namely that Jack Bruce had some kind of diode in his EB-3 bass which is an entirely passive instrument.  To me this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  Assuming the rumor is in fact true,  what on earth would a diode do in a passive guitar circuit and how could it remotely have anything to do with tone???? 

Mark Hammer

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 08:07:48 AM »

fuzzy645

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 08:41:29 AM »
here is your answer: http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Electronics/Misc/i-5065.html

Thanks. 

So "Black Ice" is nothing more than a diode?  So do you think you can stick any old diode in a guitar circuit and it will work the same, or is the black ice some special kind of diode with magical properties?

The thing is they show it hooked up to a tone pot in the same way a normal cap would be hooked up and they don't seem to show any polarity, but diodes are polarized.

Thoughts?


artifus


ashcat_lt

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 09:15:34 AM »
In order for it to affect a passive instrument it would have to have a low forward voltage - a shottke or a germanium.  If there's only one, it will provide asymmetrical clipping.  It'll clip off either the peaks or the valleys.  The difference is negligible, so it doesn't really matter which way it points.  The pot lets you dail in the effect.

Earthscum

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 09:24:34 AM »
If I get to it tonight I'll snap pics of mine. I use a 1N5818 from ground to the tip, switchable. I used a pushbutton, and am considering running a second one the other way. As mine sits, it is Cathode to tip and Anode to ground. Works great on bass, IMHO.
Give a man Fuzz, and he'll jam for a day... teach a man how to make a Fuzz and he'll never jam again!

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Mark Hammer

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 09:39:11 AM »
The diodes have to be selected for a low forward voltage, and the pickups have to have a substantial output, or else the clipping will not happen.

For example, a person could NOT stick in a pair of 1N4001s or a pair of LEDs in a guitar equipped with "vintage correct" single-coils and expect to hear much effect unless they did a Pete Townshend "windmill" strum, and even then it would likely be for only the first 200msec of the strum.

So, it "works" but requires some very favourable circumstances to do so.  Not for everybody.

fuzzy645

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 09:58:04 AM »
The diodes have to be selected for a low forward voltage, and the pickups have to have a substantial output, or else the clipping will not happen.

OK, that makes sense.  The EB-3 (I believe) had an ultra high output humbucker.  I can see this making some sense now in a bass, particularly one who plays hard in the vain of Jack Bruce.

So I bet Stewmac (or whoever is the manufacturer) found a diode with low forward voltage and slapped it in some epoxy casing.....LOL!!!!

artifus

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 10:06:03 AM »
So I bet Stewmac (or whoever is the manufacturer) found a diode with low forward voltage and slapped it in some epoxy casing.....LOL!!!!

ice cube tray mould?

Earthscum

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 03:05:11 PM »

ice cube tray mould?

There was a discussion in the lounge a couple months back about some distortion unit you plug into a Twin Reverb or some Tweed amp to use the reverb driver as a distortion. Anyways, it came up in discussion about the Black Ice Overdrive modules... the thought is that "black Ice" was named after these amp modules... which WERE molded in ice cube trays. I just thought it was interesting.

ETA: Old EB auction...
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 03:10:22 PM by Earthscum »
Give a man Fuzz, and he'll jam for a day... teach a man how to make a Fuzz and he'll never jam again!

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Mark Hammer

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 03:42:53 PM »
These things were first introduced a LONG time ago, possibly over 30 years ago.  I recall seeing ads for them in Guitar Player waaayyyyyyy back.

Earthscum

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 04:25:34 PM »
Here's mine. I only clip half the signal, nice overdrive sound. The button is from Mammoth.
Give a man Fuzz, and he'll jam for a day... teach a man how to make a Fuzz and he'll never jam again!

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DavenPaget

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 08:55:32 AM »
Here's mine. I only clip half the signal, nice overdrive sound. The button is from Mammoth.

O_O A LED and a 5818 ? What's the total Vf ? That seems like a lot ! How does your pickup even have enough output ?
Hiatus

Earthscum

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 09:33:58 AM »
It's just the schotky diode. No LED. It only clips when the negative voltage exceeds the Vf, which is really low in most situations if whatever I plug into has a high enough impedance, about what you expect to retain tone.
Give a man Fuzz, and he'll jam for a day... teach a man how to make a Fuzz and he'll never jam again!

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DavenPaget

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 09:49:36 AM »
It's just the schotky diode. No LED. It only clips when the negative voltage exceeds the Vf, which is really low in most situations if whatever I plug into has a high enough impedance, about what you expect to retain tone.
Oh i correct myself , that's a pushbutton switch  ::)
Hiatus

Earthscum

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2012, 05:06:51 PM »
Oh i correct myself , that's a pushbutton switch  ::)

Ah! I get it... I never noticed how much it looked like an LED in a holder.  :o
Give a man Fuzz, and he'll jam for a day... teach a man how to make a Fuzz and he'll never jam again!

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nascarbean_97

Re: diode in electric guitar/bass?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2012, 07:51:40 AM »
Old bump, but hey, I'm adding!
I found you can do this with a germanium tranny, you couple two of the legs, those go to ground, and the third goes to the pot prong. Not sure which leg is which, I just experimented and found it out.
 8)