Author Topic: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal  (Read 334 times)

Bob M.

Hi all,
It's Christmastime coming sooner than we all think and I think my best friend needs a new overdrive pedal for his Christmas stocking so I though I should get on the case now. He's not a big fuzz guy but could use a pedal that does a light to medium overdrive or maybe a bit more but he's no metalhead or grunge guy or full-out distortion player. So, I'm looking for circuit recommendations that I could build myself. I've built probably a dozen pedals over the years and I use either ones I've built myself or ones I've modified/improved/tailored to my needs (sometimes heavily modified) from various manufacturers so I have some experience doing this. A few years back, I was on a tour and gave a few guys in our tech crew (including my guitar tech) homemade stomp boxes that I built as a 'thank you'. It was a big hit so I thought it might make just the right Christmas gift.

Now, I'm looking for an IC based circuit (probably using TL071/72) or better (or worse, depending) and I'd like to have a choice of diodes for the distortion (diode bounding). I thought three choices are about right, probably selected via a rotary switch. I've experimented alot with various diode combinations, SI and GE, with symmetrical and non-symmetrical configurations, with pretty good results. I want a tone control but beyond that I'm hoping for some simplicity and don't want to baffle my friend with too many parameters or pots.

 I know there have been such an explosion of new stomp boxes over that last 10 or 12 years or so; I haven't really kept up but I've left behind the idea of plowing any money I make in the music business back into what's new and hip and the flavor of the month. I already have bins and bins of stomp boxes I don't use anymore. My friend and I both share the ethos of a simple setup, with a very moderately sized/populated pedalboard. I'm in no danger of NASA calling me up, asking to install a copy of my pedalboard in their latest spaceship.

I've built some CMOS circuits in the past but I don't think that's my friend's thing. I could build a deluxe updated version of a Distortion + or a Shaka Braddah but I was hoping to evaluate a few other ideas as I'm only an occasional stomp builder and I've been busy with other pursuits, I feel kinda out of the stomp box loop right now.
Thanks in adv for your help and recommendations,
Bob M.

Vivek

Re: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2020, 02:31:39 PM »
How about:

Klon
King of Tone
Mad professor Sweet Honey
VFE ice cream

?

MikeA

Re: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2020, 06:33:50 PM »
Hey Bob, that sounds exciting.  Are you thinking about buying a PCB, etching a PCB, making a vero, using perf board, or something else?  Making a PCB, or using vero or perf, will give you the most flexibility, but there are also some good PCBs for sale that will accommodate the kind of mods and options you mentioned.

Bob M.

Re: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2020, 01:39:07 PM »
Thanks for your recommendations. I'm familiar with the Klon. It's built here locally and a favorite among the local guitarists. I'll check out those others you mentioned.

Yes, it's exciting to build a new pedal. First, I'll decide on a circuit and then check out various resources to see how the people who have built this may have changed/modded it to meet their own needs and I'll evaluate that. I'm not much for re-inventing the wheel. After that, I'll draw up a layout and then decide if I'll etch a board or whatever. Luckily, I have a full shop here and the only thing I envision needing is a box to build it in (but I actually may have that also).

Thanks, guys, for your posts,
Bob M.

MikeA

Re: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2020, 02:09:28 PM »
Bob, my all-time fave OD is the Ibanez MT10 Mostortion.  3 band EQ, and very smooth from clean to full gain, the waveform never gets squared off.  However it really doesn't submit to mods very well due to the interaction across all the sections.  Klon would be a close second choice for me, and that's a good one for mods. You can DIY or buy a PCB for both.  Mike
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 02:11:46 PM by MikeA »

Bob M.

Re: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2020, 11:41:54 AM »
It's not that I have to mod any pedal I might build. But if I pick an older circuit, there will undoubtedly be people who have modded it to their needs or ear and I would be foolish not to look at these newer ideas. Gear, amps, pedals, whatever, are made to appeal to a wide variety of users but sometimes a player needs something specialized to whatever gig they happen to be doing. I don't think I have one piece of gear that I haven't changed to suit my needs/tastes in some way. I'm not starting out looking for something to change around from its stock circuitry. I just play it/use it after I finish building it and see if it can be improved or altered to suit my particular tastes. It's just part of the process, at least for me. I will say this, I don't take something I don't like at all and try to make it great. Usually, if I do mod something, I'll work with something that's about 85%~90% already there and try to eek out that last 5%~7% of performance from it. Of course, everybody's different and has their own approach and ideas (and I respect that).
Bob M.

idy

Re: looking for circuit recommendations about building an overdrive pedal
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2020, 12:31:51 PM »
Xotic RC. typical diode in fb loop clipper with 2 band Baxandall so active bass and treble. Nice hifi boost with whatever shaping and clipping you want to do.