Low gain overdrive choice for my next DIY project, any suggestions?

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203
Hi!

Im thinking about build a new low gain overdrive as not bonding with the barbershop clone im currently using, there's a litte fuzzy harsh character in the gain structure that dont suit my taste.

The mid and high gain are covered by a modded Rat and an Eternity (both diy as well), used in fender amps (Twin reverb and HRD as backup), telecasters, jazzmasters and SG 61 guitars, and a bunch of delay+reverb in a postrockish indie pop/rock band.

basically im searching for a light breakup amplike, kinda smooth gain and no too upper mids or boxy sound (light low mids/lows boost could be good), unity gain or slight above.

the candidates are:

a) Bluesbreaker circuit (KOT, POT, Morning glory...)
b) Timmy circuit (Timmy, Jan ray, od11...)
c) amp in a box type ( BOR, plexidrive...)

The Klon is not in the list, had a Soul Food and it have an odd upper mid bump that i found disgusting with my rig.
 

Blues Lyne

Member
Messages
3,465
The Bluesbreaker and Timmy circuits offer some great low gain tones. Messing with the COT50/Electra Distortion circuit can get some nice low gain results, though it's not great for unity volume unless you put a volume control on it.

The first pedal I ever built was based on a Mosrite Fuzzrite. A guy named Dave Shepherd had messed around with the circuit and found that increasing a couple of cap values turned it from a nasally fuzz into a nice dirty boost/low gain drive. The first time I played it my mind immediately went to those great old ZZ Top tones.

If you pull up the silicon Fuzzrite schematic you'll see two .002uF capacitors. Make those larger value (.02uF or higher) and it sounds pretty cool. I ended up experimenting more and I think I also increased the input and output caps a bit. Just experiment until you get the bass response that works in your rig. I put an input cap switch on mine so I can have full bass, or a bit of bass cut depending on the rig. I may have added a cap to mellow out the highs a bit too, but I'm not sure. I didn't add a tone control to mine, but you could.

It has a nice open sound. I built it with sockets for the transistors to make it easy to experiment and change things up. With 2 2n3904s (what I'm using now) it's a nice, neutral sounding low gain pedal that is fat, but not muddy. It's sort of a natural, just breaking up amp tone. Pop in some BC109s and it can become a smooth Fuzz that's great for singing lead tones. When I originally built it, I used a lower gain transistor in the first position and higher gain in the second. The higher gain was a NTE199, but I don't remember if the lower gain transistor was a NTE85 or NTE87 (it was a long time ago). Some say that the first transistor should have an hfe between 100 and 200, others say keep it around 100. I think the 2n3904s I have all read in the 350-385 range and sound great.

Anyway, it's just an option that is a little different than what you usually find out there.
 
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Messages
203
Already have a electra type of low gain pedal, it sound great but didnt like how the master volume mess with the character of the pedal... currently i use it with bass for a SVTish overdrive. The idea of tweak the fuzzrite deserve to try, thanx!
 

Blues Lyne

Member
Messages
3,465
Already have a electra type of low gain pedal, it sound great but didnt like how the master volume mess with the character of the pedal... currently i use it with bass for a SVTish overdrive. The idea of tweak the fuzzrite deserve to try, thanx!
I agree about the master volume. You lose something by adding it.
 




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