"Pimp My Wah" project

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Hamer95USA, Oct 5, 2005.


  1. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey folks,

    I've been spending some time off of work due to a biopsy and an injury to my left middle finger (ouch !!!). I ordered some parts from Small Bear Electronics and decided to go full out on modifying my $15.00 Dunlop Crybaby wah (stock) and a modified Vox 847 wah (True bypass, Fulltone Icar tone pot & Area 51 wah inductor). I finished both of "Pimp My Wah" mod projects last night. I would like to share my work with all of you who decide to do any wah pedal modification.

    The Vox 847 wah pedal:
    [​IMG]

    Installed: Carling 316PP DPDT on/off switch for true bypass
    Fulltone Icar tone pot
    Area 51 wah inductor


    Volume mod on R1: changed from 68K resistor to 47K resistor

    "Q" adjustment mod: changed Resistor 3 (33K Ohms) to a 100K trimpot. You can use either a 56K or 68K resistor to tune the "Q". Tuned trimpot to 56K ohms w/ multimeter before installing wah on circuit board.

    Gain/Bass mod: changed the Resistor 8 ( 510 Ohms) to a 1K Ohm trimpot. I adjusted trimpot w/ multimeter to 330 Ohms. Recommended trimpot values would be between 270 to 330 Ohms. You can use regular resistors in the 270 to 330 Ohms range as well.


    Midrange mod: changed Resistor 2 (1.5K Ohms) to 2.2K Ohms. Other values to try out would be 1.7K to 2.2K Ohm resistors. I was considering adding a 5K Ohm trimpot in place of the resistor and marking the trimpot on the values mentioned above. I might try this out in the future.

    The 1989 Dunlop Crybaby Wah Pedal. Not everyone's favorite wah pedal, but available and very easy to find. Again this wah pedal has the typical Crybaby tone, shrill highs & muddy lows. I bought this one off of a college student for $15.00 used.
    This wah pedal needed a lot of work since the pedal since the pedal was originally non functioning. I had to resolder one of the capacitors and install a new 9 volt battery.
    This is a picture of it:

    [​IMG]

    Installed: Carling 316PP DPDT on/off switch for true bypass
    Fulltone Icar tone pot
    Dunlop reissue Fasel wah inductor (red)

    "Q" adjustment mod: changed 33K Ohms resistor to a 100K Ohm trimpot. You can use either a 56K or 68K resistor to tune the "Q". Tuned trimpot to 56K ohms w/ multimeter before installing wah on circuit board.

    Gain/Bass mod: changed the 510 Ohms resistor to a 1K Ohm trimpot. I adjusted trimpot w/ multimeter to 330 Ohms. Recommended trimpot values would be between 270 to 330 Ohms. You can use regular resistors in the 270 to 330 Ohms range.

    Midrange mod: changed 1.5K Ohms resistor to 2.2K Ohms resistor. Other values to try out would be between 1.7K to 2.2K Ohm resistors. I was considering adding a 5K Ohm trimpot in place of the resistor and marking the trimpot on the values mentioned above. I might try this out in the future.

    Volume mod: changed from 68K resistor to 47K resistor

    Soon to be upgraded: Changing the 0.01uFcapacitor to a 0.022uF capacitor to lower the wah frequency range.

    Installation of Boss PSA adaptor jack to make the wah pedal's power supply universal with any commercially made power supply.

    There are a number of websites on the Internet that has information for doing wah pedal mods. I found these links very informative for those of you interested in doing wah mods:

    http://hem.bredband.net/b120062/projects/wahmods/

    http://members01.chello.se/pastorn/fx/mods/dunlop.htm

    http://www.wah-wah.co.uk/

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/s.cast...eenfuz/wah.html


    Guitar George
     
  2. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Nice work, george. How do they sound w/the upgrades?

    I had an old crybaby just like yours and changing the switch & inductor were a big help, but not as much as I'd hoped. Too bad, those early Dunlop crybabies are built like tanks but sound like junk.

    I've also got a Vox just like the one you've worked on and altho' I changed the switch years ago, I've always liked the stock voicing of this pedal. I will be 'pimpin'out' w/a foxrox booster to cut thru' my fuzz boxes. Do the mods you've done help deal with that problem?
     
  3. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey drolling,

    The sound of both wah pedals sounds so much better w/ the component upgrades and tuning the circuitboard w/ trimpots and resistors. I need to add the .022 uF capacitor to complete my mods on both wahs and the 2.1mm DC jack on the Crybaby wah. Changing the resistor values, the true bypass, wah inductors and new Fulltone Icar tone pots definitely improved the sound of the wah. The Vox wah with the upgrades showed the greatest improvement with little effort. I was quite shocked at how much better it sounded.

    The Dunlop Crybaby wah required more work. I had to remove the stock SP/ST switch and Dunlop Hot Potz tone pot and install the DP/DT on/off switch & Fulltone Icar tone pot. I removed about 4 resistors that affected the sound of the wah in a bad way. I was impressed at what changing the resistors did to the wah circuitboard alone. I can't wait to get the 22nF capacitor installed soon. The frequency has changed & sounds more vocal. The gain, bass and volume was brought back, plus I can finetune the "Q" adjustment and gain/bass with the trimpots.

    Yes, stock Crybaby wahs are notorious for sounding bad stock, but when modded w/ the correct resistors, capacitors, wah inductor, tone pot and true bypass switch, the wah pedal becomes a new instrument. Not a lot of people realize that and complain about stock Crybaby wah pedals having a thin and nasally sound. They don't realize that the wah circuit board has to be upgraded and tuned to improve its sound.

    You should give the resistors/ capacitor upgrades a try since you already have the true bypass & wah inductor installed on your Crybaby wah. It will make your wah pedal come alive with better tonality. The lows sound really nice and defined, the mids are there now and the highs are much more smooth. I'm pleased with the results of my wah upgrade project and made a cheap Crybaby wah a nice sounding wah pedal now. The resistors, trimpots and capacitor only cost a few dollars.

    Concerning installing the FoxRox wah retrofit, it's necessary if you play throgh Fuzz Faces or any kind of fuzzbox devices. If you don't install it, your wah will squeal, have no tonal range or will oscillate at the frequency your pedal is set at. Not fun at all, more like noise. I've already ordered the Area 51 wah circuit buffer. They're like $35.00 plus shipping. Here is the link:

    http://area51tubeaudiodesigns.com/M...=001&Product_Code=buffer&Category_Code=cat002

    It's $20.00 cheaper than the FoxRox wah retrofit. I also have the Area 51 wah circuit board on another cheap Crybaby wah pedal. That thing smokes and I consider it one of my best wah pedals now.

    Guitar George
     
  4. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey folks,

    Another update on the "Pimp My Wah Pedal" project. I bought and installed the 0.022uF capacitor in place of the stock 0.01uF capacitor that was mentioned in the Andreas Moller Dunlop GCB-95 wah mods article. It made the wah pedal overall tone very bassy. I didn't like it so I unsoldered the 0.022uF capacitor and resoldered the 0.01uF capacitor. The tone that I liked came back when I played through it. Now if I were to install a trimpot or pot in series with another capacitor of a higher value, I could wire up a bass control for the wah. Hmmm....

    My next wah modification project coming up will be to install the 2.1mm Boss PSA adaptor input jack in place of the stock Dunlop 3/8 " DC jack. I need to consult with my friend if I can utilize the stock DC jack circuitry installed or would I have to upgrade the capacitor for it?

    I also ordered the Area 51 wah buffer circuit to try out. My wah likes to squeal at high gain so I need to find control it. It's like a wild animal now and I have to tame the wah pedal beast.:eek:

    Guitar George
     
  5. TeleTubby

    TeleTubby Supporting Member

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    Great post and info- thanks! Hope the injury's healing well?

    I did similiar mods to my CryBaby 7 years ago and not only sculpted the tone to my liking, I had a blast doing the work and learned quite a bit. I had help from some guy online (Jeff Tease, or something like that- apparently, he knows a thing or two about wahs ;) ) and played with different values until it was "right." Put my amp on standby, do a little soldering, plug back in, pick a little, and repeat until tasty! George, any thoughts or experience with different types of caps? I tried mylar, ceramic, and others and found that, in the right place, some make a huge and in the wrong place, some make the tone worse, even at the same values. Thanks again, and looking forward to more wah!
     
  6. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey Teletubby,

    I love your screen name,BTW. I saw your posting here. Thanks for your concern. I'm going to try to start playing guitar at the rehearsal next week. Hopefully my fracture has healed up by then. The sutures on my biopsy on my left leg hurts, but not as bad like last week. That's really cool that you did some mods on your Crybaby 7 years ago. I would like to know what components you've changed and what values do you prefer. You're ahead of me, in terms of experience and knowledge. You've also got to colloborate with the master of all wah pedals, Geoffrey Teese. That guy is a very knowledgable person who has repaired & restored the old vintage wahs and has his own line of wah pedals that are absolutely awesome. I just wish I could buy a Teese RocPot and wah inductor from a used wah pedal. I better start looking on E-bay.

    I started modding my 2 Dunlop Crybaby and 1 Vox wah pedals about a month ago. I found Andreas Moller's article on the GCB-95 Crybaby wah pedal modification. I decided that I wanted to do improvements on my Vox wah pedal, but would find a Crybaby wah pedal as my platform for experimentation. The 2nd Crybaby wah shown in this thread was stock and non functioning. I've decided to implement Mollers wah mods to see if they would work. I swapped out the 4 resistors and 1 capacitor already mentioned. The resistors that I swapped out improved the tone of the Crybaby immensely. The capacitor mod wasn't quite what I wanted. I will buy 0.015 uF capacitor to try out. The 0.022uF capacitor was too bassy and murky as a sweep capacitor. It lowered the wah's sweep frequency too low for my liking. It would work great with another capacitor and pot for an adjustable sweep.

    I'm not sure about capacitors types or values. I've only started to experiment with changing 33K, 1.5K, 68K and 510 ohm resistors to dial in the wah circuit board. I'm a newcomer when it comes to this sort of thing, but I'm happy to share the outcome of the "Pimp My Wah Pedal" experiment. If you have information that you would like to share with me about wah mods, post it here on the messageboard or e-mail me.

    Upcoming "Pimp My Wah Pedal" mods::cool:
    The Boss PSA adaptor jack mod

    Guitar George
     
  7. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey people,

    What's up? Here we are again with another posting of the "Pimp My Wah pedal" project. I've done the mods suggested in Andreas Moller's website. The resistor mod changes improved the sound of my Crybaby and Vox wah pedals. I ran across an effects website called Fuzz Central hosted by Phillip Bryant. He has a really cool article called the Axis Wah. Here is the link to the Fuzz Central website:

    http://fuzzcentral.tripod.com/axiswah.html

    He basically takes a Vox wah pedal and shows what mods to do to it, the schematics and the parts to get. He even shows you how to build a buffer circuit as well. Very cool!!!:cool: The most valuable information that I learned from this article was changing the transistor values. I wasn't aware of changing the transistor values although I've seen people mention a certain transistor value on this messageboard and the Gear Page. The transistor value that was recommended was the BC109C.

    If you decide to look for information on your stock transistors and the BC109C transistors and its equivalent, use this website to find your parts search:

    http://nteinc.com/

    Use the online cross reference to track down the part number you need. They even provide a .PDF file to show the specifications of the transistor. Here is what I came up with:

    BC109C NTE123A

    The NTE123A is the equivalent for the BC109C transistor. I used the 2N4124. To cross reference, I went to the NTE website and got this:

    2N4124 NTE123AP

    The 2N4124 transistor is the equivalent to the NTE 123AP. My friend Brad Lopez, an electronics engineer and phenomenal jazz/country slide guitarist gave me the transistors. I unfortunately installed them the wrong way on my Crybaby wah and asked for Brad's help in selecting the correct transistors and the installation of the new transistors.:confused: Here is a picture of our Saturday night project:

    [​IMG]

    We desoldered the stock transistors from the Dunlop Crybaby wah. The marking on the side of the transistor shown the number: 5117

    I went to the NTE website to cross reference the parts and got this:
    561-5117-750 NTE5484
    13-5117-6 NTE4502B
    9-5117 NTE160
    96-5117-91 NTE130
    96-5117-01 NTE130
    86-5117-2 NTE123AP
    561-5117-780 NTEOBS-NLA

    Brad installed the 2N4124 transistors and I tested it out on with my guitar and a Korg Pandora PX3 headphone amp since the people at his house were watching TV. The change in transistor values gave the wah its quack now and the bass has a good growl about it now when clean and sounds more vocal when dirty. What a difference from the stock transistor!!!

    We move on to the Vox wah pedal:
    [​IMG]

    Brad mentioned to me that the stock transistors on the Vox wah reissues V847 is a Fairchild MPS A18

    Out of curiousity, I cross referenced the transitor number and got:

    MPSA18 NTE47

    That means the NTE47 is the equivalent to the stock Vox transistor MPSA18. Hmm.....
    I had Brad install the 2N4124 transistors on my Vox V847 reissue wah. Again the clean sound had a growling bass and smooth sound. Distorted it, the quack was very vocal. I'm pretty jazzed with the new sound both of wah pedals. I will play on these pedals for the next few days to see if I'm comfortable with its sound. I'll probably call my buddies up and compare their wah pedals with mine to see the differences. I might try to track down the NTE47 transistor for my Vox wah pedal to see what would happen.

    Guitar George
     
  8. Frank B

    Frank B Supporting Member

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    Cool thread. thanks for sharing.

    I'm going to check out some those links that I had not come across before
     
  9. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Great info, Guitar George.

    For anyone thinking about using the nte123a, be aware that it has less gain than the bc109c, although it might be fine for a wah, I've never tried. BC108 and 2n5088 will also work well.

    Here's another suggestion for anyone interested in pimping their wah. It looks complicated but if you buy the pcb, it's just a matter of populating the board.

    http://www.generalguitargadgets.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=149&Itemid=177
     
  10. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey Denyle Guitars,

    Thanks for sharing your tidbit of information. I may try out the BC109C transistor still.

    Guitar George
     
  11. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Cool thread. I was considering making my own wah a while back after trying out the various vox and crybaby variations, different caps, resistors, inductors, pots, etc. I even went as far as having 20 boards made but they ended up being mirror reversed and I never went beyond that phase! :)

    I've tried the various true bypass switches, fulltone and smallbear pots, fulltone and fasel reissue inductors, original stack of dimes inductors, the area 51 buffer, etc.

    My favorite combination was the fulltone pot and inductor in a standard crybaby / vox wah with the 100k resistor on the inductor input. The smallbear pot had slightly more quack than the fulltone but I liked the sweep of the fulltone better and it seemed like it was better made.

    I've tried the red and yellow resissue fasel inductors. I thought the red ones had better quack (in a vintage way). The fulltone inductor is a great mod. Fasel reissues are great too and a little cheaper but don't quite sound as good in my opinion.

    Be aware that the wah circuit itself is a lossy circuit so when you put a true bypass in, you might be disappointed that your gain drops off by 10-15% when the wah circuit is engaged.

    For this reason, I wanted to install a buffer in my wah. I bought the area 51 buffer, assuming it would allow me a slight gain boost to compensate for the gain loss when the wah was engaged. I was disappointed to find out that at max gain it gave you unity gain. I emailed them about this and was told that was how it was designed. I didn't understand why you'd have a wah buffer with a gain control where the max was unity gain. Why would you have the ability to dial down the gain from 10-15% less than full signal to an even smaller percentage?

    At any rate, I ditched the area 51. I would consider buying the foxroxx buffer but they never returned my email so I guess I'll pass. :)
     
  12. Highway Jones

    Highway Jones Supporting Member

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    In Hamer's links there should be a mod detailing how to increase your volume with a simple resistor value change. I believe an output buffer is probably more geared to help increase the compatibility of your wah followed by a high impedance circuit such as a Fuzz.
     
  13. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I've tried that passive boost by changing the resistor. It makes the guitar input too hot and yields a grainy tone IMO. Putting the buffer on the output side is a better idea.

    Having the ability to add the gain back that is lost through the wah circuitry should be a feature of the buffer too and in fact, it is in the Foxroxx version. For some reason though, they don't return emails. Is someone can't return an email, I won't buy from them. (Same thing with the Gypsy Fuzz guys)
     
  14. tlester

    tlester Member

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    Looks like some good and worthy projects on that page... Does anyone know where I can buy some project boxes? Little boxes like ZVex uses?
     
  15. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey Highway Jones,

    This is what you're talking about, right?:

    Volume mod: changed from 68K resistor to 47K resistor

    Gain/Bass mod: changed the 510 Ohms resistor to a 1K Ohm trimpot. I adjusted trimpot w/ multimeter to 330 Ohms. Recommended trimpot values would be between 270 to 330 Ohms. You can use regular resistors in the 270 to 330 Ohms range.

    I found this necessary due to installation of the true bypass switch. You're also right about the output buffer installed in the wah pedal to help make the wah compatible with the Fuzz Face input impedance.

    Guitar George
     
  16. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey Tlester,

    I took a look at that project. You would have to find a used Crybaby wah casing for that project.

    Guitar George
     
  17. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    No, there is no right answer to that. The buffer is for both making the input impedance correct *AND* for boosting the output.
     
  18. tlester

    tlester Member

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    Actually.... I was thinking more along the lines of a TS808 project.
     
  19. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Try a Hammond diecast alum. enclosure. You can get them from parts express, mouser, digikey, et.
     
  20. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    What up, people?

    The new episode of "Pimp My Wah Pedal"!!!!

    I've decided after experimenting with the stock Crybaby wah circuit that I was still dissatisfied with the wah pedal's sound, after replacing various resistors (changing them worked good), transistors (not what I quite expected) and capacitors (the 0.022 uf capacitor didn't work out). I decided to retire the stock Dunlop Crybaby wah circuitboard and order an Area 51 wah circuitboard & wah buffer circuit.

    I had to unplug and remove the old wah circuitboard, remove the wire harness and all wires attached to the jacks, tone pot and DPDT switch. Next, I installed the Area 51 wah circuitboard and wah buffer circuitboard in a couple of hours and drilled out a 1/2" hole on the side of the wah pedal for the 2.1mm barrel DC jack. I need to track down parts for the DC jack circuit. Here's a picture of the Area 51 wah pedal with it's new circuitboard and wah buffer circuit:

    [​IMG]

    The Area 51 wah circuitboard sounds killer!!! If you want that old Clyde McCoy wah sound, this is the one to have inside your wah pedal. Dan Albrecht of Area 51 (formerly of Kendrick Amplifiers) has developed a wah circuitboard that just sounds absolutely beautiful. For $100, you can get the Italian Vintage wah kit (unwired) and put it in yourself, the drop in Italian Vintage wah kit for $140.00 ( no soldering) or you can send it to Dan for installation(see prices on website).

    The wah buffer circuitboard allows me to use my wah pedal with a Fuzz Face pedal or any other fuzz pedal without the impedance mismatching problems of squealing or no wah range with squealing. There is an adjustable gain on the right side of the board that you can adjust with a jeweler's screwdriver and an on/off switch to bypass the buffer circuit.

    Now my wah pedal has been officially "Pimped"!!!!
    [​IMG]

    Guitar George
     

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