Tag Archives: pedals

Lots of gear updates…

Ok, so I’ve been busy. In the two weeks since my last post, I have done a lot of selling and buying (pretty much in that order).

Sold:

Tim – really nice boost/overdrive, but I wanted a new flavor.

Strymon El Capistan – amazing tape delay simulator, but it had to go for reasons listed below.

Suhr Riot – cool high gain distortion box, but didn’t really play nicely with my amp.

Pedaltrain PT2 – a little too small.

Lollar Strat pickups – Nice tone and well-balanced, but too low output and didn’t match up with my other guitars.

Boss RV5 – Really cool modulated reverb, but kind of a one trick pony.

Lots of good stuff in that list. However, it had to go to make room for better stuff.

New/better stuff:

Strymon Timeline – full review coming soon. Suffice it to say that this delay is pretty freaking awesome. This is why I sold the El Capistan.

Lovepedal Amp Eleven – Some people say that it’s a Tim clone. Maybe so. Regardless, I prefer it to the Tim. The overdrive is smoother and the boost sounds better to me. It sounds really, really great in when boosted by the Sparkle Drive.

Brady Cases custom 32×18 board – I have always loved Bradycase pedalboards, and when this one popped up used at like half price on The Gear Page, I had to jump on it. It’s a little too big right now, but I’ll grow into it. Besides, I have too much money wrapped up in pedals to haul them around in a soft case.

Strymon blueSky Reverberator – I had one of these a while back, but I sold it to fund other gear. We’ll see if it sticks around this time.

Diamond Compressor – Holy crap, this thing is awesome. You can dial in subtle compression all the way up to squashed chicken pickin’ tones. I’m somewhere in between, btw. I love the tilt EQ – it’s great for adding just a little sparkle.

Fulltone Clyde Standard wah – I have been needing a wah, and this one popped up cheap on TGP. It’s a little bright, but I think I can tone it down a bit with an internal trim pot.

Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive – I’m really liking this pedal at the moment. It’s a tube screamer clone, which ordinarily would be an instant turnoff. I think that tube screamers tend to be overly compressed, muddy, and mid heavy. However, this pedal has a clean blend which allows you to add your unaffected clean signal in with the overdriven tone. It allows you to have the fat overdriven tube screamer tone, yet still retain the brightness and “sparkle” of your original clean tone. I kept it on full time yesterday.

Lava Cable Mini ELC pedalboard kit – These cables are really cool. They are super easy to put together, and if you build them right, they won’t crap out on you like the George L’s do. I like that they’re really low profile and the connectors don’t get in the way, so you can put your pedals really close together if you need to.

That’s pretty much it for now, but I’m on the lookout for new stuff. I kinda want to add some more dirt (maybe a Rat and a fuzz) and I really want to get a true bypass looper pretty soon. I will probably build that one myself, but I need to figure out if it would actually save me any money to do it that way – all those parts really add up quickly.

Here’s a picture of my board, pretty much as it is at the moment. I still need to get my io distortion back from Maury at RAILhead Effects – he’s fixing it up for me (apparently, I was a little too hard on it).

Gear Flipping

I have been told by a few people on the interwebs that I don’t blog enough, so here goes.

I am getting kind of embarrassed about my inability to commit to my musical equipment. I have been through so many guitars, amps, and pedals that it’s not even funny. Part of that is because I can’t afford to just buy stuff when I want it. If a new delay pedal (or whatever) catches my eye, I usually have to sell something else to make room.

I am currently in the middle of flipping a bunch of gear. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer my G&L ASAT (telecaster-style guitar) to my other guitars. I like it so much that it literally makes my other guitars weep. Okay, not really. [For the record, the misuse of the word literally is one of my pet peeves.]

Anyway, what I like so much about my tele is that it just sounds like rock and roll. Even when I’m playing softly, it’s just kinda rude. My PRS is not rude. It is polite. It doesn’t put it’s elbows on the table during suppertime. It uses a napkin. It knows the difference between a salad fork and a main course fork and a dessert fork. It doesn’t sound like rock and roll. Sure, I can plug it into a big, loud amp and play Smoke on the Water and it’ll sound pretty convincing, but it doesn’t feel right. Not to me, anyway. Maybe it’s just too pretty for me to take it seriously.

Anyway, I decided to sell it. I put it up on The Gear Page this afternoon, and it sold about 5 hours later. Right now, the plan is to buy a ’62 AVRI (American Vintage Reissue) Fender Jazzmaster. I’ll probably have to look for a while, since I don’t really want to pay a premium for a new one. Unfortunately, I haven’t really seen any used ones on ebay/craigslist/etc. Do me a favor and keep your eyes open for an AVRI Jazzmaster. I’d prefer one in Olympic White like this one, but black would also be fine. :)

I also decided to sell my delay. I pretty much decided to sell it as soon as it broke down, but I had to get it fixed first, since no one is going to want to buy a broken delay. It turns out that it was just a fried diode, which means that I (or the guy that I bought it from) plugged it into the wrong power supply. Anyway, I’m getting a couple of strymon pedals to take care of my delay needs: the Brigadier dBucket Delay and the blueSky Reverberator. Both of these pedals sound amazing and should enable me to make some truly spacey, echo-ey sounds. I really considered waiting for the soon-to-be-released El Capistan dTape Echo, but I think I’m more interested in analog delay sounds rather than tape echo sounds. Oh well, I could always flip something if I change my mind.

Oh yeah – I almost forgot. I won a little Twitter contest that Dan over at This1smyne Effects put on a few weeks ago. I’ll be getting his T1M Booster, which is a clone of the ZVex SHO boost with a tone control. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Broken Delay

I showed up for soundcheck this morning, plugged in my guitar/pedalboard, strummed a chord and – nothing. I spent a few frantic minutes troubleshooting and determined that my new delay (Tech21 Boost DLA) was the culprit.

The LED turns on, but it won’t pass a signal. At first it kinda worked, but I could hear it sputter out and die completely. I’m afraid it’s probably an IC chip or something, but it’s impossible to get to any of the components without completely desoldering the input jacks as well as the DC jack since they’re all soldered directly to the board. It’s a really stupid design, IMO.

I guess I’ll contact Tech21 customer support ¬†tomorrow to see what they can do for me as far as repairing it. My experience with them will affect whether or not I purchase any more of their products.

I made it through the service okay this morning. I still had another delay on the board (Ibanez DE-7), so I wasn’t completely delay-less. I had to do the dotted eighth thing on one song, so I manually dialed in the delay time to be pretty close and just turned up the delay mix for that one song. It wasn’t perfect, and I had to tweak it a little at the beginning of the song, but it worked out okay.

I think that once I get this delay fixed, I will probably just get an Eventide Timefactor or something like that since there are no more Timelines to be had. Why did I sell that freaking thing? Oh yeah, to buy that Line 6 M13 that I already got rid of. Facepalm.

What I’ve been up to (Timmy Clone)

A few months ago, in a haze of Gear Acquisition Syndrome I sold my Timmy overdrive pedal. That was a mistake, and I have regretted it. I’m back on the waiting list, but it’ll probably be another 6 months before my name is up. In the meantime I decided to take matters into my own hands.

There are a handful of websites where people disassemble boutique stompboxes and reverse engineer them. It’s nerdy, but it’s kinda cool. Okay, it’s not really cool at all. Anyway, I managed to find a layout for the Timmy overdrive. This ended up being a more involved process than I am used to. I usually buy a premade circuit board and put solder the right components in the right place. This time, I started out with a piece of stripboard. It looks like this:

That piece is too big to fit inside the enclosures that I use, so I cut it down to a more manageable size. Then I used a layout that someone else designed based on the schematic. This involves cutting certain traces on the bottom and creating new traces on the top as well as soldering the components into place.

Here’s the finished product from the outside. It’s not much to look at, but I don’t really care about the visuals.

Unfortunately, the insides aren’t much better.

You might notice that one of the capacitors (the blue one) is way bigger than the others. This is a result of me screwing up my parts order. Instead of ordering 2 1uF box capacitors, I only ordered one. I found the big blue one at Radio Shack so that I could at least finish the project. I’ll clean things up a bit once I get that smaller cap. It was really hard to cram four potentiometers into this small box. It took me forever to keep it from shorting out whenever I put it together.

It works, but I just finished it about an hour ago so I haven’t had a lot of time to mess with it. Based on the limited time that I have spent with it, I think it sounds pretty close to the real deal. I’m sure that a couple of the components that I’m using are the wrong material or value, so it may require some tweaking. At the very least, it should tide me over until the real deal comes along.