Saturday, January 22, 2011

DIY Overdrive/Boost Pedal

More kit love. This one is the overdrive 2 kit from Build Your Own Clone available here. This is the first kit that I have put together from Build Your Own Clone and it was a great experience. The kit came complete with all parts including chassis and extra parts for the most common mods. The board was laid out clearly including labels for cap and resistor values. The web site has easy to follow directions, including the most common mods. There is an optional MOSFET conversion kit which can be ordered for an additional few dollars. Here are a couple photos of the kit going together. The magnifying loop in the first photo is only there because of my poor eyesight. I have trouble seeing color stripes on resistors and the loop helps.

The folks at Build Your Own Clone clearly put a lot of effort into the design of this pedal. It it based on the Ibanez Tube Screamer with a host of mods as well as an additional boost channel which can be used separately from or in conjunction with the overdrive channel. There are also two toggle switches, one which lets you select additional silicon or led clipping and a second 3-way EQ switch which adds highs and lows or lows to the tone stack. The kit comes with two op amps which you can choose from, a JRC4558D op amp which was in the original Tube Screamer and the Burr Brown OPA2134 op amp. The chip is socketed so you can swap them out as easily as changing the battery. In addition there are three trimpots on the board for minimum and maximum distortion as well as level in the overdrive channel. You can build the kit according to the original Tube Screamer specs or tweak it however you want. What is truly amazing is that all of this is crammed into a standard 125b chassis.

Building the kit took about three hours, included sorting out the resistors and caps. I am still getting a handle on all of options for the pedal. My wife ran hiding when I first plugged in the pedal and had the pots all opened up. My son nodded knowingly when I got the level turned down with the overdrive all the way up. I recently got a Fender Champion 600 amp and wanted to have a classic overdrive pedal to drive the front end of the amp. This is an awesome kit and is highly recommended.