Distortion
DIY Stompbox Gallery

Tight Club

What it's based on: Tight Metal + Decimator

Suzy's Tight Club pedal. This was a fun one. We got chatting about doing a Tight Metal and discovered I had a couple of boards left. One thing led to another and I decided that the rudimentary gate on it was a bit pants and it'd be awesome with a real noise gate wedged into the circuit.

Anyhow, if that wasn't challenging enough, we also decided to put it in a tiny box because.., well because. Meet the 1590BS, a 1cm taller 1590B!

Dominatrix

What it's based on: Okko Dominator

I foolishly sold my original Dominatrix and pined for another. In the end we teamed up with Jason to do a PCB for this and here is the result!

Guv Dredd

What it is: Marshall Guv'nor

Everytime we build a Guv'nor I keep meaning to build one for us because they sound great. Finally I ordered an extra board from Fuzzdog and have done it.

Iron Man

What it is: Mountain Man Effects Grizz Prototype

I'm only responsible for boxing this up, it was populated by Jason. This is a Grizz Prototype sent to us for evaluation and it's bloody marvellous. Not sure how much I can say about this one... It's a dual drive, quite thick on one side, more traditional on the other. It's really very, very good.

The Assassin Zombie Monkey

What it's based on: Runoffgroove Thunderbird

Matt is going to die when he sees this one ;)

This is ROG's magnificent cranked Marshall simulator, the Thunderbird. Unlike older ROG amp-like distortions, this one doesn't have the topology of the amp, it just aims to emulate the sound and boy does it! It's awesome with one caveat, it's a little noisy.

A lot of high gain distortions have this issue and we really liked the way Amptweaker's Tight Metal used a simple noise gate in the signal path. We'll we've not used a simple gate, but a bloody awesome one (please don't ask, I can't and I won't answer as to what it is or where to get it). Should you want to do the same you could graft in something simple like the one in the TM, or one of the many other gates out there. Simply fit it in place of C25. That's it. It works spectacularly well.

Blue Guv

What it's based on: Marshall Guv'nor

This was a kit that Colin (Blue) has had tucked away for years and never got around to building. When it was eventually tracked down it was sent my way.

It's a GGG Guv'nor clone with loads of newbie unfriendly offboard wiring. Still, it's done and it does what it says on the tin. I think GGG's own Gonader is a hell of a lot easier to build though.

Brazen Bull

What it's based on: Brazen Bull

Jason's (Jubal81) Brazen Bull multi distortion sent to us for evaluation, so I had to box it up.

A really rather unique and excellent creation this one. It's a switchable distortion with a boost, JFET OD, 4049 distortion and muff all running into a James tonestack.

What I really like about it is that you can set the controls then just switch in what flavour of dirt you want on there. Not to mention that the 4049 and muff are two of the nicest and quietest ones I've heard.

Hydra

What it's based on: InDefianceAudio Hydra

An IDA board for the testing and it's another cracker. This is a modded ZenDrive and GOAT in one. I liked Cleggy's so much I had to have one.

Valnott

What it's based on: Boss HM-2

THE black metal pedal (dime Hi, Low and Gain and you're in a black metal nightmare). PCB is The Swedish Chainsaw from Tinnitus Industries.

The name comes from a rather epic video by The Austerity Program because it can do that perfectly too (drop the high and lows) ;) I'd have put a walnut in there had it fitted...

3 Wreck

What it's based on: Wampler Triple Wreck

Built on a VipFX board but with a few mods (that he's since incorporated in the new board). The Cream section has been replaced with a SHO that operates independently. Mainly down to the Cream sounding horrible and the SHO providing a useful boost.

It's not the quietest pedal in the world, but then it's very high gain and the others we've done are the same. I suppose it's just one of those things with this circuit. Otherwise, if you want to get your chug on, this is the pedal.

Dirty Deeds

What it's based on: Catlinbread Dirty Little Secret

I've been meaning to make one of these for ages. Poodle Pedal Parts having a PCB just made it easy.

Nevrosa

What it's based on: Grind Customs Nevrosa

Loosly based on a Plexidrive, but with way more bacon.



Banana? / Banana!

What it's based on: Emma Reezafratzitz

Built on a THN Technik board fabbed by Haberdasher. Really good distortion this one. I'm surprised it's not built more. Why minions? Why Reezafratzitz...?

Hmmm, the 2nd one. That came about because Martin snagged mine when he borrowed it to give it a go (I never did get around to reversing the mid pot on that). So I needed to make another for me. No problem I think to myself, I'll make my life easier this time by sticking it in a bigger box. This has resulted in one of my ugliest wiring jobs in ages. I've no idea quite how I managed it, but there it is. All the pots work the right way this time though.



Cyberbird

What it's based on: Wampler Tweed '57

Built on a VIPFx Tweedybird PCB. A distortion that aims to emulate the sound of a 1957 Fender Tweed.

Speedy Marie

What it's based on: A Discrete Cake Recipe

This was something Jason (Jubal81) of the Madbean forum came up with. It's a Crowther Hotcake using Joe Davisson's discrete diode compression opamp. It's really rather bloody brilliant. It should be running at 18v but I forgot to put the charge pump in there. That'll get sorted later.

Tried some matt vinyl decals for a change. I won't be using them again as they cause the Envirotex to have loads of tiny bubbles in it which is a real pain. You can't really see them, but the camera really picks them up.

NewBone

What it's based on: Carl Martin Plexitone

In the end we've reverted to Madbean's v1 Boneyard board as it's the one we found sounded the best. It's been built as a three knobber and has both Bean's suggested changes and a couple of our own.

It's also a return of a somewhat manky salvaged Millenium Bypass board. Because we couldn't get it to fit any other way and we found one lurking in the stash.

Blue Monster

What it's based on: Blue Monster

Bengt Vallhagen's Blue Monster. A unique distortion that has individual level's and gain's on low and high frequencies coupled with a blended filter pot. It's really rather brilliant and highly recommended.

...and umlauts, mustn't forget the umlauts!



Loki / Thor

What it's based on: Bixonic Expandora

The Reverend's favourite, built on a Codtone Expandra PCB. Clever little thing that works the opposite way to a compressor (hence the name) the harder you pick, the more distortion you get. We've not bothered with the dip switches inside, instead using headers and jumpers to choose the mode.

Loki is mine, Thor is Cleggy's.



Blackbird

What it's based on: Wampler Black '65

Built on a VIPFx Blackbird PCB. A distortion that aims to emulate the sound of a 1965 Fender Blackface.

Fat Bottomed Girl

What it's based on: Catalinbread Galileo
(...Galileo, Figaro... Magnificoooooooooo)

It's Jubal81's Voxy Brown PCB doing that Catalinbread Galileo thang. That is the curly prof's treble boost into an AC30. Once you get it dialled in it pretty much does just that. Harmonics just jump out of it.

It's a real sod to photograph for some reason. It looks awesome in the flesh.

Update: Running this thing at 18v transforms the circuit. So I've added a charge pump in there.

Game of Tones

What it's based on: Marshall Bluesbreaker

Built on a Grind Customs GOAT (was Game of Tones) PCB. Which is essentially a tweaked Marshall Bluesbreaker.

Slightly annoyed with myself for the decal. I should have 'shopped in him holding a Flying V instead of the sword. Only thought about it after I'd built it.

Indeed this is what it might have looked like.



Plus Distortion / Polka Drive

What it's based on: MXR Distortion+

EffDub's Plus Distortion PCB. A tiny clone of an MXR Distortion+. Seemed only right to put it in a little box.

Polka Drive was for Mr Clegg.



Inline 8

What it's based on: Marshall Guv'nor

Grind Customs Octane PCB (originally known as the Inline 8). A stripped down Guvnor with simple tone stack and different clippers. It's very hair metal.

The Guvnor

What it's based on: Marshall Guv'nor

Built for Martin of MJW Amps using a Tonepad Gonader (really) board etched by Haberdasher.

It's odd that we've never got around to building one of these. It's just one of those that's passed us by. I like it, so will probably end up making one for me.

Dominatrix

What it's based on: Okko Dominator

The first of two huge builds based on layouts by R Customs and fabbed by Haberdasher. This is the Dominatrix

Then there's the decal. I found this movie poster and shuffled it around to make it fit. It turns out it's a particularly dodgy 70's porno... Excellent.

Thunder God

What it's based on: Wampler Triple Wreck

The second of the R Customs builds, this is the 3 Wreck

Ins and outs are shielded and I've tried to keep every thing as short as possible or away well away from other bits and pieces. It's paid off with a pair of surprisingly quiet builds considering what they do.

Finally, there are not enough pedals with Thor on them. Something I thought I'd correct with this one.

Prince Albert

What it's based on: Catalinbread RAH

Steve (Raulduke) did a tiny run of the RAH clone PCBs that he made and we managed to snag a couple. Strictly for DIY use only. The pedal is another amp-a-like, this time of a Hi-Watt, specifically of a Zeppelin gig at the Royal Albert Hall. Hence the name and the pic.

Once again, cracking effect here and Steve's made a cracking board.

Boneyard

What it's based on: Carl Martin Plexitone

Built on a later version of Madbean's Boneyard PCB. Also using the suggested part substitutions from the original doc.

This has further been simplified by the fitting of just the hi-gain pot and no boost. I just liked it better this way. However it seems to be prone to squealing when all three knobs are cranked which the original didn't do. Not sure why, but they sound the same back-to-back and I never crank everything anyhow.

Update: I've bunged a JFet buffer on the front of this as it continuned to annoy me slightly. It fixes all the problems with it. Bean has revised the circuit again and when that comes out I'll probably build myself a new one.



Chopper / Bandolero

What it's based on: Modified Electra Distortion

Like the SHO, a insanely simple circuit that just sounds really good.

Bandolero is for Dave. Shame the knobs cover Dusty and Frank. But otherwise, it's more of the same.



Tilt

What it's based on: Madbean Tilt

Another Bean. This time his own distortion. Pretty cool.

Riot 2011

What it's based on: Suhr Riot

In recognition of the 2011 UK riots (AKA: Riots for trainers. Basically when all the chavs used the riots as an excuse to thieve a load of ipods/tvs/tasteful clothes and engage in some casual vandalism), I present to you the a Suhr Riot clone. No other reason really. Good picture of a 'yoot' sticking it to the man by burning some poor buggers little Citroen. Yeah, that'll show all those banker types...

Made on a Madbean board. Does what it does really. A distortion with an 80's rock flavour.









Jaymz / Vultan / King Conan

What it's based on: RunOffGroove Dr Boogey

My second attempt at a Dr Boogey. The first was on vero and was a rats nest of wiring. It was so noisy I recycled it thinking I'd never revisit this pedal. Then Madbean went and did a PCB for it and I thought I'd give it another chance.

I'm glad I did, with a few more pedals under my belt this one is a hell of a lot neater and given how high gain this thing is, a massive amount quieter. Indeed it's made my Blackstar amp redundant as the one thing I've been keeping it for was it's low volume impression of a Mesa Rectifier, which I can now replicate on my MJW replacement.

2nd one was for Cleggy. The wiring is even tidier and less crossed and as such his pedal is near silent. Making mine seem noisy!

Jaymz3: The final evolution! This was made purely to try out some tweaking of the build. I can now happily say that we've nailed how to do this one in terms of wiring, component choice and biasing. It's as quiet as the 2nd but way more useable. Unfortunately this means that mine needs completely rebuilding and the 2nd needs some components swapping out now...

To do a Dr Boogie this way first you'll need to make yourself a Fet matcher and grab a multimeter. It's also worth reading this article on Fet matchery by RGKeen.

Ours run J201s in Q1 and Q2, and 2N5457s in the other positions. The J201s had the cutoff voltages measured at about -0.3v, and 2n5457s about -1v.

Using the fetzer valve formula for biasing, (0.6 x supply voltage) + (0.7 x positive cutoff voltage), everything has sounded great straight away. As an example a 2N5457 with -1v cutoff would be biased at 5.4v + 0.7v = 6.1v.

For buffer stage at the end we used a 2N5457 with the highest cutoffs we had. We also swapped out C16 for a 10nF to remove some high end fizz.

Vultan is Matt's (who is playing on the clip below), and indeed what he wanted on it ;) It's on the new Madbean ChunkChunk PCB that makes building it a lot easier. GORDON'S ALIVE?!

King Conan is Jaymz3 re-decalled for Lew as part of his ongoing quest to have Arnie on all his pedals. CROM!

Sound clip 1

Sound clip 2







Plexi

What it's based on: Carl Martin Plexitone

Another Madbean PCBs. This time a Plexitone distortion, and it is good.





SVT / QotSA Drive

What it's based on: Catalinbread SFT

Another modern pedal that kicks almighty ass. Originally designed for bass, but when used with guitar can give you tones from from Keef to Kyuss.



Stompster

What it's based on: RunOffGroove Dr Boogey

This is essentially a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier adapted for use as a stompbox by RunOffGroove.

Well subtle it isn't. Nor is it quiet. I probably should have researched this before I built it as it seems this can be a bit of a swine to tame. As it stands currently it needs work to get the noise down to acceptable levels. I've got plans for that and will report back shortly.

Update: Well pulling the trimmers and replacing them with resistors has certainly cut out about 80% of the noise. I might come back to this one.

Update2: It now has shielded cable on the inputs and outputs in addition to me scruffying up the interior a bit to get rid of parallel wires... It hasn't really cut out any more. So it's a noisy bastard this one. Sounds exactly as it should, but it's too noisy for my liking.

Therion Distortion

What it's based on: Zvex Box of Rock

Another BOR, though this doesn't have the boost stage. The decal is based on the one Marauder did for the Thermionic Overdrive as this has become his go too decal when inspiration escapes him and he can't cope with some of the dafter things I put on mine.

A good shot of the super-enormous 1uF cap that I mis-ordered and am still using up as and when I can make them fit

Zach in a Box

What it's based on: Zvex Box of Rock

I've kinda gone a bit surreal with a Zachary Vex in a box on a completely random and unrelated snow-scape. Another great pedal though, very Marshall.

This is the D*A*M Buster enclosure re-cycled. Pretty it ain't.

The D*A*M Buster

What it's based on: D*A*M Sonic Titan & Meathead

This is my original Dirt Box re-housed alongside a Sonic Titan clone. I built the Titan out of curiosity more than anything else and, to be honest, it's not really my cup of tea. It's massively loud and aggressive and the tone pot is a crude horrid thing. I've used the tone stack from Skinpimps 'Sonic Samurai' take on this circuit. This has resulted in a much more useful pot and a slight taming of the effect. Much better!

Excuses for the messy interior of this one... One half was rehoused, the other half was built outside the box and just thrown in there. I would normally build in the box, but I really just couldn't be arsed to pull these two apart and do it uber neatly as I'm not really that fond of either. Maybe it'll grow on me?

Marshall in a Box

What it's based on: Marshall Shredmaster

Built using the BYOC board only rather than the kit. Modded with a switch that changes a cap inside as one way it sounds better with single coil guitars, the other with humbuckers. Additionally it has sync/async clipping on another switch.

Master Shredder

What it is: BYOC Shredder kit
What it's based on: Marshall Shredmaster

Like having a Marshall in a box! An awesome, often overlooked distortion pedal.

I'm surprised at how many people miss the link on the decal, which is of course Master Shredder fighting Master Splinter.

Update: Now with added bright switch that changes a cap inside as one way it sounds better with single coil guitars, the other with humbuckers.

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