Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Palette of Tweeds - ROG's Azabache

Well, I'm really excited about posting today because I think one of my missions throughout this quest is over. A large part of my FuzzQuest has been devoted not to fuzz pedals but to amps or amp pedals which complement fuzz pedals. Over the past few years I have built the Thor (Marshall emulation), The English Channel (Vox) and the Professor Tweed (Fender), all Runoffgroove designs. I built other amp-pedals but I consider Vox, Marshall and Fender to be the most defining amps in fuzz history. Anyway they are all good pedals but there was something about the Tweed pedal which didn't sound right to me. It was good but I didn't get that Neil Young sound or Keith Richards sound which I really love. It was a good pedal for a fuzz kicking it, but as an overdrive it wasn't that rewarding.

So I started looking for more schematics and found that Wampler, BJFE and Catalinbread had some wicked stuff and I really wanted to give one of them a go. Just as I set out to, Runoffgroove came out with a very interesting design of a new Fender-like design which sounded good on paper. They called it Azabache. Surprising enough I also found a really nice guy who sent me the PCB for 10$ so I got the parts I needed and started to work. Usually I like building my own prefboards or tagboards but this time I thought "why not?"


The Azabache populated PCB 

The drilled enclosure almost ready

All sitting nice and comfy 
Ready for lock down

I love this combination of colors

I have played around with this pedal both in rehearsals and on stage and it always kicks ass. It is so versatile that it can go from muddy bluesy 50's style tweed to bright Black or Silver face country clean style. It's got warm overdrive that is to die for and with my telecaster it's just unbeatable. the SCOOP and BRIGHT switches are subtle but they do exactly as described and mixing with them on top of the TONE and GAIN knobs produce an endless amount of tones. I was so impressed by the range of colors it had that I named it Tweed Palette. Took me a while to decide on that name but...there it is.

This thing was not a kit. I just ordered the PCB and all the parts besides that were ordered separately. Just because someone asked I am mentioning this again:Q1 was 2N5457, Q2-4 were J201 and Q5 was 2N5088.

A mod from the RUnoffgroove team on DIY Stompboxes for reducing the trebleness of the pedal: Substitute the 47K resistor going to TONE 1 for a link (or a smaller value resistor).

I did some playing around with a tele and a cabinet simulator and sent it over the ROG guys with many thanks:



Now you probably want to know how it sounds with a fuzz. Well, with a silicon fuzz face like my Pink Face it sounds the best. Instant 60's fuzz. Did I say that half of my quest is over?

Anyway here is the ROG Azabache project and schematics. I would love to know how it stands next to the Catalinbread Formula No.5.






10 comments:

  1. Wow! That build looks good.. The color combination (enclosure, knobs and switches) is spot on!

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    1. Thanks man for the kind words. It sounds better than it looks. It's a really great design and I wish everyone would go out and build themselves one. It's really that good.

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    2. Yeah, maybe I should build it too! Damn.. Too many cool sounding effects and not enough time.. :D

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    3. What are your options? maybe I can help you decide if you can describe what you are looking for. I have built a lot of fuzz/OD/Dist pedals, mostly because I didn't really know what I was looking for. I can also record some clips if it's a pedal that I have built already.

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  2. Thanks for the post, this thing (and runoff groove's entire site) is super awesome and I had no idea they existed. I'm looking into building one, but I wanted to do it from scratch. I've hit a snag though: I can't figure out what sort of transistors this is meant to use! Would you kindly tell me what transistors came with your nifty kit?

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    1. Hi Brad,
      This project was not a kit. I just ordered the PCB. The rest of the parts were from my stock. The transistors I used were Q1-2N5457, Q2-Q4-J201 and Q5-2N5088.

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  3. That thing sounds amazing! Too bad I am not good enough at building pedals... :(

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  4. I believe anyone can get their hands on some equipment and build a pedal. However you can buy great pedals from some boutique dealers on the web.
    You can start learning about building your own pedals on another post of mine:
    http://fuzzquest.blogspot.com/2013/04/so-ya-thought-ya-might-like-tobe-diy.html

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  5. Hey Doron, well done and well written as usual!

    How is this hiss level when not playing?

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    1. Still tolerable and very worth your while. It's not as critical as I thought a 2 years ago. A very rewarding pedal in live situations and a super important color in my current recording setup alongside a few other pedals which complement it very well like the 1176 delay, Octavia, Orpheus fuzz and King Watt!

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