In this blog I would like to share my experiments and thoughts on DIY guitar pedals, namely, fuzzes, overdrives and distortions. The history of circuit design and the stories behind the pedals are part of the fun. Links, schematics and audio clips will follow soon. Stay tuned or follow.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The Mastotron Clone. Even the LED is pink
Well, here's a quick one. I was asked by a friend to build a Mastotron Fuzz clone which would be just like the real ZVEX but in a PINK enclosure. The main specification he was after was ultra bassy fuzziness. Reading a little about this beast I thought this would be a good choice.
The schematic and layout seemed like a modified fuzz face with some added controls. He also wanted to do the artwork so I thought why not.
I ordered the parts and got straight away to work. I really got more and more into vero boards lately so I gave it a go and made a vero layout from the tagboardeffects blog using a regular prefboard and using the leads of the parts as connecting lines to emulate the vero board layout. I really like this idea.
This pedal is not a legendary one nor do I know of anyone who used it in the history pages of rock...but this thing can really roar. Actually I've never heard such a great bass fuzz before. This thing is the perfect fuzz for stoner rock and doom metal guitarists who need their sound to explode with fireworks. It has the square wave character of muffs and faces but it has this extra grit that makes you go 'uhhhh'. The controls have PUSH/RELAX (just a Pregain), FUZZ (of course), PW (pulse width, a.k.a. smoothness), TONE (very effective) and VOLUME (actually not a loud pedal even fully CW).
knobs, from the left: VOLUME TONE PW FUZZ PUSH/RELAX
I went to give the guy his pedal down at an underground bar where he played with his band and they hooked up the pedal right there in the middle of the song, like they were waiting for it. The pedal sounded great right away (except for having a bit of a low volume).
I used 2N3904 silicon transistors which are supposed to be great, but if he asks for more volume I might switch to higher gain ones or just add a booster stage before the volume knob.
Again, I don't know too much about this one but it's not for everyone. It's not a muff or a face, it's really something else, which is very typical of the ZVEX line of pedals. He is always tinkering to get more options and a wider palette of sounds from his designs.
Definitely a worthwhile design for fans of Witchcraft, Witch, Windhand, Cosmolux, Hellbender, Blowback and other Stoner/Doom rock bands. Did I say that I even had the LED ordered in pink?