Zen Drive

Zen Drive built with a PCB from Aion.


Klon clone built from a PCB from Aion.


These are two purple sparkle IC Big Muffs. These were built from PCBs from OSH Park.

This is a great fuzz/distortion a nice alternative to the classic Big Muff.

Templates from Ponoko

I just got these templates from Ponoko.
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Tube Steak build

Tube Steak build was originally published on Super-Freq

More OSH Park PCBs

These are some more PCBs from OSH Park. There is an IC Big Muff, Tube Steak, and a Woolly Mammoth.

The Tube Steak I created from a schematic posted by Charlie Barth at Moosapotamus.net. Tube Steak Fuzz is a cross between the Tube Sound Fuzz, and Way Huge Fat Sandwich. Here’s a link to Charlie’s article read it for yourself: Tube Steak Fuzz.

The IC Big Muff also called the op-amp Big Muff was a version of the Big Muff that used two op-amps in place of the four transistors used in the classic Big Muff Design. Here is a link to more information in the op-amp Big Muff.

The Woolly Mammoth is a PCB design that I made as a clone of the ZVex Woolly Mammoth. I really like the sound of this one. Designed as a fuzz for bass, it sounds good with guitar also. The design is based on the Fuzz Face.


Zeke Bass distortion

Completed clone of the Ezekiel 25:17 Bass Distortion by D*A*M. I built this with PCBs from OSH Park, see my previous post.


Osh Park PCBs

IMG_1158.JPGI just received this order from OSH Park. I order four boards. You are required to buy three copies of each board you order. The cost is $5 per square inch for 2 layer boards (with 3 copies of your board included in that price). Which is not bad, if the boards are small it’s a deal. For example, the SHO was $3.20 for three boards! The Fuzz Factory boards, were $7.75 for three, still a good deal. The Haunting Mids boards were just under $5 each, and the Zeke Bass Distortion was about $8.50 each.

Of course getting boards for designs that people upload with little info can be chancey. There should be more options on the site to comment, and mark boards as verified. Looks like not all projects are shared. User decide to share a project. Hopefully people make an order and test it before sharing.

The quality of the boards is great. A couple things I noticed. There is no solder mask. The pads are gold plated, which is nice. I find the solder mask easier to solder with. Look at the first image. You can see the backside of each of the four boards. Notice the board in the upper right. The pads are fairly small. I think, this is the default pad size in Eagle PCB. It’s not easy to solder, It’s not super difficult either. The two on the left have a more generous pad size. This size makes for a better soldering experience.

I’ll post again when build these boards…

For reference here are some links to the boards I ordered here:











Royal Jelly Buzz #2

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SG Jr kit

this was built from précis ion guitars kit. I made a few small modifications.

The finish is a wipe on wax from wudtone. This looks really good and was very easy to apply, required no special equipment, and, best of all, no toxic fumes! You could apply this stuff in your living room, seriously. It was very easy to do. The cost was not cheap, though not bad for a single guitar.

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Hello kitty Stratocaster

This is a great little guitar. It’s essentially Squire stratocaster with a San rio license.

The body is basswood and the neck is maple. It’s got a single humbucker and volume control.


I got this on Craigslist for $50. Not a bad deal. I think it was actually a very good deal. Everything worked but the guitar did not play so great. You can’t even buy all of the parts for $50, at that price you have to expect to put something in yourself.



I took the neck off and gave it a fret level. One of the frets was sticking up. So I glued that down with a little super glue.


This was the first time I had leveled frets. So the $50 guitar was a good place to start. I got the neck as flat as I could get it. Taped up the fret board. I used Shapie to color the frets. Then ran the leveling beam across the frets. I sanded the frets down until I could see some ink being removed from all of them.

Then I made a new nut. This was also a first time. I started with a plastic blank. It had some grooves but, these needed to be deepened and the rest of the nut needed to be shaped.


This turned out well after some trial and error. At one point the nut seemed to be adjusted well but, the high e string exhibited a sitar like ring. In the end I fixed this by lowering the string tree to increase the break angle of the e and b string over the nut.

After the fret level I could lower the action considerably. The guitar was playing pretty good. At this point the height adjustment screws in bridge sadle of the low e string were sticking out and digging into my palm. I took them out and cut two threads off the bottom of each with some big wire cutters.


The I filed the ends smooth. I could have cut another one or two threads off as about one thread was still sticking out the top. But it didn’t bother me so I decided to leave well enough alone.




Last I adjusted the bridge height and set the intonation.

Do NOS parts make a difference?

I just read this article, you should too, read it and come back.

I feel there is something to sound created by parts made from different materials and techniques. I also feel in the world guitar audio, the word “tone” is used in so many different ways it’s essentially meaningless. Beyond “sounds good” the word tone can mean anything. Just knowing what something is influences your opinions, and subjective experience. I’d really like to submit this person to a blind A/B test and see if they can really tell the difference between wire with a different types of PVC coating.


Anyone that has read Freakonomics, or listened to their podcasts, will understand that the value of something is often effected by irrational behavior. The belief that something is better, is often determined by the cost not quality. There are many ways to convince people that something costs more, make it with hard to obtain parts for example. Read this Feakonomics study on the price wines.

Do these older parts sound better? They might, or they might not. Of course if you tell someone that they are listening to a 1965 Marhsall, they expect it to sound great. The real trick is to not tell them and let them make up their own minds. I encourage every musician out there to decide what sounds by ask themselves if they like it, regardless of whether it was played by Jim Hendrix, on a 1959 Fender Stratocaster through a 1965 Marhall JCM 45/100.

Building electronic stuff, many people have many ideas about the various sounds of caps and resistors. Joe Gore, performed a very ingenious test. Which showed that the audible difference between various caps is mostly inaudible. Read about here

SF Guitar works, a guitar shop in San Francisco that I highly recommend, did an informal guitar cable test. Read about it here. This is an illusion based industry that makes millions and employs thousands.

I applaud the idea of creating vintage gear from left over parts, or trying to recreate something that isn’t made anymore as closely as possible. There’s a lot to learn, homage is great. I also applaud the idea of making things, using old things as a springboard or evolution. This is what is great about DIY stomp boxes builders.

Getting lost in world of wire with different coatings and claiming to be able to hear the difference in sound, makes me very skeptical.

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