Revolting Visage

Here’s my take on the Ugly Face/Crash Sync. I took my favorite parts of both and a few suggestions from RunOffGroove and the DIYStompboxes forum.

This version uses a different input buffer, which more closely resembles the input of the Crash Sync. Though it has a greater gain. I found this gave more sustain. The Ugly Face has a gain of about 200. The Revolting Visage uses a gain of about 1000.

I took the envelope from the Ugly Face which is simple and elegant and seems to work well for this design.

I also borrowed the Threshold from the Ugly Face. Which allows for self Oscillation.

These last two features do not exist on the Crash Sync. But, are a lot of fun to play with.

I changed the output to be directly taken from pin 3 of the 7555. The Ugly Face used a strange arrangement that was also connected to pin 7. The pin 3 arrangement makes more sense to me and is simpler.

Two Screamer

I had been wanting to build Craig Anderton’s graphic fuzz. But I had never gotten around to it. Though I did find an old 10 band EQ on the street that I thought would make a home for that project. 

Lately the idea had struck me to make a smaller version with two Tube Screamers. This would it in a B sized box and be easier to build. 

I have not built this yet. I want to try and get around to it in the next couple weeks. Here’s a drawing of the layout I planned. 

I started with jack Orman’s son of Screamer.I figured I’d use two Drive and Tone controls, followed by a Mix and a Volume. There are two versions of the Mix control in the notes. 

MOSFET Boost Layout

Here’s a layout for the MosFET boost. The drawing is pretty sloppy. But this shows the schematic and layout I used for my build. Seemed to work well.

Here’s a link to a picture of my build. Here’s a link to the schematic on

MosFET Boost layout

Ugly Face Volume Mod

I like the Tim Escobedo’s Ugly Face I’ve built about 7 now. This is a really fun pedal. Total Sonic Mayhem. Not for Jazz, though I’m hoping someone will take that as a challenge…

Something that is not really a problem, but has always bothered me is the volume. The Ugly Face is extremely loud. The output swings about 0 to 9V. Which leaves a small usable range on the volume knob.

Lately I have been adding a 68K resistor in series between the volume pot and the output from the circuit. My measurements seemed to suggest an 80K would be better but I had 68K on hand. The the thing is still way loud. But now at least volume pot seems to have a more usable range.


Built Jack Orman’s Son of Screamer last night. Fired up the first time and sounds pretty good. I have not owned a Tube Screamer before. After building this I’m understanding the complaints about the “mid hump” in the sound. The sound is very focused in the mid range.

There seem to be many mods for this floating about. So I thought I’d build a second one to compare to the first. I picked out the LovePedal Eternity. There is a good thread about this one here.

From the schematic it looks like the Son of Screamer with a few changes in parts values. From what I can see it seems the Eternity just increases the lows as described in this article

Of course the next step is make the RunOffGroove Tube Reamer for a final comparison. Looks like the Tube Reamer adds event more.

It looks C2 is increased from .047 to .1, from SOS to Eternity, and doubled again to .22 in the Tube Reamer.

9V Sample and Hold

With a great idea from Brian Marshall of Subdecay I managed to get my 9V sample and Hold working. This ties Brian’s Sample and Hold to the Colorsound Wah. This works pretty good. The range of the effect could still use some adjustment.

9V sample and Hold

9V Sample and Hold

Here’s a sound sample of the 9V Sample & Hold I have been working on. So far things are going pretty well. It’s based on an idea by Brian Marshall and the Color Sound Wah.

9V S&H Test Mp3

Sample & Hold

I have this for Sample and Hold effects. Though I have yet to build a really good one.

Here are a bunch of sketches of S&H ideas that I have been testing.

This is the Maestro FSH-1.

Sample and Hold 2

This uses a 7555 timer for a clock in an attempt to get as short and sharp a clock pulse as possible.

Sample and Hold 3

This is Ray Wilsons Sample and Hold from

Sample and Hold 4

Here’s an idea from the app notes of the 13600. This one worked pretty well.

Sample and Hold 5

This idea came from the forum

Sample and Hold 6

Musicians and DIY Electronics swap meet at Gilman Street

Don’t miss the Musicians and DIY Electronics swap meet at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley. I had a great time last year and the Year before. Lots of good deals to be had. Last year there was a ton of analog synth equipment and the year before there was a group with a massive amount of old military tube electronics. Last year I sold a few boxes and some PCBs. I picked up some pretty cool books, The Active Filter Cookbook and the Craig Anderton classic Electronic Projects for Musicians. Which I bought when I was about 16 but could never figure it out. Here I am 25 years buying it again.

PCB Template Drilling guide

I have been getting a lot requests for a drilling template. So here it is at long last. This drilling template may not be super accurate. Be sure to drill the initial holes a little smaller and check alignment against your PCB before opening the holes. I use a round file and a hand reamer to make adjustments.

1590 B Drilling Template

The Next board?

I’m down to about 30 of the original PCBs. I’m thinking about doing another run if there’s interest.

I’m also thinking about creating another board. Same layout as the first but it would include traces for an effect with the rest of the area taken up by pad per hole in the same style as the first. This would allow space for mods.

I have been thinking about effects that I might do.

  • Fuzz Face
  • BigMuff
  • Tube Screamer
  • ???

Give me some suggestions. What would you be interested in?