Ugly face with tone control

The Ugly Face has an interesting set of options. The Threshold knob has to be the most interesting though least useful. Last year I thought I’d add a tone control in it’s place. I wanted to build an Ugly Face and keep it in 1590B sized box. This format makes it hard to fit more than 4 Knobs. I decided to drop the Threshold and replace it with a Big Muff style tone control.

This was a pretty easy project, I already had a PCB and all of the parts on hand. The PCB I had did not have any space for the tone control. The Big Muff tone control requires, besides the pot, fours parts, two resistors and two capacitors. I remembered seeing an article on the Big Muff tone control over at Beavis Audio research where they mentioned soldering all of the parts on to the pot. I thought about this but decided against it. I have been using and planned to use these 12MM pots. Which seemed too small. Plus the box was going to be a little crowded and didn’t want to risk the parts shorting against something.

[picture of 12mm pot]

I decided to mount the tone control on a tiny piece of perfboard.Using small multilayer ceramic caps would make the whole thing fit easily.

[image of perf layout.]

Last was to run the output of the Ugly Face into the tone control before going to the volume.

[Picture the interior of the box]

I decided to do this box in a plush purple fur.

Bee Baa

This is a Roland Bee Baa Fuzz. It’s sort of a booster followed by a two transistor silicon fuzz. The sounds is pretty heavy and doom like. Interpret that how you will. The original came in a larger case with three stomp switches on top, bypass, boost, tone. I used stomp switches for the boost and bypass, and use a toggle for the tone switch.

I built this from the GEOFEX layout. The mighty roar of this pedal demanded more than than puny plastic standoffs could hold. Wussy adhesive backing would not be enough. I chose to go with 440 allen bolts and aluminum standoffs to secure the PCB to the enclosure.

Bee Baa Fuzz


Here’s a project that I built up some years ago. This never found it’s way into a box. I dug it out and decided to try and box it up. Difficult with the number of switches and knobs. I think I have a viable plan to shoehorn it into a BB sized. box.

This is a pretty interesting distortion box. It’s sort of a Tube Screamer, Rat, Distortion +, with an Octave up. When I finish it up it should be all of those things in one box.

This was built using the layout generously provided by R.G. Keen of GEOFEX fame.


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.

Distort-o-Matic XI

This is an interesting distortion effect with an octave and wah like tone control. I redrew this schem from an issues of Stompboxology.

Distort-o-Matic XI Schem

FET Driver

This is Tim Escobedo‘s FET Driver.

FET Driver

FET Driver 2


This is another fine little Distortion by Tim Escobedo. I think this sounds pretty good. The sound can go from mildly distortion/overdrive to over the top almost metal. It can also get some splatty fuzz tones and a soft attack.


Jinx 2

Swollen Pickle

This is Way Huge Swollen pickle clone I made. This is basically a Big Muff with using a 14 pin DIP that contains 4 transistors. The tone control also has a pronounced mid scoop compared to the original Big Muff.

Swollen Pickle guts

I etched this design on the box. The design is based on flames in Tibetan art. I named the box the Shiva Sonic. I figure as the god of destruction and rebirth, Shiva was an appropriate deity for the sound of the Big Muff.

Shiva Sonic Box

This is a layout for the Big Muff that would fit in a B sized box. It is set up to use a 14 pin DIP since I used a quad transistor array. The pins on this chip are arranged such that you you could use this layout with regular transistors inserted into a 14 pin DIP socket. If you look carefully you can see that I’ve marked the pins E, B and C

Swollen Pickle Layout

FET Muff

I just built up Jack Orman’s FET Muff. This is Big Muff built with FET’s instead of BJT’s. When I created the layout I had the idea that I would keep all of transistors in line so I could use a length of milmax header. I think this made for a better construction. It led to a more organized layout. Though it did cause a couple headaches with component placement.

FET Muff

FET Muff close up

Ugly Face

This is an Ugly Face by Tim Escobedo. I think the sound is pretty good. It makes a sort of pulse width modulated square wave via the guitar signal driving a 555. Not for every occasion. But the sound it makes it makes well. I really like this thing, so much in fact that I’ve made 3 so far.

Ugly Face PCB and Box

Ugly Face Box

Ugly Face PCB

Here’s a layout that would fit in a B sized box.

Ugly Face Layout

Here’s a modification of Tim’s original scheme that adds a blend knob. The blend knob mixes between the signal coming out of the 386 and the signal coming out of the 555. This adds an extra knob to the build, which makes for a pretty tight arrangement. The 16mm pots would work. But, 12mm pots with 1/2″ knobs would work well. Something like this at These pots are the same as the typical pots but they have a 12mm diameter body. A 1/2″ knob is about the same diameter.

Ugly Face blend mod

Newer Posts