Fuzz Factory #3

Another Fuzz Factory clone. I used silicon transistors for this build I didn’t have any germanium transistors with the right gains. I think lower gain silicon works best here. I used a couple 2N5401 with gains of 115 and 120. These were about the lowest gain I could find in my parts bin.

I ordered three boards from OSH Park for $7.75. These worked well.

https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/xaBILSTV

I used the soft switching with the Madbean Softie. Which worked well. I’ve built four of these so far and they have all worked well.

AionFX Flare an 8 knob Fuzz Factory

I built this a while ago. I recently built a couple more Fuzz Factory clones. I used sockets for the transistors so this made a good place to audition transistors for the new pedals.

It got me thinking about the transistors I used in this pedal. I used germanium transistors in the new pedals but silicon in this one. The transistors here sound different not better or worse but definitely different. There is a lot of overlap in sound.

The germanium transistors fall in a gain range of 70 to 120 hfe. This is pretty low. It’s hard to find silicon transistors this low. I used 2N3906 types. These are pretty common, I had a bag them on hand. I measured the bag and chose the lowest gains I could find.

I used colored knobs with the idea that the color would remind me what each of the knobs did. Violet: Volume, Green: Gain, Chocolate (brown): Comp, Scarlet: Stability. It wasn’t working too well. The Sharpie worked better, with no ambiguity.

I may change these knobs for some with knurled grip. It’s hard to turn these smooth plastic knobs that are packed together so tightly.

the AionFX aboard was way to assemble. It uses 9mm PCB mounted pots for all 8 of the pots. The LED is also mounted to the PCB. This saves time and cuts down on the amount of off board wiring. This is older version of the Flare, they have a newer version which looks to have a few small updates. Definitely use sockets for Q2 and Q3. This will give a chance to experiment with transistors.

What’s it sound like?

Sounds like the Fuzz Factory. Like I said earlier it sounds different from the Germanium box but similar with it’s own character. There is something about the Comp control with the higher gain transistors where it goes very gated zippers fuzz at the very end of it’s range which the germanium doesn’t go if I recall correctly.

Boss Tonebender how about a Buzzbender?

We’ll call this the BZ-1. What got me started on these Boss rehousings was seeing the Boss Tone Bender TB-2w going for 3k on Reverb.com. These were super cool pedals but not worth more than than the list price of $350. I understand the idea of scarcity and knew there were only 3000 made, but I wasn’t going pay even $350 for a fuzz pedal. So I figured I could make one!

The Burns Buzzaround

If you’re curious about the Burns Buzzaround and how it relates to the Tone Bender check out here articles:

Building the BZ-1

There is always a solution when you can make your own! Since it was hard to get a two knob Boss enclosure, I decided to go with a three knob Tonebender variation. There are a couple to choose from. In the end I decided to go with the Madbean Pasty Face which is a clone of the Burns Buzzaround which is variant of the three transistor Tonebender family. I had read some good reviews of the Buzzaround and hadn’t built one before which made it more attractive.

Getting started

I started with a used Boss DS-1 from Reverb.com. Used these seem to go for about $40. I ordered a board from Madbean and I had most of the other parts on hand. The DS-1 comes with a lot of parts that can be reused: switch, LED, jacks, and the enclosure itself. I pulled everything out and except the jacks. I left all of the original wiring in place since I can reuse it.

The LED is mounted to a small PCB along with two wires. These wires were too short to reach the far side of the enclosure where the switching board will be so I replaced them with longer wires.

I built the Pasty Face circuit board first. I left the transistors off since these need some special selection. The build is pretty easy there are only a handful of parts and there is plenty of space to work.

Since I’m putting this into a Boss enclosure the pots will be mounted off board. I cut a piece of strip board to mount the pots to. This was tight fit using 16mm pots but just makes it. Then I soldered some strips of ribbon cable to the this board and then to the main PCB. I made the ribbon cable a generous length since to allow me to pull the PCB out without having to also remove the pots.

Boss uses an electronic switching and the enclosure is nice the way it is. I wanted the switching to work as it was without adding a 3PDT switch. To do this I used a MadBean Softie PCB. This is a relay switching system that works with a Microcontroller. The microcontroller is triggered by the original Boss SPST switch. The relay is a DPDT that handles true bypass switching, while the microcontroller handles the LED.

This system works pretty well and offers a couple advantages. The relay has a failure rate of 100k cycles which beats the 30k cycles of those blue 3PDT switches. Also, if power is lost, the relay switches to bypass. Overall I’d say this relay switching works well and is easy to install. The downside would that the cost is higher than the mechanical switch, and the parts are harder to get, I had to order relays from Mouser.com.

Choosing Transistors

The circuit uses three germanium transistors. With these old circuits there was a lot of variation with some Devices sounding better than others. I found this great thread with some suggestions about the gain and leakage for each of the transistors:

https://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=98022.0

All pedal questions seem to lead to answers at DIYStompboxes.com. Great site and community, I highly recommend you check it out.

I have bag of germanium transistors. I got these from eBay and other sources and have been pulling parts from it for a while. What’s left are parts with less desirable values at this point. Luckily the thread above recommends lower gain devices for Q1 and Q2 and I have plenty of these!

In this circuit the first two transistors are setup in a Darlington pair. You can think of the two together as a single transistor with an hfe that is the product of the two. For example if both transistors had an hfe of 10 the pair in this configuration would act like a transistor an hfe of 100. This also multiplies the leakage of the two transistors. Which can increase noise.

Seems like the best choice here is low leakage, and low hfe/gain. Two transistors with an hfe of 50 would be considered low gain but in this configuration as a pair they would have gain of 2500!

Q3 seems like where all of the distortion/fuzz magic happens. From what I read in the thread above a higher gain, hfe 100+, is better here.

I identified three transistors that I thought would be suitable. I soldered some sockets into the board and auditioned the transistors with the back of the box open.

Everything was sounding pretty fuzzy good, so I removed the sockets and soldered the transistors to the board. I left about an inch of leg since I’d need to bend them over to fit everything into the enclosure with the back on. I wrapped the legs and the transistor body (not shown) in heat shrink tubing to make sure nothing shorted when I closed up the box.

What’s it sound like?

Sounds a lot like all those other 60s fuzz pedals but with its own character. The sound is thick and fuzzy. The tone control has a useful range. The sustain control goes from a muffled to tight buzz. Sort of like fuzzy bumblebee to swarm of wasps.

Boss Tonebender how about a Buzzbender? was originally published on Super-Freq

Boss Tonebender how about a Buzzbender?

We’ll call this the BZ-1. What got me started on these Boss rehousings was seeing the Boss Tone Bender TB-2w going for 3k on Reverb.com. These were super cool pedals but not worth more than than the list price of $350. I understand the idea of scarcity and knew there were only 3000 made, but I wasn’t going pay even $350 for a fuzz pedal. So I figured I could make one!

The Burns Buzzaround

If you’re curious about the Burns Buzzaround and how it relates to the Tone Bender check out here articles:

Building the BZ-1

There is always a solution when you can make your own! Since it was hard to get a two knob Boss enclosure, I decided to go with a three knob Tonebender variation. There are a couple to choose from. In the end I decided to go with the Madbean Pasty Face which is a clone of the Burns Buzzaround which is variant of the three transistor Tonebender family. I had read some good reviews of the Buzzaround and hadn’t built one before which made it more attractive.

Getting started


I started with a used Boss DS-1 from Reverb.com. Used these seem to go for about $40. I ordered a board from Madbean and I had most of the other parts on hand. The DS-1 comes with a lot of parts that can be reused: switch, LED, jacks, and the enclosure itself. I pulled everything out and except the jacks. I left all of the original wiring in place since I can reuse it.


The LED is mounted to a small PCB along with two wires. These wires were too short to reach the far side of the enclosure where the switching board will be so I replaced them with longer wires.

I built the Pasty Face circuit board first. I left the transistors off since these need some special selection. The build is pretty easy there are only a handful of parts and there is plenty of space to work.

Since I’m putting this into a Boss enclosure the pots will be mounted off board. I cut a piece of strip board to mount the pots to. This was tight fit using 16mm pots but just makes it. Then I soldered some strips of ribbon cable to the this board and then to the main PCB. I made the ribbon cable a generous length since to allow me to pull the PCB out without having to also remove the pots.


Boss uses an electronic switching and the enclosure is nice the way it is. I wanted the switching to work as it was without adding a 3PDT switch. To do this I used a MadBean Softie PCB. This is a relay switching system that works with a Microcontroller. The microcontroller is triggered by the original Boss SPST switch. The relay is a DPDT that handles true bypass switching, while the microcontroller handles the LED.

This system works pretty well and offers a couple advantages. The relay has a failure rate of 100k cycles which beats the 30k cycles of those blue 3PDT switches. Also, if power is lost, the relay switches to bypass. Overall I’d say this relay switching works well and is easy to install. The downside would that the cost is higher than the mechanical switch, and the parts are harder to get, I had to order relays from Mouser.com.

Choosing Transistors

The circuit uses three germanium transistors. With these old circuits there was a lot of variation with some Devices sounding better than others. I found this great thread with some suggestions about the gain and leakage for each of the transistors:

https://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=98022.0

All pedal questions seem to lead to answers at DIYStompboxes.com. Great site and community, I highly recommend you check it out.

I have bag of germanium transistors. I got these from eBay and other sources and have been pulling parts from it for a while. What’s left are parts with less desirable values at this point. Luckily the thread above recommends lower gain devices for Q1 and Q2 and I have plenty of these!

In this circuit the first two transistors are setup in a Darlington pair. You can think of the two together as a single transistor with an hfe that is the product of the two. For example if both transistors had an hfe of 10 the pair in this configuration would act like a transistor an hfe of 100. This also multiplies the leakage of the two transistors. Which can increase noise.

Seems like the best choice here is low leakage, and low hfe/gain. Two transistors with an hfe of 50 would be considered low gain but in this configuration as a pair they would have gain of 2500!

Q3 seems like where all of the distortion/fuzz magic happens. From what I read in the thread above a higher gain, hfe 100+, is better here.

I identified three transistors that I thought would be suitable. I soldered some sockets into the board and auditioned the transistors with the back of the box open.

Everything was sounding pretty fuzzy good, so I removed the sockets and soldered the transistors to the board. I left about an inch of leg since I’d need to bend them over to fit everything into the enclosure with the back on. I wrapped the legs and the transistor body (not shown) in heat shrink tubing to make sure nothing shorted when I closed up the box.

What’s it sound like?

Sounds a lot like all those other 60s fuzz pedals but with its own character. The sound is thick and fuzzy. The tone control has a useful range. The sustain control goes from a muffled to tight buzz. Sort of like fuzzy bumblebee to swarm of wasps.

Parentheses Fuzz #5

I think this is #5 I’m losing count. These are so much fun to play the world needs a couple more! I used matte black sand textured enclosure. Which give this a good industrial vibe.

This is a pretty easy build for what you get. The board is a good size and parts are comfortably spaced. All of the pots are mounted to the board making wiring easy. The switches require some work but the pads are well organized.

The only down side is finding FETs and Ge diodes. Luckily D1 and D2 can be replaced by just about any type of type. D7, D8, and D9 could also be any type but Ge will have a noticeable sound to them. Ge diodes here will have a particular sound, not better or worse. If you’re looking for “that” sound you might stick with Ge for these. Otherwise test out any type of diode and use your ears to decide what sounds good here.

The main distortion circuit is based on the LM308 op-amp which are hard to get and can cost $5 or more, that’s a lot for an op-amp. Luckily the part is not critical. You can a few replacements. I used an OP07 which was $0.50 at Tayda.

The PF5102 FETs are hard to get. I used J112 from Tayda successfully.

And, it sounds amazing! This might be for sale check my for sale page.

Parentheses Fuzz #5 was originally published on Super-Freq

Parentheses Fuzz #5

I think this is #5 I’m losing count. These are so much fun to play the world needs a couple more! I used matte black sand textured enclosure. Which give this a good industrial vibe.

This is a pretty easy build for what you get. The board is a good size and parts are comfortably spaced. All of the pots are mounted to the board making wiring easy. The switches require some work but the pads are well organized.

The only down side is finding FETs and Ge diodes. Luckily D1 and D2 can be replaced by just about any type of type. D7, D8, and D9 could also be any type but Ge will have a noticeable sound to them. Ge diodes here will have a particular sound, not better or worse. If you’re looking for “that” sound you might stick with Ge for these. Otherwise test out any type of diode and use your ears to decide what sounds good here.

The main distortion circuit is based on the LM308 op-amp which are hard to get and can cost $5 or more, that’s a lot for an op-amp. Luckily the part is not critical. You can a few replacements. I used an OP07 which was $0.50 at Tayda.

The PF5102 FETs are hard to get. I used J112 from Tayda successfully.

And, it sounds amazing! This might be for sale check my for sale page.

Haunting Mids Reflection

The goal of this project was to build three Haunting Mids, keep one and sell the other two, hopefully coming out ahead!

This post covers the original Haunting Mids Fuzz. Note! This is not the JHS pedal with the same name.

What is Haunting Mids?

Haunting Mids is a Big Muff variant. Besides careful choice of resistors, capacitors, and diodes the biggest change to the circuit is dropping the tone stack and the output buffer. This offers the sound of a Big Muff but with more hair and volume. It’s really loud. You hear the raw distortion from from the two clipping sections unfiltered.

In the original the Sustain control is meant to be an internal trim pot, set and forget. With only the volume control on the outside of the box. I decided to put the sustain control on the outside of the box for convenience.

The original is a must have for people who like single knob boxes!

I found this PCB for Haunting Mids while searching for DIY projects on OSH Park.

https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/JtR27cHU

It’s a well laid out PCB for a 1590A sized box. I ordered three of these and built them successfully. This board works well I would recommend it. The switch is mounted to the board which saves trouble wiring.

A little History

The Haunting Mids Fuzz was developed around 2005 by a group of DIY pedal fans who set up a private forum, which I’m guessing was dedicated to the development of the Haunting Mids circuit. I say “guess” because I was never a member though I had heard of the forum.

Not sure when but the Haunting Mids forum died and went away. Go figure, an anti social site is going to have growth issues. That said there is something pleasant about discussions with a small group of like minded individuals rather than everyone and their friends and family.

It seems that Haunting Mids has gone through a couple iterations. The board linked above is labeled v3. You can search Haunting Mids and you’ll find several versions. To my knowledge all versions are based around the Big Muff sans tone and output buffer.

At some point JHS made a commercial pedal with the same name. I’m not sure why they did this. I suspect it was joke, or some sort dig at the original Haunting Mids group, or they just wanted to get a media boost by piggybacking on the name. I wish they hadn’t done this since it makes researching the circuit more difficult.

What’s it sound like?

Sounds like a big muff! It also has its own character like all of the other Big Muff variants, which the world of pedals is full of. But the two cascaded clipping sections guarantees you get the classic Big Muff character. Without the tone stack you hear the clipping section raw and unfiltered! It like a big muff with all the hair and grit.

This demo compares five different DIY Muff variants. Haunting Mids is in the center.

Here’s is another demo of the Haunting Mids:

Build

I built three of these. The parts were were all easy to find. You can get everything at Tayda. I chose to build mine with two knobs and put the Sustain/Gain control on the outside of the box.

I like having the sustain/gain control but the range is not that usable, or maybe there is some less useful range. With the gain up all the way there is too much gain. On reflection I see the reasoning behind making this control an internal set and forget option. I think I might go this route for future builds!

The PCBs from OSH Park are designed for a 1590A enclosure. I decided to build two in 1590B enclosures because I like these better than the small A sized boxes. I did build one in an A sized box.

Costs

This is a pretty cheap box to build. None of the parts are expensive or hard to find. You can source everything from Tayda and order boards from OSH Park.

Ordering the boards from OSH Park requires that you buy three boards but the cost is $14.85 which is about $5 a board. Making the board the most expensive part unless you get a fancy enclosure. The overall cost was about $25 for all the parts to build a single box.

I built three and managed to sell two on Reverb. I kept the last for myself. They sat on Revered for a month or two but eventually sold for $220 (both) not including tax and shipping. Reverb took their cut which left me: $202.50. I spent roughly $75 to build all three so I cleared $127.50.

Factory of FUZZ (fuzz factory clone)

I’m always looking for the cheapest way to build pedals. I found these boards on OSH Park.com. Besides being a service for prototyping boards it’s also an open source repository of projects uploaded by the community. A board uploaded to OSH Park marked public can be ordered by anyone. The search function is not so great but it is searchable. I spent a day searching OSH Park for stompbox projects and found more than a few things that look worth building.

The OSH Park standard service is $5 per square inch with the requirement that you order three boards, and shipping is free. This usually cheaper than ordering boards from vendors but there is no support. One of the projects I found was a this Fuzz Factory. It looked well laid out and the cost was $7.75 for 3 boards, about $2.50 per board, which was pretty reasonable.

Order some of these boards here: https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/xaBILSTV. Check out my projects page for links to some OSH Park boards I designed. I have documentation here on my site.

With no build Docs you’re on your own. The Fuzz Factory is not a complex pedal and the schematic is readily available. Some OSH Park projects will link to documentation and other do not. This is a good way to level up your skills!

Getting Started

The Fuzz Factory is not a hard pedal to clone. The toughest part is wiring the pots. Getting a board where the pots mount directly to the board is a great help. Here three of the five pots mount to the board and two require off board wiring which makes a pretty easy build.

The Fuzz Factory has only a handful of parts. I soldered everything except the pots and the two germanium transistors. You’ll want to test a few transistors if you’re using germanium to get some that sound best. That said really everything even silicon can sound good in this circuit.

The Enclosure

For the enclosure I used a black powder coat 1590B from Tayda. For the logo and labels I milled the box using a desktop mill. The powder coat is removed to reveal the design. I created the design in Sketch on the computer exported some SVG files and loaded these into the mill.

Switching

I decided to try out a relay switching system. This uses a soft touch momentary SPST switch and some circuitry. I used boards from DIYGuitarPedals.com. Their system uses some discreet logic and a relay to handle switching and the status LED.

The PCB is designed to fit a 1590B or larger enclosure. It requires a few parts which are mostly easily available. The relay is available through Mouser. Erik over at DIYGuitarPedals was generous enough to send me two boards and the relays, thanks again Erik! Check out their web site and their YouTube channel.

The system uses a relay which is an electromechanical switch in a little box. The switch in this case is the RY9W-K. It’s a DPDT but rather than being engaged by a button or lever it’s engaging by an electrical voltage applied to a control pin.

In the picture below you can see the relay has 8 pins. The 6 pins on the left are the switching connections, each row is one switch, the center is the common connection that bridge to the outer connections depending on the state of the switch. Hey those six pins on the left are just like the pins on a regular DPDT switch-. The two pins on the right are the control and ground.


The board, relay, SPST switch, and other parts make up a single assembly that replace the 3PDT switches typically used for guitar pedals. You can see it neatly fits the lower bout of the 1590B enclosure.


Here is what the whole system looks like assembled. This is complete and could be dropped into any pedal replacing the standard blue 3PDT.

How does it work?

Unlike many relay systems that rely on a micro controllers this circuit uses only discreet logic. There are pros and cons to each. Using a micro controller requires some extra circuitry since the Micro Controller runs on 5v. They can be proprietary since someone has to write the software that runs the system. Using a Micro controller you can fit all the logic into an 8 pin DIP and add new features or up date the existing code. Using discreet logic your system can run on 9v, might have fewer parts, and won’t suffer from software bugs.

This system relies on the 4011 quad NAND gate to handle the switching logic. Check out this video for a more in-depth explanation of the switching logic.

Assembling the NAND Bypass board is pretty easy. Easier than making the Fuzz Factory board. It’s got very few parts and there is plenty of room to work. If you wanted to give this type of switching a try this would be a good place to start.

Building and wiring the Fuzz Face

The board mounts the three 10k pots and will accept 9mm or 16mm pots. If you are trying to fit this into a 1590B box in portrait orientation you’ll need to use 9mm pots! The two 5k pots are mounted off board. You could also build this in portrait with all 16mm pots.

I mounted the pots in the enclosure then soldered them to the board to make sure they were perpendicular to the enclosure.

I had some ribbon cable salvaged from an old computer. I used this to wire the off board 5k pots. The board marks the pins 1 and 3. Pin 1 also has a square pad. I used 16mm pots with pins that stick out perpendicular to the shaft. I cut a couple pieces strip board to interface the wires and the pots. This made for some nice clean wiring.

The bottom of the PCB is pretty close the corners of the enclosure. I’ll have to be careful it doesn’t short out there! This was a test fit. I needed to mark the positioning for the power, input and output jacks, then disassemble everything and drill these.

Once I got everything drilled I added some wires and reassembled everything. I realized I needed to move the two pots in the second row inboard a millimeter or two. You can see I had to file the holes a little.

I also installed the switching board. I stuck a little piece of wood to the side of the switch to brace it against the back of the enclosure. There was no way to brace the switch when tightening the nut.


You may have noticed the two germanium transistors are missing. Since these are notoriously inconsistent I decided I wanted to audition a few before selecting which would be used for this project. I have a bag of 40 I’ll test and measure these to find suitable pairs.

I have this TC1 Multi-function Tester. This cost about $17 on eBay. Well worth the money. It tests resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, and more. It will tell you all of the most useful information. It will also differentiate NPN, PNP, JFET, and MOSFET devices, and tell which pin is the base, collector, emitter, gate, source, or drain. Super handy.

Germanium transistors have a high degree of variation. Their hfe and leakage is very inconsistent across devices with the same part number. There is a lot of debate about what hfe values work best for different circuits. Some people like to judge by the numbers others like to use their ears. I’m going to go with a hybrid approach use the numbers to get in the ballpark and then audition by ear.

I measured all of the Germanium transistors in the parts bin, marked each with a number and made a spreadsheet of all the values I measured with the TC1.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10O7FYfs_f0x301CYvcvC7pWFFp8Ld2-e3oANXK-AOtc

This is a Fuzz Factory I built using a board from AionFX, it has a few extra knobs. I used sockets for the transistors. I figure I can plug some transistors into this to hear how they sound before soldering them into the new Fuzz Factories.

Here I wired up everything in the box. The NAND Bypass board is well laid out and labeled making wiring easy. Input and output jacks go to the input “In Jack” and “Out Jack” and the input and output from the PCB go to the “To PCB Input” and “To PCB Output”. It’s paint by numbers really!

At this point I gave it a test. I the LED worked, and bypass was working. So we’re goo to go. The last step is finding and installing some Ge transistors.

Tested some transistors in the green fuzz factory and decided on 1 and 9 from the spreadsheet. They had numbers that seemed to be the right range and sounded good.

Taco Fry Fuzz #1

The first us out of the way time to audition a couple more transistors and make the second box.

Tested a few more transistors and decided on #60 for Q2 70 hfe, and #21 for Q3 190 hfe. These sound good and we’re very close to the values for the first pedal. Which should make these sound very close.

What does it sound like?

The Fuzz factory is a highly variable fuzz. The sounds range from standard distortion to fuzz into high gain. It’s possible to dial in gated fuzz and zipper sounds. Not all of it useful in many cases. It’s all fun and inspiring.

Haunting Mids project

What’s Haunting Mids?

Haunting Mids is a Big Muff variant. In a nutshell it’s the input buffer, and first two clipping stages from the regular Big Muff circuit. It drops the tone control and the output buffer of the original circuit. There are a few other changes in part values but the the circuit is otherwise the same.

Haunting Mids Fuzz is not to be confused with JHS pedals Haunting Mids which is a completely different circuit that came later.

I created this PCB layout from version 3 of the original Haunting Mids. I made small change by moving the sustain/gain control to the outside of the box. The original circuit used an internal trim pot with only the volume accessible from the outside.

this video compares 5 Big Muff Variants, Haunting Mids in is in the Middle


Another demo of the Haunting Mids



PCBs

The PCB was designed in Eagle PCB. You can order boards from OSH Park for fairly cheap but you must order three. You can order boards here:

https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/Wu8UpzQE

Build

this should be a pretty easy build. Without the tone control and output buffer there are fewer parts than the original Big Muff. Pots and LED are mounted to the board. And most of the off board connections are lined up along the bottom of the board for easy wiring.

The parts are standard and easy to find. You should be able to order all of the parts at Tayda.

Capacitors
C1220n
C2470p
C3150n
C4150n
C5470p
C6470n
C7150n
C8470p
C9470n
C10220n
C1147µ
Pots
VOLUME A100k
SUSTAINA100k
Diodes
D11n4001
D2 LED Red 3MM
D3 LED Red 3MM
D41n4742
D51n4742
D6 LED
Transistors
Q1BC337
Q2BC337
Q3BC337
Resistors
R133k
R282k
R3120r
R4470k
R518k
R61k
R78k2
R856k
R9100r
R10470k
R1110k
R128k2
R1382k
R14120r
R15470k
R1618k
R17RLED


Haunting Mids Fuzz schematic


The circuit shows BC337 transistors but these don’t seem to be so special. You should be able to replace these with just about any NPN device. The usual suspects 2N3904 and 2N5088, or maybe 2N5089 if you want more gain.

The diodes are the same. You can probably experiment with anything for diodes in this circuit. The choices here are interesting definitely try them. But if don’t have these parts or can’t get them use what you have!

Wiring

Parentheses Fuzz postmortem

What is it

Parentheses Fuzz is a PCB from PedalPCB that is a clone of the Earth Quaker Devices Life pedal, with some mods. Originally designed as a sort of signature pedal for the Band Sunn o))).

What does it sound like?

This thing sounds lightly. It has a distortion, boost, and a switchable octave. The distortion is great, the boost works well, and the octave sounds pretty good for an analog octave effect. The controls provide volume, distortion, tone, boost, and a switchable option for the diode clipping.

What’s in the box?

Internally the pedal is based around the ProCo Rat circuit. The Octave section is similar to the Dan Armstrong Green Ringer, and the boost uses a BS170 MOST al a the ZVex Super Hard On. Not sure how they can up with the design. I wonder if Sunn o))) plugged all of these pedals together and asked EQD to make something that sounded the same or if these were just building blocks?

Costs

This is one of the more expensive projects to make. The PCB from PedalPCB is great, it’s works well, the layout is good, the pots and switch are mounted on the board. But it is also large and costs $18. That makes it the most expensive piece of the whole project by a large margin.

It is also requires 1590XX or larger enclosure. These run about $13. This and the board alone cost as much building a Big Muff in a 1950B enclosure. It also requires three switches 5 pots, and hard to get mini rotary switch. Overall I calculated the costs at about $65! Which is pretty high for a DIY project.

Besides the big ticket items some of the smaller parts are more costly and hard to get.

  • 1590xx enclosure
  • Switches 3PDT x 3
  • 4PDT mini switch
  • PF5102 x 3
  • 1N34a
  • PCB
partcosttotal
1590XX$13$13
3PDT Switches$3 x 3$9
4PDT rotary switch$4$4
PF5102$1 x 2$2
1N34a$0.50 x 4$2
PCB$18$18
knobs$0.50 x 6$3
total$51
here’s a code break down of significant parts.

Here is a cost break down of significant parts. There is jacks, caps, resistors, and shipping.

What about the LM308?

These are hard to get and cost about $5 a piece. Personally I dont think the choice of op-amp will affect the sound of this circuit. All of the clipping happens after the op-amp, and then there’s the analog octave. Maybe my ears have been to too many loud rock shows, I can’t hear the difference. I had some suitable single op-amps on hand so used one of those.

  • LM308
  • OP07
  • CA3130

Let’s talk about those transistors

The circuit uses a few transistors: PF5102, 2N5087, 2N5089, and BS170. Most of these are easy to get and I had them on hand. The PF5102 is FET and these are getting hard to find these days. Tayda had these stocked at the time I was building but they were about $1 each which is pretty high for a single transistor. Some research on the PedalPCB form found some alternative part numbers that were suggested as working. These included:

  • J112
  • J113
  • 2N5457
  • 2N5458
  • BF244

Be sure to check the pin out on any of these they may not be the same!

And the diodes

There are a few diodes of different types used here. Two of the diodes are used in the octave circuit D1 and D2. These are listed as GE, they might do better if matched. I read a few suggestions people had good results using 1N5817 diodes here.

The rest of the diodes D3-9 are used for clipping to ground and these could really be any type. Feel free to experiment and use what have on hand for these.

The last diode D100 is used for power supply reversed polarity protection and should be a 1N5817.

Results

I built three of these. The build process was made easy by the great job PedalPCB did on the board. The off board wiring is significant due to the three 3PDT switches, each of these has 9 connections. The wiring is not difficult since the box is so large.

Of the three I kept one pedal and sold the other two on Reverb with an asking price of $200. I got $200 for one and took an offer of $165 on the other. After the Reverb fees I’m keeping 92.3% minus another $0.50. So I got roughly: $336.50. I spent roughly $195! So that left me with about: $141.50. I also have Parentheses Fuzz for my trouble. There is a possibility to cut some costs here but that also takes time energy and some up front investment. I’m just doing this as hobby.

I started the work in November 2020 and sold the second pedal in February 2021. Which wasn’t too bad on turnaround time. I have a few pedals on Reverb that I listed before starting building these that are still on Reverb.

So over all it was worth the efforts but I don’t think I’m going to quit my day job any time soon. I don’t think this is going to pay the rent but it’s not just losing money either. On the contrary it’s financing the next project!