Analog Man presents the FOXROX Captain Coconut2 pedal!

Captain Coconut 2

Aug 2006 : Sorry these are no longer available, they were too much work to build, a real steal of a deal while they were available. I think Dave Fox will make a standalone vibe sometime. When I find out more I will post it here and we will sell them asap. (note : he does make the AQUAVIBE but very limited production with a waiting list and only available direct from Dave.)

Captain Coconut 2


7/11/01 Note from Dave Fox: I'd like to invite everyone who's into the groovy sounds of Octave, Fuzz & Vibe to pay a visit to my web site and learn a little about Captain Coconut 2. It's the follow up to the original Captain Coconut that I've been making for the past year. I couldn't stand drilling out those damned Hammond boxes anymore, so I decided to design a new enclosure. While I was at it, I laid out a new circuit board and made some changes and enhancements. If you find this stuff interesting, visit www.foxroxelectronics.com. If you want one, contact Analog Mike!

Here are some revues at Harmony-Central.com to read.




FuzzCards

Looking back at the FuzzFace, it was actually several different fuzz effects with one name. It was originally produced in the mid 1960’s with germanium PNP transistors. Then, in the late ‘60s and early 70s it was produced with silicon NPN transistors. The frequency response, gain, and make up of the transistors has a big effect on the way a FuzzFace sounds. The germanium PNP version is known for it’s warm, round tone. The silicon NPN version is known for it’s bright, aggressive tone. In addition, both versions sounded different from unit to unit. This is because the transistors were not matched in any way, so there would be differences in tone that could range from very subtle to extremely noticeable. Add to this the fact that the Fuzzface circuit has been modified for many guitarists, producing even more sounds that could be categorized as the FuzzFace sound. Every guitarist who's into Fuzz has an idea of what the ideal fuzz should sound, and feel like. For this reason, and the reasons mentioned above, it's easy to realize that no single fuzz is going to please every player. To address this, Captain Coconut 2 uses a modular approach to fuzz, the FuzzCard.

The FuzzCard is a plug-in circuit board that contains all of the Fuzz circuitry. This means that the fuzz circuit can be swapped by simply replacing the FuzzCard. Foxrox Electronics is offering different versions of the classic FuzzFace circuit so that everyone can have the fuzz that they prefer.

What follows is a list of the FuzzCards that are currently available for Captain Coconut 2. Add this to the custom Foxrox modifications that make up the FuzzFoot, and you have the most flexible fuzz system ever created.

This is a fuzzcard installed in a mother board. The connector is on the left and there is one screw that holds it in.


Original Hybrid PNP

This is the circuit that's built into the original Captain Coconut. Unless otherwise specified, this is the default FuzzCard included with Captain Coconut 2. This is also the one recommended by Analog Man as it is best for most people. The transistors are set up so that the first one is a medium gain PNP silicon, and the second one is a high gain PNP germanium. This delivers a wide range of sounds, that venture into the territories of both the warm, low gain germanium, and the bright, high gain silicon versions of the classic Fuzz circuit. This version covers the most ground of all the the different FuzzCards. It's well known that germanium transistors are sensitive to temperature, especially in the first transistor position of the fuzz circuit. By using a silicon transistor, this problem is prevented, and by using a germanium transistor in the second position, the germanium sound is retained.

Vintage Germanium PNP

This FuzzCard specializes in the warmer, less aggressive vintage fuzz tones. The transistors are medium gain, new-old-stock germaniums which are custom matched for the best sounds. This is the FuzzCard to choose if you are looking for the sound of an early FuzzFace, like the ones that Jimi Hendrix used in 1967/1968 on such recordings as Monterey Pop and the Are you Experienced album. Through a loud, distorted tube amp, this fuzz is capable of producing some great feedback and sustain without getting too out of control. Also sounds great through smaller Fender amps, while the silicon versions may be too harsh in that use.

Hot Silicon NPN

This FuzzCard specializes in the hotter, brighter side of Fuzz. The transistors are high gain silicons (BC109C, if available) which are hand picked and custom matched for the best sounds. The sound is more high-endy than other version and there is no shortage of gain and sustain. At high gain settings, this FuzzCard can get unruly, breaking into oscillation and noise. Under certain conditions it can even pick up radio broadcasts. It can also oscillate when fed by a wah wah pedal. While these might seem like bad things, they are part of what it takes to recreate certain classic Hendrix sounds, including many of the live recordings from 1969 / 1970 such as Woodstock and Band of Gypsies. With the right settings, this fuzz can be tamed, but the out-of-control aspect is what makes it unique.

Hybrid NPN

This FuzzCard is the product of experimentation. I high gain silicon transistor is matched up with a medium gain germanium. It is very similar to the Original Hybrid PNP FuzzCard, however there is a slightly different voicing due to the NPN germanium transistor. This version of the Fuzz has pleased many hard-to-please players, and is worth considering if you are looking for something a little different.

Germanium NKT-275

This FuzzCard is available in limited quantities, see the Analog Man SUN FACE page for more info. Analog Mike found a bunch of these old Newmarket NKT-275 transistors as actually used in the original Fuzzface, after a nine year search. He is sending some of these to Dave Fox to build onto his fuzzcards and offering them as optional cards for the CC2. These are only available at Analog Man. They are not for everyone, they have a bit less gain and high end than the standard Vintage Germanium fuzzcard. And less fuzz than the standard fuzzcard. But they can get TOTALLY CLEAN even at full FUZZ settings, by turning down the VOLUME knob on your guitar, and are super warm. You can hear some sound samples on our fuzzface page. This card will be available on new CC2s for an extra charge while we still have some of the NKT-275 transistors. They were also available seperately.


Captain Coconut-2 Size

The captain coconut-2 is 10" wide, 7" long, and 3" tall. Weight is about 5 pounds (steel!).


Power for CC2

The CC2 uses 9 Volts AC (not DC), cannot use a normal 9V DC power supply. The Voodoo Labs PedalPower2 will not work either, it does not have a true 9VAC output. But now there is a PedalPower AC available, see my Voodoo Labs page for more info. Each CC2 comes with a 9VAC adaptor for 120V USA power. You should be able to find a 9V AC power supply for your country, many games and toys use this style of adaptor. Also any line6 (modeler, POD, etc) or DOD whammy pedal type adaptor will work, it needs 9V AC (not dc) output at 500mA or more, with a 2.5mm power plug. You can also plug the CC2's adaptor into the AC outlet on the back of the pedal power2. The JUICEBOX power supply does have an actual 9V AC output so that one can be used to power the CC2 directly.

Speed Controller Pedals for CC2

Here is some INFO on making a speed pedal , or you can buy a Roland EV-5 (see our BOSS page), or any standard expression pedal. We also carry the FOXROX expression pedals. Yamaha and Korg expression pedals are not the same so be careful.

Speed Controller Pedals for CC1

There is a jack on all Captain Coconut pedals to allow plugging in a speed control pedal for the vibe section. This replaces the speed knob when you plug into this jack. The CC1 needs a special control pedal like the original univibe. Dave Fox made the CC2 easier to use, now it can use any control pedal (expression pedal, not a volume pedal, though a volume pedal can be used if you have a Y-Cable for it). For the CC1, we need to remove the guts from a Dunlop wah or vibe control pedal and put in a dual 100K log pot and wiring. The CANCEL switch on the Dunlop pedal is not currently being used by us.

How is the speed range on this pedal?

Darn close to the full range, you can tweek them for full high speed or low speed by engaging a different tooth on the gear. The control sweep is VERY good, even better than the knob on the pedal as we are using a log (audio) taper pot in the control pedal.

Can I build one myself?

Probably, if you have a dunlop univibe or wah shell and can solder and fabricate a bit. Here are details.

Does the chorus mode on a vibe sound like a leslie?

No, the CHORUS mode on a real univibe is neither a CHORUS sound nor a LESLIE sound - it is the UNIVIBE sound a la Hendrix/Trower etc. The company who invented it tried to make it sound like a leslie but missed by a mile. But fortunately the sound it has is WAY COOL!!!! The Vibrato mode is not used much but it can give a cool pitch shifting vibrato at higher speeds.


Foxrox Wah Retrofit

 


Did you ever notice that your Wah Wah pedal doesn't cut it when plugged into some effects, such as the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, or Fuzz Face clone? This is something that has annoyed guitarists since the late 60's. But now there's a remedy - You can get FULL RANGE out of your Wah Wah pedal with the Foxrox Wah Retrofit. If this sounds interesting to you - READ ON!

You can also hear the RMC Picture Wah with the Wah Retrofit HERE.


Original version Captain Coconut

First Batch (only ten made!) Captain Coconut 1 were black. A few more were made at the end of the production run in black, and also in Red and Light Blue.


 

Here is one of the second batch of coconuts, painted in a rich Burgandy color. They are 8 3/4" wide, 5 3/4" deep, and 3 1/4" tall including feet and
switches/knobs.



Here is an excellent review from TV, thewiredturtle@linkline.com one of our 1st batch customers, unedited :

I recently purchased the first production, Captain Coconut pedal by Foxroxelectronics.com from analogman - Mike. IF you are a fan of Hendrix, if you are a fan of SRV, if you are a fan of Dave Gilmour, even John Frusciante of the RHCP or Lenny Kravitz... you will find aural pleasure in owning this piece of work. The initial idea of having three of my analog favorites: octavia, fuzz and univibe in one box was exciting enough but to actually sit/stand and play this joy box was extremely satisfying. I have owned several types of the 3 effects included in this pedal, as well have played extensively through many others only to find The Capt. coconut the finest example of all of them. I put this baby's Provibe section up against, a Fulltone Dejavibe, P.E. Vibe Unit, Voodoo Labs Microvibe, Roger Mayer voodoovibe, and to mention also the dunlop univibe and rotovibe.

The Capt. Coconut Provibe for one is already in the hands of pro musicians like Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz for good reason, the vintage mojo of this pedal delivers what I would call a "swiss army knife" vibe. It has a shape knob on it that appears to be a modeler of all the different shades of what others have molded their ideal vibe to be. (width and shape are very interactive) Simple to say that you are not stuck w/ a one trick pony even on the vibe standing alone next to its other two effects; the Fuzzfoot and Octave.

I can say I have appreciated some aspect of every other designers univibe clone, but that in itself was the problem as they were somewhat uni-dimensional. (doesnt make em bad,just limited) Not the case with the Provibe section of the Capt coconut (btw. the in/out jacks of the pedal allows u to patch in each effect in any order you want, and comes with a jack to plug in a remote c.c.pedal to treadle speed control). For my ears and playing style..I want a vibe to emulate a watery rotating speaker sound with lowend "wump", but at the same time allow me to hit the speed knob down to slow and get that fat chewy phasey "schuuwow" sound. I can do this w/ the Coconut. Plus the chorus mode in its slowest setting with the width dialed back and tubescreamer into the front gives a cool mellow swoosh for some 70's phaser tone. I also found the vibrato mode of the Provibe to be very usable, not just an add on feature and not the usual sea sick wobble (which is available to a degree, if thats your bag) I cant dial out of other pedals.. This vintage pitch modulation at its warm finest.

In my head and to my ears the woodstock sounds of Jimi Hendrix can be almost perfectly replicated with the Capt coconut pedal. The Fuzzfoot section of the pedal also has an additional tone shaper called "grit" and is very interactive with the gain and volume knob. I can get a nice fat stoner-rock fuzz tone ala "Fu Manchu" with this and then move back on the grit knob for perfect hendrix solo-ing, even on to some siamese dream era pumpkins. Using both the Provibe and the Fuzzfoot at lower gain setting with the addition of a delay gets you into Floyd territory easy.

While I'm probably most impressed fuzz wise with Fulltone's "70s" fuzz and 69' fuzz, I want to be able to have both of those baby's in one pedal with some additional gain smoothing qualities and this does that for me as well. The octavia section of the capt. coconut to my ears is a cross section of the RM Octavia and the Fulltone Octafuzz. Here again while I like both of the other ovtavia pedals, the Capt. coconut delivers all the reso-clank upper octave tones I like in spades. Diming the gain of this octavia into the Fuzzfoot (dimed as well) gives you some cool volume swells that work kinda nifty with a delay pedal.

You just can't beat the quality, versatility, and focused vintage sounds in one box at $400. While this chunk of dough is tough to dole out, I figure I save almost $300 w/ the Captn. vs. buying all the other effects individually. I have two less wall worts and more pedalboard space to boot. FYI, I currently use both a maple neck strat(J.surh,& '54c.s.pickups) and a Reverend Commando into a Mesa tremoverb & Marshall TSL 2x12 cab.

Only analogman.com is carrying these at this time ( I bought mine from Mike over there) , but you can go over to www.foxroxelectronics.com to see and hear more about this cool ass box.

I finally got a pedal that is blue collar boutique for the likes of me, & I think Dave Fox deserves major props as well for a cool pedal, long time coming. peace, TV, the wired turtle


Will you be making the pedal with an AC cord instead of an external transformer?

Right now there is no plan to use an internal transformer. There are a couple of good reasons for this.

1. HUM - Having a transformer in the box makes it almost impossible to run with NO audible hum. The Fuzz and octave circuits are very high gain, just the thing to make even the lowest amount of hum audible.

2. Compatibility - by using a wallwart, the unit can be used in different countries without requiring internal changes. All a person needs is the proper wallwart. You need 9VAC with a 2.1mm Barrel. Current requirements are 500mA or more. 50Hz power as in Japan is no problem.

3. Oh come on- wall warts aren't so bad. There are so many signal processors out there that use wallwarts, they're not such a hated thing anymore. The fact is -it's safer and quieter to not have 120VAC running to your pedal board. Not only can power transformers induce hum in the units that contain them, they can induce hum in units that are in close proximity, such as wah wah pedals and other high gain effects.

4. There are several pedal board power supplies out there that are ideal for running battery and wallwart powered effects. One in particular is the "Juice Box" available at pedalboard.com. It has an isolated 9VAC output and is a great alternative to the wallwart.

I hope that the wallwart doesn't stop you from considering Captain Coconut. It's a great sounding pro-quality effects box and it has useful features that set it apart from the other "clones" out there.

 

Would you recommend this unit compared to an Original Fuzz Face, Uni-Vibe, and Octavia?

You will have to buy 3 or 4 original fuzzfaces at $400 a piece to find one that will sound as good as the fuzzfoot in the Coconut. And it will be temperature sensitive if you get an early Germanium fuzzface, unlike the FuzzFoot. An original univibe is about $750 for a decent one. The only "original" octavia made is the $800 Tycobrahe which we have successfully duplicated, but they are about impossible to find. The Roger Mayer does not sound as good. In the production models he built from 1979 to the present he does not use the transformer in the circuit that he used in the prototype that he built for Jimi. So I think the answer is obvious.

How was the Captain coconut designed, and how noisy is it???

(Dave replies:) The original FuzzFace, Octavia (Tycobrahe) and Uni-vibe circuits are basically duplicated. I did some fine tuning to get the best out of these effects. One main goal was to get rid of some of the shortcomings inherent in these vintage effects.
By putting them all on one circuit board running off of one main power supply, which is super-filtered, noise is brought to an absolute minimum. Also, using high quality components throughout the circuitry helps to minimize hiss and noise. When I built up the first prototypes, I was very surprised at how quiet CC is. Even with all the effects on at once, with fuzz and octave set to their highest gain settings. It's hard to believe, but noise is not an issue with this box. Of course, single coil pickups will still hum, but when you turn the volume on your guitar all the way down, noise created by CC is almost inaudible. At the highest gain settings, the thing is not dead-silent, but it's way, way quieter than if you were to take the original effects, or clones and patch them together the same way.

I tried an octavia effect before and hated it, what's up?

An octavia is a weird beast, sort of a ring modulator set to one octave up, somewhat metallic sounding. Be warned that unless you are a very good player it's hard to get a killer sound out of an octavia, for example the solos in Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Blue on Black. I can barely get a half-way decent sound out of an octavia, but when Kenny was checking out the Coconut in the dressing room with me, with his HUGE strings, big frets, and STRONG hands, the sound came out like magic. I guess it's true that the tone must be in the hands in addition to being shaped by the pedals.

On the other hand, I have had several customers email me after playing their CC2 and tell me that they were surprized how much they like the octave and it is their favorite part of the pedal! Some of these people had never tried an Octavia before.

www.foxroxelectronics.com for more info on the Captain Coconut.

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