aNaLoG.MaN Frequently Asked Questions


Repairing wet pedals | Condition grading explained | Custom one-off pedals | noise, and noise gates | Radio Noise | Dating pedals | Expression Pedals | Whammy pedal | Surf/Siren pedal | TS-9 switches | Using multiple TS-9s | Tubescreamer stuff | Modifying a vintage Tubescreamer | Ibanez SD-9 vs TS-9 | Ibanez TS-10 vs TS-9 | Electric Voltages in other countries | E-H Talking pedal | E-H slide switches | E-H deluxe (ac power) effects transformers | Reverse sound effects | Buffers vs True Bypass | True bypass switches | Bypassing a Small Clone | LED addition | EH Memory Man info | Power supplies, Boss PSA vs ACA | Flangers | Univibe vs Chorus | Analog Delay Chips | New Analog Delays | Fuzz Faces | Boss pedals | Japan vs Taiwan Boss pedals | Foxx pedals | Jimi's pedals | Old MXR pedals | MXR reissue pedals | FAKE MXR pedals | Boss Tone pedals | Volume loss with pedals | Other related FAQ pages

Repairing wet pedals

My pedal got wet at a gig and it's not working, HELP!!!

I started out using some info from Bob Schwartz, retired EE. I give him credit for his article which I have edited and modified from computer equipment specific to guitar effect specific.

What to do if something wet spills on your pedal or it falls into wet whatever? The following is not guaranteed but represents years of experience.

Quick, unplug it! Unless there is a likely shock hazard.

There are generally two items to have handy. One is distilled water to first wash off and dilute any non-pure water spill, especially any liquid that might be conductive. The second is alcohol, 90+% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. You can often find stronger rubbing alcohol in some stores, that's what we use at Analog Man for much pedal cleaning, inside and out. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol � 90% - will work too. Alcohol has an affinity for water, so it soaks it up and dries it out, then evaporates much better than water.

Rinsing the item first with the distilled water (if it was not soaked in pure water, for example to flush out cola) and then with alcohol will dilute, pick up water, carry it away, and evaporate quickly. The higher percent alcohol 90% vs 50% has a greater affinity for water.

Time is important. You do not want water to soak into an otherwise insulating medium, especially water that contains something conductive like salt. It will leave a conductive residue that will short out portions of the device. That is why you want to rinse first with distilled water to carry away any conductive residue and then the alcohol to remove the water film. Most tap water has dissolved minerals that remain after the water evaporates, hence the distilled water to rinse these away. Don't get water in switches if possible, and only rinse areas that may have been wet, or are still wet.

A tech from the Rane Corp told me that using club soda is an effective purge agent. Rane had a huge DJ customer base. The drink spill topic came up all the time, often accompanied by estimates of hundreds of dollars. Since clubs are common venues, the bar is good source of club soda. In cases of spills they told DJs to immediately drop the equipment in bar sink and flood unit with club soda. Besides the distilled water (and trace of sodium) club soda bubbles agitate and dislodge the contaminates helping to float them away. A sugary, sticky mocha coffee drink spilled into a DJ mixer and did exactly as was preached. Once the unit was brought back to Rane service, they just used a heat gun to assure it was fully dried out. No damage occurred and other than some pot and switch lubrication, the servicing was minimal.

Internal pedal cases and battery compartments can then be cleaned with WD-40. WD-40 is a water displacing chemical. You can spray it anywhere in or on a pedal, but it can be tough to get out so I often use rags or Q-tips wetted with WD-40 to clean the inside (and outsides) of pedals. You just don't want to leave a lot of inside, as it smells and can drip around.

Potentiometers are one of the easiest damaged parts. They should be spray cleaned on the wiper area with some electronic spray cleaner/lubricant. Analog Man uses Deoxit spray cleaner, I like the "Fader" type for pots as it leaves some lubricant. Spray inside, then quickly turn the pot back and forth (slide your finger on the top of the knob) several times, then tilt it to let any excess cleaner run out, you can catch it with a Q-tip.

Jacks should also be cleaned with a Q-tip. The Deoxit is best but WD-40 will work. Also try to clean the tip of the jack, but be careful not to pull off the cotton inside the jack.

Switches are usually pretty well sealed, but water can get inside and it may be very tough to get it out. It's very hard to get a cleaner inside the switch to wash it out. There is a video that shows how you can open a switch to repair it, if your switch has issues you can try that. But it may be best to replace the switch if it does not work well after the pedal had time to dry. Power Jacks should be cleaned by spraying in a bit of the DeOxit or WD-40.
Here is the youtube video of repairing a 3PDT switch

Components like chips, transistors, capacitors, and resistors are generally not damaged by short periods of wetness. But the leads can corrode, so wipe any corroded or flaky/powdery leads with WD-40 on a Q-tip.

Foam or other soft materials used in pedals for holding in batteries, etc, should be replaced if possible as they will hold moisture.

After, and I repeat AFTER, the above cleaning, you can use very modest heat to help dry out the pedal. You can use a hair dryer at some distance. Make sure you don�t heat the item any hotter than is comfortable to hold. Some plastic materials deform at relatively low temperatures. Compressed air will work well too but it should be dry, come compressors spit out water drops which will not help. And the full force of 100PSI can damage your circuit so don't hit it too hard with compressed air.

Remember the order:

  1. rinse with distilled water
  2. rinse with alcohol
  3. clean and lubricate
  4. warm gently with hair dryer or warming oven.
For items immersed in flood waters, the above approach can be tried, but the outlook is not promising. Generally the conductive flood waters have had time to soak into the various insulating materials and are almost impossible to remove. Still, it may be worth a try, especially if you have the time, and possible success is worth the effort. Distilled water and alcohol are not very expensive. Most circuit boards are coated with varnish to resist moisture. In this case, wash repeatedly with distilled water. Use a soft brush to remove any remaining film such as mud. Then, the alcohol followed by the dryer. Using the dryer prematurely can �set� the offending material to the point that it may be almost unremovable. So save it for the very last step after you are sure things are clean. Your efforts may save part if not all of the equipment.

Condition Grading

Okay, one more question. Could you tell me the guidelines and what you look for when going about describing the condition of your equipment and what to expect for each type of condtion. I'm asking this because I ordered from a company that said they had this pedal in excellent condition, and it turned out to be really beat up and dirty! I trust that your standards are higher.

Yes, my standards are much higher than that. All my items are cleaned, inspected, and tested by me personally, and will not be sold until that is done. I clean the effect with solvents to remove beer, sticker goop, and adhesive from old velcro etc. I clean the jacks, pots, and replace the battery clip if it's not in good shape.

This condition grading is purely based on cosmetics. All effects, regardless of cosmetic condition, are in perfect working order, all original, and sound great unless otherwise noted. Here is my rating system :

  • NOS = New Old Stock : Never played, straight off the dealers shelf usually in the original box with manuals. Dead mint.
  • 10 : Mint : Like new, shiny, no scratches, wear, rust, etc. All items in all conditions are in perfect working order unless stated otherwise.
  • 9 : Near Mint, NM : Like new, but a scratch or two, maybe scuff marks on the bottom. No modifications or damage.
  • 8 : Excellent, Exc : A few paint chips, maybe a tiny dent. No rust or serious damage. Most of the lettering on the pedal is readable (but some MXR effects writing comes off if you look at it funny!). Any modifications (knobs, etc) will be listed. Most effects that I sell are in exc condition- they were used but not abused.
  • 7 : Very Good, VG : This pedal was used a lot because it sounds good! Some paint is missing, maybe a dent, maybe a replaced switch or jack. Could have some surface rust. You should still be able to read the writing on the pedal, but probably not all.
  • 6 : Good, Gd, GC : Works, mostly original, but beat up or repainted. Good for playing on stage, as it should be about 1/2 the price of a mint one and sound the same!

    I rarely sell items in Good condition or less. You will often see items marked EXC++ or NM-. The + and - are used when an item falls between two grades, i.e. exc++ is 8.5 condition.

    Custom One-Off pedals

    I really want a (name an expensive hard to find pedal) can you build me one?

    Building a single pedal is VERY expensive, like when a car manufacturer builds a prototype or show car. A show car usually costs over a million dollars to build, even though the production model costs $20,000.

    To build ONE pedal, we have to find the parts (sometimes takes days of hard work to find one obsolete part) then order the parts. Then laying out and building one pedal takes a very long time, as does testing it to make sure it works. But it usually will not work, then debugging can take days.

    So it will always be MUCH cheaper to buy an old pedal than to have one custom made, even if it's a REALLY expensive pedal.

    Effects noise

    I am unsure as to the limits of my DM-2 noise problem. Shall I send it to you and let you decide if you want it?

    That would be fine. But you may want to calibrate your ears to allowable noise limits in vintage time-based effects (Analog delays, choruses, flangers, etc that use a Bucket Brigade chip).

    Turn your amp up so it's not too loud but you can hear it well. Adjust the effect for mid-range operation, at the same volume when on as off (if adjustable). Stand 5 feet from your amp and turn the pedal on and off without playing. If there is noticeable "white noise" or crackling, the effect is noisier than I would sell, or I would sell it at a discount and advertise it as "noisy". Ibanez, Boss, etc should have almost no noise. Electro-Harmonix effects tend to be noisiest, with MXR close behind.

    Noise Gates

    I've got a long chain of all analog effects pedals, mostly Foxrox and your own analogman pedals, some others as well. I was thinking it would be a good idea to get a noise gate, since i get a lot of noise when i start turning them on. It seems like there's not too many options, Any recommendations or alternatives?

    I don't recommend using a noise gate, it can only hurt your tone. Most even sound bad when OFF as they are not true bypass. A noise gate will have a bunch of circuity that your signal will go through, and can change your tone or not work well with other effects. It also kills your dynamics as it will often be too slow to turn on again when you play gently. You won't be able to hear noise while you are playing anyway, so it is best to turn off noisy effects when you stop playing. Or hit your TUNER to mute your signal, I made three tuner mute boxes for The White Stripes for that purpose, one at each of Jack's stage positions. If you avoid a noise gate you will have better tone. If you were lucky enough to catch Phish, you would have seen Trey dancing at the end of a song to turn off noisy effects. He can afford any noise gate ever made but chose not to use one.

    Hope this helps and saves you money that you can use to improve rather ' than compromize your tone.

    Effects humming

    Hey Mike, how come ALL my stompboxes hum when I kick them in?? Do I need the pedals worked on,or something else going on?

    It is probably your guitar and/or amp, the pedals are just amplifying the ambient hum. You have to do some R & D and narrow it down to one component by using ALL different patch cords, effects, another guitar, and another amp and finding out exactly what the problem is by substituting your equipment in the setup a single piece at a time.

    It could be a flourescent light in the room below you that causes the hum. Also test with a guitar with humbucking pickups like a Gibson, those pickups should cancel out hum from interference.

    Radio Noise

    My pedal is picking up the radio and I dont know what they are saying because it's Portuguese or Russian. How can I stop this?

    Radio Frequency Interference (RF IF) is a tough one, most gain pedals like Fuzzes and even some wahs have a lot of RF problems. Since we cannot duplicate the problem here (it has no noise here) it's not something we can fix at our shop.

    Gain is amplifying the RF from the air like a radio, it is tuned to the local station. Sometimes shortening wires or adding ferrite beads will help but since we dont have the problem here we would only be guessing. If you have a good tech he can try shortening the internal wires one by one and test to see if that helps, or he can try adding more and more ferrite beads and see if that stops the noise.

    Also you can try to add a small capacitor on the input of the board or the input jack to ground, that often kills the noise. Try something small like 100pF then go bigger up to .01uF if needed. We often put a small cap right on the switch from the TO BOARD wire connection (gets connected to input jack when ON) to the GROUND connection.

    Also dirty jacks can cause RF interference, try cleaning them with a swab and some contact cleaner.

    A customer wrote :
    One thing I did was to uncoil all the power leads in the back of the rack. I had them coiled up pretty tight and then cable tied. This immediately helped, but I wasn't completely satisfied.

    At this point, I noticed that to make the radio signal be it's worst, touching the audio plugs on the back of the power amp (Metal sleeves) would do it.
    So next I soldered some 4.7pf capacitors across the DC connectors on my pedals.

    another customer with RF problems with a sunface wrote:

    Thanks for the note, Mike. After applying an, ahem, no-too-low-tech technique it seems that the RF IF problem is gone. Get this: after reading your reply I got to fiddling with the guitar cables in the chain, which includes a Framptone Amp Switcher in front of two amps. Anyway, I just swung the guitar-out cable from the Strat around from the front and behind my body and presto/change-o, the RF IF disappeared. No contact cleaner, no screwdriver, no solder. No BS.
    Hope that helps, good luck!

    Dating your effects

    How can I date my old electro-harmonix pedals??

    The easiest way to date pedals is the same way you date some guitars and amps - by the POT CODES. EH, MXR, and most US made effects used pots with EIA date codes on them. They usually start with 137 which is the manufacturer (137 = CTS), then the next digits are the year and week. For example, 137 7903 would be a CTS pot, made in the 3rd week of 1979. Sometimes there are only 6 digits, for example 304731 would be 304 (stackpole) 7=1947 or 1957, 31st week. You can also date speakers this way! Other manufacturer codes are :

    On many Japanese effects there are no date codes on the pots, but there are usually date codes on the chips and sometimes on the capacitors. So check them carefully! If you see 7932 on the bottom of a chip, you can be pretty sure it is a date code for 1979.

    My old MXR analog delay is too hard to open up to get at the pot date codes, how can I date it?

    You really cant tell by the serial#, sorry! But here are some rough dates for them:

    1 output: 1977 - 1979, SAD1024 chips x 3
    2 outputs : 1979? - 1982, R5101 chip x 1

    Expression Pedals

    What is the deal with expression pedals??

    An expression pedal like the Boss EV-5 is used to control some device that it hooks up to, for example a speed or depth function. A normal exp pedal will have a stereo plug on the end of it's cord, as it needs to control a voltage coming from that device. You can't normally use a mono cable with 2 contacts as it needs 3 contacts: ground, voltage, and controlled voltage.

    However you can use MOST volume pedals an an expression pedal. To do that, you need to use an INSERT CABLE. This is a Y cable with a stereo plug on one end which plugs into the device, and two mono plugs on the other side which plug into the input and output of the volume pedal.

    But the pots in volume pedals are high resistance (100K or more) so they don't always work well, as EXP pedals are usually low resistance (10K or so).

    Whammy pedals

    Why does everybody seem to prefer the old wh-1 Whammy over the new one?

    The Whammy II had redesigned "improvements" made when over the original whammy when it was released. The biggest mistake was putting the input gain control in there - if you don't get the adjustment "just right" then it will not track the input pitch properly and, even if you do get it right, as the input decays the pitch tracking will eventually lose its "lock" on the signal.

    The original WH-1 Whammy had a special circuit that the Whammy II does not (thus no "input level" control), allowing almost any input signal level to be dynamically scaled so that the pitch tracking can "lock on" faultlessly. This also meant that as the signal level decayed, the pitch would remain locked due to the scaling action. The Whammy II loses lock on the signal as it decays, resulting in a highly unpleasant "warbling" sound which you may have noticed if you've used one.

    Why was the whammy modified?

    The old red Whammy was probably changed because it was quite expensive and not selling as well as it could be. On most newer mass-marketed pedals, the price/cost is the main feature. In reality, the Whammy-II ended up costing almost as much (and even more in some areas) and people didn't like it nearly as much. It had some cool features (you didn't have to bend down to change modes, and it had the "toggle" feature to switch between your two favorites) but it did not SOUND the same, and it was a little less robust than the original version.

    How about the reissue whammy?

    It seems that they did not use the exact same algorithms as the original so they still don't sound quite as good. The original manual has a note Copyright 1990 IVL Technologies Ltd, looks like they were the ones who designed this pedal for DOD. You can find the manual on

    Can you modify the reissue whammy?

    No, we don't do any work on those due to the construction making it very difficult. We do a lot of true bypass mods on the original WH-1 pedal, even though it is a difficult job, because they are valuable and sound great. The bypass mod on a WH-1 is $60 plus S & H.

    In 2012 the WHAMMY-5 came out, it does about everything you would want in a whammy pedal and we carry them.

    Calibrate Digitech XP-100 Whammy Wah

    Factory Reset/Pedal Calibrate - To reset the User programs to their factory settings and calibrate the expression pedal, press and hold the foot switch and then apply power to the unit.

    Wait until the letters rS appear in the display and release the foot switch. The display will now show: Pd and CA , indicating that you are in pedal calibrate mode.
    Once Pb appears, rock the pedal back and press the foot switch. When PF appears, rock the pedal forward and press the foot switch. SA will next appear in the display to confirm the pedal is now calibrated.

    Surf/Siren pedal

    I saw in your list an effect -- '72 exciter hurricane/surf/wah/siren thing. Can you describe its sound to me?

    This pedal, in addition to modifying your guitar's sound, generates it's own sounds. The wah and volume are normal things, but it also has a SIREN button on top. Press it once and in a few seconds a siren sound will go up to a high note. Then press it again any time on the way up and it will go down again. Sounds good with lotsa reverb and echo. The surf and hurricane are white noise sounds controlled with the pedal like a wah. They have different tones, great for "riders on the storm" I guess...

    A unique pedal!

    TS-9 (and other Ibanez 9 series) Switch problems

    My TS-9 doesn't turn on and off properly, have you seen this before?

    Yes, you may be able to fix it. First check for a soft click, when you push down the switch lever there should be a CLICK when the switch engages. If not, the spring may have come loose or need adjustment. Or the switch may need to be cleaned or replaced if it does click. Originals may not click even when working right but reissues usually do click nicely.

    Carefully remove the foam pad under the battery. Then unscrew the 2 screws holding in the switch assembly. Pull it out. See if the spring is attached to the switch, it should be. Don't lose the spring.

    Now test the switch while it is hanging loose by hooking up a battery or adaptor and your guitar and amp. Use your fingers to turn it on and off and see if the switch works this way. If so it may have come loose inside and putting everything back together right may solve your problem. If it does not work by your fingers when hanging loose then the switch will need to be cleaned or replaced. Good time to send it to me for an 808 mod too.

    If you have an original TS-9 or 9 series pedal, you can pull out the center part of the switch which the spring attaches, with your fingers or pliers. The reissue does not come apart so it is not repairable. Now you can clean out the inside of the switch. Clean the brass parts with some electronic spray cleaner and a Q-tip (or denatured alcohol might work). You can also GENTLY bend up the switch contacts in the bottom of the switch to raise them a bit. A tiny screwdriver or razor blade edge can be used.

    Now put the parts together, and the spring back on. You can try the test above again with your fingers and see if the cleaning worked. Now reinstall the switch assembly, be careful and get the spring over the shaft inside the hole or the foot pedal will not activate the switch (you should hear a click). Then screw it back together and you should be all set! I do have new TS-9 switches in stock for $5 each (sorry we don't sell parts seperately though as we are too busy) or $10 installed during a TS-808 mod.

    The TS-10 switch is easy to clean, you may not even have to remove it. Just open the battery compartment and spray some cleaner/lubricant around the switch shaft then press it quickly several times. If that does not work you can pull it out from the top and disassemble it carefully. You can bend the contacts a bit for more pressure and clean the contacts with a Q-tip. That should fix it!

    Modifying vintage TS-808 pedals

    Can you modify my TS-808 for (more bass, silver mod, true bypass, etc)?

    We do not recommend modifying a valuable vintage effect like a TS-808, ST-9, etc. They do their thing well and you lose too much money if they are not 100% original.

    Luckily, for tone, there are new pedals you can buy and mod to sound however you want, and these mods will increase the value of the pedals so it's not a losing proposition. I recommend the new TS9 or Maxon OD9 with our mods, they use the same circuit board as the old TS-808 and will sound the same (or better - OD9 has true bypass!) than the old TS-808 with the same mods. We sell the TS9, OD9, and TS808 reissue new with our mods on our Ibanez page.

    Using Multiple Tube Screamers

    I got yer modified tube screamer last week and love it. The first thing I did was play it side by side with my buddy's brand new ts-9 and there was a huge diff. He will be sending his over for service shortly.

    The reason I wrote was to ask you if you have ever heard of people using more than one tube screamer in a row of pedals. I saw a guy a few nights ago and it looked like he had 3 green boxes in a row, looked to me like tube screamers. If so then why ?

    Yes, several of my customers do that. Trey from Phish is one of the more well known users of this combo. They usually run one at low DRIVE (distortion) and leave it on all the time to sweeten up the tone. Then they kick in the second one with higher LEVEL (volume) and DRIVE for leads or other loud passages. Kenny Wayne Shepard has 2 of my ts9/808 pedals (or one of my pedals and his old TS-808) on stage at all times. Two in a row will get more overdrive and gain than a single one can. Three would be over the top!

    More Tube Screamer stuff

    Hey Mike, love the TS9/808 mod with brown option you did for me last year. Would it be possible to get the the brown mod done on my original TS-808? Would it make a difference? Please let me know and be aware that I'm singing your praises to all my students and fellow players, (including about 2000 guitarists I come in contact with through the National Guitar Workshop summer programs).

    Thanks, I really appreciate any referrals especially from instructors.

    I actually did the brown option on Will Owsley's original TS-808! (RIP, Will!) I also modded some of his TS9s. The brown option (carbon composition 1960s style resistors) does make it a little smoother sounding, but I don't recommend it on an original TS-808 as it's a valuable pedal and should be kept original. I would keep the old 808 home and get another TS9 modded with 808/brown and it would sound the same but not be so valuable and a target for theft.

    Ibanez SD-9 vs TS-9

    What is the difference between a TS-9 and an SD-9?

    The SD-9 Sonic Distortion has more distortion than the TS-9, which is more an overdrive pedal than a distortion. The SD-9 is crunchier, grittier, and also has more bottom end (less mid-range boost). It is sort of like an MXR distortion+ with a Big Muff tone control. There are some settings on the SD-9 that can sound quite like a TS-9. To get a sound like a TS-9 with all controls at 12:00 (straight up) set the SD-9 DISTORTION and TONE controls all the way down, and LEVEL about 3:00 (to the right). To get a sound like the TS-9 as above but with its DRIVE control at 3:00 : turn the SD-9 DIST up to about 9:00. It's not exact but pretty close!

    We have a cool mod for the SD9 to make the tone control more useful, our SUPER MOD. We can also change the chip if it's a mid 80s without the JRC4558D chip. Most early Ibanez 80s SD9 pedals, and the Maxon SD9, already have the good JRC4558 chip. See our Ibanez page for more info on the SD9 mods.

    I'm using an SD-9 that I bought fairly recently, but I've been less happy with it than I remember being with my old one years ago. Did the SD-9 have a similar evolution to the TS models? And if so, is it possible to improve the SD-9? Or would this simply make it into a TS-808 unit? I'm considering sending you my TS-9 too for the mod, but I'd like to know about the SD-9 first.

    There were 2 types of original Ibanez SD-9, the later has 2 circuit boards, unlike the ts-9 which has one. The later ones usually used the lousy Toshiba T75558 chip like the later TS-9s. But I think the circuit is about the same on the two SD-9s. The SD-9/super mod will make it smoother and less harsh, with a better tone control, but it will still be a sonic distortion and not a tube screamer. It will sound similar to a tube screamer with the SD9 drive and tone knobs down on the SD-9/808. The SD-9 with two circuit boards (one is down with the pots) has less oscillation problems when you turn it up high, so I prefer modifying those types. Also the Maxon has no problems and is a little better as it has true bypass.

    There are some reviews on Harmony Central that you can check out for more info.

    Ibanez TS-10 vs TS-9

    I have a TS10 that I would like to get modified to the 808 spec, but I was wondering: am I better off with a modifed TS9 or does the modified TS10 sound just as good?

    The TS-10 circuit will be the same when I'm done. But when I modify a TS-9 not only is the circuit the same, but the circuit board is identical and everything is 100% a TS-808 except the box. For some reason the TS-10s seem to sound different as you switch them on, instead of coming right on like a TS-9 or 808 they have a slight woof. Also if all 3 knobs are up all the way, a TS-10 modded to 808 specs will emit a short squealing sound. ** I have now solved the switching problem and chirping in my 808 mods, no extra charge. The TS-10 jacks and pots are cheap non-standard parts, and tend to fail much more often than the TS-9. So a TS10 is a disposable pedal, best for a collector or a home pedalboard.

    So the option is yours, a modified TS-10 will sound great and be much cheaper if you already have one but you might sleep better knowing you have the ultimate if you have a TS-9 modified.

    Electronic Voltages in other countries

    Often people ask if certain effects will work in their countries. Most effects we sell work on batteries or AC adaptors so there is no problem. But some have attached AC cord for USA style 120VAC.

    Here is a short chart of most of my customers countries:

    120VAC US style :
    Puerto Rico
    Most US territory islands
    Most of South America
    Mexico is 117V (was 127V)

    100VAC :

    110VAC (us effects should be OK):

    220VAC :
    Hong Kong

    230VAC :
    United Kingdom

    240VAC :

    E-H talking pedal

    I just earlier this evening found out that what I thought was a talking pedal was actually called a Golden Throat. What does a talking pedal do, and how does it work? Is it the same thing as a Golden Throat?

    They are completely different. The golden throat is a "talk box" like Frampton, Walsh, etc used. It is a speaker driver connected to a tube which goes in your mouth and needs to be miked through a PA to be used. Your mouth acts as a filter.

    The Talking pedal is like a big wah wah pedal, but instead of saying "WAH" it says "eee aaaa iiii oooo uuuu" when it is moved, the vowel sounds. It goes in the path between the guitar and amp, much more useable than a talk box. But the talk box can make more different sounds.

    E-H slide switches

    I have 2 old EH pedals (Big Muff and BAd Stone) and both of them have a problem--the slide switch. In the Bad Stone I can't switch back and forth from auto to manual. Once I get it to be auto on the effect if I jar it too much it goes to manual so I have to jiggle the switch a bit. On the Big Muff I can't get it to go to tone bypass very often, when you switch it, it just loses all signal. I am gathering since I have a bit of a problem with both, it's because of the old switch. Any ideas? or recommended switches to use to replace them?

    Yes that is quite common on the olf EH effects. Radio shack (!) has a good replacement switch that has the same hole spacing. However I think it is not threaded for the same screws so you might have to use small nuts on the inside. Just bring in your old switch or measure it and you should be able to match it up.

    Another possibility is to remove it from the pedal. Then uncrimp the case from the switch guts, (there are 2 prongs on each side). Clean it out, and put it back together. Spray cleaner like the Radio Shack tuner/color TV cleaner/lubricant will work well, brush it with a Q-tip. More work but will be all original.

    Electro-Harmonix Effects with AC cords or external adaptors- transformers

    Mike, I have an old electro-harmonix pedal with an AC cord and built-in transformer, but the transformer died. I am in Germany where we have 220V AC. What kind of transformer do I need?

    The old AC powered effects (memory man, clone theory, polychorus, etc with the big wide boxes) usually had a 24V AC transformer mounted inside, and an AC cord. But there were also EXPORT versions with a small adaptor plug, a 1/8" jack like on the small 9V pedals. On these there was no internal transformer, the jack just went right to the circuit board. You have to use an external transformer (wall wart) for these that has an output of 24V AC no matter what input (line) voltage is. We have some 24VAC power supplies for use in the USA.

    So if you have one of these pedals, there are two ways to make them work:

    1. Remove the internal transformer (if there is one) and run the two wires from the board to a jack, and use an external transformer with 24VAC output. With AC current there is no polarity so don't worry about which of the 2 wires to hook where on the jack.
    2. Add (or replace) an internal transformer. You need to buy one with the correct input (primary) voltage for your country and 24VAC output (secondary voltage). Run a power cord to the primary wires. Run the two secondary wires to the board. If you want to use a grounded power cord, you can, but please consult with an expert in your area.

      NOTE : Working with AC voltages is dangerous! So I recommend option (1) as you don't deal with line voltages, just 24V AC which is not too dangerous.

    Reverse sound effects

    Is there something (simple, reasonably priced, and clean sounding) on the market that will produce these backward sounds (like Robert Fripp, or Jimi Hendrix reverse guitar solos)?

    I don't know what Fripp used other than the frippertronics tape stuff, but he may have used the Electro Harmonix 16 second delay (very expensive now, though there was a reissue which is also no longer available...). It actually played back up to 16 seconds of delayed music backwards. The 1980s half rack Boss RPS-10 digital delay was popular for reverse sounds. The Boomerang looper device can also do reverse, it can record minutes of playing and reverse it.

    There are now quite a few digital delay pedals which can be switched to REVERSE mode while playing, like the EH memory man with Hazarai. The line6 delay is probably the most common, I heard Phil Brown do some Jimi with one of those and it sounded fabulous. The Line-6 delay modeler has both a true reverse delay (better for recording than live) and a volume swell with echo effect both of which do a pretty good job. It does take a lot of practice to get the reverse delays in sync, it's not easy to get what you want to hear. Unfortunately, there are no pedals that can read your mind and play what you are going to play in the future, so it's impossible to have the reverse delays in REAL TIME - they are delayed by the length of the delay time that you set and will come out after that much time elapses. So you need to carefully select a delay time in rhythm with the song and figure out how to play something that will sound good a beat or more later depending on the delay time. Also the playing is chopped up into discrete chunks, so it's hard to get a good melody with this method as the chunks are cut up and played backwards, often sounding like the Beatles Revolution #9 short tape loop fragments.

    There are also ENVELOPE MODIFYING pedals that can do the reverse sounds, and they don't have the time delay factor to worry about. But they only make the notes fade-in like a tape delay, once you are playing notes without silence to create a new attack for the next note, it will sound normal. So these also take some finesse to sound good. The old EH Attack-Decay pedal was the original reverse or violin sound pedal, and was excellent for reverse volume swells to imitate the sound of notes played backwards. But it works only on single notes (not chords) and is VERY expensive if you can find one. The late 1970s Boss SG-1 Slow gear was another early swell pedal and would work on chords but is a little touchy. The new Pigtronix ASDR Attack Sustain is even cooler as it will work for chords too. E-H makes the HOG which can also do these swell sounds.

    Jeorge Tripps from Way Huge perfected a reverse sound (like the RPS-10) by modifying the reverse echo on the Boss DD5 digital delay pedal. Basically he killed the STRAIGHT sound so you only hear the reverse echo. The Line-6 delay modeler has both a true reverse delay (better for recording than live) and a volume swell with echo effect both of which do a pretty good job. I think it is better than the Boss but still probably not as good as the Attack Decay for live use. I now can do the DD-5 reverse mods, and I add a KILL switch on it to make it more user-friendly. You should be able to find more info on the DD-5 mod on my web site, The new Boss DD-6 in reverse mode can get 100% echo so it does not need the reverse mod. But we have a HIGH CUT mod for it to make it sound more analog, there is more information on our BOSS page. In 2008 the Boss DD-7 came out and also does not need the reverse mod, it's a really cool pedal for delays, reverse, and even simple looping.

    True bypass switches

    What is true bypass and why do I need it?

    True bypass means when a pedal is OFF, the signal goes in the INPUT jack and out the OUTPUT jack without touching any components (resistors, capacitors, op amps, etc). You can not check for this by pulling out the battery, as you will still get a signal out of, for example, an old wah even though it is not really true bypass (the circuit still is attached to some components when off). Let's call this type of effect a "stomp switch" pedal, it uses a round stomp switch to turn it on and off, and passes signal through even with no battery. Another type of effect is the Ibanez Tube screamer/Boss type with electronic switching, not a normal looking stomp switch. These do not have ANY sound without a battery. Call these an "electronic switch" pedal.

    If you have a "stomp switch" type pedal without true bypass (all MXR pedals, most EH, most wahs, almost any pre 1980 pedal except a fuzzface) then when OFF you MAY lose some high end due to your signal bleeding into the components. If you have an "electronic switch" pedal, it is probably designed well enough that even though it is not true bypass, when OFF you will not lose any signal as the signal is properly buffered through active circuitry even when off.

    Mike, are the switches in Ibanez, Boss, and MXR pedals true on/off bypass?

    The Ibanez and Boss signals do not go straight through a wire when they are off, they go through some components (op amps and/or transistors). You can tell effects of this type because you will get no signal through when the battery is out. Also they do not use a stomp on/off switch, but a momentary contact switch which switches the signal electronically rather than mechanically like the old stomp switches. Although they are not "true bypass", this type of effect, if properly designed, will not load or affect your signal much when the effect is OFF. They can actually HELP your signal when off, (for example if you use a long patch cord), by acting as a signal buffer.

    Most MXR and many EH pedals are not true bypass either, but do use a direct wire to bypass the signal when they are off (they will pass the signal in the OFF position without a battery). But nearly all MXR and EH effects use a Single Pole, Double throw (SPDT) switch with only three terminals, as it is cheaper than the 6 terminal Double-pole, double throw (DPDT) switches. These are not true-bypass. This means that when the effect is OFF, the guitar signal will go directly to the output jack but is STILL CONNECTED to the input of the effect's circuitry. Some of the signal is lost this way, a bit like turning down your TONE control on your guitar.

    A DPDT switch can be added to most effects (especially wahs) by switching both the input and output wires when the switch is stomped on. These switches are available for about $15 (I stock these normally).

    Here's a post I modified from Scott H. Andrews, sha3u@fermi.clas.Virginia.EDU (see below for generic DPDT switch mod for other effects) :

    > Has anyone heard of any mods for a Wah pedal to improve
    > the bypass mode sound quality? The guitarist in my band and I can
    > both hear a loss of presence/high end as compared to the guitar
    > plugged directly into the amp. I know this is to be expected to
    > a certain extent with anything in the signal chain but the Vox is
    > VERY drastic!
    The SPDT switch is much cheaper, so they use it
    instead. the switch controls what is fed to the pedal OUTPUT:
    the wah signal or the bypass signal.  the input is always
    connected to both the bypass wire AND the wah circuitry, even
    when the pedal is bypassed.  In this situation, the wah
    circuitry acts as a capacitor, soaking up charge and bleeding
    off your tone.  i had this problem with my crybaby.
              /-------wah circuitry------\
             /                          |  Y  |
    input----                           |  X--|-------output jack
             \                          |  Z  |
              \-------bypass wire--------/
                                              SPDT switch
    The output terminal "X" switches between "Y" (on) and "Z" (off) 
    when you stomp on it. But the input wire is always connected
    to the wah circuitry.
    The DPDT switch can be wired to switch BOTH the input and the
    output from wah to bypass at the same time.  in this scheme,
    the wah circuity is disconnected at the input AND the output.
                  /------wah circuitry-------\
             |  Y1  |       board         |  Y2  |
    input----|--X1  |                     |  X2--|----------output jack
    jack     |  Z1  |                     |  Z2  |
           one side         jumper           other side
          of DPDT switch                   of DPDT switch
    ** Note the alternate wiring below to reduce popping on some pedals **
    Craig Anderton's book "Electronic Projects for Musicians"
    discusses these two switches and how they can switch effects.
    You'll have to find a DPDT footswitch somewhere - they are not
    common.  Stewart MacDonald on Ohio sells them for about $15.
    (Analog Man can supply them for $15 plus $2 S&H). 
    The improvement, by the way, was fantastic.  super crisp high
    gain even with the pedal bypassed.
    Here's an exact procedure for modifying a VOX Reissue 
    wah from Pete Lyall 
    updated by Analog Man for other wahs


    For a Dunlop Crybaby, with the input and output jacks hard-wired to the circuit board, a few other things must be done. The BROWN wire from the input jack to the wah circuit does not exist. You need to break the connection from the input jack tip to the circuitry to have a true bypass. On some crybabies you can lift the leg of the small yellow capacitor next to the INPUT JACK tip. You may be able to do this without removing the board, it is just below the tip connection of the input (left side) jack. On this cap's left is a transistor and on it's right is a small upright can shaped electrolytic capacitor (the only small one). Heat it up and lift the leg which attaches to the jack side. Then solder a NEW wire to this capacitor's lifted leg. This will be the same as the VOX's GREEN WIRE that you attach to the new switch. The existing green wire from the board to the switch is the same as the VOX's brown wire now (goes from input jack to switch). I have also modified a JIMI HENDRIX dunlop wah that was exactly the same as this crybaby circuit.

    On some Dunlop made crybabies GCB-95 (Serial # AA-02C340) this capacitor near the input jack tip does not exist. But there is an unused hole in the board near the input jack tip which goes to the tip. You can add a wire to this hole and run it to X1 (input jack) on the new switch. Then you must cut the trace on the back of the board from the tip of the input jack to the to the wire connector plug. Scrape it away with a pointy screwdriver but do not damage the adjacent traces! This trace goes to the green wire which goes to Y1 (input to wah circuitry) on the new switch.

    On an old 1970s Thomas Organ crybaby a green wire goes from the imput jack to a post on the board, and another goes from this post to the switch. You must remove the wire that goes from the input jack to the post (remove it from the post - not real easy) and run it to the switch input X1 instead. Then the remaining green wire which is on the old switch can go to Y1 on the new switch (input to wah circuit board). The White wire on the old switch should be the output jack (X2) and the blue wire should be the board output (y2).

    Confusing enough?

    =============================================================== VOX Reissue Wah Wah Pedal Mods - by Pete Lyall ============================================== I have a Vox reissue wah pedal, and while I love the tone The pedal doesn't have a TRUE independent bypass (see Guitar Player magazine discussion on loading circuits in older effects in recent issue). I'd love to just leave the pedal in-line in my rig knowing that I'm not affecting my signal when in bypass. So I set out to fix this. Modification : True Bypass =========================== This mod replaces the existing SPDT footswitch with a DPST footswitch,and reroutes a couple of the wires. You can buy one of these for about $15 from Stewart Macdonalds (mail order guitar supplies (800) 848-2273) or aNaLoG.MaN for the same price. Pull off the bottom cover by removing the 4 feet. Place the pedal upside down, and remove the battery (for good measure). You will note that the input jack has several wires attached to it. If you have a crybaby it is hardwired to the board and these wires do not exist. The BROWN (can be orange or green on GCB-95 crybaby) wire carries the signal to the board. At the board, it is shorted to the green wire, which connects to one side of the SPDT switch. This is the source of the signal when the pedal is in BYPASS. When the switch is engaged, the signal is taken from the BLUE wire on the other side of the switch (output of the wah circuit board) and passed through the switch to the WHITE wire, which carries the signal to the output jack. This circuit looks basically like this: [Dunlop crybaby differences in square parenthesis] Brown [n/a] Green wire o----- ------------------------o \ White [purple on crybaby] input | | \o-------------------o OUTPUT | | Blue [2 blue wires on crybaby] -------o---WAH Circuit----------o As you can see, even when in bypass mode, the circuit is tied to to your signal line. What we're going to end up with will look more like this: added jumper wire [green] / o- -----------------------------o \ Brown / \ White [purple] o-------o o----------o INPUT OUPUT [new] Green Blue [2] o----------WAH Circuit----------o ** Note the alternate wiring below to reduce popping on some pedals ** In order to effect this modification, do the following: Cut the Brown wire near the circuit board (within 1/4" of it) or remove it from the connector if so equipped. [For the Dunlop crybaby you already added a new wire and do not cut anything at this point]. Cut the Green, Blue [2 on crybaby - keep them together!], and White [Purple crybaby] wires at the SPDT switch. Remove the switch. Install the new DPDT switch. The bottom of the switch will look something like this: White [purple] OUTPUT A B C - o o o----Blue (Ouput from wah circuit) Jumper | _ o o o--- Green [NEW wire] (input to wah circuit) D E F INPUT Brown [green] E will be the input. Connect the Brown [green crybaby] wire here. B is the output; connect the white [purple] wire here. Connect a jumper between the A and D locations. I used the insulated center wire of some Belden guitar cable. Any similar wire should do. F connects to the Green [NEW] wire, which is the input to the wah circuit. Lastly, Blue connects to C, which supplies the output of the wah circuit to the switch. [Connect both blue wires on the crybaby]. Voila! Your bypass mod is done. The only thing that remains is you'll find that you need to adjust the height of the switch so that it 'kicks in' at the place you want it. You do this by adjusting the height of the nut along the DPDT switch on the INSIDE of the unit, and then tighten it down with the nut on the OUTSIDE of the unit. It may take a little fiddling, but you'll get it.

    Generic True Bypass mod

    Here's a generic writeup on how to modify most old pedals with 3 lug switches.

    Old SPDT switch : 3 lugs, label them 1 2 and 3.

    1 2 3    (2 is in the middle).

    1 : To input jack. Also may have a second wire running to the board (board input). If not, the board input wire probably is attached to the input jack directly along with the wire to 1. If it is connected to the jack remove it from the jack, this is the BOARD INPUT wire. Now we have 2 wires called input jack and board input.

    2. This goes to output jack. When you stomp on the switch it connects this wire to 1 or 3 alternately.

    3. Board output : This is where the effected sound comes out of the board.

    To convert to true bypass, use a DPDT switch with 6 lugs. It is basically two seperate 3 lug switches side by side.

     1 4
     2 5
     3 6

    1, 2, and 3 is one switch, and 4, 5, and 6 is the other. When you stomp on the switch, lug 2 is switched between 1 and 3, while lug 5 is switched between lugs 4 and 6 at the same time.

    Put a Jumper from pin 3 to 6 (solder a piece of wire to these 2 lugs). This will be the bypass path when the effect is off. Pin 2 is the INPUT JACK wire. Pin 5 is the OUTPUT JACK wire. When you stomp the switch OFF, internally it connects pin 2 to 3, and pin 5 to 6. Your signal goes into pin 2, connects to 3 inside the switch, is jumpered to pin 6, then connects to pin 5 internally, then it goes out to the output jack. The signal did not touch pins 1 or 4 or any other part of the circuit so it is TRUE BYPASS.

    Now connect pin 1 to the BOARD INPUT WIRE (wire that usually connects to the input jack on non-true bypass effects). Connect pin 4 to the BOARD OUTPUT wire (usually connects from the board to the switch on non true-bypass effects) and you are done.

    Now when you stomp on the switch again, your signal goes into pin 2, connects to pin 1 inside the switch, goes to the board input, is processed by the board, then comes out of the board and to pin 4. Then it is connected in the switch to pin 5 and goes to the output jack and you have the effect's ON sound.

    To board----1   4---From board
    Input jack--2   5---Output Jack
    	bypass Jumper from 3 to 6

    Popping sound when effect is switched

    My effect with DPDT switch makes a "popping" sound when I switch it in and out. How can I quiet this down?

    This is caused by a change in levels between the effect BYPASS and ON modes. According to Geoffrey Teese (Teese Real McCoy wahs- the best wahs available) You can fix this by adding a 1 MegaOhm tie-down resistor on the circuit board. You need to add it between the INPUT and ground. Do not add it at the jacks, but on the circuit board. On the VOX V-847 this can be done on the back of the circuit board on the multi-pin connector. On the newest crybaby wah you should not have this problem as they use a buffer which even does away with the need for the true bypass mod.

    Note that most wahs are microphonic and some of the popping is unavoidable. The noise is the sound of the mechanical switch clicking, amplified by the inductor on the circuit board. Try tapping on the board with a pen to see how microphonic yours is (the wah should be ON).

    Alternate wiring to reduce popping on some pedals

    Many pedals will make a POPPING sound when the effect is clicked on or off after installing a true bypass switch. This can be minimized by an alternate switching method which grounds the input of the circuit board when the effect is OFF. This type of wiring was used on many old fuzzfaces.

    You need to add a GROUND WIRE to the switch, to lug 3. This can be attached to one of the ground lugs on a nearby jack. The INPUT JACK wire will run to lug 1 and also be jumpered to lug 6 in order to short it out to lug 3 when the switch is OFF. Lug 2 now goes "TO" the board. Lugs 4 and 5 are the same as the standard wiring : lug 4 is "FROM" the board and lug 5 is to the output jack :

    input jack--1   4---From board
    To board----2 \ 5---Output Jack
    To ground---3   6  Jumper from 1 to 6
    or if you are using the more common 3PDT switch, make the
    lugs horizontal lines as below for correct switching:
    _  _  _    1  4  7   Use the same connections as above.
    _  _  _    2  5  8   you can use 7 8 and 9 for LED.
    _  _  _    3  6  9   7 will be connected to 8 when ON, run LED there.

    Last night somebody told me that the battery is being drained even when the effect is off and in bypass mode. He said that the input jack can be modified to correct this. is this true? can you add this mod? if so and it is reasonable price, let me know and go ahead and do it and i'll send you the extra bucks.

    The battery is being drained only when a cord is plugged into the input jack, even when it is "off". You don't want the battery off when the effect is off as when you step on it to turn it on you will have a dead effect until the capacitors charge up. The current draw is quite small, a good alkaline battery will last a long time in a wah. When the wah starts sounding weak, you will have plenty of time to change the battery before it goes dead.

    So you are best off with the true bypass mod and the standard battery connection, just unplug the input cord when you are not using it to conserve batteries.

    In the pedal full down position, the wah is extremely trebly and kinda harsh. I know this is due to the circuit itself. Is there anything i can do to get less of the trebly harsh sound. I'm a sweet tone guy. Can I rotate the teese pot a notch or two so when the pedal is pushed all the way it doesn't go all the way to the extreme treble zone?

    Yes - that will do the trick. Easier though is to unscrew the plastic thing that pushes the straight gear thing against the gear on the pot (looks like a wire tie down) and then re-index to the next gear on the pot. Keep trying until you get the right gear (trial and error).

    Will this work or will the bass direction bottom out? Know what I mean?

    A few teeth on the gear should not bottom it out but it may. After tightening down the screw, turn the pedal by hand too the extremes of up and down and see of the pot tries to move at either end of the movement. If it does then it is bottoming out. If so, you should adjust it so as not to bottom out.

    Alternatively, without having to open the pedal you could stick a bump stop under the existing bump stop at the toe of the pedal. You can get a little stick-on rubber pad at radio shack (they are also the same as Electro Harmonix feet!).

    Buffers vs True Bypass

    Do I need buffers? Is true bypass bad?

    There are various positions in regards to a buffer's use in a signal chain. Some seemingly opposing convictions are given by authorities who certainly can't be wrong, as their clients have awesome tone. Using a true bypass remote switching system or a full pedalboard of boutique pedals is one extreme, while a board full of Boss and Ibanez pedals, or a switching system with buffers on each switch is the other extreme.

    My belief is that buffers can be used, and should be used in some cases, but the number of buffers in your signal path should be minimized.

    A buffer is basically an active device which takes your somewhat weak guitar signal and amplifies it. Usually a gain of one (unity gain) is used so the volume does not change and your sound stays the same. However your signal is changed to a lower impedance so it can go through long patch cords without losing it's strength.

    A buffer or buffered pedal (for example a Boss or Ibanez pedal that is turned off) will allow a good tone to make it through a cheap or long patch cord. Several years ago I sold several true bypass pedals to a player with a large pedalboard. He said it sounded terrible and that one of the pedals must have a problem. He brought the board to my shop and all the pedals checked out fine. We determined that his cheap patch cord from guitar to board was killing his tone, but he never noticed it as he previously had a few buffered pedals. Replacing the cord solved his problem and the new pedals worked great.

    A buffer is often used as the first device in a board, to get the signal from your guitar into good shape early on. But this is a problem if using a vintage pedal like a fuzzface. A germanium fuzzface needs to interact directly with your pickups for the magic clean-up effect to occur when you roll your volume knob down. The pickup and volume knob become part of the fuzz circuit. Other pedals like a germanium treble booster/rangemaster style pedal will sound bad if any buffers are before them- they get bright and nasty sounding. So if you have one of these pedals, put it early in your effects chain before any buffers or buffered pedals.

    One contrary pedal is a wah, which is normally used before a fuzz. A vintage wah will not behave well with a fuzz, losing it's tone and sweep. Adding a buffer inside the wah will allow it to function better with the fuzz when the wah is ON. Turning off the wah (with true bypass) kills the buffer so it will also work well when OFF. Foxrox electronics makes a wah retrofit kit which can be added to most vintage style or boutique wahs, and RMC wahs by Teese now include this "fuzz friendly" buffer circuitry.

    The reason I do not like too many buffers in your signal path is that the tone changes are additive. Each one will change your tone slightly and can reduce the interaction with and liveliness of your guitar strings. Even though the tone coming out of a good buffer may be very nice, passing it through multiple copies can make it a bit sour. For example if a buffer's frequency response has a nice little peak at 700Hz, after five of these buffers the peak will be five times higher and may get annoying. Also each active component generates noise which also adds up.

    I have one buffer (a delay pedal with a nice buffer when off) at the end of my pedalboard to send the signal to my amp on the rare occasion that I have no other pedals turned on. When something like an overdrive or distortion pedal is on, your signal is beefed up strong enough that no buffers are needed afterwards and a direct connection to the amp cannot be beat. As always, there are many variables so it is best to do some trial and error testing with your personal rig to find the best sequence of pedals and buffers for your specific setup. If it sounds good, you should.

    Bypassing a Small Clone

    I know that you are very familiar with the eh 4600 small clones. I have a problem with my 1981 4600 mini chorus and was wondering if you could help me out. I am trying to put a dpdt switch in the pedal but am having a hard time finding out the input and output of the effect coming off the pcb. I know how to wire up a dpdt switch but I can't figure out which wires are which. I am not concerned about the led right now, more concerned about true-bypass. If you could tell me where I need to attach the wires for the input and the output I would greatly appreciate it.

    That pedal is not easy to true bypass, there is no standard input and output wire and the switch is not like a normal effect. The effect is always ON and the switch just adds the CHORUSED signal to the standard signal. When you switch on the effect, the LED current turns on a FET which switches the chorused sound into the signal. Sorry it's not something I can tell you how to do easily, but we can do it for you and add an anti-pop mod as otherwise it will pop a bit when you switch it on and off.

    Adding an LED to an older effect

    Mike, is there a painless way to install an LED on/off light in an old Phase 100? The folks at Dunlop implied that it'd be easy but they're not supposed to advise on mods... (btw, it's a pretty beat up one, so I don't think I'm committing blasphemy :>)

    Well I'm glad you are not modifying a collectable pedal as that would lower it's value a lot. You can add the LED by putting in a DPDT switch. This will not add true bypass however. You can have both LED and true bypass by adding a 3PDT switch. I now carry 3PDT switches for $15.

    With the DPDT switch, one half (3 prongs on one side) would be the same wiring as you have now. On most old effects this switches the output jack between the input jack (off) and the board output (on). On the other half, connect the middle switch prong to the LED's (-) side. Connect the outer switch prong that is on the ON side of the switch (when pedal is ON and output jack is connected to board output) to a ground point on the board or input or output jack. Tie the (+) side of the LED to the power jack or power on the board. You will need a resistor somewhere in the LED wire path, 1.5K is a decent value for brightness VS current drain.

    With the 3PDT switch, do the TRUE BYPASS MOD as above using two rows of the three prongs on the switch. Then use the 3rd row as above to turn on the LED.

    Power supplies

    A question : What 9 volt AC adaptors should I use for my vintage effects? For example, I have an old Small Stone that sounds bad when I use a 300mA 9 volt adapter. Should I be using something else?

    That adaptor should be OK, but there is more than just max current (300mA) and voltage (9V) spec that matter. You also need one with good noise filtering and voltage regulation. A cheap generic radio shack type will not have good enough filtering for musical accessories so you will hear 60hz AC hum. So I recommend a Boss PSA (PSA120 in the USA) for most vintage effects, or the 9V dunlop ones. The Dunlop comes with a Boss style (barrel) plug, or the 1/8" pin type like an old MXR or EH effect. We also sell a generic adaptor for $15 that has even less hum than the Boss which we sell for $20 or so.

    My Boss DM-2 does not work well with my power supply, what's up with that?

    Most older Boss pedals were designed for an unregulated ACA power supply. The ACA adaptor actually puts out about 12V DC, and the old pedals have a diode and resistor inside to reduce this to 9V. When you use a battery in these old pedals, the battery 9V bypasses the diode and resistor so the pedal gets the full 9V. The PSA will not have enough voltage to work right with these pedals. So check your pedal, they originally had a sticker on them telling you which power supply type to use. They also say on the bottom plate if it needs the PSA or ACA. If it says PSA then any regulated power supply (Dunlop, Ibanez, etc) will work. But if it says ACA, then you need to get a boss ACA (ACA120 in the USA) power supply. We sell a 12vDC power supply on "Boss/Ibanez style DC Power Supply". The Voodoo labs Pedal Power 2 also has switchable ACA 12V outputs.

    Note : An ACA type pedal will often work ok on a normal 9V PSA type adaptor IF it is used on a power daisy chain with some normal 9V pedals. This seems really weird, but it's due to the way the ACA pedals route the power. The shared ground of the other pedals is bypassing the ACA type pedal's power circuit, sending the full 9V direct to the pedal and allowing it to work fine.

    An ACA power supply should not be used on any pedals other than old ACA designed boss effects, as it is not regulated and may also hum.

    Mike thanks for getting back to me. I gave a look at your BC RICH unit. I already have a custom pedal board that has a velcro surface, so all I need is a power supply that has multiple styles of output jacks. If you know of anything I would love to hear about it.

    tc electronics made a nice power supply with four small 1/8" or so phone jacks on it, you can make your own power cables with any type plug on the other end (parts available at radio shack). Boss and Ibanez use 2.1mm internal 5.5mm external coaxial plugs.

    MXR made a power supply with four 1/4" guitar style jacks on it. I had some of the original MXR bottom plates for use with this type of power supply. They replace your original bottom plate. They have 1/4" plugs to plug into this power supply, and battery clips which attach inside your effect to your battery clip.

    You will need to use a good quality regulated power supply with good A/C filtering, or you will get hum. If you use a generic "radio shack" unregulated, unfiltered wall-wart power supply you will not be happy (nor will your pedals!). There is a schematic for building a good regulated 9V power supply on the web. cln9powr.gif can be found on the Leper's schematics page I think.

    The best power supply available is from Digital Music (Voodoo labs). It has eight isolated power outputs so your effects will not have any problems no matter what the polarities are. You could probably even run 2 together for 18Volts! We now sell the Voodoo Labs pedal power units. T Rex also makes some awesome power supplies, see our website for info on these.


    What are good models of flangers and what are the controls?

    There are several good flangers, made since the late 70s. The MXR A/C powered grey flanger is a favorite of many (including EVH). I also like the old red Ross flanger a lot, does smooth leslie tones (used by smokin' Joe for his leslie sound) as well as deep Barracuda sounds. The Ibanez FL-9 may be the best for battery use but I don't think it sounds quite as good as the AC powered ones. The old AC powered DOD 670/640 were also quite good. My favorite is probably the A/DA flanger, reissued in the late 90s. And A/DA had re-reissued a new version again in 2010. This was our best selling pedal ever when we got them in January, 2010.

    The FOXROX Paradox TZF was an amazing flanger but not made any more, I hope he will come out with another flanger soon.

    Most of these flangers are quite similar, have 4 knobs :

    Manual: center control for flanging. If WIDTH of sweep is down all the way it can be used for manual flanging. If there is an optional control pedal (A/DA) then the manual knob will be controlled by the external pedal so you can sweep manually with your foot. The A/DA requires a different type of wiring on the expression controller, don't plug a normal Boss EV5 into it.

    WIDTH: The width of the flanging sweep.

    SPEED: The speed of the sweep.

    REGENERATION: The amount of flanged sound fed back into the delay stage. More makes it thicker and morer metallic sounding, if you can crank it enough you can even get feedback type sounds.

    The A/DA also has an even/odd harmonics switch, for slightly different timbre. And a threshold knob so the flange only turns on when you play above a certain level. The Threshold removes flanging noise when you stop playing, a noise gate. Or you turn it up for only flanging on HARD playing.

    A/DA power adaptor The early A/DA pedals used a 12V DC power transformer, positive tip, about 200mA should be more than enough. Some mid year versions need more than 12V or they will hum, as they use a 15V regulator. Those will work with the EH 18V DC adaptor sold for the EH Holier Grail or POG, the EH18DC-500. EH-18DC-500
    Here is a picture of one of the boards with an arrow showing the voltage regulator. These need an 18V dc power supply.
    Here is a picture of the bottom of the board which shows a large bare area on the bottom right, where the AC transformer would go if it had an AC cord. There are 8 big holes/pads, 4 per side, and some big empty pads in the corner for the AC cord wires. It may be labeled "10-185P".

    Uni-Vibe vs Chorus pedals

    What is the difference between a Uni-Vibe and Chorus pedal?

    Many people are confused about the Uni-Vibe, as it has a CHORUS setting on it, and some people think it can be used for Leslie (spinning speaker) sounds.

    A Uni-vibe is actually a PHASE SHIFTER circuit, with no time delay chips. They use a light bulb inside with 4 light sensors, and the heating and cooling of the filament in the bulb help to give it the special heartbeat pulse. They were invented for keyboards in the 60s, probably to simulate a leslie, but missed it's target by a mile. But when Jimi Hendrix plugged into it, he created amazing sounds and made it into a guitar effect. The univibe phaser circuit is blended with your DRY sound when in CHORUS mode, to make the thick, famous UNI-VIBE sound you know and love from Jimi, Trower, Phish, etc. It sounds best at slower speeds but cool fast too, though not much like a leslie. In VIBRATO mode you hear just the phaser sound, without the dry sound, which is not as useful but some people like it. We sell some awesome Uni-Vibe clones, the the Mojo Vibe, ultravibe, and the Black Cat Vibe.

    The first CHORUS pedal was available in the mid 70s when the analog delay BUCKET BRIGADE chips were invented. Boss made one of the first ones, the CE-1 chorus ensemble. It delays your signal by a bit, and modulates the delay time (shorter and longer, to the selected speed) to get a natural vibrato. Then, like the UNI-VIBE, it blends in the DRY signal to make the CHORUS sound. Or with no dry signal, you get a pitch shifting vibrato, in Vibrato mode. A chorus pedal with time delay can sound thicker and more sparkly, more like a 12-string sort of sound at some settings. At low speeds you may not be able to tell it's on, just makes everything thick. And at high speeds, a much better Leslie sound can be obtained than a Uni-Vibe. See our Chorus page for our different models that we make.


    Analog Delay Chips

    I have heard that the chips in Analog Delays are no longer available. What's up with that?

    That is true, Panasonic was making them until about 1999, when the Panasonic chips were all discontinued. When they started running out, Panasonic told me that the BBD (Bucket brigade) chips were originally made for use in their own products - for reverb and echo in TV sets and other audio products like karaoke. Matsushita owns/makes Panasonic and many other brands. Now that they are using digital in all their products, they no longer need the analog chips, and the other companies who were buying them do not buy enough to make it feasable to keep production going. These chips use a thousand or more capacitors (i.e. 1024 in an SAD1024 or MN3007) and electronic switches in each one to pass the analog signal value through the "bucket brigade". Not high-tech, but a very specialized part. Some Chinese low voltage BBD chips 32XX series started being made later, and were used in most mass produced and boutique analog delays.

    EHX was still using the old Japanese MN3008 chips in the deluxe memory man XO until 2019. Now it uses two Chinese XVIVE 3005 chips. The 550-TT still usually has four MN3008 in spring of 2021.

    EHX always used the new lower voltage 32XX Chinese chips in the smaller pedals (memory boy/toy etc).

    In 2015, a new XVIVE Chinese version of the MN3005 chip became available. EHX used four of these chips in the DMM TT1100 pedal starting about 2015, while the previous same pedal (except graphics) was called "DMM Tap Tempo" and used four NOS Japanese MN3005 chips. The DMM XO is using two Chinese XVIVE MN3005 chips in 2020. Theese XVIVE chips seem to sound fine, time will tell. Two of these chips are also used in the NANO DELUXE MEMORY MAN which was released in 2021. The NANO is calibrated for about 650mS of delay time (over a half second). But they have the same amount of delay circuitry as the old and XO DMM pedals, which only went up to about 400mS or so. Once you set the delay time above that, you start to get noise, as the chips were not designed for that much delay. But the NANO sounds fine at the normal delay times, with normal amounts of noise like the previous DMM models.

    We use some high delay time, selected low voltage chips in our Analog Man AR20DL and ARDX20 Analog Delays, see our analog delay page for more info.

    What is a good Analog Delay?

    There are some new analog delays I like now, the Maxon AD9 (discontinued), the EH Deluxe Memory man, the MXR Carbon Copy and our ARDX20. Way Huge also makes some great analog delays which we also sell. They all sound great but the features are quite different, and the sound is a little different too. There is a new Ibanez AD-9 out now too but it's not as good as the old Ibanez AD-9 or Maxon others, see my Ibanez page Maxon section for more info.

    There are two versions of the old Boss DM-2, the later ones were basically the same as the DM-3 with the 3205 chip. These are serial #182000 and above. So many DM2 pedals will sound the same as a DM3. Get the older one with the 3005 chip if you want the best sound. The 2015 DM2W WAZA is also available starting about 2015.

    The AD9 and most Japanese analog delays are tuned for less noise, they chop off a lot of high end to reduce noise. So they are very warm and deep sounding but repeats of very high notes may be a little weak. The AD9 is similar to the old Boss DM-2 and even more similar to the DM-3 pedals. Our ARDX20 is similar but a little stronger and less dark. The EHX has more high end and a little more white noise. But they all have filters (like a noise gate) that stop the noise when you stop playing. The Boss DM-2W Waza has two settings, for low high (Custom) delay time. In normal mode, it sounds a lot like our ARDX20 in tone and noise, but delay time is short (300mS). In Custom (long delay) mode, it goes up to over 800mS and has a very clear sound, not as dark, but has quite a lot more noise, about like an EHX DMM.

    The EHX DMM has a slightly longer delay time, about 400mS-450mS instead of the 300mS that the other small delays have. That's about 2 to 3 repeats per second. For some reason the delay time is not usually 500mS, as it should be. We can tweak the DMM for a little more delay time before it starts getting noisy, we can get over 500mS with our delay time "slight tweak". The Deluxe Memory Man can get 100% wet (all delay) while the other Analog Delays will not, you always hear the dry signal. If you listened to the 100% wet sound you would hear how dull most of the Japanese pedals' delays are. The DMM also has a modulation knob, a little of that blended in makes it sound very cool and natural. The Chorus setting is a slow modulation, vibrato is a faster modulation. Only the speed is changed between Chorus and Vibrato swttings on the DMM. What modulation is, is slowing down and speeding up the delay time slightly. You can imitate that on any delay by gently turning the delay time knob up and down a bit. The EHX also has an input level control and an indicator LED to show if you are overloading it. So it will work with a pretty wide range of input levels. But the DMM overloads pretty easily, one of our Tweaks addresses that.

    The Carbon Copy, AD9 and ARDX20 can run off batteries or a standard Boss type 9V adaptor. The EHX is larger and uses a special 24V adaptor. The newer EHX pedals also use 9V and ramp up the voltage internally.

    Deluxe Memory Man info

    The Japanese Panasonic MN30XX chips are the best ever made, a little better than the more recent (but also discontinued) Japanese MN32XX chips in the DM3, AD9 etc. and better than the BL32XX Chinese chips. These MN chips are all discontinued, only the Chinese chips are still made. Don't know how much longer EH will be able to make the memory man with the good old Japanese chips but they were using them in the XO series small die-cast Deluxe Memory man and they were used in all the classic large box DMM pedals and the 550TT.

    3X05 = about 4000 delay stages, 3X08 = 2000 stages, 3X07 = 1000 stages.

    In about early 2006 the DMM changed to relay true bypass switching, and four MN3008 chips instead of two MN3005 chips. HOWEVER... this new board has jumpers on it so you can run it on two chips OR four chips. I have seen quite a few of these in 2008 that came with the new (relay) board, but with two MN3005 chips. Very nice as these can have two more chips added for double delay time.

    The DMM has either MN3008 chips (4 * 2000 = 8000 stages), or MN3005 (2 * 4000 = same 8000 stages) for the same delay time.

    4000 stages is good for about 300mS at reasonable quality (AD9, AR20DL, etc) or 200mS at high quality (DMM).

    1000 stages is more than enough for a chorus (we use new old stock MN3007 chips in our chorus). There were also 512 stage chips used fo chorus and flangers (best for a flanger).

    Theoretically, the less delay chips you have, each with higher number of memory positions to add up to the same amount of memory, the better the sound. But in reality there is little sound difference between two 3005 chips and four 3008 chips. But there are twice as many calibration points to dial in if you have 4 chips. Some delays have EIGHT CHIPS (ad999?)- that must be a nightmare to calibrate... I don't like the AD999 as much as the Ad900, as it has enclosed pots that can't be cleaned or replaced, and a very weird circuit- it sounds almost digital at low delay times. The Maxon AD900 was great, a normal analog delay circuit and we can mod those for true bypass and expression pedal control jacks.

    late 2008 discovery

    These DMM pedals had been using two MN3005 chips again instead of the four MN3008. Maybe they were using any chips they still had left. This relay switching board is set up so you can run 2 or 4 delay chips. These pedals would be cheaper to double the delay time on, as you just need to change the trace cuts and jumpers, add 2 chips, and calibrate. You can tell which one you have by putting your fingers under the board near the switch and feel if there is a chip in the socket labelled U4 and U5. If a socket is empty, you have the two delay chip version. These MAY sound a little better. They are also easier to calibrate (2 less chips to calibrate) and that may lead to them sounding better as there are less places to mess up calibration. We are offering the double delay time mod on these with either Japanese or XVIVE chips. Email for more info or google for our deluxe memory man mod form.

    Another way to check if you have the last DMM version with the relay, turn it on and play, so you are hearing the delays (effect on). Then unplug the power from the back of the DMM. If it turns off and you hear your normal guitar sound, then it has a relay. If you hear nothing, then you don't have the relay. You can also tell as the stomp switch only has two wires on it if you have the relay.

    XO Deluxe Memory Man

    In May of 2009, the XO dmm was released and the classic model was gone. These had four NOS Japanese MN3008 chips in them until 2019 when they went to the Chinese chips. This is in a smaller die-cast box instead of the classic large bent sheet metal box. It's about the same circuit and sound as the previous DMM, true bypass, uses the same 24V power supply. It has the same issues as below so our Tweaks will improve it. We can do the same three tweaks to the XO DMM.

    Tap Tempo Deluxe Memory Man

    In 2011, the "Tap Tempo DMM" was released. They had four NOS MN3005 chips in them for about 1100mS of delay time. It also added an expression control jack and an effects loop, and fully adjustable control over Rate and Depth of the modulation. It used a normal 9V power supply for ease of use. EHX thought they could make a bunch, but most of the MN3005 chips they bought turned out to be fakes- relabeled MN3008 chips, with half the delay time. So they came out with the 550-TT model in 2012, using four MN3008 chips for 550mS of delay time. The circuit seems to be about the same as the normal DMM with the addition of digital circuitry to control the pedal. So they sound about the same as any other DMM, with differences mostly due to calibration or tolerances. Some 550-TT pedals may appear to have MN3005 chips, but those are usually the relabeled MN3008.

    New Chinese 3005 chips

    In late 2015, the Deluxe Memory Man 1100-TT was released with new Chinese 3005 chips, at a lower price. We got some of these chips in, and put them in a 550-TT to test them, and they sounded fine and doubled the delay time. But the chips we got may have been very good ones, as they were sent as a sample to sell us more chips... Anyway the modified 550-TT sounded better at half delay time of about a half-second (12:00 on delay knob) than the stock 550-TT at the same delay time, as the chips sound better when not at their max delay time. We should be able to modify any 550-TT or DMMXO or late DMM big box with these chips to double the delay time, can also use NOS MN3005 chips if we have any available.

    Delay time slight tweak

    The DMM does not usually come with the delay time as long as it should be. We can tweak the deluxe memory man to about 500mS or so if you need just a bit more than the stock one has (our delay time slight tweak). But the higher delay times (over 400mS or so) may have a slightly metallic, ring modulated sound and might sound funny if you play clean. Just turn the delay time down a little if it starts getting too weird, it will still sound the same at the stock delay time as before (you don't lose anything with the extra time).

    Input Impedance increase tweak

    The DMM, when on, has a slightly dull tone on the dry sound due to a low input impedance. That is like putting a volume pot on your guitar that is too low of a value. We can tweak the input impedance for a clearer tone. This mod helps both the WET and DRY tone when the pedal is ON. Makes no difference when off (true bypass). It is a trimpot so you can adjust it if needed. If you run your guitar directly into the DMM you can really hear the dullness, set the mix knob to full dry (no delay) and turn the pedal on and off to hear the change in dry tone. If you have buffers or other pedals turned on before the DMM, the low impedance of the DMM may not be hurting your tone much.

    Gain reduction tweak

    We can reduce the gain for less distortion on the DMM if you are having overloading problems due to hitting it with a hot signal. The level knob on the DMM can set the volume so the normal sound is the same with the pedal ON and OFF. But on the stock pedal, setting it like that often causes distortion. After our gain tweak, you won't have the distortion at the unity gain setting. There is a GAIN trimpot on this tweak, if you turn it down too much you may lose the ability to self-oscillate. But at our marked setting the gain is reduced enough to sound good and still allows self-oscillating repeats. You can turn it all the way up to get back to the stock gain. The new XVIVE 3005 chips don't seem to distort as much at higher gains, so this tweak is not really needed on pedals that use this chip (TT1100).

    It is $40 for any combination of these three tweaks on a new or used reissue DMM. The older reissue classic DMM pedals had a power cord attached, we can mod those too. They usually say PICO on the circuit boards, to distinguish them from original DMM pedals. Here is a review of the tweaks on . On the TT models, the tweaks are $50 as the pedal is harder to work on. There is no need for the extra delay time tweak on the TT models (and it would throw off the tap-tempo).

    Expression pedal jack mods

    Another mod we can do is add an expression pedal jack for FEEDBACK on the left side. This takes over the FEEDBACK KNOB control if you plug an expression pedal like a Boss EV5 into the jack. We can also do the expression jack mod for the BLEND control, or both of those. We can't do delay time as the cable to the EXP pedal will not work on that part of the circuit. The EXP jacks are $50 each. If you don't need the DRY OUTPUT on the classic DMM, we can put one of the expression jacks in that position. We should be able to do the BLEND and FEEDBACK EXP mods on the XO version too.

    Effects loop jack mods

    We can also add an EFFECTS LOOP jack, as on our ARDX20, on the classic or XO version of the DMM. It's a $50 option. On the XO, it can be done along with the tweaks.

    Double delay time mods

    We can also install four MN3005 chips on the Deluxe Memory Man to double the delay time to about 800-900mS. But that is a VERY expensive mod using the Japanese chips (sometimes available), cheaper with the Chinese XVIVE chips, we also have a labor charge to calibrate the chips. If you have the two 3005 chip model with 2 empty sockets then it's cheaper as we only need to add two chips.

    Modulation speed control

    We can also add a DMM SPEED control for the modulation. This allows a very slow modulation speed like the CHORUS mode, and you can set the speed manually up to a VERY fast speed. This is a $50 mod. We are only offering the speed knob on the old sheet metal DMM, as it's too difficult to do it on the new XO version.

    Crunchy repetitive noise

    If your DMM has a slight crunchy white noise that cycles when you are not playing, and is not affected by the delay time or chorus/vibrato knob, you may have a flaky compader chip. Try a new NE570 compandor chip, you should be able to get one from Small Bear Electronics. Or we can replace it along with mods.

    Please fill out and send in our MOD FORM with your DMM pedal, it has the mods in the menu and options box.


    Memory Man op-amp IC chip upgrades

    There are a few web sites and posts about improving the sound of an EH deluxe memory man, by replacing the normal 4558 op amps with some high tech chips. The noise and tone in a memory man comes from the BBD chips, not the op amps. The BBD chips have about 10,000 times more noise, and very low fidelity. That is normal in an analog delay and nothing can be done about that, it's why people love their sounds. So replacing the op amps will have little benefit, or so I thought.

    After writing the above I got some new DMM pedals, they are now using ST electronics MC4558CN dual op amp chips. I replaced all five of these chips while I was in there (those knobs are a pain to remove) with new Texas Instruments TL072 chips.

    Dry sound when playing clean - it is improved. Put the mix to pure DRY (no echo) and the tone when playing clean is a little purer. I was surprised.

    ECHO SOUND: also clearer when you listen to 100% delayed sound, much clearer and closer to a digital delay sort of tone. Seems to be more difference at lower delay times.

    When I turn up the MIX for about 50% delay I tested for noise by playing a low string gently. The modified pedal is a bit noisier, may be a unit to unit discrepancy or could be the TL072 chips allow more high end through which contains the noise.

    OVERDRIVEN sound : running a good OD pedal into the DMMs, with the gain knob set for unity gain (LED just glowing) the sound of the stock one seems a little warmer to me, both dry and echo sounds. But the modified one is clearer again.

    DISTORTION : Running a good distortion pedal into the units, the modified one is clearer, the repeats are almost too clear. The stock one has repeats which are darker and more in the background. At this point in the test I brought out a '59 reissue Les Paul with burstbuckers 1 and 2 and played through the Maxon SD9/808/silver, into the DMM into a '66 blackface Deluxe Reverb plugged into a '73 Marshall 4x12 cabinet and just played for 45 minutes as it was a MAGIC combination! Gilmour, Hackett, Page sounds were flowing... best tones I ever got for leads.

    Anyway, the difference with changing the op amps is noticeable. But not sure whether I like it enough to go through the hassle of pulling the board out... depends on what you want, clarity or a warm background echo. Also the new 2006 classic style DMM pedals do not use sockets so the chips need to be desoldered, a lot more work. These are the EC2002_REV_E boards which can use four MN3008 chips or two MN3005 chips, and use a relay to switch the pedal on and off. The new XO memory man uses tiny surface mount op-amp chips, so they are VERY hard to replace.

    The Input Impedance and Gain Reduction mods I mentioned above make a lot more difference to the DMM than these op-amp chips.

    Fuzz Faces

    If you could explain the difference between the various Fuzz Faces I would greatly appreciate it.

    The first Fuzz Face was labeled "ARBITER" and used germanium transistors. This came out in the mid 60s (1966?). Most were grey. By '68 they were labeled "Dallas-Arbiter". They used NKT-275 transistors made by NewMarket electronics in England. These were germanium PNP transistors. They were smooth sounding and will clean up nicely when the volume on the guitar is turned down. This was the type of fuzzface used by Clapton in Cream and early Hendrix, also SRV up until he used the Diaz versions. All these were built in England with British parts. Date codes can be seem on the mini-pots above the lugs (i.e. 8 68 for August 1968).

    About '69 they started to use the "new" silicon NPN transistors, which are more stable at different temperatures. The germaniums change their sound when they get hot. The BC-183 was used on many of the early silicon 'faces. This silicon version is brighter and fuzzier, not quite as smooth. Hendrix probably used these in his later years. This version lasted until at least the mid-70s. The BC-108C is also a good sounding silicon transistor, used from the early 70s. The "C" is the HFE or gain rating, meaning a VERY high gain transistor.

    It seems the Fuzz Face was produced in the US in the mid-70s for a few years. Crest Audio in NJ made them for a while, and used the BC-109C silicon transistors normally. Some were labeled "Dallas-Music" instead of "Dallas-Arbiter". These had taller housings than the other fuzzfaces.

    Around 1990 or so Dave Fox from Crest Audio made some more Fuzz Faces with silicon BC-109C transistors which sound pretty good. They were mostly red. The "Dallas-Arbiter England" seen in the "smile" of the face was printed on a sticker rather than painted on the pedal.

    The Dunlop reissue Fuzz Face was started in 1993 with leftover parts possibly after suing the previous fuzz face maker over trade name use (seems it was more of an agreement than a suit, with Crest Audio granting Dunlop the rights). On these early reissues, Dunlop used germanium NKT-275 labeled transistors made in the USA that sound nothing like the original transistors, with low gain and lousy sound.

    Thanks to Terry Forth (laughing Sam)!!

    There is more fuzzface history from Dave Fox on my FUZZFACE page.

    I recieved the modified reissue fuzz face yesterday but it doesn't seem to working properly. In the off mode I get the normal straight signal. In the on mode I get no signal at all (I put in a brand new battery). What should I do?

    Sometimes this happens after shipping, they used a bad grounding method. The input and output jacks are grounded by the physical connection to the metal case, but it's painted. So if you can, please attach a ground wire to the two ground (center) lugs on these jacks. That usually fixes it. I now add this wire to all the fuzzfaces that I modify, from the input jack ground lug to the circuit board extra ground hole. You may be able to get it working just by tightening the jacks with a socket wrench, but if you tighten it TOO much you could break the jack.

    BOSS Pedals

    What are the differences between the older Boss effects and the newer ones. The Slow Gear for example?

    The thumbscrew is metal on the oldest ones, from the late 1970s. Also, the LED does not stay on when the effect is on, it just blinks when you press the on/off switch. The knobs on the oldest Boss effects have a set screw. Some effects like the OD-1 have a completely different circuit, 1970s vs 1980s, some like the SG-1 only have the switch circuit modified.

    Newer Boss effects are made in Taiwan, and some are quite similar while others have pretty substantial changes in the circuits.

    Are Japanese Boss pedals better than Taiwanese Boss pedals?

    You will often hear that the new Boss pedals are exactly the same as the older Japanese versions.

    SOME Taiwan pedals are the same as SOME Japanese pedals.

    But it is obvious if you look at, for example an old 1979 Japanese DS-1, and a new one from Taiwan, the chips are totally different. They don't even have the same number of pins. So obviously they will sound different because they are different. But not all Boss effects are like that, people who say they are the same may have tested a later Japanese DS-1 that has the same circuit as the new Taiwan models.

    You can't even say that all Japanese boss pedals are the same, there are always running changes. For example, the DM-2 delay used two different types of BBD chips so two DM-2 pedals (all made in Japan) will sound different because they are different circuits.

    FOXX Pedals

    I am trying to decide if I want to buy a used Foxx fuzz/wha/volume pedal from a guy here in Hollywood but there seems to be a couple of problems with it. I've done repairs on other pedals before. The problem with this one is that there's no lables on what-so-ever!!!!! I can't figure out what any of these knobs are supposed to do!!! If it's not too much to ask (and assuming you know..) could you tell me what the knobs and switches on this beast are supposed to do...

    The stick-on plates which describe the functions are usually gone by now. here's what they should say.

    The toe has a 5 position knob. From full clockwise :

    Wa Brite, Mellow, Funky, Mellow plus
    (only 4 out of 5 have different sounds - 2 are the same)

    On the side from left to right :

    Fuzz Volume, Sustain (dist), Fuzz mellow/brite (tone), octive sustain (switch)

    Note the exelent speling!

    I think the stomp switch on the toe is dist on/off and the one under the wah shoud be wah/volume (or wah on/off as some versions did not have the volume feature). I don't like the volume feature, and have come up with the mod to disable it as the factory did on some of these pedals. Phil Caivano from Monster Magnet has a Foxx and bugged me for a while about disabling the volume feature. When I finally got one in without the volume feature he sent me his and I disabled it by copying the other pedal. Now he LOVES it!!! I also modified one of these pedals the same way for Beck in 2005. This is a $50 mod plus S & H on the original Foxx fuzz/wah/volume pedals.

    We may be able to defeat the VOLUME feature on the reissue Foxx fuzz/wah/volume pedals, which also makes them true bypass. THis also makes them more reliable as the wah switch is a very fragile 4pdt switch like the one we used to use on our stereo chorus pedals. We can also optionally add a WAH LED when we do this mod. This mod is pretty complicated so not sure we can do them right now, ask if interested.

    Boss Tone Pedals

    Just out of curiousity, I noticed you have a Jordan Boss Tone and another by Sho Sound and I would like to know the difference. I have an old one that doesn't have a Jordan logo anywhere and would like to know what type it could be. What is Sho Sound anyway? Great sounding pedal

    SHO-SOUND was (is?) sho-bud, the pedal steel maker in Nashville. The two pedals are exactly the same, the JORDAN or SHO-SOUND names are on stickers on the metal part. Maybe yours was pulled off. They are popular with steel guitar players.

    Jimi's Pedals

    What order did Jimi Hendrix run his pedals?

    As seen in the picture in the Stompbox book, he ran his strat into a Vox wah wah (Clyde McCoy or V-846 depending on the year), then into his custom-made Roger Mayer Octavia, Then his Fuzz Face, then the Uni-Vibe, and lastly into his Marshall Amps. At least he did this on the day the picture was taken!

    Old MXR Pedals

    What does it mean on the MXR pedals when you say BUD box?

    The very early MXR effects (Dist+, P-90, Blue Box) came in a light aluminum box made by the BUD company. It says BUD on the inside of the box, not MXR. These were mostly in 1974. These are the most collectable and often best sounding MXR effects. They often used the cool looking silk screened circuit boards and carbon comp resistors too.

    MXR Reissue Pedals

    What is the difference between a reissue and original MXR?

    The MXR company went out of business in the early to mid 1980s due to competition from Japan (Boss) and products that were getting worse and worse (black plastic series of MXR pedals). In the 90s Dunlop bought the rights to the MXR name and started making some again, the Distortion+, Phase-90, Dynacomp, etc.

    The biggest difference between the original and reissue is in the CONSTRUCTION of the reissue - it is made to be built cheaply. This is done by attaching the jacks to the circuit board, also the switch, pots, power jack and LED are attached to the board. Basically everything you need is on the circuit board and it can be pulled from the shell and used bare.

    The problem is that the jacks used do not have good action or contact, they often jam. And the nuts can strip and get misaligned which makes it even worse. Since the switch is hard soldered to the circuit board it is VERY difficult to do a true bypass mod, there is not really enough room to use a different switch. These are also hard to repair.

    The components used on the reissues are OK but some may have been chosen by size rather than tone so the circuits may not sound as good as a vintage MXR. But the main difference is in construction- repairs and modifications are tough. So I recommend getting original MXR pedals for easier maintenance and future value. The new Custom Shop MXR pedals are made just like the old ones, all hand-wired so anybody can repair them with normal parts (pots, jacks, switch) or modify them (true bypass, LED, power jack, etc).

    Volume Loss with pedals

    My volume is cut when I turn on my Tube screamer/Boss DS-1/etc. What's wrong with this pedal???

    I hear about these problems all the time, but when I get the pedals here to fix there is no problem 90% of the time.

    An SD-1 or TS9 etc with all 3 knobs at 12:00 should be louder when ON than when OFF. If not, the problem is usually with your other equipment, this info can help:

    1. Test it with just the guitar -> pedal -> amp.
      Other effects before or after the overdrive can change things.
    2. Use a normal clean amp for testing, not one with weird built-in compression or distortion or one cranked up loud.
    3. Test it with a normal guitar like a strat, something with crazy high output pickups may be so loud that the pedal can't match the straight output of the pickups.

    An amp that is cranked up to it's max volume will not be able to get any louder when you put a pedal in front of it. For example, on a small old Fender Tweed amp, higher than 5 or so on it's volume knob does not add volume, only distortion. That is because the amp is out of HEADROOM. An amp can only put so much voltage out of it's output transformer and make the speaker go back and forth so much. Limits are power transformer, tubes, and output transformer. If your amp is already at it's limit of headroom, a pedal cannot make it get any louder, just more didtorted. That's why a clean boost like the Bad Bob is cool for adding distortion to an amp that's already cranked up.

    My phaser/chorus/etc pedal loses volume when turned ON

    Some pedals actually do boost or reduce your volume on vs off, depending on your rig and other pedals that are used. With hot pickups, many pedals don't have enough headroom to process your signal and put it back out with the same signal strength. Sometimes using a higher voltage adaptor will help, like the 12V DC adaptor we sell along with our Chorus and Silver mod pedals optionally. But many pedals are not safe to run on more than 9V so make sure the capacitors are rated higher than the voltage you use before trying this.

    It also makes a difference whether you have buffered pedals before the problem pedal, sometimes that will help or hurt the volume matching. Try sticking a Boss or Ibanez type pedal in front and see if the buffer helps.

    If your pedal has a stomp switch and boosts your volume when on, we can do a true bypass mod (if needed) and mount a volume trim pot on the switch inside the pedal. It will allow setting the ON volume (off will be bypassed so no signal loss when OFF).

    If your pedal has a volume drop when on, like the EH small stone, Bad Stone, etc, we may be able to mod it. We have mods for those EH pedals, see my EH page for more info. But we would need the schematic to mod a new pedal efficiently.

    Other related FAQs

    Here are some related WWW links you may want to try :

    R.G. Keen's Guitar Effects F.A.Q. for lots of information about different type of effects, some history (by aNaLoG.MaN), and tons of information on building your own effects!

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