Jan 19, 2014

Works in Progress

          I am in the middle of quite a few different projects right now and I would like to let you all know about some of the projects I am currently working on.  These include a completely passive pedal, an amp made of vintage speakers, adding phase switching and clipping to my Strat, and an all new amp design, pictured above.

          First up is a simple passive tone control with volume control and clipping.  Right now all it needs is a 1/4" jack (removed one for another project) and some Schottky low voltage diodes and it'll be good to go.

          From left to right, top to bottom - Input jack, output jack, Big Muff Pi tone control, volume control, bypass switch, and clipping switch.

          The circuit worked perfectly, the exception being the Schottkys not present.  The downsides?  Well the tone control loses a fair amount of signal and clipping will only take more, so high output pickups are practically a necessity.  This is the price for simplicity.

          Next is my project to restore a pair of 80's? Zenith speakers I found.  At just $10 for both it was a bargain for some experimenting around with cabinets and amps.  I have already wired it as a cabinet and have moved the circuit from my experimental amp (simplified) into it as well.  All it is lacking is a 9v jack, though I have already tested it with a 9v battery.  Initial thoughts:  Such loud, very bass, wow.

          I decided to modify my Squier Strat as it wasn't seeing much use and it makes for a great first modded guitar. (not much to lose)  I am planning on changing one tone knob to clipping diodes since the tone knobs are next to useless, removing the other tone knob for space, and adding a phase selection switch, and a series/parallel switch.  Hopefully it goes well.

The speaker side

          The final and most exciting of these projects is to build a new amp circuit loosely based on both the Tufnel Distortion and Noisy Cricket into a steel military ammo box.  I decided to name the circuit "The Trooper" because of both the enclosure's military nature and because Iron Maiden is awesome ;)

          Aside from the fact that the enclosure is perfect, it should be really neat because it consists of two LM386s in series - the output of one runs into the next, which should generate both a lot of sound and a lot of distortion.  The controls will consist of:


  • A power switch that toggles between battery or wall adapter
  • A switch that toggles between the built-in speaker and an external cab
  • A grit switch a la Noisy Cricket
  • A tone (bass/treble) switch
  • Two gain pots (drive and distortion)
  • A Big Muff Pi tone knob
  • A volume control

Controls are labeled on the bottom of the schematic.

The orange is fabric for insulation / reverb dampening

          I already started the enclosure by insulating it and installing the speaker (same one from the experimental amp).  I drilled holes for the sound and bolted the speaker onto the side.

          If you're familiar with circuits I'd really appreciate for you to take a look over the schematic and let me know what you think about it - opinions, predictions, flaws, etc.  Please let me know if anything looks like it will be a problem in the design, especially part values.  Much appreciated, check back soon for updates on how these projects go!

Update:  Here's a newer version of the schematic for the Trooper.  Changes in part values, for the most part.

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