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Topics - gordo

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16
Open Discussion / Jeff Beck has died
« on: January 11, 2023, 04:50:00 PM »
VERY very sad news.  Jeff Beck has died of bacterial meningitis.

17
Open Discussion / NGD - Yamaha Ty Tabor
« on: December 22, 2022, 08:31:14 PM »
Pretty rare for me to do a NGD because I'm supposed to be downsizing.  Every now and then a situation presents itself and in my case I've always had a Yamaha RGX-TT on my bucket list and a local guy was selling one at a really decent price and was willing to waive shipping costs if I met him locally.  I'm not usually a fan of "signature" guitars but this one checked a bunch of boxes and Tabor (Kings X) is one of my guitar heroes.  It's a quirky guitar at best and although I'd never played one I knew what to expect.  Made in 1999 (the production run was 2000 to 2003 so it's either an early run or proto).



It has a straight string path.  Nuff said.  Forgive the dust in the photos, it picked it up way more than it should have, this beast is clean.




It has this weird Firebird meets Ibanez meets Strat thing going on.  The core is maple with basswood as the main chunk.  It is carved to fall away from the center block.  The net effect is that it feels tiny and weighs next to nothing.  The pickups are a SD JB on bridge with a coil tap/high cut switch.  The single coils are Duncan SVR-1's.  Technically they are dual coil/split pole weirdos that are voiced to be vintage strats but are much brighter than even stock strats and still humbucking through some sort of magic.




The output jack is carved into the back pointing up, so as you look at it on the strap it's looking right at you.  Far too convenient.




Because it's carved to be thin at the edges and the multiple pole switch is so big they had to put a bubble on the control cavity. The trem is blocked at the factory and I'll get used to the guitar before I remove it.  I don't think Tabor unblocked it because he used so much bridge muting.  Don't know, don't care.  I don't subscribe to leaving the spring cover off because it sounds better.  Just needed it off to set this beast up.




The knobs are very weird.  The intent was to make the volume knob pinky friendly from playing position and the rubber rings make it easy to grip.  Trouble is, that as the body falls away and the knob is so recessed it's less than intuitive.  That and the fact that 23 years later the rubber has devolved to dried out gaskets.  I love this guitar and will get used to this quirk.  Might hit up Yamaha for replacements if they exist.  Another strange quirk is that the pots are tiny little 16mm's.  Very strange choice for a guitar of this level but it works very well so I'm not about to change them out.




Fretwork with a minimal polishing on a 23 year old guitar.  Not too shabby on Yamaha's part.  The only inlay on the fretboard is the TT logo.  I don't recall seeing this on any of Tabor's other guitars or albums so this was likely a one-off on Yamaha's part.  Instead of fingerboard inlays the fret markers are all inlaid on the side of the neck.  Again, strange, but easy to get the hang of, especially on a dark stage.



18
Open Discussion / No really, I'm not building any more overdrives
« on: December 06, 2022, 08:26:38 PM »
Dammit, too hard to resist the new MB Fulltone projects.  Looking forward to these (I'm such a pushover).  I can honestly say I've never had either pedal and given their iconic status I think I really should. 

Also I didn't see any fanfare from the Aion camp but Kevin has new versions of the venerable L5 preamp project broken into a separate build for each channel.  I've built the Clean version so far and can attest that while you aren't gaining anything from the original from a tone perspective (and this may be arguable) it's a smaller/simpler build that uses the 13700 for compression. 

My take is that with Kevin's current direction using DC buck converters for power the build is way more pedal board friendly and the calibration procedure is dead simple if you have a decent meter and a tone source.  To my ears the compressor sounds closer to my real L5 but again, maybe it's more of the calibration than the guts.  Next up is the drive channel.  I'd have a tough time not recommending either format, but if you go for the separate channels there's enough sonic difference that both should be in your cart.  Just sayin.

19
Build Reports / Rockman Dist/Edge in a pedal format
« on: September 28, 2022, 06:33:08 PM »
This is a combo of pedals.  Part of the tricky part of getting a Rockman out in a live situation was that they were noisy as f**k.  There's been a renewed interest in that sound (likely due to the Def Leppard and Top Gun activity).  You could get this gear for pennies on the dollar around 2000 onward but by about 2010 the prices started to climb and entire business' were built on refurbing old gear.  PedalPCB put out their clone of the Rockman Ultimatum, which is the pedal format of the Dist thru Edge setting with variable Gain and Treble/Bass controls.  I'd been bugging Robert to do this for ages but I'd been focusing on the Rockman itself.  This pedal makes much more sense.

The graphics are definitely low hanging fruit since the essential Boston sound on the first two albums was serial Marshalls.  So sue me.

The Degenerator project is a great variation on what Scholz Research and Development (SRD) called "Echo" because you can get the tight reverby delays and roll the top end off to duplicate it.  Bonus is that this is a terrific delay that can have long bright repeats as well.

You could use pretty much any chorus between the two to duplicate the "doubling" sound but I really like Bio77's take on the Ibanez chorus because it's capable of so many different voices.  With two LFO's you can get thick as a brick but being able to set the depth on both can go REALLY subtle as well.



Gutshots available upon request but I think we know what's involved here...

20
Build Reports / Harbinger 1.5
« on: August 05, 2022, 04:04:58 PM »
You know I don't recall if I ever did a build report on this and if so I haven't found it on a search.  I built this about the time it came out and was quite happy with it but having had an original Vibe with the control pedal and even the box, and having it stolen, I've been on the search for a replacement ever since. To be honest, much like the CE-1, I really have a hard time making the judgement as to whether or not it matches the original.  Maybe if it makes me nuts like the first time I played one is a bench mark but it's been 40 some years and my ears and my gear taste has evolved since then.  Still, those sounds never leave your psyche and I'd like to think I can be fairly objective.

This original build sounded quite nice but wasn't really a deal breaker.  By comparison the Voodoo Labs vibe was a decent reference point but it didn't nail it either.  But both got me in the ball park.  And to be honest, by the time it gets out to the audience (or congregation in my case) it was likely a non issue.

Jimi, I'm getting to the point, really.

I replaced the optics with the enclosed Small Bear sensors.  I didn't realize I'd stashed 4 of these and thought it was worth a try.  I also had read that instead of matching them it was easier to get ambient reflections by way of either the enclosure (hard to calibrate) or containment (not a standard part).  By 3d printing an enclosure and then sanding it to shape (I should be good enough to reduce the height but am not yet) and lining it with copper foil I was able to eliminate most of the variables.

Good as the original?  Fucked if I know, but I think this is the closest I've come.  After all the tweaking lessons I've learned from the Collosolus 2022 I think that the devil is in the details.  I don't even know if audio examples would do this justice (although I may do that) because it's user perception.  Still this is pretty thrilling to get to this point.  This pedal kills. 








21
Build Reports / Windbag build
« on: August 04, 2022, 08:48:30 PM »
I jumped all over Lawrence's LMS latest powdercoat color.  It's hard to get a realistic photo but it's a gold sparkle thru orange sparkle depending on where the light is.  I wondered how I'd approach it, either decal or laser, and the decal showed up very nicely

This is the VFE Yodeler/MB Windbag and I really like this pedal.  I build everything VFE since I'm both fascinated with the VFE stuff and addicted to building in general.  I'd have to say that this is in my top 5 of the VFE's.  Super cool for volume swells and ambiant/pad stuff.  A relaxing build, contrary to most VFE's, so kudos to MB.  I thought about torching a box cap just for old time sake but didn't.  If you've built any of the VFE series you'll understand.

Bone stock and added the mod switch although I may screw around with the sensitivity on this one since I see it being used mostly for swell type stuff. Got carried away with modular connections figuring it would be handy for troubleshooting but non involved.  Looks cool though.




22
Build Reports / Collosalus 2022 build
« on: July 26, 2022, 07:36:47 PM »
This will require a full write up but just a note to say how impressive this beast is.  I let my 2015 go about a year after I built it, even though I've always liked MXRs.  This time around I spent ages fiddling with the clock and it makes all the difference in the world.  I'll note the cap value I used when I post a proper report but I believe it was in the 39pF range which gave me an ideal 40Hz to 1MHz sweep.  It's way closer to the original and although it has the gggggkkkkk at the bottom of the sweep (which some folks hate) so did the original and is really only at heavy regen levels.  Between this and the Tourbus I seem to be on a bit of an analog renaissance.

23
Build Reports / Sushi Box Black Eye
« on: July 09, 2022, 07:18:28 PM »
This is a cool one.  Nathan over at Sushi Box FX put out a pair of boards for a Soldano GTO type circuit and I'm pretty blown away by it.  He calls it the Black Eye.  I used shielded cable but I don't think it's really necessary.  It's 9v (and about 450mA) in and using electronic voodoo gets tweaked to 235-240v internally.  Similar concept to the old Grind Custom FX STM800.  This works exceptionally well and even with two tubes at high gains and volume this little beast is very quiet.

It's the sound of a cranked SLO and is a bit of a one trick pony but damn what a trick.








24
Open Discussion / General State of the Hobby
« on: June 24, 2022, 04:06:11 PM »
During lockdown I binge built everything I could get my hands on, which meant everything I'd been "meaning" to build or something even close.  I got used to churning out orders for parts and boards and robotically kicked out finished boards in a paint by number fashion.  Was like an addiction.  It kept me sane and got me thru being isolated in my basement/office/workbench/proving ground/whipping post

Strangely enough out of that there's just a crazy rebirth of old projects that are just amazing these days:
-killer versions of Univibes in tiny enclosures
-killer versions of DMM's in tiny enclosures and the backlog of old EH products (including some insanely obscure products)
-old school sleepers like the MPF-1 and PS1-A and major players like the CE-1
-visions of sleeper amps like Norlin's Lab Series L5

And thru it all the major players: Bugg over at PedalPCB, Kevin at Aion, Brian here at MadBean, and Scruff and Keefe over at LectricFX, along with JMK and THcustom and a myriad of other players (AMZ, Castledine, Coda, Dead End, Delyk, ElectroSmash, GuitarPCB, Parasit, et all) have been plugging away at some seriously cool projects.  I'd submit that we're in somewhat of a golden age of DIY and given that even with the godfather of all vendors - Small Bear going under we still are building stuff at a level that rivals the major pedal companies.

Opinions?  Anyone I missed that needs a shoutout?  To be honest the key vendors that have made this niche industry really need to be recognized.  I think that Steve at SB is pretty much the godfather of this industry and I wish him well in his retirement, although I wouldn't be totally surprised to see him back in some form, if nothing else a tour guide to whats cool about retirement.  I totally applaud the small players like StompboxParts, Tayda (hardly small), LMS (nice transition thru a questionable name change and perhaps the best shipping times in the industry...thanks Lawrence), and the big guys like Mouser, DigiKey, and anyone I've forgotten.

Admittedly this is kind of like giving a shoutout to a crack dealer but I really want to stress how important this niche industry has been through a decidedly difficult time.

And I'll likely be having a yard sale.

Who am I kidding, I could never let these beauties go...

25
This is pretty cool by my standards, maybe it's been around for a while.  If you check out any of Kevin's new preamps he has a DC-DC converter module that is a solder-in block.  This is after the fact from his Lab Series preamp project but I've ordered a few spares just to monkey with retroing the power setup in the L5-pre so I can use it in a standard power supply setup.  The AC adapter was my biggest bugaboo with the board till I tried my Yamaha Stomp series power supply, and then the Voodoo Lab AC equivalent to sort out my problems.

If I'm successful I'll post a retrofit.  I think that was a major drawback to the L5 pre, although I believe it was a commercial success.  I've never used mine in a live setup just because the power is a pain in the ass.

26
Build Reports / PolyPhase with Thewintersoldier's Tayda UV print
« on: June 08, 2022, 05:10:40 PM »
I followed Thewintersoldier's Tayda UV print tutorial and it's highly recommended watching.  Especially Part 4 where you actually have to place the order.  Chris was kind enough to share the PDF and I pounced on it to give the service a try.

Color me very impressed.  It was printed the same as his: matte white enclosure and clear topcoat on the print.  The clear topcoat is only visible at an angle but all of the text and graphics take on a cool 3D look and it really makes the colors pop.



If you've seen Chris' build then this is nothing to write home about.  I tend to be a bit lazy about cleaning up any flux gunk, and it's most noticeable topside for pots and switches.  A fair bit of cram-age here but Madbean got it all in place nicely and this is the stock drill template.  I drilled it AFTER I got the enclosure cuz I was too damn cheap to get Tayda to do it.



Here's a good example of the clear when viewed off axis.  The photo really doesn't do the detail and colors any justice it's crazy good.



The font size is ridiculously small and anywhere that it looks like the font is chunky is just the reflection from the raised portion.


27
Build Reports / Splunker build
« on: May 06, 2022, 07:50:04 PM »
I'll probably upload a few shots of this thing but it's pretty much my usual.  Which is why I'm posting about it.  I built the original and at the time had a bit of an attitude about PT delays and all the Timmy variants and while I liked it, it didn't really light the fire.

I feel a tremendous loyalty to Brian and I tend to buy boards even if I'm on the fence and this was one of those "well I'm ordering some other stuff...lets try this one".  This strategy paid off big time.  I haven't had this much fun on the bench in years with this build.  I used some pretty generic trans (I'll post them with photos) but stuck to the gain ranges that were recommended.  Like to within a decimal point.  The video that he posted is pretty much dead on to my build but now that I know what I'm listening to it sounds far more interesting.  Brian, if I have a complaint, it's that there was too much stuff going on to single out an effect.  Never mind, this is a cool build.

Replace the output gain resistor.  Just do it, you'll thank me later.  You don't need to darken this thing so don't worry about the optional cap.  Play with the transistors but the gain ranges as doc'd sound really nice and I totally dig the "roaring" bottom end like a good FF should have.

Needless to say I will NOT be showing this to the usual crowd...

28
Except I guess I do.  I've dealt with this noisy janky audio probe for ages now and I keep meaning to come up with something a little less dumb.  I did.  I got the sProbe.  If you have one you're happy with you're using then you don't need this.  Everyone else, please put in an order.

29
Build Reports / Polytrog prebuild
« on: March 24, 2022, 06:48:27 PM »
Dang this thing is cool.  Especially for a non phaser guy that has WAY too many phasers.  I don't really have the envelope stuff suss'd out yet but set a 6.3v is pretty slick.

If memory serves (and that's questionable these days) the Poly was put out right about the time that phasers went out of favor and never really got the major kudos it deserved.  I could see using this thing in envelope mode as I have it set up just for the cool swishes it imparts on strong pick attacks.  Very slick.  This one went together pretty painlessly and although it was out in limbo in MB development for ages it's well worth the wait.  Build notes:  it was weird relying on CabinTech for vactrols in the wake of SB going down but totally painless and really nice folks to deal with.  A few tented/paralleled resistor values but nothing extreme.  I panicked when it didn't fire up right away due to the fact that it isn't true bypass.  If everything is wired up as posted or you get creative with a couple of testing jumpers you're gold.

30
General Questions / Anyone built the Maglev? Can't get it to modulate.
« on: March 15, 2022, 01:59:33 PM »
I can't get no...modulation...

This thing sounds really nice except no mod.  I've royally buggered up the rate pot pads in all my troubleshooting but to no avail.  Part values are good and swapping out the chip hasn't helped.  Any ideas?  The mod section looks really straight forward too.

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