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Messages - bcalla

Open Discussion / Re: 2021-2022
June 02, 2022, 01:10:06 PM
Mike -
First things first: Congrats on your twins!!  Obviously it was a rough road, but it's great that they are home and healthy!

In February of 2021 a tree fell on my house in the middle of an ice storm (there's a long story around this that can keep for another time...).  At the recommendation of one of the tree companies I spoke with, I hired a public insurance adjuster.  Best move ever.  Even after paying his cut, I came out whole.  He made sure that every little thing was included in their settlement - I'm sure I would have left a lot on the table.  BTW, he's in Saugus - message or call me if you want his info.

The worst part of the process was getting the construction done.  It seems that every contractor is booked out for the next year or two.  I got a local contractor who had done work for me before to squeeze me in, a day here and a day there.  It was about 6 months before the last of the work was done.

Ping me if there's anything I can help with.

Open Discussion / Re: Bass Wiring Confusion
April 19, 2022, 02:43:20 AM
Quote from: mauman on April 18, 2022, 05:13:39 PM
Quote from: bcalla on April 18, 2022, 01:11:52 PM
I do wonder if there is any advantage to the existing wiring scheme, though.
Topologically, they're identical if you omit the treble bleed and swap out your 500k pots for 250k.  Your current Alien wiring gives you a 3dB bump around 3k-4k Hz when the Treble pot is full up, due to the two 500k pots.  With 250k pots, that bump disappears and both wiring schemes have identical response curves (assuming the same pickups, cable and amp.)  First plot is your current Hondo without the treble bleed, second plot is the stock Fender P-bass.  The diverging lines are different settings of the Tone pots (flattest = highest Tone pot setting.)

Thanks for this, very helpful!!
Open Discussion / Re: Bass Wiring Confusion
April 18, 2022, 01:11:52 PM
Quote from: mauman on April 18, 2022, 03:24:31 AM
This is an unconventional wiring scheme, although it clearly works.  I'd recommend using the standard P-bass wiring diagram, it's simpler and will make maintenance easier in the future.  You can keep your coil split switch with it too.  The extra 2 nF cap is one version of a treble bleed circuit (other versions have a resistor paralleled or in series with the cap) used on guitars to retain the highs when you turn down the volume pot.  You probably want to omit that if this bass it already too trebly for your taste.

Thanks.  I am leaning that way.  I'll definitely leave out the treble bleed cap.  I do wonder if there is any advantage to the existing wiring scheme, though.
Open Discussion / Bass Wiring Confusion
April 17, 2022, 11:17:12 PM
I have built a few dozen pedals, but I have never done any mods or upgrades to any of my guitars or basses.  I have a Hondo Alien bass (see this thread) that I picked up a couple years ago.  It has a single humbucker with a coil tap.  It fits my needs quite well, but has a couple shortcomings.

First, it's a bit trebly.  I think the low mass, aluminum neck & short scale contribute to the thinner tone.  Fortunately I have been able to find settings on my pre-amp & amp that allow me to manage this problem.

Second, all the volume gain occurs in the first 10% - 20% of rotation.  I figured it had a linear volume pot & I would swap it out.  Turns out that it has a 500k linear pot for volume & 500k audio pot for tone.  There is evidence that one of them was changed, but I can't tell which one.  I understand that many / most basses use 250k pots because 500k pots are brighter.  The 250k pot might even help with my first problem.  I ordered a P-Bass wiring kit and plan to install it next weekend.  This is where I need help.

I sketched the current wiring diagram and it doesn't match others that I have found online - there are several differences.

1.  The hot lead from the pickup is attached to lug 2 of the volume pot, and the output jack is connected to lug 3.  This is the reverse of other diagrams I found.

2.  The 47nF cap connects lug 2 of the volume pot to lug 2 of the tone pot.  Every other diagram I found has a wire connecting lug 3 of the volume pot to lug 1 of the tone pot.  And the cap runs from lug 2 of the tone pot to ground.

3.  There is a 2nF cap connecting lugs 2 & 3 of the volume pot.  No idea what this does.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to install the wiring kit.  One option is to follow the P-Bass wiring diagram (obviously I will keep the coil tap & work around that).  The other is to just pop in the new pots & cap and follow the existing wiring scheme.  I'm concerned that this might not work because of changing to an audio volume pot.

I'd love to hear suggestions from this community.  I know many of you have knowledge and experience with this stuff.
Quote from: madbean on March 12, 2022, 09:26:46 PM
syhthcube is moving I guess, so maybe that's to a larger spot to house smallbear inventory?

Until I saw this thread back in January, I didn't know SynthCube was located in Massachusetts.  I live about 10 miles from their Lexington, MA location, so I went over to check them out.

They have a lot of cool products, but their building was not a great space for retail sales (2nd floor over a gas station and a Dunkin' Donuts, with limited parking).  WAZE had a hard time directing me to their shop - I had to call them to guide me in after driving past it a couple times.  They seemed pretty enthusiastic to be taking on Small Bear's business.  The person I spoke to told me they were moving to Waltham, MA, but didn't know exactly when that would happen.

I'm excited that there will be a pedal components retailer in my back yard!
Until I read this post, I had no idea that Synth Cube was in Massachusetts.  I live about 15 miles from there.  I'll have to check out their shop.
Build Reports / Re: Dead End FX - TerraHawk
September 18, 2021, 08:00:05 PM
That's a beautiful build (and a great story)!  Now I want to build one!

Looking into buying components for this I see that Mouser no longer has the 27mH inductor.  I can't find it anywhere else either.  The build doc says that suitable replacements are available, but I know zero about inductors.  What other characteristics are important when determining a proper replacement?

For example, the datasheet for the Bourns RLB0812-273KL lists the following:

Inductance: 27 mH
Tolerance: ±10%
Current Rating (Amps): 22 mA
DC Resistance (DCR): 102 Ohm Max
Q @ Freq: 60 @ 79.6kHz
Frequency - Self Resonant: 200kHz
Inductance Frequency - Test: 79.6 kHz

Do I need to pay attention to any of these values?

Better yet, does anyone actually know a specific available inductor that can be used for this pedal?
Build Reports / Re: Vibe Station
April 14, 2021, 05:15:12 PM
Quote from: Martan on April 12, 2021, 06:27:20 PM
Very cool! Is the voicing board worth it? I've got one of the main boards in the pile...
The voicing mod changes the sound quite noticeably.  I will say that the higher the Intensity is set, the less obvious the voicing change.  But when Intensity is moderate to low, the voicing differences can be pretty dramatic.
Build Reports / Re: Vibe Station
April 12, 2021, 04:32:40 AM
Thanks to all.  It really does sound great, and has a great range of sounds.

Quote from: diablochris6 on April 12, 2021, 04:18:10 AM
The more knobs, the better, I always say. Are those knobs plastic or metal? I like the simple cylindrical shape of them.

Knobs & LEDs are why I build in the first place. :)

The knobs are metal.  I filled the pointers with white nail polish.  They came as just a notch in the top & side - black-on-black.  I couldn't tell where they were set from more than a few inches away. 
Build Reports / Vibe Station
April 11, 2021, 03:32:31 PM
This is Brejna's Pangea.  I started it last spring & just finished it.  It lived on my "needs troubleshooting" shelf for many months.  I originally etched the board for the Voicing mod, but I couldn't get it to work.  Then I built the mod on a piece of prototyping board and it still didn't work.  So I shelved it for a while.  When I pulled it off the shelf and spent some time studying it, I realized that I wired the mod wrong.  That was probably the problem with my etched board, too.

And your eyes ARE NOT playing tricks on you - the decal is a bit distorted.  I decided to use up some old clear spray paint rather than my usual Envirotex finish, and I guess I was a little heavy-handed.

Anyway, here it is and it sounds great!

Open Discussion / Re: Glass Guitar???
January 02, 2021, 01:34:05 PM
I also enjoyed reading the comments.  One was:

"Strap locks. For the love of God, put strap locks on this."
Open Discussion / Glass Guitar???
January 01, 2021, 04:55:20 PM
OK, this is nuts...  But fascinating!

Building an ENTIRE guitar out of GLASS!
Build Reports / Re: Mimir's Well
December 28, 2020, 11:32:49 PM
Quote from: Bio77 on December 28, 2020, 10:51:27 PM
Wow, that looks great! Graphics are really cool  8) How did you cut the square?  Makes me wish I still had access to a mill.
I marked the rectangle very carefully with a felt-tip.  1/8" in from each corner I drilled a 1/4" hole that abutted the lines I marked.  Then I used a metal cutting disk on my Dremel to very slowly & carefully cut into the line, making a rut that outlined the perimeter.  I was going to use the cutting disk to finish, but I realized that it would be easier to use a step-drill in my drill press to remove as much of the aluminum as I could.  Then back with the cutting disk to remove a few larger pieces that jutted into the open area.  Finally, a combination of a Dremel grinding attachment and hand filing made the edges pretty even.

My favorite part of the finishing process was covering it with Envirotex.  I taped a piece of smooth clear plastic behind the open rectangle so that when I poured the ET it formed a "window" that will protect the LCD screen.  Unfortunately I used thin flexible plastic (like some produce packaging in a grocery store) and when I tried to remove it from the inside after the ET cured, it de-laminated so there's still a thin layer behind the window.  It makes the window a little hazy, but that's not very noticeable when the screen is lit.  I think if I did it again I would use heavier plastic - maybe cut out a piece of a CD case - so that I could remove it in one piece.
Build Reports / Re: Mimir's Well
December 28, 2020, 08:50:55 PM
In general, the patches sound good.  I especially like the delays.  The reverse reverb & reverse delay are cool.  Some of the others are pretty wild, the extra chip set I bought were some of the more extreme ones.  Most (but not all) can be tamed by adjusting the parameters.  But at $1 per patch I figured it would be fun to have them.  Also, as of this writing the Slow Gear doesn't work, so skip that.
Build Reports / Mimir's Well
December 28, 2020, 07:14:31 PM
I finally finished my first pedal in about 2 years.  I didn't go back and check my last build report, so it might actually be a little longer.  I did build a couple electronic projects - a clock & a drum machine.   But the 3 or 4 pedals I worked on since my last build were fairly complex, and unfortunately epic fails.  So they wound up on a shelf that is optimistically labeled "Needs Troubleshooting."  Maybe I'll actually try to get them working some day...

A few months ago someone posted a build report for Mimir's Well by MAS Effects.  It looked amazing, so I decided to ignore my fails and give it a shot.

It's all digital and comes with 7 built in patches in one bank, plus it includes another 16 that you can select yourself (2 additional banks of eight).  Since I play both bass & guitar I got 8 additional guitar effects plus 8 bass effects.  And I ordered an extra bank of 8 strange guitar effects that I can swap in if I want to use them.

Cutting the rectangle for the display screen was a PITA, but it came out pretty neat.  However, I now know that I could do it again if I needed to.