Oddballs, One-offs, Clones and Otherwise
As I’ve been delving deeper into the world of electronics and production, I’ve realized that there’s tons of experimentation, modifications and other projects that one must undertake before you reach the final manifestation of a specific build. Previously, a new box or modification would simply just be given a sequential number, but seeing as I’m trying to make things less confusing to everyone while still avoiding having to come up with ridiculous names for every thing I’ve built, I’ve decided to dedicate a page solely to quick builds, mods, one-offs and other projects that are interesting, but derivate from the current path I’ve been walking. In the word of that one hip hop song I’ve been listening to lately, hold your nose – here goes.
A clone of Mid-Fi Electronics’ Random Number Generator pedal, built while studying schematics of various one-knob pedals. It’s not exactly the most musical pedal in the world, sounding like an atari trying to get it on with a vacuum cleaner, but along the lines of innovative one-knob boxes it’s pretty zesty.
A clone of Audible Disease’s Rupture RP-2 optical feedback looper, built into box that formerly housed an EH Freeze pedal that had a little accident with electricity. To cover up EH’s artwork, I decided to cover the box with a mixture of industrial adhesive and faux fur left over from one of Paulina’s sculptures. The result? One of the angriest sounding tribbles this side of Deep Space Station K7.
A custom first-generation Number 23 with an alternate set of clipping diodes and added boost. This one lives in Iceland under the employ of Gudmundur Steinn Gunnarsson.
A trip further down the faux-fur covered rabbit-hole, this time featuring a modified Number 23. Other than re-defining how literal one can interpret the word fuzz, this box nixes the voltage sag that was included in the first batch of 23’s and instead replaces it with an additional boost to assist with those moments when loud just isn’t enough. Similar to 23 Mk I, I also decided to experiment with different combinations of clipping diodes, eventually settling on a combination of a silicon diode and a pink LED. The resulting sound ends up being much harsher and metallic than it’s predecessors, but in all, I think that’s a good thing.
Electronically, this box is pretty much identical to your average 24, albeit with a different skin on the outside; formulated primarily to continue working the fur angle, as well as offer my wares in places other than my own site without running the risk of providing competition for myself. An interesting side-note for this one regards the availability of faux fur in sub-rural communities. Unlike San Francisco whose drag community necessitates the availability of nearly any fashion choice that could be considered ostentatious and Costa Rica, where a portion of society still takes pride in making their own clothes, Upstate New York… uhm, yeah, not so much of either – that I know of, at least. Either way, the availability of blue fur, not so much. As horrible as it sounds, in order to gain enough fur to cover this pedal, I uhm well, I skinned a plush Easter Bunny. I’m not exactly proud of this, but eh, maybe one day I’ll sew said rabbits face onto some sort of 3 meter long plush Bolivian Sand-Worm recreation or something – we have the technology…
The prototype that eventually became the Platano Verde. The circuit’s essentially the same as a PV, but with a fixed tone control, which was added via feedback from a couple initial testers of the circuit. One day I’ll build an effective one-knob pedal, I swear. Not to say this isn’t effective, but the tone control on the PV really opens up an additional realm of sonic possibilities. At the moment, this particular artifact lives with Marielle Jakobsons of the band Date Palms.
A second Number 24 from the NY workshop, this time adorned in fur brought with us from our studio in San José. Gotta say, it’s a whole lot nicer working with larger swaths of the stuff that can be cut to form, as opposed to gutting a toy rabbit – oh the joys of amateur taxidermy or something. Like it’s predecessor, the electronics are still an untouched 24, but hey, this one’s got fur – how could you go wrong?
A 4-oscillator cascaded fuzzbox with controls for gating threshold and volume. I believe it lives in Pittsburgh now.
A stripped-down 23 with only a volume control and a switched feedback control. Currently in the arsenal of Erika M. Anderson.
The first functioning prototype of a simple overdrive circuit I’m working on that sits somewhere between a boost and a mild harmonic distortion, albeit with a coat of winter purple. This particular model currently resides with J Mascis, noted for his love of purple and little furry creatures, among other things.
A Kay Fuzztone. Modified from the corrected original schematics, substituting equivalent modern transistors and improving the input filter to better deal with radio interference common to San José. The fuzz control is wired to a switched expression pedal jack, allowing for operation that’s closer to the original pedal, as well as a standalone box without it. I also modified the clipping section to offer both symmetric silicone clipping, as well as asymmetric clipping by way of an additional green LED added to the circuit via switch. Ala the color, I think I almost managed to match the repulsive hue of the original. Almost.
A re-worked 24 circuit, crafted into a n-a-s-t-y bass fuzz that’ll do everything for you provided you’re into such things as sewer metal, glitch-pop and dream noise. I suppose you could use if for slipper-gaze in a pinch. Currently living in Santa Cruz, Ca.
A Platano Obscuro: based on the Platano Verde, but with an additional clipping stage, and in this case, fur. Very psychedelic. Very Metal. At the same time. Currently under the employ of Hey Exit from Brooklyn, NY.
A Platano Maduro. Similar to the typical boost-drive 2 switch pedal configuration, but using two Platano Verde fuzz circuits – one standard and one with a fixed fuzz setting, a lowpass filter and a slight voltage sag to futz with the tone a bit.
The second Pejibaye overdrive prototype. The circuit is largely similar to the first, but the harmonic/treble boost of the tone control is a little more subdued and a different diode pairing is used. The tube-like tone still revolves around a blue LED in the clipping stage, but it’s paired with a germanium and silicon diode in series on the return. The result – a bit more gain, and a little more warmth.
Another one-knobbed Platano, cobbled together as a custom build. Current working title: Platano Solo, for obvious reasons. Also, playing solos.
A one-knobbed rendition of the Pejibaye Overdrive circuit. Super-responsive. Super-swamp. Swamp-response!
A Platano Bajo Bass Fuzz – real smooth, real creamy. A total Platano Basscicle. Currently under the employ of Hudson Valley bassist Mista Lew.
The Platano Mini-Amp – my first venture into amp building. It’s based off the 1/2 watt Ruby amp with a Bassman mod, but with a buffered JFET input and a switchable Platano Verde circuit sandwiched between the buffer and and power amp, creating a swash of feedback when engaged – useable, but definitely an extreme example of a dirty channel. I built it as a gift for my uncle who recently retired – hopefully this inspires him to pursue a nice second career as a noise guitarist.
A stereo version of the Pejibaye overdrive. For this one, I chose to ditch the traditional tone knob for a three-way switch that allows for three separate clipping paths – as strange as it seems, this actually makes it more versatile than the original two-knob version. Production is pending – more on that in a bit.
A simple, yet elegant mono footswitch designed for a Pigtronix Mothership’s glide control. The LED, unfortunately doesn’t work with the pedal, but in the context of a simple amp channel switch, you’ve got yourself some fancy blue light there. Currently under the employ of BOMBMOB’s Electrosavage.
A simple, yet elegant stereo footswitch designed for a Pigtronix Echolution’s loop and reverse controls. The LEDs, unfortunately don’t work with the pedal, but in the context of a simple amp channel switch, you’ve got yourself some fancy green light there. Also under the employ of BOMBMOB’s Electrosavage.
A 1 in, 8 out CV Multiple built for Woodstock NY’s Bombmob’s Electrosavage. The input is a straight CV/LFO channel from a Moog MP-210. The outputs are 4 straight TS CV outs that pass the original signal and 4 TRS opto-isolator expression outs, allowing the Moog pedal to interface with Pigtronix and Electro-Harmonix gear, creating advanced control paths with just a single expression pedal – with on-off switches for each out and LED-monitoring to keep things classy. Also, it’s bus powered and works with any other standard CV source. In other words, a fancy, simple way of linking your pedal array to your modular synth rig. Awesome? Yes, it is.
A custom overdrive with a mild octave up inspired partially by old Octavia pedals as well as Death By Audio’s Octave Clang and various incarnations of the Maestro Brassmaster. At it’s core, I’m using a transformer that I originally picked up during my time at Mills College, when a handful of my pieces centered around amplified glass. However, instead of using the transformer to drive transducers placed under various bottles and tuned bowls, I’m running two series Pejibaye overdrive circuits into it, with a clipping stage immediately afterwards. The result is a compressed, gated buzz with an interesting signal response – maybe less than functional for guitar, but amazing for violin. I mean really amazing. Don’t believe me? Check out Liz Meredith in concert sometime – she makes this thing sing. Ala the fate of the other transformers from my former glass experiments, check out Numbers 9 and 10 on the VF instrument page.
A quick and dirty beat-mangler designed to make drum-machines sound like whoa. Half-synth, half high-gain fuzz – all square-waves, all the time. Currently under the employ of Ami Dang of Baltimore, Md.
Another clone of Mid-Fi Electronics’ Random Number Generator. Fun to build, great to have, highly recommended. Currently on the loose somewhere in Baltimore.
Another completed build – this one’s a formant filter run into a 4-transistor fuzz/glitch circuit. I used the blue and green channels of an rgb led so when both effects are engaged it almost matches the color of the box.
Another proto-Pejibaye boost/overdrive. We’re slowly zeroing in on the final layout of this box and are happy to report that we’re getting closer. A production line is totally forthcoming. Stay tuned, y’all. From what I’ve heard, this one is employ to a country-western musician round about Baltimore.
Another variation on our oft-repeated 4-transistor fuzz build, this time in sea foam and pink. This one lives in Chicago.
Yet another Pejibayito for the masses. This time in cream and silver with a clipping combo of green/red LED’s to keep it interesting. On the loose in Baltimore, Md.
The latest addition to the Pejibaye family, this time in silver and blue with a combo of green and white LED clipping diodes.
A 3-oscillator optical tremolo of sorts based on the Tremulus Lune, but with a different oscillator section – also has a blend knob that transitions from audio input to oscillators, allowing you to use it as a primitive synth/noise generator as well.
The Bee Box – 2 channels, 7 gain stages. Loud, proud and glitchy. Also has a bee on it.
Some kind of vactrol-controlled vibrato that I whipped up for Liz Meredith for the holidays. It’s strange – pitch is controlled by the intensity of the attack of the instrument. Looking forward to seeing what she can do with a bow on this thing.
Basically the same circuit as vibrato 1, but with more fuzz. Because who can’t have too much fuzz?
A clone of the Dan Armstrong Green Ringer – I’ve been meaning to build one of these for a while and finally found the time to cobble it together. Amazingly, it has some nice compressor-ly qualities when plugged to the output of my modular. Go figure.
Vibrato Number 3 – this one adds a click less switch, an external input trim and a fancy Mercury dime for decoration. This one was a custom order from Ian M in Virginia.
The Green Standard – a two-in-one that mixes a Gold Standard with a Green Ringer at the input. The sounds are… thud-like. This one be in Texas.
Another one of the Vibrato’s I’ve been messing around with, as well as another fine example of me gluing a coin to a box and calling it decorated. Ten points for consistency, as well as a futile attempt to use up all the fast-set epoxy before Xime start climbing. This one’s in Costa Rica, helmed by Pau’s 17 year old cousin Augustine.
Another experimental 2-in-one combining the vibrato circuit and the 4-transistor fuzz off the “secret menu” – not to mention another attempt at using up the epoxy. It’ll happen, I swear. At the moment, this guy lives in Sweden.
The Platano Oro – a hybrid of a Platano Verde and a Gold Standard in Green Fur livery. Built in response to the notion that apparently people most know me as the guy who covers pedals in fur…
The premiere Tropicalia, which is what you get when you cross a Pejibaye with a Platano Verde. EMA got this one for Christmas.
The Mangrove – mixing a Pejibaye with a 70’s IC Muff Fuzz. This thing gets loud. Christmas present for my metal-listening, Magic-playing officemate.
A buffered, active blend and optical feedback loop with an IC boost at the input for a little extra crunch. Built during a blizzard because why not?
A custom 4-channel overdrive that combines anything from a Pejibaye to a certain green, Japanese od from the 80’s – with a lot of character and surprises in between. This one went to Indiana.
A two-channel OD combining a Pejibaye with a certain green, Japanese OD from the 80’s…
Another two-channel OD combining a Pejibaye with a more-modified japanese OD front he ’80’s.
The unholy fusion of a Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer with a MidFi Clari(not). The knobs are a little skewered due to my cat, who likes absconding with said things, though in all I think it adds to the funkiness. This one’s destined for use in EMA.
Custom pedal Number 49. Affectionately described as a “Blue Box but even more fucked up,” this guy features a 4 transistor high gain fuzz run into a 4040 voltage divider on a blend circuit. This one went the way of Jana Hunter.
The Eyetennuator – a boxed rendition of the proto Euro-module I built fr a few friends over the holidays.
Custom Pedal 50 – The Trip Metal commemorative Sound Unit – a CMOS fuzz akin to my last couple builds but with an off-biased 4040 on the output to throw thins off ever so slightly.
A Custom CV to Expression converter.
A second CV-Expression converter.
And a third CV-Expression Converter.
The 4th and final in this series, all of which now live in Upstate New York.
Custom Pedal 51 – another variation on my CMOS experiments, this one with some fun, responsive NOS clipping diodes and LED’s and whatnot.
Custom Pedal 52. An Octavia. Covered in
Custom Pedal 53 – The Trojan Ram – otherwise known as a 73 Ram’s Head and Pejibaye in the same box.
Custom Pedal 54, combining an Interfax Harmonic Percolator with a Gold Standard.
Custom Pedal 55. This is a 4-channel analog-voiced delay. It’s based off two delay circuits that are switchable between two banks of presets each. It actually sounds really nice!
Custom Pedal 56 – the Platano Peludo. It’s a Platano Verde covered in fur. What more can you ask for?
Number 57 – a 23 and Gold Standard in the same box. A sea foam green box at that.
Number 58 – My first pedal – gutted and rehoused in a box half the size, wired for true-bypass switching, jacks upgraded and a new set of transistors since the original Russian set were finicky, to say the least. Now living in Detroit.
Number 59 – Another one of those feisty vibrato pedal’s I’ve been known to make. This one’s headed to San Diego, by way of New York
Number 60 – Yet another vibrato. This one’s going to Costa Rica by way of San Francisco.
Number 61. Me trying to be all Mid-Fi Demo Tape, but instead of trying to emulate a 4-track, I was going after the sound of a Microcassette recorder.
Number 62. Trojan Ram Number 2. Same circuits, different knobs.
Number 63 – A fancy MossWave from the secret menu.
Number 64 – MossWave Number 19. This one went to Colorado.