New DIY Pedal - The "Ennio"
Lately I’ve been diving into the world of DIY effects building, and last night I completed a new creation (to me, at least!) that I wanted to share with everyone!
It’s a Fuzzrite clone that I’ve dubbed the “Ennio” after the infamous Spaghetti Western composer, Ennio Morricone. If you’re interested in the full back story on how I decided to fire up the ol’ soldering iron, I’ve posted a lengthier explanation underneath the photos, but I figured I’d hit everyone with the overview and pics first and put the boring stuff at the end!
Regardless, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our own TwangOMatic, who’s own build thread from a while back served as a huge jumping off point for my own build - Thanks TwangO!
Main Features: -- Handwired point-to-point construction on perfboard -- Solid components throughout - 2N4401 transistors, Alpha pots, Neutrik jacks, etc. -- All jacks are top-mounted on a 125B enclosure to maximize the squeeze factor on the pedal board -- True bypass switching with a very well-placed LED -- Paint job is covered in multiple coats of gloss urethane for protection
I finished wiring it up last night and had a chance to plug it in for a bit, and tone-wise I’m very happy with it! It’s as buzzy, trashy and nasty as I hoped it would be, and absolutely nails the classic Spaghetti and fuzzed-out Ventures tones. The pedal itself, though, doesn’t seem to have a lot of self noise and is very quiet at idle. Nice sweep across the controls, and the gain goes from crazy to crazier.
I also fooled around with the guitar’s volume knob a bit, and it’s interesting because rolling back the volume cleans the pedal up into some very interesting overdrive-esque tones.
The graphics were fun, too. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to mount and layout everything, and I’m really happy with how it all came together. I wanted it to have a bit of texture and feel a little rough-hewn, and it ended up very close to what I was hoping for.
I’m supposed to have rehearsal this week and am looking forward to putting it through it’s paces at full volume, but for now... here are the pics!!
Okay, so the long version:
I’ve been staving off the DIY bug for several years now, it seems, and I’m always toying with the idea of making my own guitar, amp, pedal, etc. A guitar build would be too expensive right now, and the “lethal voltage” thing scares me right out of doing an amp build. So... I recently decided to sell my Tone Factor Mule - a great pedal that I use pretty regularly - with the notion to build one since it’s based on the well-documented Red Llama/Tube Sound Fuzz circuit.
I’ve also had a couple Fuzzrite-style pedals over the years - the Ashbass Fuzzbrite clone and more recently the Bigfoot FX Spaghetti Western Fuzz. While I love that tone, I really don’t use it at all in our current songs, as I like to be able to stomp on/off an effect mid-song and the Fuzzrite sound is too over the top to use in such a manner. I’m also not a fan of the Ashbass because of the size of the enclosure, the top-mounted knobs that you can’t see while playing and the internal wiring looks like a mess. The Spaghetti Fuzz does it right as far as build quality goes, but I could never justify having an expensive pedal on my board that I wasn’t using. However, I’d love to have one around just to play with and maybe write a song specifically for that fuzzed-out style, so...
I sold the Mule, started doing some research and remembered TwangO’s build thread here on the GDP. I poured over the info and links in it, as well as tons of build threads on other sites. I sourced all the parts for both circuits from Pedal Parts Plus - who are amazing to work with and ship like lightning, by the way! - and doubled the component order just in case my soldering skills weren’t quite up to snuff. I also hit up Radio Shack for some general tools and a breadboard setup, as I wanted to do some experimenting with the circuits, particularly the Llama one.
Once I had it all together, I breadboarded the Llama circuit to mess around with lowering the gain value on it, as it’s a pedal that gets wooly in a hurry and I’m never above 1:00 on the gain knob. I threw the Fuzzrite circuit on perfboard right away, and set about creating an enclosure to pack it all in.
I spent some Photoshop time to lay out the panel mounts for the pedal, and built the graphics around that. For fun, I decided to make the LED look like the flare of a gunshot, and had ordered orange LEDs for just that purpose. Once I had that finalized, I printed it off on waterslide decal paper and applied it to the painted enclosure.
Two issues sprung up that caused me to burn my first enclosure attempt, however. One was that the clear coat somehow reacted with the color coat in a very weird, gummy sort of way, which I’m guessing due to extremely high moisture. The other was that in all my meticulous measuring and layout-ing, I neglected to account for the drill thread columns in each corner of the enclosure, so my DC and output jacks were severely pinched and not as solid as I would’ve liked. Stupid oversight, and that combined with the ruined paint pushed me to start over with some additional tweaks based on what I’d learned so far.
Different paint, different method and a more exacting drill layout made all the difference, and it wired up like a charm. If I had my druthers, I’d prefer a matte or semi-gloss finish, but money’s tight and gloss is what I had on hand.
I have some mods/ideas I’d like to try on the circuit to make it a bit more versatile, and I’m going to throw one on the breadboard to play around and see what other possibilities we can open up. I also found that this DIY pedal thing totally scratches the "make something with your own two hands" itch, and even though I'd be better off spending my little spare time actually playing my guitar, this is an enjoyable diversion.
But first... I’m trying to finalize my tweaks on the Llama circuit and finish that build, so stay tuned for another DIY pedal thread in the next week or so!
At first I thought the name meant it would sound awesome with "Ennio" guitar.
Lovely work. Can you give us any sound samples?
Good on ya, Ty.
I've been wanting to try this myself, but so far have held off, as I need another project like I need a hole in my head.
Yours looks cool, though!
The looks are absolute top. For a pedal that does this, I would not know a better look. That you were able to do this pro look with DIY stuff: respect!
Thanks much for the kind words, gents!
Tommy - That's very funny on the Ennio! I'll have to remember that!
On sound samples: I can try to grab some... I doubt I'll be able to grab any through my amp, as a Pro Reverb doesn't agree with the other three Pierces in the house, but I can probably record straight into my Tascam DP-004 and give a good look at the sound. Let me see what I can work up on that...
Baxter - I know what you mean, that's kind of what I thought when I'd be up at all hours tinkering with wires or graphics, knowing I should be doing a hundred other things. But... none of those other things put the fuzz beneath my feet!
The graphics are utterly fantastic! Really blown away by that, I'd love to hear what it sounds like.
that is the sex!! id love to have a toy like that
That is pretty awesome.
Love your graphic work. That is very clever.
Nice Project and awesome graphic. Looking forward to the next one.
WIREDTURTLE here SINCE2002
this is awesome.. no audio clips PLEASE!!! Rather VIDEO clips.. the kids want videos!!
The Dead Ranch Hands
Love the enclosure! I've got a Fuzzrite too. It's great for single notes, but not so great for chords.
Wow I love that paint job.
Man.....I have to be honest, with those graphics and that LED, i don't even care what that things sounds like. Awesome work!
And yeah, now....the videos! I'm all over the Fuzz right now, i need to see some video footage!
That's the coolest looking pedal I've ever seen!
How can I get one?
Hey alright! Building my first fuzz this week, great job! I'm going univox superfuzz. I think I'll have to do one of these, too.
I've just started wanting a fuzz to play with and this looks like it would be right up my alley. Great work, I love everything about. I'll add my voice to the din and repeat - we need video!
Looks great but we need clips, indeed.
I am Incinerator
Nice looking build.
I've been toying with the idea of building a few fuzzes, but I haven't put it into motion.
The Univox Superfuzz idea seems awesome, look forward to seeing what becomes of that!
Very cool graphic on there! Hope it sounds as cool as it looks.
Is this a copy of Ed Sanner's circuit?
WIREDTURTLE here SINCE2002
Ty... we want a video man.. I got the Kodak Zi8 at Target (cheaper at office max) hd vid with great audio (variable compressor built in with external mic input option) for $69
love to see someone else on this forum doing some demo vids.. its the way of the future I hear.
WIREDTURTLE here SINCE2002
Ed Sanner as in Gibson's Maestro FZ1a Fuzz-tone? those original transistors with 18v sounded amazing for spaghetti western (amazing' being a relative term given this context)