Project: Colorsound Overdriver / Power Boost / CSOD

I have just completed my first full project to share here on JustOneMoreBuild, a Colorsound Overdriver / Power Boost / CSOD. I will be sharing the complete project files, minus the enclosure artwork, so you can build your own. It came together quickly– I started working on it on Christmas Eve, and finished it tonight. There was no debugging, and just a couple of resistor swaps to adjust the bias. It sounds great.

First, this post is useless without pictures:

And here are the project files: Colorsound Overdriver – JustOneMoreBuild. It contains ExpressPCB sch and pcb files, and a PDF toner transfer image.

As you can see, this project uses Alpha board-mounted pots, box caps, and 0.4″ spaced resistors. The layout is spaced 25% larger larger than perfrboard– all components are at least 0.125″ on center from any other component’s pads. There are no jumpers.

On my build, I used a scratch-n-dent enclosure that had already been powder coated green. I sanded it with a random orbital sander to level the top (it had a bubble), and to cut the gloss. I went back and scuffed it further by hand with lower grit sandpaper.

The top is a piece of copper clad from Tayda. I found a design online, modified it slightly to meet my uses, and added a border and some labels. Once it was etched and trimmed, I applied liver of sulfur, which creates a patina. It was my first time using it, and it was very cool.

I applied the liver of sulfur, which can be found in the silver jewelry wire section at Michael’s, at full strength using a q-tip. It instantly blackened the copper. I let it sit for a minute or two, and then rinsed it off with water. Over the next 10 minutes, the copper peeled and flaked– you could actually see it– revealing a pretty cool finish. It looks different depending on the light. Sometimes it looks blue, silver, gold, red, or a whole rainbow of color. It is pretty cool.

My labels came out a bit thin, so I will be sure to use a bolder font next time I use this method. I am pleased with the overall finish.

For the LED, I decided to use the circuit board top as the indicator. I mounted three superbright LEDs on a little piece of vero, and attached it to the switch with double-sided tape. The LEDs draw about 5mA each, and do not add any pop to the switching. I drilled and filed the enclosure under the word Overdriver, so the LEDs light it up when the pedal is engaged. As you can see, it came out great.

You might be wondering how it sounds. It sounds fantastic. It can go from a nice, transparent boost with a lot of volume, all the way to a medium fuzz with a good deal of gain. The tonestack is pretty flexible, and allows you to dial in a broad range of useful settings. I had built one of these before, so I knew what to expect, and I was not disappointed.

I did make a few minor changes to the circuit. I didn’t have any 6.8uF capacitors, so I used a 4.7uF. I used a reverse audio taper potentiometer for the gain knob, and I highly recommend this. Otherwise, the fuzz is all piled up in the tiniest little portion of the potentiometer’s rotation. I used random BC550 transistors, and I biased Q2 and Q3 as close to 5v as I could get (4.8 and 5.1, if I recall correctly). Other than that, it is stock.

If you have never built a Colorsound Overdriver, I suggest you give it a try. I think you will like it.

More to come!

Fender Precision Bass Jr.

I just picked this up for Jaime from a local pawn shop. Great price, too.

Agile AL-2000: Gloss / shine removal

Here are some before and after pictures of the de-glossing / shine removal that I performed on my Agile AL-2000 Honey Sunburst Flame (Wide):

Before:

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, Before De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, Before De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, Before De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, Before De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, Before De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, Before De-glossing

After:

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, After De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, After De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, After De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, After De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, After De-glossing

Agile AL-2000 HSBF Wide, After De-glossing

I think it looks pretty good– much more like a wood guitar than a plastic toy. I would be happy to detail the process. If anyone is interested, just ask!

Fender Starcaster Pedals are Boss Clones

They’re junk, right? Not quite.

The Fender Starcaster pedals are actually near-clones of Boss pedals. I know because I have personally traced two of them, and built cross-reference guides for anyone wishing to modify their pedals.

I noticed that people have been accessing my cross-reference charts recently. Unfortunately, they are stored in a random spot on my other website. In the interest of consolidating the information I have shared, I am removing them from their original location, and putting them here.

Without further delay:

Cross-reference chart: Fender Starcaster Distortion vs Boss MT-2 Metal Zone

Cross-reference chart: Fender Starcaster Chorus to Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble (Analog)

It is worth noting that these effects are not true bypass. They are, however, setup using this bypass. It is easily upgraded with a standard 3PDT switch, and I highly recommend doing this so as to avoid signal bleed when in bypass.

That is all.

DIY Pedalboard Build Pictorial

In an earlier post, I posted some images of the DIY pedalboard that I just finished. I’m going to go into more detail here, in case anyone would like to build their own. It was really easy, inexpensive, and a lot of fun.

Materials
5x Poplar “Hobby boards”, 2.5″ x 24″ x 1/2″ (Home Depot) [<$5]
1x Poplar board, 3/4″ x 1.5″ x 69″ (Home Depot) [<$5]
3x #8 – 1.25″ wood screws, 10 pack (Home Depot) [<$3]
6x 1.5″ wood screws (already had, any wood screws around that length will do)
Formby’s Tung Oil Finish (Lowe’s) [~$5 or so]
Elmer’s wood glue (already had)
1x Velcro, Industrial strength, 2″ x 15 yards (Amazon) [$22 or so]

Tools
Electric Drill
Philips screwdriver / screwdriver bit
Drill bits to pre-drill holes for both screw types
Countersink bit (could use bigger drill bit)
Hand saw / mitre box
Random orbital sander and paper (could sand by hand)
Rags

Assembly

First, here is the SketchUp file for the project. It includes all of the wood pieces, in the proper dimensions and in the proper locations. The drawing is accurate to my build.

Pedalboard Design – Final [ZIP of SketchUp file]

As you can imagine, assembly is quite easy. The first thing I did was to assemble the supports. I cut the 3/4″ x 1.5″ board into six pieces– 3x 17.5″, and 3x 5.5″. The smaller pieces sit on top of the larger pieces, flush on one end. Each support is held together with two wood screws that are hidden underneath the two slats that make the top shelf. The screws are sunk below the surface so they don’t interfere with the slats. I used wood glue between the two pieces. Not pretty, but I used what I had.

Support components

Pre-drilled poplar support components, ready to be screwed and glued.

You’ll notice that in the image above, I have already pre-drilled the holes for the screws that secure the slats to the supports. You will have to check the SketchUp drawing for the proper spacing and layout. The slats overhang the front and back edges of the supports by 1/4″, and the screws that secure the slats are 5/8″ from the edge of the slat. I can provide exact measurements if anyone needs them.

Supports - glued and screwed

2-piece poplar pedal board supports, glued and screwed together.

Once the supports were glued and screwed together, I got to work on the slats. They come pre-cut to 24″, so I only needed to drill and countersink holes. In fact, it was so easy that I do not have any pictures of them until the pictures of the finishing process. Needless to say, you have to drill and countersink six holes in each slat, making sure they line up with the pre-drilled holes in the supports.

From there, I sanded everything using a random orbital sander. I used 220-grit paper, and it was easy work. I then quickly sanded it by hand using 400-grit paper just to get it a bit smoother. Ready to apply the finish:

Pedal board components, ready for finishing

Pedal board components, ready for finishing.

This was my first time using a tung oil finish, which apparently contains very little actual tung oil, if any at all. It was really easy. All I did was wipe it on with an old sock, like waxing a car, until it was covered. Simple.

At first, I was drying them on some styrofoam with nails poked through it, like in this shot after the first coat:

Pedal board slats with tung oil finish, first application

Pedal board slats with tung oil finish, first application.

But I realized that I needed a better solution. I used a wire coat hanger, three plastic coat hangers, and a portable wardrobe rack to hang the pieces. Here is a shot of it after putting 3 coats on the supports, and 5 coats on the slats:

Pedal board components drying on rack

Pedal board components drying on rack.

One thing to note is that between coats, you are supposed to use steel wool to take the sheen off of the finish. I used a plastic steel wool replacement that I picked up at Home Depot. It is the equivalent of fine steel wool, and worked great. It only took about a half a minute of scrubbing per board, so it was a pretty quick process.

After I had put six coats on the slats and four coats on the supports, I assembled the pedalboard. Once assembled, I put on two more coats of finish. I screwed a hook into the bottom for hanging during the final dry:

Pedalboard, assembled, final finish coat

Pedalboard, assembled, final finish coat.

I let the pedal board hang for a day. The finish was drying nicely when I, for some reason, decided to re-read the Formby’s container. It said that drying could be sped up if you used artificial light. I did some quick research, and the finish apparently polymerizes quicker under artificial light. So, in preparation for the Velcro, I placed the board under fluorescent light for two days to cure:

Finished pedal board curing

Finished pedal board curing.

From there, all I had to do was wipe the slats down with some naptha (zippo fluid), and stick on some industrial strength Velcro. I used the actual Velcro brand. Usually my thriftiness would have me buying knock off hook and loop from 3,000 miles away, but I wanted guaranteed quality.

Here is the final result:

DIY Pedal Board - Angle 1

DIY Pedal Board – Angle 1

DIY Pedal Board - Front

DIY Pedal Board – Front

DIY Pedal Board - Side

DIY Pedal Board – Side

And there you have it, my DIY pedal board. I think it turned out pretty good. At under $40, I think it was a pretty good value. I plan on building a power supply to attach underneath the top level slats, attaching a handle, and calling it complete.

It was fun to build, and seems like it will be durable for years into the future.

New DIY Pedal Board

Well, it was time to upgrade from the chunk-o-plywood I had been using as a pedal board. I decided to build a replacement:

I made it out of poplar “hobby” boards from Home Depot, and finished it with Formby’s Tung Oil Finish. It came in around $25 or so, and didn’t take that long to build.

I will be posting the project plans (SketchUp drawing), the bill of materials, and a general how-to this weekend.

More to come!