New Guitar Day: Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s

I did it again. I got another guitar. This time, it is a Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s in Butterscotch Blonde.

Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s Butterscotch Blonde

Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s Butterscotch Blonde

I picked it up from Musician’s Friend for a very good price– much lower than is listed on their website. I ordered it on Monday, and it was in my hands on Friday. I was able to play it for a few hours on Saturday.

I haven’t had enough time with it to post a full review, but here are my initial impressions. Overall, the guitar seems to be put together very well. I would put it on the same level as my Vintage Modified Jazzmaster.

The fit-and-finish are great. The body is flawless, albeit heavy. The neck pocket is perfect. The frets are well done, with no sharp edges or dead spots. The setup is actually quite good. It even has a little card attached to show measured clearances. Everything is aligned properly. It is hard to find a flaw on this guitar.

When I played it yesterday, I thought it sounded great. All three switch positions were very usable. I can’t compare it to a real 50s Telecaster, or even to an American Fender, but it sounded great to my ear.

I will post a full review in the coming days, I’m sure. I think I need to write a review of my Vintage Modified Jazzmaster, as well.

Project – Power Conditioner

Here is the power conditioner I built.

The enclosure is a Bud CN-6702 from Mouser.  Paint is a botched Rustoleum hammered spray. I wanted it to be white, so I bought a can of their ivory hammered paint. It was junk. No hide ability, no hammering. It was like a blotchy transparent metallic white. I painted over it with one coat of the paint I used for my input and output buffers, and decided it was good enough.

This mounts on the underside of my board. There are two superbright white LEDs to show it is powered up, and provide some cool under-board lighting without creating glare.

There are two identical regulator circuits. My goal with that was to spread the load and the heat dissipation. I also thought that if I have two digital pedals that conflict and make power supply noise, I could put them on different regulators and hopefully stop the noise.

As a result, I am sure the filtering is overkill– I used a 1-Watt 3R resistor, two 470uF in parallel, and some ceramic caps on the input of each regulator, and 100uF and some ceramic caps on the outputof each regulator.

You might notice the diode inserted between the regulator pin connected that is supposed to be connected straight to ground, and ground. This is a little trick that lifts the voltage by the Vf of the diode. This way, my power supply puts out about 9.6V, or roughly a brand new 9V battery. This gives me a little bit of headroom, so I can use an R-C filter at the input of each of my pedals, and not worry too much about the voltage falling below 9V.

If you can’t tell, the power in my house is very noisy… heh.

Here are the project files. Included is an ExpressPCB Schematic and PCB file, along with a PDF ready-to-transfer image. Power Conditioner – Schematic, PCB, Toner Transfer [ZIP]

Questions? Comments? Criticism? Compliments?

Project – Output Buffer

Here is the out buffer I built. It is a standard non-inverting IC buffer.

The enclosure is a Bud CN-6702 from Mouser.  No LED, no bypass, but there is room in the enclosure for both if you decide to build one. Paint is Rustoleum hammered spray. I think it came out pretty good for my first hammered finish.

I am sure this will somehow be labeled as a Klon buffer, but it really isn’t. I did copy the two output resistors, but that is it. The rest is Opamp 101. Instead of the standard TL-072, I used a TLE-2072, which is an “Excalibur Low-Noise High-Speed” version of the TL-072, whatever that means. Any dual will work fine. I used the spare half of the opamp to buffer the bias voltage, and beefed up the power filtering. Other than that, it is pretty standard.

Here are the project files. Included is an ExpressPCB Schematic and PCB file, along with a PDF ready-to-transfer image. IC Buffer – Schematic, PCB, Toner Transfer [ZIP]

Questions? Comments? Criticism? Compliments?

Project: Input Buffer

Here is the input buffer I built. It is based on the Cornish buffer, with some additional power filtering and some minor part substitutions.

The enclosure is a Bud CN-6702 from Mouser.  No LED, no bypass, but there is room in the enclosure for both if you decide to build one. Paint is Rustoleum hammered spray. I think it came out pretty good for my first hammered finish.

I actually thought I had all the parts for this build, but it turns out I did not. I was short a couple of odd value resistors, so I made my own. Here’s a little tip. Let’s say you need a 7.5k resistor, and all you have is a 6.8k resistor. Grab yourself a small file, and start filing a spot in the middle of the 6.8k resistor. Once you break through the enamel, you will hit the actual resistor. Connect your multimeter’s test leads, and continue filing until you reach the value you need. When finished, cover the filed spot with clear nail polish. Works like a charm!

Here are the project files. Included is an ExpressPCB Schematic and PCB file, along with a PDF ready-to-transfer image. BJT Buffer – Schematic, PCB, Toner Transfer [ZIP]

Questions? Comments? Criticism? Compliments?

Three completed projects – Power conditioner, Input Buffer, Output Buffer

I will be posting about three completed projects today. They were all designed to integrate into my pedal board.

The first one is a power conditioner. It is a dual non-isolated regulated supply. I built this mainly to consolidate my power needs down to one box and one switch. I do plan on building an isolated supply in the future, but that won’t be happening for quite some time.

The second one is an input buffer. It is based on the Cornish buffer (bootstrapped BJT w/ filtering), but with more aggressive power filtering and some component substitutions.

The third one is an output buffer. It is a simple IC buffer, but I guess some people call it a Klon buffer. I fail to see how tacking a couple of resistors onto the end of one of an IC circuit that is so simple that even I understand it. Regardless, more power filtering, some component changes, and a higher end opamp.

My theory behind the buffers is that I am looking for consistency. I want my guitar to always see the same impedance, and my amp to always see the same impedance. I have built so many pedals at this point that there is no telling which pedal will be first in the chain, and which will be last in the chain, or how they will react with whatever guitar/amp combo I decide to play. I want my guitars, effects, and amps to work together in a predictable fashion.

I’ll be posting pictures of the completed builds, along with ExpressPCB schematic and PCB files, along with PDFs of ready-to-transfer images.

More to come!