Thursday, February 24, 2022

Pedal Building and 2022's Plans

What started out as a long time desire has grown into twenty confirmed builds. On January 2nd 2020 I put together my very first Bazz Fuss circuit. If you want to get technical about it I did build a footswitch for my Fender Mustang Mini a few years prior, but I don't consider that to be a true pedal build. My main focus was using/reusing parts I already owned or could harvest from electronics nobody wanted. From there I built a handful of other Bazz Fuss circuits, none of which count toward the twenty builds mentioned above. These builds were simply built to play around with values and component types to see how much of a difference it would make in the sound of the circuit.

Fast forward a few months when I noticed my Bazz Fuss pedal was now just boosting the signal, instead of being a fuzz pedal. Somehow I had destroyed the diode and the circuit became a super simple boost pedal. This is where things started to ramp up. Had I stopped at a handful of Bazz Fuss circuits I may have literally just stopped, but I began to research an easy to build boost pedal. Thus, the LPB-1 clones were made. A few weeks later I was given the chance to take apart an old radio my Dad had in the garage and found an NEC 4558 op-amp, and from that my TS808 clone was born. The wheels kept on turning and my Grey DOD 250 clone was born. Soon I felt that since I had built a DOD 250, I had to also build an MXR Distortion Plus, so at the beginning of the 2021 build season that's exactly what I did, but that was only the beginning.

2021 was the most active building year. From my Marshall Guv'nor clone, to many various DOD 250/MXR Distortion Plus clones, such as the Morley MOD-D1B, all the way to a R.O.G. Mockman build I was very busy last year. As 2021 came to a close I had built thirteen pedals with one more left at about 75% complete. It's my most complex pedal build and I hope to complete it as the first pedal completed for 2022.

And here we are in 2022 with a whole new season to build, but also a new year to enjoy the pedals I've built over the past two years. Some pedals have blown me away with how amazing they sound, while a few others continue to baffle me with varying issues. Although the perfectly working pedals heavily outweigh the pedals that exhibit some issues, I still have to troubleshoot the pedals that aren't exactly right. It's a process that I'm greatly enjoying and I'm hoping it leads to something bigger. This year has seven pedals in the planning stage, but it may also turn out to be a transition period for me as I plan to build my first pedal from a kit. I just want to see if I like building kits as much as I do building from scratch. 

Who knows, maybe if I purchase pedal kits and upgrade some of the components in them I might be able to turn this into a viable business of sorts. While I don't foresee that actually coming true, the plan is on the table. We'll just have to see where 2022 leads and what ups and downs I'll have to contend with. Maybe things will work out too well and I'll build more pedals this year than I did in the previous two years combined. For now I'm not sure what will happen beyond 2022, but I do know that I don't plan to build as many pedals, at least for now. However I will always be up for building a pedal here and there just to keep boredom away, or if something really interesting I want to build crosses my path.