Friday, August 19, 2022

Well, That Didn't Go as Planned!

At the end of last year's pedal building season I had already started forming ideas of what I wanted to accomplish in 2022. Ideas continued to form, and solidify, as November quickly slipped into being early March. The whole time I had assured myself that 2022 would be a more relaxed year, although if you looked at my 2021 season there was a massive gap that spanned three months with no building at all. In 2021 I had built a total of fourteen unique pedals, a far bigger number than my meager six (not counting the multiple test circuits that were never intended to become pedals) in 2020. I felt I didn't need many more pedals, therefore I wouldn't build many pedals, but I was wrong. As of writing this I have built an additional fourteen pedals, matching that of last year's season.

The problem, as I see it, is the Klon Centaur clones. This year I built my delay pedal, reverb pedal, a few blues derived pedals, a few fuzz variations, a few other overdrives and indeed four Klon Centaur clones of varying layouts. Once I built the kit I purchased from Amazon I knew I needed to build one from scratch, so I did. That turned into me wanting to build a few others to see how different each board would sound from one another, leading me to buy the Klon/Centura clone board from Amazon. Then another mini Centaur clone so the first Amazon kit has a friend its size. I truly never intended for it to get this out of hand, when my original projection was six total pedals this year.

Now, I do lean heavily into the notion that I don't need many more pedals, and that's true. I'm not a touring musician who needs every available tone at my feet at any given time, nor do I have the space to store such a collection. I do, however, like building pedals and the amazing feeling of having taken a batch of components and put them together in the correct arrangement to create something useful, and that may very well be my downfall. I find myself easily swayed into building a pedal simply because I like the way it sounds once it's completed, so I do foresee myself continuing to build pedals. I just know now not to put a number on it that I can't restrict myself to.

There are many pedals I plan to build, but I'm not exactly sure when I will do so. I've wanted a Boss HM-2 clone for a very long time, as well as some kind of take on the Timmy overdrive. I'm currently putting together packets for the 2023 build season, which will include a Box of Hall build, or two. Something strange has happened within my head as well, as I may plan to build a chorus circuit and link it to the ROG Mockman I built last year, to create a quasi-Rockman pedal. A lot of ideas flow, and I'm sure they will continue to formulate and solidify in the offseason when I'm trapped inside by the cold and snowy weather.

I may take building in 2023 to a more personal level as well. I was stoked with my Texas Rattler build, although my self-consciousness tells me I am the only person who would like that circuit and the only reason I do is because I built it, and slightly tweaked it. I feel as though I'm learning what goes where and why and if I modify this I can get this or that and adding this here, etc. so amongst my builds I plan to modify some circuits as well. I've done what I would call small modifications, such as the clipping switch on the Rata Blanca, but I want to try a few more things with some other circuits. I have some oddball diodes I want to see how they clip when put into a Boss OD-1 style circuit, which I do plan to build another.

In 2022 I also learned there are some pitfalls to amateur DIY pedal building, mainly sham components. I have over a dozen fake LM741 and TL072 op amps that I have no clue how to use, or if I even can use them, so that's why I now socket every op amp that goes into a build. I've been planning to build both a dual op amp and single op amp circuit with sockets to test op amps once I receive a batch to see if they're good or not. This will be more of a testing/diagnostic rig than anything, but it's tough out here when you need to buy things on the cheap, and you end up getting cheated. That doesn't change the fact that I have pedals I want to build, and I will continue to do so. I'll just have to be more careful about where I source my parts from.