Swamp Thang / Tremodillo

Monster Effects Swamp Thang X Diaz Tremodillo

Another amazing tremolo project to emulate fender amp's tremolo, they sound as good as Demeter tremolo despite of they don't use a LFO to drive the wave oscillation, instead they use transistors like EA Tremolo, and EH Pulsar...

Swamp-Thang produced by Monster effect was originally based on Cesar Diaz Texas Tremodillo, the only difference is that sometimes Monster Effect don't put the speed footswitch...

Look how they sound:

Monster Effects Swamp Thang

Diaz Tremodillo

I used Dirk Hendrik's schematic, and some images found on the internet from the original Tremodillo pcb...
What I think is strange is that there are many polarized capacitors in line with the signal path... I mean, people usualy say that polarized caps make pedals sounding bad... so it's quite strange...

Diaz Tremodillo Internal circuit

HAO Rust Driver

Hao Rust Driver ($150.00) is a 60's Marshall Plexi simulator in a box built by a japanese company... I's a good, practice and simple circuit with few controls...

HAO Rust Driver
"The HAO Rust Driver recreates the classic sound of a late 60's Marshall Plexi running at full bore grind. The HAO Rust Driver's carefully selected components perform faithfully with any amplifier at any volume. The result is a commanding tone with a tight, thick bottom and extremely low signal to noise ratio. A single knob controls output level and gain while three switchable EQ curves maximize tonal options without compromising your guitar sound. When you want that "Plexi Sound," the Rust Driver is an affordable, reliable, portable alternative to the real thing."

Below there is my Hao Rust Driver pcb layout with millenium 4049. You can try use another caps in the toggle switch if you dont like the way of these caps sound... you can also use a pot for tone insted of a switch... and I don't know which is the original IC, but any dual opamp works ok, then you can test and use one that fits your taste ....people tried use one potentiometer for gain control but this change was not good cause the pedal dont sounds plexi like if you change the gain amount... so i think is better do like the original...

Supa-Trem / Demeter Tremulator

Fulltone Supa-trem x Demeter Tremulator

More one case that one cloned another one...
Supa-trem ($219.00) and Demeter Tremulator ($200.00) have pratically the same circuit...
James Demeter developed his tremolo in the 80's based on a old fender twin tremolo, and later it was cloned by Fulltone and renamed as Supa-trem... Fulltone also made some mods surrounding the IC LF442... and others useless mods like put foot-switches for change the potentiometers... but who already saw square and sine waves in the same song?
anyway Demeter did a great job! its one of the best tremolos ever built...

Fulltone Supa-trem and Demeter Tremulator Boxes showing their internal circuits

....in the circuit the lfo and the amplification stages are in a quite different way... allowing a versatile 'Depth' control (called 'Mix' in the Supa-trem)
in the supa-trem the speed foot-switch is used to drive the rate pot which is a double pot 1M/500k, changing to a lower resistance we have an increase on the rate... and the Hard/Soft foot-switch is connected in parallel with a internal pot, that control the amount of bright of the lfo LED and this way controlling the wave's shape... being one fine control of depth... (in the Demeter also has this trimpot for fine depth... but not the other supa-trem's trimpot that control the level, which is replaced by a 10k resistor)...
They maybe can sound a little different just because of differences in the regulation of internal trimpots.

Here there is a video comparing Fulltone Supa-Trem and Demeter tremolator.

All components are easy to find, I had problems only with some resistors values like 7k5 and 8k8...
I used a LED/LDR isolated with heat shrink cable insted of an optoisolator like the VTL5C3...
My schematic was based on Baja Trembulator and on the original Supa-trem and the layout was based on Patrick Johnson's "Dull Bone Koopa-Gem"... i used a millenium 4049 together with the circuit and changed to use only one on/off LED who also blink with the ocillation...

My Supa-Trem Temeter Tremulator pcb
My Supa-Trem / Demeter Tremulator pcb 

Gainster / Red Snapper

Project originally developed by Menatone since 1996, the Red Snapper (sold by $179,00) is an overdrive/booster pedal derived from modifications in the basic scheme of Tube Screamer. Tube Screamer is one of the most famous overdrives and also the most cloned of all the world, it is characterized by have higher compression and mid hump. But this emphasis on mid frequency is somewhat unpleasant for the most of listeners who prefer a flat equalization...
And that's what the Menatone did, they changed the circuit of Tube Screamer to maintain the purity of the sound, without over compression and with no increase in the mids... and as a result created a pedal really good!
And how in this world everything is copied, Clark Amplification, famous for making replicas of amplifiers, decided to copy the circuit of the Red Snapper and rename it as Gainster (sold by $ 380.00) ... and how the world is not fair, Gainster ended up with more notoriety than the Red Snapper... and the 'brand' Gainster was loaned to Barber that produced the Gainster for a wile (sold for $139.95), but soon the production rights were "confiscated" by Clark Amplification.

Here you can see some videos of these pedals...
Menatone Red Snapper
Clark Gainster  
Barber Gainster

Respectively, the pedals produced by Menatone, Clark (with a huge box) and Barber

The both pedals built by Clark and Menatone were made by connecting point-to-point, on the other hand those produced by Barber wore printed circuit board. The IC's used seem to be variation... they use JRC4558, TL072, LF353 ... In the Barber pedals was added an internal trimpot as an additional adjustment for bass frequency, this trimpot was exteriorized in the latest Menatone's pedals with the "hi cut" control ...

A friend of mine bought one Barber Gainster recently, and it uses the JRC072 as IC, and there are some changes like add a protection against polarity inversion in the supply path, and different values on the input and output capacitors (both 100n in Clark's circuit and they became 330n, 68n) and in the tone capacitor (47n in the clark's and 56n in Barber's).

2006's Barber Gainster with some changes from the original Clark Gainster

Comparing Barber Gainster with my clone (that is a clone based on the original Clark Gainster) I notice that my clone have a few more gain... is more drive like and the Barber is more booster like... although I prefer mine... if you like the Barber's sound is just change the capacitor by those that I said above.

 Here there is a comparison made with a very low sound quality camera

I renamed my version as Hipster, I used the LF352, and the circuit of milleniun 4049, I preferred to leave the bass control as a trimpot, as well as the Barber version. 
The finish was the same of my Peach Fuzz clone, in the graphics I decided to keep the same idea of the Gainster.

My Gainster PCB, details of the circuit.

My Gainster external finish.

Small Clone version 3207

One pedal I always wanted to build was a chorus, a lot of people don't like this effect, they think the 80's were “corny”, that we already had enouth chorus from a single decade, etc, etc... but no matter I'm a fan of this effect ... and from all the chorus I have heard no one sounded that good as the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone ... they speak much about the Boss Chorus Ensemble (the fist one) ... but I think it very boring, without that dimension and depth that Small Clone has ...
Among the obstacles to setting up a chorus there was the complexity of the circuit (one of the most difficult to build, with more components and therefore easier to commit mistakes) and also, and more important, because of the difficulty of finding the right components (BBDs) and the expensive price of these components (we are talking about Brazil...).

Then looking for one cheaper alternative I found the Old Monkey Chorus one adaptation developed by Gleiber (the 'Macaco Velho' from a brazilian diy forum). He did one circuit based in the MN3207 IC who mimicked the filters used in the CE2 and at the same time was a circuit simple, cheap and affordable (the Gleiber's article is very good and very didactic, and explains how chorus and flanger circuits work. Read this article is highly recommended!)
My PCB of the Old Monkey Chorus.

Throughout the building of this pedal I had several problems, and I redid welds several times... the pedal kind of sounds good, but because of I have done many changes on the same PCB it not gets 100% and even adjusting the trimpot he kept with one ocilation noise.
After that I researched various chorus circuits, Luix Chorus (from a Italian DIY site), Zombie chorus (interesting project of John Hollis), older Electro Hamonix chorus schematics, etc. .. my goal was to get a chorus that would sound similar to the Small Clone, but with the BBD that I had access, the MN3207 (R$7.00) ...

The problem of build a chorus have always been the expensive and rare BBDs (again I'm talking about Brazil)... The Small Clone uses only the MN3007, the CE uses the MN3007 and your partner MN3101 (in the Multicomercial store they are respectively R$ 15,00 and 13,00)

There is much discussion about which BBD is better...
Electro-Harmonix already fabricated chorus using many types of BBDs according to the market availability: (these following data were taken from their respective Data-Sheets)

SAD1024: 16pin chip, with two independent 512-stage delays, vdd +10/+15/+17 V;
MN3007: 8pin, 1024-stage, vdd -14/-15/-16 V, Total Harmonic Distortion 0.5/2.5 %, Noise Voltage 0.3 mVmrs 
MN3207: 8pin, 1024-stage, vdd +4/+5/+10 V, Total Harmonic Distortion 0.4/2.5 %, Noise Voltage 0.25 mVmrs

The SAD chip is extremely rare and virtually no longer used in chorus... the Electric Mistress flanger still uses the BBD.
Among the MN3007 and MN3207 there is a great controversy about MN3007 would have more headroom, less distortion, etc ...
But what we can see through datasheet is that they do not have major differences. And that the 3007 is made ​​for high voltage (15V) and in a usual 9V supply (common to the most of pedals), it operates below the ideal voltage and then ends up not with the performance which it was designed to work. Since the 3207 operates with 9V, it works within the voltage range which it was designed to operate ... so all this discourse about 3007 is better than 3207 ends up being a big myth... like many others myths existing in the music world ...

Looking schemes like an adaptation of Zombie Chorus to use the chip MN3207, the Old Monkey Chorus, and a version of the Small Clone SAD1024, I worked out a version of Small Clone to use MN3207 (which how we saw before is a chip more affordable and that works better at 9V).
The change for the circuit acceptance of MN3207 is just a matter of adjusting the IC connections and replace the negative input of the MN3007 by a positive value and adjust the voltage arriving at the IC into +5 V.
Schematic of Small Clone version MN3207
Small Clone 3207 pcb layout

(i finish this post later...)

Peach Fuzz

Pedal developed and produced by Frantone (don't seems in nothing with Fulltone, isn't it?) an american hand-maker little know here in Brasil. Despite of being a very odd woman, Mrs. Fran do a great work with your pedals but among all the one that stood out was the Peach Fuzz.
Now out of stock, the Peach Fuzz is only sold in custom shop versions by the dab of $445. The Peach's circuit shows many similarities with the OP-AMP Big Muff, although we can never say that it is a simple copy, since the entire structure of the circuit was modified to receive the IC LM386, IC with very strong gain, also used in 1watt amplifiers like the Rubi. As characteristic the Peach Fuzz has a sound with a sweet grainy texture, much sustain (like the Muff), and a remarkable bassy timbre.

Below are some samples authored by Kevin Glaz from the Pedal Plus site.

The Peach Fuzz was cloned by Danelectro in the Cool Cat series (series where many other boutique pedals that were taking notoriety also were cloned...) comparing photos of the Cool Cat Fuzz with the original Peach Fuzz the main differences are: the exchange of components by SMD, (perhaps) the change in some capacitors values and the switching of the IC TLC2262 by C4558, otherwise only the plastic key with electronic-switching, plastic box, etc... 

 Danelectro Cool Cat Fuzz X Frantone Peach Fuzz

Through this video you can see how is subtle the difference between the original and the clone... largely due to the exchange of TLC2262 one critical part, and hard to find... (in my pedals I tried replace by TL072, TL022, 4558, LF353, LF442, and other ones that I can't remember now... I think that the best ones were the TL072 and LF442... some ones even increased the bass like the original, but also let the sound a kind of bad.) 

Details inside the Cool Cat Fuzz

A friend of mine was crazy by this pedal, he is a fan of bassy guitar timbres like the Jack White ones and convinced me to accept the challenge of build it... the only thing we had was the scheme of SuperVelcroboy / Bajaman... I had never done any circuit layout before... then I looked for some program to draw circuits, I downloaded several but I ended up with the EAGLE because it had more material, tutorials, etc... but it is far from being a wonder, and was hard to get used to it and even I learn where to start to draw in that “rat nest” (literally). But after all the layout worked fine in the first try.

However, the schematic that I used was identical to the original Frantone which had a lot of unnecessary components that were part of a relay system that makes the LED switching of the pedal, since the Frantone pedals do not use (like me) the expensive 3pdts. So I redid the whole scheme of the pedal without the relay, and includes Milleniun already incorporated into the layout.

Below there is a video made with a very low sound quality cam, comparing the original Peach Fuzz and one of my old clones. In this video the only difference from the original is the replacement of the TLC2262 by the TL072. I can say that listening to these pedals live, they sound very.. veery close...nearly identical.

About the components, one of the difficulties of this project was the TLC2262, the not polarized 1uf capacitors (those yellow ones in the photo), they aren't very easy to find here (and are expensive 1,00R$ each one) ... vendors usually have those big blues polyester ones and the polarized ones, because of this I made the layout in a way to settle any capacitors including those big ones.
From what I saw in the photos of the Bajaman project it uses one layout identical to the original Frantone (I don't know how he got this layout), and in place of not polarized 1uf caps, he used the polarized even ... I do not know if the sound difference is significant ... but if you want to use polarized are much more cheaper (R$0.10)... to place them correctly is only to observe the cap polarity and put the negative side in the track near to the ground track.

Detail of the internal construction of my Peachfuzz

To accommodate the circuit I used a folded box of carbon steel, plate # 18, with the same size of the Hamond box used by Frantone. The finish was made with electrostatic painting in white (these painting houses hardly powder coat paint in various colors such as the orange of the original pedal), after I covered with an vinyl adhesive (the kind you put in cars) and renamed the pedal to BitchFuzz ...
The knobs are the MXR kind (they are a fortune for a piece of plastic, three knobs R$15.00) but they look cool. I used a chromed LED support (similar to the original) and high-brightness LED (the original uses common LED). To avoid scratching the bottom of the pedal I put a couple of silicone feet (also present in the original Frantone).

BitchFuzz's external finish