Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DIY Stompboxes - Matsumin's ValveCaster

Here is a simple Tube Overdrive/Boost pedal that can be built in a weekend if you have enough materials laying around (or if you spent some time & money and sourced the materials commercially).

It is based on Matsumin's ValveCaster, which has plans and a discussion thread a mile long on DIYStompboxes.com. Unlike Tube Amplifiers, this is a simple 9-12 Volt circuit, and can be built for under $50 (not including tube). It sounds incredible between a guitar and both tube or solid-state amplifier. It is versatile enough design that you can incorporate other effects into the same pedal, or go beyond for more stages. Take a listen to one of these builds, courtesy Dovinia:


(I would post a video of my own, but I am still a n00b at playing the guitar. I have had more fun building this stuff, and watching the reactions of regular players who get a feel of the tone of this thing with their own playing.)

Here are a couple of more links with others builds of the same design:
Some sweet licks and tone on a one single tube
Not enough? Go for two stages of gain!
Or even more...here are 3 chained together

With enough love and care in the manufacturing process, you could have a world-class tube overdrive pedal that is completely unique in design, and sounds just as good as one of the expensive boutique tube-overdrive pedals out there. Here is what I created and painted in my garage last winter which I hope to post videos of soon:



The name just stuck...It's a 12AU7 tube pedal running with a starved plate (cold) at 9-12 volts, while the 12AU7's specifications are designed to operate at over 200 volts in an amp.

8 comments:

  1. Don't think I will be building one of those any time soon, but sounds interesting.

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  2. You sir, have made an awesome pedal.

    How long does something like that take? Is it fragile? Can you burn it out? :)

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  3. From the time I started drilling out the Hammond 1590B box...to the time I baked the last layer of Clearcoat, it took me most of a weekend, including soldering, assembly, and filing out the center of the tube socket to mount a blue LED.

    Sure the tube can be fragile, so I wouldn't advise kicking it. My second build has a protective rail on it so you can't step on or kick the tubes (I have a 2-tube pedal in the works, on the bench)

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  4. How do you think it would sound on a bass guitar?

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  5. i gotta show my brother this, he's the music one

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  6. Did you learn to build all this by yourself?

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