Homemade Pedal Board

I decided to make a pedal board this past weekend, so I went to the hardware store and found a flat, rugged surface that I thought would work well as the base. I think it’s a piece of material from a stove, or exhaust vent, or something, but I’m actually not sure what it was intended to originally be used for.

I also got some 2-inch wide strips of velcro, which I attached to the surface. Then I cut squares and added them to the bottom of each pedal. I already had the 9-volt power extender, and the whole thing came together pretty quickly. Seems perfect for sitting in front of the amp, or using on the desktop. It even has some spongy material on the bottom so it doesn’t slide around.

Not sure how easy it is to follow the signal path in these images, but do you think I have these in a good order?

It’s this:

tuner > compressor > preamp > fuzz > overdrive > phaser > delay/looper > amp

Capacinator V1

The other day (about two weeks ago, actually) I got this in the mail, and it’s awesome:



The sloppy numbering was added by me because I wanted to remember the cap value when using it. I should have taken the knob off first, but I was too anxious.

After trying them all on my tele, I think I like .047uF best, at around a 4 or 5 on the tone dial. To be honest though, I didn’t dislike the .o68uF or the .1uF. I think I just like the browner tones.

Can’t wait to see what it sounds like with the Luxe Paul.

Thanks Greg!


1961 Relic Telecaster Custom: Wiring

I unscrewed my telecaster the other day to check out the wiring and to see which capacitors it was using.

The tone knob is using a .05uF capacitor, labeled iC 5032.

The volume knob is using a 680pF treble bleed capacitor, labeled 681K 1KU.

I didn’t know it had a treble bleed in it, but I’m glad it does. It essentially adds more treble to the signal as the volume is turned down. Seems like it shouldn’t be called “bleeding” but whatever. More info here about treble bleed capacitors.

Greg, are you going to try any .05uF capacitors in your tester?

Tone: Comparing DC Resistance in Guitar Pickups

From what I can gather, generally speaking, the higher the DC resistance on your pickup, the more compressed and warmer it will be. The lower the DC resistance, the more open, and brighter it will be.

This defines what your tone is like when the tone control is set to 10. As you start to lower the tone control away from 10, you roll off the high ends from the “live” pickup sound. The amount of high ends you roll off depend on your capacitor.

I did some research to compare the various DC resistance of typical pickup styles for high-end brands, and you can explore that in this Google spreadsheet.

Some findings:

  • Sean’s Jazzmaster with the “Pure Vintage ’65” pickups has the lowest DC resistance of the 4 other Jazzmaster pickups I compared, although Fralin will make one that is lower if you special order it. This means those pickups are going to be naturally a lot brighter than others.
  • My Custom Shop Tele has a crazy range of DC resistance spanning just about the max levels for both high and low.
  • The “Pure Vintage ’65” pickups in the reissue Jazzmaster and Jaguar have identical DC resistance.
  • The humbuckers made by Lollar and the Creamery that emulate the Gibson P.A.F.’s are pretty much identical, with the Lollar’s being a touch warmer.
  • Jazz Bass pickups have DC resistance in the range of typical humbucker pickups.
  • Precision Bass pickups have the highest DC resistance, and the most compressed, warmest, natural tone.
  • Inductance (Henries) seems to affect the tone, too. Will have to investigate that further.

Check out all the details:

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 2.52.39 PM

Antique Electronic Supply

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.08.03 PMI recently came across Antique Electronic Supply through a half-hearted Google search for capacitor information, and I’m somewhat overwhelmed with the awesomeness.

They seem to be the StewMac of electronics, with a strong overlap with music-related products. They actually sell several of the same things that StewMac does, but in addition to that, they have a Tech Corner that contains things like a page for understanding the nuances of Potentiometers and Tone Capacitors.

Here are a few excerpts:

On Potentiometers:

It’s useful to know the fundamental relationship between voltage, current and resistance known as Ohm’s Law when understanding how electric guitar circuits work. The guitar pickups provide the voltage and current source, while the potentiometers provide the resistance. From Ohm’s Law we can see how increasing resistance decreases the flow of current through a circuit, while decreasing the resistance increases the current flow. If two circuit paths are provided from a common voltage source, more current will flow through the path of least resistance.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 10.13.29 AM

On Tone Control:

The tone pot’s resistance is the same for all signal frequencies; however, the capacitor has AC impedance which varies depending on both the signal frequency and the value of capacitance as shown in the equation below. High frequencies see less impedance from the same capacitor than low frequencies. The table below shows impedance calculations for three of the most common tone cap values at a low frequency (100 Hz) and a high frequency (5 kHz).

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.27.43 PM


And an interesting set of Potentiometer Taper Charts which makes me wonder what kind I bought. I’m assuming the linear taper is the one I would like the best, but I don’t really know.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.32.58 PM

The M and N Taper (Blend Balance) seems like it could be really interesting if you were able to use it in conjunction with coil-splitting to bring in the volume of the second single coil in the humbucker.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.34.59 PM


In addition to the helpful technical details, there are also cool products, like this set of build-it-yourself pedals, and guitar amps.

And if that weren’t enough, there’s a bunch of t-shirts with designs like this:

Greg, if you find you need more capacitors for your capacinator pedal, they seem to sell about 200 of them.



Pedal Power

I’ve been playing around with pedals and I really like it. I only have a few right now, but I can totally see how this could be a dangerous habit. It might be due to my humbucker envy, but I’ve been playing with the tone on my telecaster and using it at what would probably be a setting of 2. I just like the warmer, darker qualities.

Here’s a sound clip of the tele with the pickups in the middle position, the tone at two, volume all the way up, and using the pedal configuration in the image below. The guitar is in DADGAD tuning.



The pedals are the Electro Harmonix Small Stone phase shifter, the Xotic Effects BB preamp, and the Keeley Electronics compressor. I’m running this into Logic directly because it was too late to use an amp. Logic also has some reverb added.

Here’s a closer look at the details of each:

The preamp is cool because it has a gain setting which acts as an overdrive a low volumes. It also is an EQ, and lets me boost the bass a little more. To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m doing with the compressor, but I like the sounds that come out of it. I’m using the attack at a setting that it says is better for humbuckers, which I didn’t do on purpose. Not sure how that affects the single coil sound. The Small Stone is nice because it’s analog, and it has a darker sound than some of the others I explored, like the MXR phase 90. It has a “color” knob that makes it a little brighter, but I don’t like it as much.

Sean, you recently got a phaser pedal on tour, right? What is it?