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Thread: Cool Store-bought Pedals!

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Cool Store-bought Pedals!

    I love buying pedals because they are cheaper and lighter than guitar amps and so much easier to sell on eBay or Reverb.com...

    Rather than start a new thread here every single cotton pickin'
    time I run across a new pedal du jour I thought it better to contain my ravings to this thread...

    If anyone wants to join in with comments, questions or additions, please do!

    -==◇==○==◇==-

    Today... The Keeley Oxblood | Out-Klon the Klon!

    The Oxblood is Keeley's take on the Klon Centaur - it is not another klone but an original design which captures the magic of a Klon, but also takes it in some entirely new directions. Keeley & Co. increased the range of gain and added two external toggle switches, one to select the high pass filter frequency, 736hz (TS/Klon) or 66hz, and the other to select between two pairs of clipping diodes (Magical or Mythical). With a retail price of $199 (ouch!) they do sell used for as low as $125.

    https://robertkeeley.com/Keeley_Oxblood_Overdrive

    If you are looking for a decent Klon copy (i.e., Klone) the EHX Soul Food is really nice, selling new for under $80 or used for about $50. The one I bought had been modded with a bass boost control and a 3 way toggle switch for the clipping diodes. I suspect that the mod is similar to the JHS Meat & 3 but since the company that did the mod is no longer offering it I may try to reverse engineer it.

    https://www.premierguitar.com/articl...ul-food-review

    JHS will mod your pedal for $45 plus $10s/h (you do need to pay shipping to them) or sell you a new modded pedal for $135 plus $10.

    https://www.jhspedals.com/products/m...od-meat-3-mod/

    The JHS mod puts the toggle switch in the battery compartment area so you must use an AC adapter. The mod on my pedal put the toggle switch on the top next to the DC jack so by rotating the bass boost pot a 9v battery will fit inside.

    Here is an article about replacing the diodes:

    Coda Effects - Electro Harmonix Soul Food diodes mod (step by step)

    Hmmm... with that part of the mod covered it looks like I just need to document the bass pot mod which should be easy peasy. I'll also measure the location of the holes exactly if you want to be able to use a battery.

    -==◇==○==◇==-

    So which pedal do I like better? I like both of them and they each have their strong points. For one thing if you do the mods yourself to a used Soul Food it will sure cost a lot less! The Keeley Oxblood gets some good Klon tones and then you can crank it up. The bass switch (Phat) is not as versatile as the bass control on the modded Soul Food IMO you have a choice between too much and too little bass.

    Steve A.

    P.S. When I started screwing around with my guitar amps 20 years the commercial pedals available were nothing like what is available today. Paul Cochrane's Tim and Timmy pedals pretty much invented and defined the concept of a lower gain very transparent overdrive which responded like a good tube amp. And that is only one of the many pedal niches available today.

    And with me underwhelmed with the overdrive channels in so many production line tube amps I really like how so many modern pedals work well plugged into a decent sounding clean channel on a tube amp. In fact when I play at home these days I am usually using my ZT Lunchbox analog/digital amp with or without a stomp box. (It is a modelling amp only in the sense that designer Ken Kantor programmed the digital chip to produce the sound and response of a nice guitar amp, the kind that I've really enjoyed playing for 50+ years, tube or solid state.)

    There are only so many bytes available in a DSP chip and Ken uses them to produce just one really nice amp model rather than 2 dozen or more mediocre ones. I've even been taking my Lunchbox to jams and even a few gigs.

    EDIT: Here are the details of the Soul Food Bass Pot Mod:
    Two leads are attached to the copper pads for the large blue film cap located between the two brown film caps labelled C2(0.082uF) & C3(0.1uF). The blue cap appears to be labelled C6 although it might also be C9+. The markings on the cap are 154R (0.15uF) and is apparently not the original cap. (Gut shots show no blue caps.)
    The two leads go to terminals 2 & 3 of the added B25k bass pot
    So basically the blue cap is taken out of the circuit when the bass pot is set to 10 and is bypassed with a 25k resistance when set to 0.

    Dimensions of 2 added holes to be posted later.

    For reverse engineered schematic of Klon in case anyone wants to try figure out original value of the EHX# C6 cap...

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-epRPTTGkNj...A/s1600/s1.gif

    https://aionelectronics.com/project/...aur-overdrive/

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 03-06-2018 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Screwed up on C6 cap markings!

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    The EHX East River Drive... a really nice TS-808 clone!

    The EHX East River Drive... a really nice TS-808 clone!

    EHX had Analog Mike come up with a very authentic sounding Tube Screamer clone using readily-available modern components. I bought a real Tube Screamer in 1979 plus several of the later versions from Ibanez and other companies and the East River Drive really captures the Tube Screaminess! Note: this is NOT like the modded Tube Screamers that Analogman is so well known for, with the only modification being true bypass wiring.

    While a reissue TS808 from Ibanez retails for $170, the East River Drive sells new for under $70 and used for $40-50.

    When EHX wanted to make a classic overdrive pedal, they asked Analog Man to help them out as we have been working on Tube Screamers longer than anyone else. We worked with the EHX management and engineers and they built this excellent pedal, to our exact specs, with the JRC4558D chip which we have used for so long.

    Electro-Harmonix East River Drive Overdrive Pedal
    One reason I posted this is that the diode mod for the Soul Food in Post #1 mentions that it could be done to the East River Drive as well...

    Coda Effects - Electro Harmonix Soul Food diodes mod (step by step)

    Steve A.

    P.S. If you are looking for a supercharged Tube Screamer check out the Way Huge Green Rhino! Now that they have been discontinued for over a year the used price has dropped to not much more than a new East River Drive. (I think that Way Huge will be reissuing many of their discontinued pedals in smaller enclosures, unfortunately without the multitude of internal and external mini pots.)

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  3. #3
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    So did the Timmy come before or after the Klon? I thought the Klon was the original "transparent" overdrive. Also wondering how the Timmy compares to the Oxblood.

    If you get around to reverse engineering it, I'd be interested in seeing a schematic of the bass mod for the EH pedals.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    So did the Timmy come before or after the Klon? I thought the Klon was the original "transparent" overdrive. Also wondering how the Timmy compares to the Oxblood.

    If you get around to reverse engineering it, I'd be interested in seeing a schematic of the bass mod for the EH pedals.
    With a high pass filter set around 736hz I would not consider the Klon to be transparent although it is in the low to mid gain category. With them made by hand in very limited quantities they were not available to the average guitarist (I was referring to the pedals that we could buy at GC or our local music stores.) In any case they were covered with black epoxy and it wasn't until ~2008 that they were finally reverse engineered.

    I added instructions for the bass pot to Post #1 but misread my handwritten notes. The stock brown poly cap C6 (between C1 & C2) was replaced with a blue cap marked 154R (0.15uF) with wires running from the cap leads to terminals 2 & 3 of a B25k PC mount pedal pot. (The modder used a small 4x5 piece of veroboard to connect the wires... a great idea!)

    Steve A.

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  5. #5
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    In 2007, I received an unsolicited cold call from Bill Finnegan. He had received requests from some customers, wondering if they could have a little more of something I won't specify. It wasn't an inherent weakness in the design, but more a special request from enough people that he was interested in seeing whether it could be accommodated. Bill had originally worked with a consulting engineer in designing the Klon Centaur, however the engineer had tragically died in a single-engine prop plane accident, and he hadn't had anyone to collaborate with since then. More a person with great ears, great ideas, and high standards for build quality, he needed someone with some understanding of the circuit. He had seen my posts and felt I was someone he could trust; something which I was deeply honoured by. He sent me two ungooped Klon boards, one of which had every single component meticulously socketed, such that any part could be swapped for another value, removed, or whatnot, for comparison against the stock unit. I constructed an A/B box to make for instant comparison of the modded andd unmodded units, while playing. He also sent a schematic, having a number of resistor values crossed out and replaced with 1% values. Like I say, good ears. The constraints were that whatever I attempted had to be done with the original board, and any suggested changes could not compel changes to the board layout.

    Bill's business model was somewhat problematic. The protocol was that you'd phone him to order one, he would quiz you about your rig and setuo, and if he felt the pedal was not going to complement it, he would discourage purchase. While it was as ethical as anyone could ever aspire to, and made every sale a "shidduch" (Yiddish expression for "a match", in the sense of leading to an enduring marriage), it cut into his build time severely, since such conversations could be 30 minutes each. Order backlog was also impacted on by the use of proprietary cast chassis, and limited orders of other components. The components used were all high quality, but having all the needed parts and time to make them created a backlog. The demand for them grew, as did the myths and expectations. Owners, who were moving on to other things found they could resell their unit to impatient e-bay buyers for more than they had originally paid Bill (somewhere in the mid-300s). Of course, such vendors would not provide the is-this-really-for-you chat that Bill did, and buyers were simply happy to have their hands on one, rather than wait 11 weeks, or whatever, for one from Bill. I guess some people have more money than patience.

    The problem this created was that many mistakenly thought the pedal would instantly make them a tone monster, independent of everything else. Just as bad, there was a widespread mistaken belief that the pedal itself possessed some magical tone. As overdrive pedals go, it wasn't anything special. I can say this having had 2 in my grasp to A/B. But it wasn't designed for that. It was designed to provide a preconditioned signal to a tube amp that would extract desirable drive from the amp itself. Indeed, Bill told me that while the Treble control on the pedal was cut/boost, it was really intended to be used primarily in cut fashion, such that when an amp was pushed hard, you could tailor the signal fed to it and weren't getting harmonics of harmonics of harmonics (i.e., fizz). So, in many ways, the pedal was widely misunderstood. Meanwhile, legends and expectations grew, but not nearly as fast as resale prices, none of which Bill saw a penny of. E-bay buyers were like someone complaining they had spent a small fortune on a surgical knife and found that not only could they not eat soup with it, but they kept cutting their lip; hence it was "a piece of crap".

    In the end, I was not able to accomplish what Bill requested, and we parted ways amicably, with the boards and design info returned. I kept my promise to Bill to keep all aspects of the design under my hat and continue to, notwithstanding what has already been revealed by others via reverse engineering. It's a smart piece of gear. A bloody house of cards, mind you, where changing a small thing over here results in something lost over there, but smart nonetheless. I hope he continues to make some money from it.

    Can one achieve a similar tonal outcome in other ways? I suspect so. I think one of the reasons why Bill initially contacted me was because of something I had designed and posted that was aimed at producing a similar sort of outcome ( http://ampage.org/hammer/files/The_Crank.gif ), though not as complex.

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  6. #6
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hammer View Post
    In 2007, I received an unsolicited cold call from Bill Finnegan. He had received requests from some customers, wondering if they could have a little more of something I won't specify. It wasn't an inherent weakness in the design, but more a special request from enough people that he was interested in seeing whether it could be accommodated.....
    Wow... what a story to tell your grandkids. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    I have to say that I am really impressed with the Soul Food and the Klon design, especially how it enhances your playing in the lower gain settings - not as transparent as the Timmy in that regard but very nice in its own way. And I really like how it sounds as you turn the gain up.

    Just my own opinion here but I think that in most cases you have to really like the clean sound of your guitar and amp to fully appreciate the effect of pedals like the Klon and the Timmy... if you are just looking for another overdrive pedal you might be disappointed as they both enhance the sound of your rig rather than mask it in overdrive and distortion.

    I don't know who came up with the JHS "meat" mod [I just found out — see @@@ below] but the added bass control is a big improvement to the Klon design (perhaps what Bill was looking for?) I had been assuming that I was getting the stock Klone sound with the bass control set to 0 but since examining the mod in my pedal I see that is not the case... I need to do an A/B test with a stock Soul Food pedal to settle that question as well as another one: do the stock diodes sound as bad as the new silicon ones wired to the 3 way toggle switch?

    Steve A.

    P.S. Here is a review and an unrelated video on the JHS "Meat & 3" mod.

    Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Overdrive (JHS Pedals 'Meat & 3' Mod) - Pedal of the Day



    NOTE: I just now listened to the video from the Pedal of the Day article and it really sucked so I replaced it with a much better one A/B--ing it with a real Klon Centaur.


    P.P.S. I have attached the Martin Chittum drawing of the reverse engineered silver Klon #S698 (I posted a link to it last night but could not download a good copy of it to attach.) I found it in this very informative article:

    Coda Effects - Klon Centaur Clone and mods (Aion Refractor)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    @@@ It looks like Madbeans came up with the idea of replacing the .082uF C7 cap with a .150uF to boost the bass and the Coda Effects article referenced above first posted the idea of wiring in a pot and an added cap as a bass contour control.





    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 03-07-2018 at 02:48 AM.

  7. #7
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Retitling this thread

    Notice: I am going to retitle this thread "Klon Centaur, Klones and mods" and delete the 2nd post on the East River Drive to be resurrected at a later date.

    Steve A.

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 03-06-2018 at 11:57 PM.

  8. #8
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    I just ran across a modded pedal like the one I bought at reverb.com for $90 + $10s/h. Highly recommended!

    https://reverb.com/item/10606536-ele...-kinnatone-mod

    It looks like the bass pot is mounted a little bit further from the output jack than on mine so you might not be able to rotate it around to allow a battery to be used. (I'm writing up the drill specifications right now.)

    Steve A.

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  9. #9
    don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Your thread retitling did not work.

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    The voices in my head are idiots!

  10. #10
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    Bill's contribution to the industry - and I don't say this lightly, or with any smugness whatsoever - was the idea of signal preconditioning. Sure, there had been boosters of various types, from the LPB-1 to the Micro-Amp, and many others. And there were certainly many overdrive pedals. Bill's goal was to feed a tube amp what it needed to overdrive in a desirable way; to make the amp a sort of effect. I always thought that one of the best and nicest feedback comments from one of his customers, that he would include in the few ads he would run intermittently in Vintage Guitar, was that Klon sounded like their amp, but bigger.

    There are certainly many ways to arrive at that goal. What Bill sparked in the early 90's, with the Klon, was the systematic search for ways to do that. I think that idea was a valuable contribution. And what went over the heads of many was that they were stuck thinking of the amp as separate from pedals, and vice versa. The notion of a synergistic combination of pedal and amp took a long time to seep in. Who knows. Maybe it was things like the Mesa Boogie amps, with their cascaded drive stages , that nudged players into thinking of amp overdrive as something attained within the amp, by the amp. So, even though public appetite for the Klon grew and grew, purchasers were still thinking of it as a pedal that produced overdrive which would have a signature tone, even if you fed it into a pristine Crown power amp.

    So, if you want to retitle the thread, perhaps it should be "Amp overdrive preconditioners", rather than Klon clones.

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  11. #11
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I've said this before -- I've never met a Tube Screamer that I really liked.

    To be fair, I think it's more accurate to say that I've never been a big fan of diode clipping overdrive pedals. I know, I know, everybody must think I'm crazy, but I just think that diode clippers have an immediately recognizable solid state sound that doesn't sound at all 'organic.' I've bought one diode clipper after another and after each one's honeymoon period had ended it wound up being tossed into a drawer with all of the other 'fails'. The result has been a drawer full of OD pedals that haven't seen a foot since they were new. Finally I stopped buying them.

    I guess I fall into the camp of those guys to believe that the answer lies in controlling the behavior of a multiple stage tube preamp to get what I think of (for lack of a better term) as a more 'organic' sound.

    With that said, I have heard a few demos of the Klon and the Soul Food, with minimal OD and primarily clean boosting, that made me think they sounded surprisingly good. They had that "same amp just bigger" sound that Mark was talking about. Yes, they still sounded like a diode clipper to me, but it didn't seem as objectionable as some of the other diode clippers. These 'transparent' circuits offer more subtlety in their effect, and I find that appealing. But IMO as soon as you turn either one up, they immediately start sounding like ass.

    When I need external boost I tend to prefer clean boost like the Micro Amp circuit with EQ shaping, something that boosts the signal while providing a little 'preconditioning' in frequency response without adding clipping directly. Diodes just don't do it for me. FWIW I'm also one of those guys who doesn't like a JCM900's front end.

    Thanks for posting those mods Steve. I'm familiar with the Chittum schematic for the Klon, but I've never found the Soul Food schem. Is it available?

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    Last edited by bob p; 03-07-2018 at 05:01 AM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  12. #12
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    Your thread retitling did not work.
    I thought I'd give everybody 24 hours advanced warning...

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