A musician here in town heard from a mutual friend that I was into pedal projects and he was interested in getting a tremolo pedal. One of my big things as I try to get better with my skills is to continually work on projects. Practice definitely improves your ability to work electronics. You become more efficient and proficient with various tasks from soldering to drilling enclosures, etc. So what I’ve been doing is only charging for parts. Pedal repairs.. I usually accept a 6 pack for my troubles. I’m always looking for opportunities to fire up the soldering iron.
Anyways, this guy wanted a tremolo. I started reviewing various schematics on the internet. Tremolos are definitely more intense than my normal projects. One schematic that looked appealing was at General Guitar Gadgets (EA Tremolo). I fired up my DIY Layout Creator and started laying it out for a vero board. One thing that was evident right away was the size of the board. Vero is great but it can be a pain trying to get the size down to where you want/need it. While I was dicking around with that, I could see the General Guitar Gadgets PCB staring at me in the monitor and decided to just buy the PCB and be done with the hassle.
I also opted to go with the blinking LED mod that would flash the LED with the speed trem speed. I like to things move/blink, so that was a obvious choice. I had most of the components on hand already, but had to purchase a few resistors and the transistors.
Assembly on the PCB was cake (was happy I chose this route). I might try this again, and see if I can etch a PCB based on the schematic. I really want to go this direction in the future and move away from Vero all together. I had a few powder coated enclosures from PedalPartsPlus.com so after completing the circuit board and did my testing, I measured and drilled out the holes. I’m really starting to get a feel for my drill press and holes are coming very easy now-a-days.
After assembly I gave it a thorough test, and it sounds great. I really like the volume pot. You can overdrive circuit with it dimed. Unity gain is about 12 noon. Sounds great with tube amps. I’m not a bit tremolo guy, but I think it’ll cut the mustard. A couple of issues, the blinking LED will immediately blink when input jack is in. I’ll either break this out to the ground on the primary LED or provide a SPST switch to kill the LED. I can see some benefit to adjust the speed while the pedal is off (so you don’t have to engage it to see the rate). Not sure. I’ll ask the guy who this is for.. and go from there. Here is a shot from top.
If you’re into tweaking, building, modding.. love to include your stories as well. Let me know if you’re interested in a guest post!