Here’s another in a line now of DOD pedal mods. For this FX55B, I decided to go for more of a BigMuff sound. Playing around with this pedal initially, I found it to be like most mass-produced distortion/fuzz effects. It had a very thin sound and that notorious volume drop that you may have heard on a high-school band’s first album. The lows were almost non-existent when the effect was engaged. I found the following schematic and, with a few simple changes, came out with a distortion pedal with considerable gain, massive lows, and a smoother, more rounded square wave.
Overall, the idea here was to get more from the pedal by employing some germanium to smooth out the harshness and to increase the overall output. The output is now considerably higher as long as the tone knob is set closer to 10 o’clock. At noon, the mixing is practically useless. At the 4 o’clock position, you get more of a thin, trash punk type of sound with an excessive noise floor. The sound sample demonstrates the effect with the tone set at about 10:30-11 and first contrasts the distortion setting. The third set shows off the tone below 10 o’clock. The last set shows what the tone does when you sweep through it.
i’ve have a CBS-era Fender Bantam Bass in for repair that looks like a bowl of spaghetti inside the chassis. it’s a slew of yellow wire spread from one side to the other that resembles the web of a drunken spider. the amp has been modified to include a tremolo, reverb, and an effects loop that replaces the bass channel in the amp. the tremolo circuit was originally a Weber kit, but someone ripped a couple of the pads off the PCB while trying to modify the mod. i just redesigned a tremolo circuit based upon a simple dual opamp LFO using the Weber’s rectifier as a guide to get voltage from the heater filament supply. i attached the output to an “Intensity” pot and wired it into the cathode of the second half of the initial 12AX7. The schematic below has node “A” highlighted to show where the output of the tremolo circuit was connect in the amplifier.
this is the layout as i was laying my new designed tremolo into the existing circuit.
this is the part of the original Weber tremolo where the last tech (careful with that soldering iron, Eugene!) attempted to modulate of the negative grid bias. though a sound idea, the circuit itself wound up acting more like a compression effect by changing altering the bias when signal was present. also, a solid-state tremolo like this won’t have much of an overall effect on negative grid biasing due mostly to it’s weak output. rails on the LFO is roughly +5.5V resulting in a good 2.25Vpk (1.5Vrms) signal which is hardly enough to be noticeable. i also tend to avoid using trem circuits that re-bias the output stage simply because it does seem to put undue stress on the tubes and surrounding components. it seems more efficient and makes more sense to me to modulate signals while they’re still small.
cleaner and a little more manageable.
and with a fine custom-made panel, the old Bantam looks and sounds more like a ’65 Super Reverb than ever before. granted, not all steps were taken to black-face the amp, but a few value substitutions were made to achieve more of a black-face tone.
And here we have a solid 160W solid-state bass amp with an RCA input on the front. this amp was brought to me with the complaint of really low volume on the RCA input. upon further inspection, this definitely seemed to be true. a reasonable listening volume could be obtained with the volume knob all the way up. definitely not a practical option if attempting to play live.
looking over the schematic (this one being Revision I) you’ve got 22k resistors at each input (left and right) mixed together for mono delivery into a 33k resistor all before the first gain stage. that’s definitely a hefty signal drop. to boost the signal, i simply removed the 33k SMD resistor on the preamp board pictured below and replaced it with a small piece of copper wire between the pads resulting in a significant volume boost. cranking up the tweeter pad on the back basically turned a mediocre bass amp into a portable DJ amp.
and if you’re not familiar with solder surface mount devices, you should really check out this extremely informative video.