Random Number Generator

This is Midfi Electronics “Random Number Generator”. It’s a radical fuzz that adds oscillation notes that randomly arpeggiate off of the fundamental note played. Crazy noise maker pedal. I’ve built several of these now by request. The owner of the design over at Midfi was gracious enough to share the schematic on the DIYstompboxes forum which is why I want to make it clear that this is NOT my design, and if you get one for me you are strictly paying me to make a clone since these aren’t available anymore.


This is the first one of these I’ve built. I added the mods of changing a 100k resistor with a pot, and a diode that is switched into the circuit, but quite frankly they don’t do a whole lot. Any others of these I build will just have the volume knob as original intended.

Uglyface

The Uglyface effect is an oscillation based distortion/fuzz pedal with envelope controller designed by Tim Escobedo. It can do a wide varitey of off the wall sounds (laser guns, bagpipes, drones), and it has many different ways to modify the circuit. I’ll liked it so much I built it into one of my old junker guitars (details below).


This is the first Uglyface I’ve built. I built it into some crazy electronics box with huge heatsyncs on the sides. Seemed to fit the circuit some how lol. I did the standard controls of Volume, Threshold, Frequency, and Sensitivity, and added a mix control that worked ok.


I had this old guitar knocking around for a while, so I decided to mount an Uglyface inside of it. It has all the same controls as the pedal above, but I also added a Light Sensor with switch for controlling the frequency knob.

Other Effects Builds

Here’s some of the “one off” pedals I’ve built. Some have already been sold, some I built for folks that aren’t handy with a soldering iron, some for friends, and I’ve actually even kept a few for myself =)


Junkifyer
This was one of my very first pedals. I called it the “Junkifyer” and it’s based off of a circuit by Tim E. called the “LoFoMoFo”. Basically what it does is sends a guitar signal through a noisy transistor with a high pass filter. What that does is make your guitar sound like it’s being played through an old radio. I have a work a like design of my own that’s similar to this, but I added another transistor stage, and did the “Broken speaker” distortion differently. If I build them it will be under the same name.
This pedal is sold.


PWM
This pedal is Tim E.’s “PWM”. It routes the guitars signal through an oscillator, giving your guitar’s tone a synthy quality. It also has an LFO that will modulate the Osc. frequency in time with the LFO’s rate. I wired a switching jack to the frequency knob that will allow an expression pedal to control the frequency. Controls from left to right are= Volume, Frequency, LFO Depth, LFO rate. It has a bright blue LED to show bypassed state. This pedal is now with Shawn from Child Bite. I’ve built a handful more of these. I have one currently I need to take photos of that has a better LFO with triange and squarewaves.
This pedal is sold

before                                                                          after

Red Llama
This is the Red Llama. The circuit is a clone of the infamous (more then famous) Way Huge Red Llama. It gives fat tube sounding distortion. I disassembled this for a while to use some of it’s parts, but I decided to put this back together in a new enclosure to sell.
This pedal has now sold.


Auto Crash with mods

This is John Hollis’ “Crash Sync” pedal. It’s an oscillator based distortion, pretty thick and noisy. I added the envelope control from Moosapotamus’ “Auto Crash”, and also did a few modifications circuit bender style. I found a two points that change the timbre of the oscialltion. One makes it a more mid-rangey wah type sound, and the other causes the Osc. to be prominent then the guitar’s signal. I also added a momentary stomp switch that removes the guitar’s signal completely for some laser gun fun.
This pedal is sold


Heart Throb Tremolo

Hearthrob Tremolo by MarkM. I had an old Kay Tremolo that I foolishly sold, and now that I’m trying to build a pedal board I knew that I would need a good tremolo. With simple controls this one really gets the job done. Speed works as described, and there is also a switch that will decrease/increase the speed in half. The really cool feature is the “Dwell” knob. This allows you to dial in exactly how deep you want the tremolo to be. From sublte waver to full on choppy thumps. I added the mod to make the LED pulse with time of the tremolo. I’ve reboxed this pedal due to space, just need to take an updated photo.
This pedal is currently on my “surf” pedalboard.

Pedals without photos (yet):

Fool Drive 2
Built this from a project a found online. First time using an etched PCB. Thanks to John Lyons for making them. Check out his site for awesome wood pedals enclosures. I’ve added several mods to this pedal. The switches on the back control a bass boost, gain boost, clipping switch (asymetrical diodes and LEDS), and a switch to change the diodes to symetrical.
This pedal is currently loaned out to a friend.

Psychtar
The Psychtar is a Sitar simulator+Octave fuzz. It’s another of Tim E. circuits. Really cool pedal. I gave this to my friend “P” before I could take a photo of it. Hope to get one soon. I’ve built another of these since. I’ve built another one for myself, just need to get a photo of it also.
This pedal is in my current rotation.

Peppermill
Awesome project from the guys at . Pics soon. This is a great very light overdrive. The exact sound I was looking for when I first started building pedals. Pefect for Rockabilly, roots, and surf.
This pedal is on my pedalboard.

BYOC ESV Tone Bender
My first “Kit” pedal. This “Build your own clone” kit is a work-a-like of the original MKII Tone Bender fuzz pedal. The awesome thing is it came with NOS OC44 Germanium transistors! I added a switch that takes out the booster stage making it more like a Fuzz Face, and I brought the bias trim pot out on the case.
This pedal was sold to a friend

BYOC Confidence Booster
Pics soon. Came free with my ESV Tone Bender kit from BYOC. I made it into a true boost pedals by mounting it in an enclosure, adding a bypass switch, and outboarding the boost trim pot.
This pedal is currently on my “surf” pedalboard

Mutator for sale.

I have a completed Mutator up for sale. It’s in one of the cooler cases that I’ve recycled thus far. This Mutator is of a new design. I’ve found a way to make this pedal work as a Fuzz as well as an insane noise maker. This mutator has a Volume knob, Gain Knob, Mutation knob, Mutation switch, Stomp switch to go between Fuzz and Mutation with a bright blue LED, and a Bypass switch with a bright blue LED. I’m listing this one on ebay, and starting the bidding at 100.00 plus 8.00 to ship. Here is the eBay link. Please send me a line through the Contact Page if you are interested in getting a Mutator custom built for you. You can get more info on the Mutator pedals I build here.

This pedal has been sold.

Circuit Bending Challenge

On October twenty-eighth two-thousand seven, a prestigious challenge was put forth. Thrift stores raided, fingers moistened, soldering irons heated, and toys violated. When the solder smoke finally cleared, only one could stand victorious with their ears covered. This is the story of my part in that challenge….Ok, enough with the epic narratives.

The challenge was to pick up a toy, bend it, and document it on the web all in one day. I was interested in the challenge as soon as I heard about it, and figured I would double up the fun by making an event of it. I invited some friends over to have a “Bending Workshop” on “Circuit Challenge Day” (soon to be nationally recognized). Three of them thought it sound like a slightly strange, but fun idea, so plans were laid. Continue reading “Circuit Bending Challenge”

PSS-270, 170, 140 and SHS-10 Tutorial

After some major diggin’ for info I found that no one had a specific guide for bending a Yamaha PSS-270, so I decided to make one. Credit to Sean “audioid” (myspace.com/audioidbentaudio), and Paul from circuitbenders.co.uk for the info on this bend. This bend involves cutting data lines that go from the FM synth chip (YM2413) to the main chip (XC194A0). The pins on the FM chip that go to the main chip are pins 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 17, and 18. You cut the traces, and then solder wires on either side of the cut. Take the pair of wires from one cut, and solder them to a switch, and this will allow you to turn the flow of data on and off.

This is a picture of the board flipped over. I have the FM chip out-lined in red, and you can see the big chip under it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this picture I have the solder points from the FM chip marked in red dots, and the blue dots are where they go to the main chip. Ignore the green dots. The black line is where you *carefully* cut the data lines. I used a volt meter to check and make sure that the lines no longer had continuity.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve indicated the FM chip in this picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s all 16 wires in place. Some people recommend drilling very small holes on both sides of the trace cuts, and putting wires through them, or scraping the coating off so you can solder on it. I just soldered the wires onto the pins of the chip, which can be dangerous because you run the risk of overheating it. I used a pair of wires that are the same color for each connection to make wiring up the switches easier.

 

 

 

 

I’ve got the board back in place, and the wires bundled up nice and securely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now all the switches are wired up, and we are ready to button her back up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found the most room for the 8 switches on the right side of the keyboard. Just measure and drill carefully, and it will come out looking great.

 

 

 

 

 

What the Bends do:

Each switch now controls the flow of data from the FM chip to the main chip. Turn the PSS on and select a patch (let’s pull up #89 “ghost”), I usually play some keys(don’t know if you have to do this or not), then turn some switches off , now select a different patch, and turn the switches back on. Now try playing the new patch. If it went well some of the data from the all patch got held up, and then inserted into the new patch making a totally different sound. Sometimes leaving the connections off will change the sounds also. I’ve noticed them some of the bent up patches will only work when multiple keys are played. I’ve heard that this will effect the drums as well, but I haven’t gotten it to do much with them as of yet.

Getting some good sounds out of this takes some tinkering, but it’s worth it. The only downer is that it’s hard to reproduce the sounds that you get, so if you have a good one be sure to grab a sample while you can. Using the keyboard this way can corrupt the data to the point where the chip crashes in a noisy mess, but all you have to do is turn all the data connections back on, and turn the keyboard off, then back on. All the data connection switches have to be on for the keyboard to work “normally”.

John from Bentpedals sent me these photos of a PSS-140 that he did up using this same mod. The main chip is colored in red, the FM chip in blue, ignore the yellow.

 

 

  

 

 

I did the mod on a PSS-140 for Mjm using the info that John gave me. This is what he had to say about it “endless amounts of fun. endless unpredictable possibilities. i don’t want to stop messing with it”. Here’s some photos of that.

Wesley did the same mod to a PSS-170, but his link seems to be dead.

 

 I’ve successfully done this on a Yamaha SHS-10 Keytar , along with some other circuit bends. Tinsoldier sent me a diagram of his circuit bent SHS-10 which I will post here. I can’t comment on it at yet because I haven’t had the chance to try them myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

As always I won’t be held responsible if you try this bend and your Yamaha get’s hurt. I’ve done a lot of playing with this keyboard, and it seems real solid to me. This bend works on some of the other PSS series keyboards (like the 140) with a similar chip setup, but since I’ve only done a 270 and 140 so far I can’t gurantee it will work on all of them.

Furby Bending Tutorial

Since I’ve been asked many times about bending furbies I thought I would make this guide to help those that would like to give it a try.

This furby is in the typical shape I find most of them in. Let’s take away his dignity further by striping him of his fur.


This lump on his bottom side is where there is a strap tie holding his fur on. Cut this, and pull the tie strap out.
Furby 3
Roll his ears back and cut the threads holding them on.

I usually roll his fur up along his body so we can expose the screws holding his face piece on. Remove the screws, and there will be some hot melt glue attaching the fur to the top of his head. With some light tugging the fur should free and then you’ll have your very own naked furby. Remove all the screws from the carapace, and it will come apart in 2 halves.

See, look at how liberated he is to be freed of that cumbersome fur.
Furby 6
You have to take off the speaker/tummy switch to be able to tilt his battery compartment over, and get to the circuit board underneath. This is also a good time to add wires to the speaker for your output jack.
Furby 8

I’ve found a stable glitch, and loop bend that stem from the same common point. I have the common marked in red, the glitch in blue, and the loop in green. Your mileage may vary from one furby to the next. On this particular furby I used a 47 ohm resistor in line with the glitch wire to make it a little more stable. I’m sure that there are more bends in a furby, but I haven’t dug to deep because I’ve heard that these fry easy.

The bending has changed him some how….

I normally run the bend wires along the right side of the furby up to his head. There is a small area on the back of a furbie’s head where you can drill a hole, and run the wires out to a control box. I normally set it up with a switch for the glitch bend, a normally open push button, and switch for the loop. You use the push button to find a loop you like, and then flip the switch to lock it in.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the way the loop section is wired, so I made up a nitty gritty diagram in MS paint. I still have the wires colored the same as in the circuit board diagram. Basically what’s happening is that you have the same connection wired to 2 different kinds of switches.

Disclaimer:

As always I won’t be held responsible if you try this bend and your Furby get’s hurt!


I’ve done quite a few furbies now, and I always try to make each one unique to the others. I’ve played around with decorating them in strange ways, and I built one that has all it’s bends controlled by an Atari style joystick. I’m going to post some pics of a few of these on this page.

Instruments

Over the past few years I’ve built a wide variety of instruments. Some are toys/keyboards/whatever that I re-purposed through circuit bending and modification, some are oscillator based instruments that I built from scratch, and more and more I’ve been dabbling in make effects pedals. I’ve built more things then I could ever possibly list here, but I will try and cover some of the more interesting things. If you want a better idea of what all I’ve done you can got to my Soundclick page. I also have a Youtube Page where you can “see” my instruments in action.

I have two effects pedals that I regularly build. One is the “Mutator” which is a heavily modified toy voice changer re-purposed for guitar/whatever. See those here. The other is a modified Fab Echo. I take this rather tame Echo pedal, and modify it into a fully function delay with lots of features. See those here. I’ve also tried my hand at making more traditional pedals, which you can see here.

Keyboards
I’ve modified lots of keyboards, mostly lower end Casios and Yamahas, but also some toy keyboards as well. The mods have been anywhere from a simple pitch control or glitch push button, all the way to an out board RCA patch (Modular Synth Style) with hundreds of possibilites.

Casio SK-1
One of the holy grails of bending. Most benders want one, have done one, or have done many. The first few a did were based on the “Tablebeast” mods (16 point patch bay with on/off switches). Now that I have some experience with them I’ve undertaken some more complex mods.


This is the first SK-1 I’ve modified. It has the “Tablebeast” Patch bay setup with Pitch Knob, Drum Kill, and Poly Kill Switches. This SK-1 is sold


This SK-1 has pretty much the same mods as the above one, but with the addition of body contacts. This SK-1 is sold.


This just the patchbay for my “Glitchstation” SK-1. The keyboard itself only had a 25 pin connector, pitch knob+body contact, drum kill switch, and 1/4 inch output. The patchbay itself contained all the controls. Housed in an old PS2 case (hence the name) it contained a 26 point patchbay (2 points to ground), 8 point switching patchbay, 3 knobs of different values, and sample and hold section, 3 momentary joystics, and an LFO that can be patched with everything else. This project was complicated and difficult, I don’t know if I would ever take it on again. This keyboard/monster has been sold.

Yamaha VSS-30

By far one of my favorite bends. This sampling keyboard does great on it’s own, but with the addition of some bends becomes a sample crushing machine. See my tutorial for pics, and of course how to make your own. If you have one you would like me to modify just send me a line through the contact page

Modified Fab Echo

Modded Fab Echo

 
 

On a whim I bought one of these little boxes. For less then 20 bucks I figured what the heck! Did a little searching on Aron’s DIY Stompbox Forum, and found out that the Fab Echo uses a common chip to full on delay pedals. After checking over a couple schematics I (with the help of some forum members) found out how to un-lock the Fab Echo’s delay potential. I have the ability to add a Delay “Rate” knob (speed of repeats), increase the mix knob to full wetness, and to give it full feedback (which literally makes it feedback). On top of these controls I’ve also added LFO’s to the delay circuit that cause strange swirly sounds, and pitch bending weirdness. I mount the Fab Echo on to a larger box (in most cases) to make room for the added controls (there is no room inside these things. I set the LFO up to be powered by the 9v battery, or a pedal power supply. I’ve been charging 140. for the full setup (with LFO), and would of course charge less for a simplier one.
If you are interested in getting a Modified Fab Echo please send me a line through my contact page

For those that want to take on the basic mods themselves here is a link from the DIYstompboxes forum to the best documention of it I’ve found thus far.

Fab Echo

This is the first modified Danelectro “Fab Echo” pedal that I built. I made it so that that it now has a controllable delay time (from short to very long), and also made it so that you can control the delay time with the large knob or light senor. I also made it so that the pedal can feedback when the repeat knob is turned all the way up. There’s an added jack for expression pedal control of the delay time. This one has been sold.

Fab Echo

This is the second Fab Echo that I’ve modified. This one has the LFO feature built into it with with rate indicating LED, Rate control knob, and LFO on/off besides the usual mods. I will definitely take custom orders for these now that I have a good method for modifying them. This Fab Echo has sold.

Fab Echo

This version has all the mods above, plus the Osc. can go between triangle and squarewaves. This Fab Echo has been sold.

Fab Echo

 
This Fab Echo has all the earlier mentioned mods, plus it has some modifications to the LFO circuit. This one has the ability to have square or triangle shaped waves controlled by a pot to get the in-betweens, and there is a Depth knob that really opens up the versatility of the LFO feature. This Fab Echo has been sold.