Silicon Tone Bender

Original effect designs complete with verified schematics, layouts and instructions. All project were freely contributed by members and cannot be used for commercial purposes without consent of the respective owners of the copyright.
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Nocentelli
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Post by Nocentelli »

No problem, hope it works out, come back with more questions if it doesn't. I'd advise wiring it up to the pots, jacks and switch outside the enclosure to make sure it works before boxing it up. Definitely check the trnsistor pinout before you install them, though since you've used sockets, it's little effort to swap them around. Good luck.
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Post by snz728@yahoo.com »

are you missing a trimpot? (vr1)

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Post by jimmybjj »

mictester wrote:
Nickblueberries wrote:I seem to be having input gain problems with this pedal. The only changes i have are a 4.7 uf in C5, Bc109B's, and the 100 nf Caps are 630v which i ordered by mistake. When I hit it hard it sounds awesome but if i just play normal it doesnt really do much.

If anyone can help out, it would be greatly appreciated.
You've probably got a bias problem! Check all the bias resistor connections are good. I'll lash another one up in the next day or two and put a set of known-good voltages up here. The voltage rating of the caps won't matter at all, as long as they're higher than the supply rating. 630V is a bit excessive, but won't matter at all!
I have built this one and it sounds good aside from a fizz or a sizzle on the decay of the note. If anyone has voltages from a correctly working circuit i'd appreciate it. My voltages seem pretty low, especiallly q2 and 3


c b e
q1 3.56v 1.18v 0.59v
q2 1.34v .68v .08v
q3 1.79v 1.34v .77v
q4 9.46v .78v 2.37v

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Post by blakbeltjonez »

i just built this and it does sound great, aside from jimmy's same issue - a fairly quick decay into sizzly fizzling, then gating, no matter how the 5k trimmer is set.

there is a very narrow spot on the trimmer where it is pure squealing feedback and chaos, but on either side of that spot things settle down

i used 2N5088's instead of the BC109's, but from what i have researched the 5088 is an OK substitution.

any suggestions to get a longer natural decay, and cleaning up the sizzle?

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Post by blakbeltjonez »

ok, after using this pedal for a few weeks, i have to say out of 5 or so dirt pedals, it's got to be my favorite now.

the squishy note, gating, sputtering and sizzling really is only prominent at fuzz = max, and full treble. and unless you really have a need to have a "this rig is about to self-destruct from imminent insect invasion" fuzz sound, dialing back a little ...or a lot... makes it more well behaved. actually, some players might like that sound because the artifacts seem to lend a certain excitement to what you play, like a maxed out Fuzz Face but rawer.

unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how much gating chaos you like) it does not clean up well at max attack. as stated above, i built mine with what i had laying around - 2N5088's, so i don't know how much that contributed to the overall sound. i'll build a BC109 version soon to compare.

output level is absolutely brutal, my unity is about at 1 with the treble up. anything downrange of this pedal better have an awful lot of headroom or it will clip into oblivion if the output is up a ways. not a bad thing, because at that point it performs a Rangemaster-ish function if you wanted to overload the front end of an amp. has as much boost or more than any overdrive pedal i've ever used, clean or dirty.

but with the tone up and the attack all the way off, it does the Led Zeppelin thing quite nicely.... has some distinctive high frequency "hair" that is not objectionable at all through a little Fender Champion 600, roll off a little gtr. volume and you're good to go. at lower attack levels, the Tonebender does behave better with the volume control. and if you don't want the "hair", use the Tonebender tone control to clean it up. the tone control is a bit interactive with output level, but it's versatile and twiddling with the attack and tone i had no problem finding useful sounds. but, i have become addicted to the extra sparkle of the "hair" and i work around the extra brightness at the amp's tone controls if i use something like a JCM800. for a boring, kind of dark amp like the Champion, the Tonebender livens it up a lot with the tone maxed.

personally, i think it's a really distinctive sounding pedal. i use a Tweak Fuzz, a Joyo Fulltone copy, Xotic AC Booster clone i built, and a couple of other dirt pedals - all which i like for one thing or another, but i find myself coming back to the Tonebender for my main distortion, and using one or two of the others to hit it a little harder, different tones, etc.

but you can *always* tell when the Tonebender is on, no matter what else is going on - it's that distinctive. i'm going to build one with some of the extra mods, and maybe figure out an attack boost switch to get the insects riled up at the appropriate moments.

great job, mictester!

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Post by blakbeltjonez »

finished another one with BC109B's.... a little smoother, not as much hair or typical Tone Bender anger at full gain but it has noticeably more sustain than the 2N5088 version i built. different, but still great - at full attack sounds like it's just about to launch into feedback but still pretty smooth. only other variation besides the transistors: i used a .1uF input cap, can't remember what i did on the first one

volume control doesn't work at all, so i have definitely done something wrong (soldered the pot lugs to the vero traces w/breaks to save space in the enclosure and have a cleaner look - so the board is actually held in the enclosure by the lugs of the attack and level pots).

other than that, it worked right out of the box again - even without touching the bias trimpot. i fiddled with it a while and decided on the original setting..

on the other hand, also built a Mk. 1 germanium.... yikes. sounds great but it's not right past about 1/3 attack. squealing, noise, and other artifacts no matter what i put in Q1 - did figure that it needs to be pretty low gain. Q2 and Q3 don't really seem to care all that much about what goes in. but getting Q1 right seems to be like putting a dog in a bath tub...

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Post by vox_boy »

Hi,

Very cool little pedal! I have built it and all is working well. I have noticed the the tone control has virtually no effect on notes played on mt high E string, I think its a clever tone design having 2 low pass filters and panning between them using a 50K pot, well thats what it looks like to me! I may be wrong! Could someone explain this abit better to me? I just want to mod it so its more treble focused, if that makes sense!

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Post by mictester »

vox_boy wrote:Hi,

Very cool little pedal! I have built it and all is working well. I have noticed the the tone control has virtually no effect on notes played on mt high E string, I think its a clever tone design having 2 low pass filters and panning between them using a 50K pot, well thats what it looks like to me! I may be wrong! Could someone explain this abit better to me? I just want to mod it so its more treble focused, if that makes sense!
Have a look at the 21st Century Big Muff circuit. The "James" tone control may be just what you're looking for. It's a passive two-knob circuit but will need an additional output transistor to buffer the tone circuit from the output socket. You might want to tweak the component values slightly to suit your rig, but there's so much level available that the loss through the tone circuit won't matter.
"Why is it humming?" "Because it doesn't know the words!"

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Post by Bogart_sci »

Hi folks

I built this circuit from the vero layout above, but am getting some severe motor boating and oscillation. Any ideas what I should look at first to trouble shoot. I've built a few Ge tonebenders before and never had this problem. This is my first Si TB. I have used Bc109C transistors as per diagram above. Anyone have any ideas?

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Post by sinner »

It's Mictester's circuit, and he knows better how to solve this, but if I would you I would try to add small (50-100pF) cap between collector and base of the first and darlington gain stage

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Post by Bogart_sci »

Hi sinner,
I will give this a try tonight. When you say the first and Darlington gain stage, would you consider Q4 as the first? And is it across the first Q of the Darlington? If you could provide co-ordinaries from the orig vero layout this would be great :)

Much appreciated.

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Post by mictester »

sinner wrote:It's Mictester's circuit, and he knows better how to solve this, but if I would you I would try to add small (50-100pF) cap between collector and base of the first and darlington gain stage
To be precise, it's Macari's circuit with the right values put into it by me!

I found two more of the Macari originals in a box of junk a few weeks ago. Both had rotted 1970s batteries inside and both had the wrong component values fitted. Perhaps Macari's wanted them to sound bad! One of them has a modification using a preset that allows panning between two input capacitors as a basic tone control. Both of them have an extra resistor at the top of the volume pot to reduce the maximum output volume. Both of them had rusted base plates! The footswitches were nasty and cheap (and one was broken) and the socket contacts were tarnished. The paint job on the top was a cheap, stencilled effort, and some of the lettering has flaked off. I mended both of them and corrected the component values. Now they're mended, they both sound great, and I gave one of them away as a birthday present to an old guitarist friend (the one with the input preset).

I'm tempted to put the other one on Ebay with a £500 reserve.... There's certain to be a Gear Polisher who'll spend £1000+ on £2.75 worth of parts!
"Why is it humming?" "Because it doesn't know the words!"

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Post by sinner »

Bogart_sci wrote:Hi sinner,
I will give this a try tonight. When you say the first and Darlington gain stage, would you consider Q4 as the first? And is it across the first Q of the Darlington? If you could provide co-ordinaries from the orig vero layout this would be great :)

Much appreciated.

Yeah, the first one is Q4 in Mictester layout :) Try here first, at least I would. First the small one, let's say 10pF and go up to 100pF.

Leave the darlington pair alone till you try Q4

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Post by Bogart_sci »

Hi Sinner,
Replied last night but the post doesn't seem to have appeared.

Anyway, I had a look at the schematic instead of the vero layout. There was a 1M pull down resistor on the input and a 47uF cap across the 9V supply. I have added these and the motor boat has disappeared. Not getting any fuzz through the pedal though. I am getting a signal but nothing that sounds much good. Just a muddy clean guitar. So my guess is one of the transistors is not biased properly. I see some voltage readings above. So will measure these out later. Had hoped not to have to do this as the transistors are Si. Forever having to do this with Ge. This is the first time I have tried to build a fuzz with Si.

Anyway, will let you know how it goes :)
Cheers

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Post by Bogart_sci »

Oh aye, and I get a good reception from radio Luxembourg :)

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Post by Nocentelli »

Bogart_sci wrote:Not getting any fuzz through the pedal though. I am getting a signal but nothing that sounds much good. Just a muddy clean guitar. So my guess is one of the transistors is not biased properly.
Hate to ask, but are you certain you have the pinout correct? With BC109c, it shouldn't need any special bias tweaking, just adjust the trimmer on the third transistor to taste.
brownwhopping wrote:How can I learn by reading threads an making circuits, when some day I can see a lawsuit or somebody beat me in the face for that?

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Post by Bogart_sci »

Pretty sure it's right. I have the Emitter to ground, base middle and collector top. Emitter is identified by a little tab on the transistor. Maybe Q4 needs to be orientated differently? I will. Heck. Wish I ha drawn my own vero layout now.. Lol.

Cheers

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Post by Bogart_sci »

Cracked it!! My bad.. Shoddy wiring on my part. The long wire that extends the earth to top of vero, I had this wrong. Doh! Have had a quick blast and it is plenty fuzzy and has some TB attributes :)

I have found it quite hissy at full gain so far, but it cleans up a lot by turning the gain down. Will give the pedal a good going over tomorrow. Thanks for all the help though.

Cheers :)

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Post by axelrod »

I really love fuzz

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Post by Hexjibber »

Hey all,

I'm currently trying to fudge my way through doing an Eagle layout so I can do a PCB for this project, having virtually no EE knowledge makes it somewhat restrictive though, i.e. I just have to copy schematics! I have read as much as I can understand and looked at various schematics on here and other sites to come up with the Silicon Tone Bender with a James tone stack followed by an SHO, would anyone be able to take a look at my schematic and see if I've made any obvious errors? The bit I'm really unsure about is the James tone stack and FET recovery stage, I basically took the tone stack and cap values from the CB Manx Loaghtan thats on here (but changed a few resistor values to match a schem posted earlier in this thread) and stuck it in place of the existing tone stack, have I got it anywhere near right?

Would appreciate any assistance/advice anyone can give, I'm trying to learn but it's a steep curve!

I've attached my current schem;

Cheers!
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Bone Bender James.png

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