Getting Geeky on Guitar

So I have been getting nerdier in my old age. I have been a guitar geek more years than I can remember (okay, I can remember: 16 years). Looking for great tone and talking about the latest (and the oldest) gear are among my musical past times. Lately I have discovered a new level of guitar geekery: effects pedal modification.

I am just dipping my toe in the water at this point. My first project is to repair and modify a 90’s era Electro-harmonix/Sovtek Small Stone Phaser pedal. Two problems are inherent with this pedal. First it is not true bypass. This means that even when it is not engaged you can still hear the faint swirling of the effect going on in the background. True bypass means that the signal is routed directly from input to output (bypassing the circuit altogether) when the pedal is not engaged so that only your true, unaffected tone comes through. Replacing the footswitch with a 3PDT true bypass will remedy this. It should be a straightforward repair.

The second problem is the volume drops when the effect is engaged. The fix for this is a little trickier. It involves removing two resistors from the internal circuit board and replacing them with two higher impedence resistors. I know this may sound like greek to some of you but trust me…it’s going to be tricky for a newbie like me. However I am looking forward to giving it a shot.

I may also release my inner design geek and remove the guts from it’s ugly army green enclosure and put it in a new enclosure of my own design. We’ll see how the initial repairs go first.

My other endeavor is to build a footswitch for another pedal of mine out of a pill box, a basic momentary switch, a 1/4” mono jack and two pieces of wire and do it as cheap as possible. This will be a very easy build but will be fun nonetheless.

I hope to get to do more tweaking and building in the future. But one step at a time: let’s see if I can fix my Small Stone without ruining it.

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