Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Morley Wah sweep mod

There are a lot of things to like about the Morley Classic Wah pedal: rugged construction, spacious circuit board with abundant labelling, and most of all no scratchy pots. The Morley is famous for the "electro-optical" coupling in their pedals. In the late 70's this was a very innovative and radical design. However, the sweep on this Classic Wah was engaging much too rapidly. All the modulation was happening back near the heel position. Fortunately, the sweep can be manipulated to be a little more smooth.

Here is the pedal before opening it up. Another thing that I like about this pedal is that the on/off switch is off to the side so you don't activate the device by pushing the pedal in the full toe position.

Flip the pedal over and undo the four screws holding the bottom plate. There are two screws on each side.

You might have to open up the battery compartment to give yourself something to grab onto while pulling off the bottom plate.

Instead of a potentiometer, the Morley's use an LED and an LDR (light dependant resistor). A tab allows more light to hit the LDR as the pedal is moved forward into the toe position.

Power up the pedal (I prefer a battery when I'm working on pedals). Keep it on its back while you hook up the pedal to a guitar and amp. You can still work the foot pedal while the device is on its back. GENTLY push down on the LED. Moving the LED down means that the pedal will have to be in more forward position to pass the light. Try working the pedal after each adjustment. This should help smooth out the sweep.

Overall, the sounds of this Morley Classic Wah are comparable to a Dunlop Crybaby. It's a straightforward wah sound, not too radical, and a bit noisy. The pedal is solid but not high-end. OK if you're on a tight budget.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Modding the Screamer

The Ibanez Tube Screamer has always been a classic distortion pedal. Especially when modded back to the TS808 sound. I applied the Monte Allum modification for the TS9.

Here's the TS9 prior to any modifications.

Removing the battery cover provides access to the four screws that hold in the bottom plate of the pedal.

I followed the instructions and tested the pedal after each part was changed.

Two toggle switches are added to the pedal for this mod. Here is the pedal with the new holes drilled for the new toggle switches. These two holes could have been a scootch lower in the pedal, nearer to the crease.

Finished pedal! Monte Allum provides mods for several common pedals.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Taking the Scratch out of the Snarling Dog

My Snarling Dogs Whine-O-Wah started to "scratch" when I engaged the wah pedal. It would make a "scritch-scritch" sound whenever I moved the pedal up or down. This was a classic case of a dirty pot.

Most of the time, the usual fix is to apply some contact cleaner and work the pot until the dirt is worked out. It made sense to remove the pot from the pedal to provide access. In addition, the inside of the pedal would stay clean and free of contact cleaner. Here are the step to access the potentiometer and apply contact cleaner:

1. Flip the dog on it's back and remove the machine screws that hold the rubber feet on the bottom plate. It might be helpful to also remove the battery cover to have something to grab onto to pull off the bottom plate.

2. Carefully lift off the bottom plate. You'll want to be careful that you don't lose the lock washers between the bottom plate and the pedal housing.

3. From the topside remove the nut and lockwasher that hold the switch in place. Flip the pedal over on it's back again and remove the footswitch. Use a flat head screwdriver to work off the pinion gear from the pot. You can then loosen the 1/2 inch nut, the lockwasher and the flange that hold the pot into the housing.

4. You now have clear access to the pot. I put a paper towel behind the pot when I sprayed the contact cleaner into the pot at the shaft. Then I worked the pot and removed the excess grimey grease from the pot. Here I was able to plug in the pedal to a guitar and amp. I had to repeat the process a few times until the pot was cleaned out and wasn't making a scratching noise.

5. The only real trick to reassembly is to get the shaft in the proper position relative to the rack. Loosen the screw that holds the rack support in place. The support is the white plastic thing against the rack. Rotating the support out of the way allows you to move the rack around and get some clearance. Now put the pot back in place with the flange, the lockwasher and the 1/2 inch nut. The pinion gear can go back on with some help from a screwdriver. Turn the pot completely counter clockwise. Then put the pedal in it's fully forward position bringing the rack into the housing.

6. Put the rack support back in place, as shown in the photo below. Put the switch back into the top of the housing. Last thing to do is reassemble the bottom plate.

7. Time to WAH!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Greenwood Harvest Festival

Many wicked witches, pirates, spooks and some ladybugs and Zorros played some games and partook in some free nachos. The Greenwood Harvest Festival was buzzing with activity. This festival was a lot fun for the kids and for Jorge too! Greg Spence Wolf played for 3 hours and I played along for part of that time. Paulette tapped for over an hour as well. Many thanks for a fun part of Halloween in Greenwood!