Tuesday, December 11, 2012

RE-201 Space Echo: Maintenance of the Delicate Beast

There's nothing quite like the Roland RE-201 Space Echo.

The nuances of analog tape delay are warm, unique, and full of character.

A lot of TLC went into the unit shown in the photo.

  • new tape loop
  • new felt pads
  • cleaning of heads and tape loop path
  • demagnetizing the heads
  • cleaning all the potentiometers
  • replacing the broken indicator lamp with a LED

After doing all the repairs I had to do a lot of testing the echo to make sure that it was all sounding good and all the controls weren't noisy!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

DL-4 Switch Mod and Control Repair

The Line 6 DL-4 is well known for hardware failures. It's an awesome pedal that fails at inappropriate times. BUT..."WE CAN REBUILD HIM"!!

This DL-4 had two kinds of problems: switch failure and control (potentiometer) failure. It wasn't until the switches were replaced, getting the unit to where it could play, did I notice the problems with the controls.

There is a seminal video by Juffrage on the DL-4 switch replacement. THANK YOU, SIR!! The video gives brief details on the procedure to replace the standard tactile switch with a hardware switch.

Below is a photo showing the old tactile switch and spring loaded button pusher on the left and the new hardware switch on the right.

And here are the lowly switches on the main PCB for the DL-4:

Remove the (often broken) tactile switch and replace them with the new hardware switch like this:

When the pedal is reassembled the new switches look basically the same as the original switches.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Big Muff Rehouse

The Electro Harmonix Big Muff are famous for the big bulky metal box. Very roomy and spacious inside. And they take up room on the pedal board.

Rehousing into a 1590 box is very common. Less common is putting all the jacks on the top side of the pedal. This is doable, though not easy.

The toggle switch selects between the regular scooped mids and a more flattened mid - helps the guitar punch through in a band situation.

This rehouse is called the Big Muff Tau. Hand lettering by yours truly.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keeping Track of all those CAPS!!

Some of the vintage pedals require an overhaul of all the old electrolytic capacitors. It can make a HUGE difference in the sound!

But how to keep track of which caps have been replaced and which ones haven't? My trick is to leave the legs on the caps until the project is finished. When the whole project is finished that's when it's time to clip off the leads. In the meantime, leave the leads until the pedal is sounding great.

Here's a vintage Ibanez Flanger with a complete capacitor replacement job.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Adding a DC Jack to a Dunlop Fuzz Face

The Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face sure looks like the original. Two knobs and a switch. All battery powered with no DC power jack. Mostly authentic. However, the new version uses NPN silicon transistors.

That's good news. The NPN transistors are the same polarity as the transistors as most pedals out there. A DC power jack can be installed and it will have the same polarity as your other pedals. The Fuzz Face can be powered by a brick or 1-spot without any problems.

Adding the DC jack is easy. Drill a hole, install the jack, and do some minor rewiring. Another option is to install a LED indicator.

Adding the LED indicator usually means replacing the DPDT switch in the Fuzz Face with a 3PDT switch commonly used in boutique and DIY pedals.

Below shows where a jack and LED grommet have been installed in a fuzz face. The INPUT and OUTPUT jacks have been removed to make a little room to work in.

Below shows the all the new wiring in place. The connections from the DPDT switch were migrated to the top two rows of the 3PDT switch. The last row provides a connection between ground and the LED when the pedal is engaged. A 4.7k resistor was connected in series between the DC jack and the LED.

Here's the modified pedal. A nice bright blue was selected for the LED color.