Saturday, September 28, 2013

The DIYStompboxes 10-year anniversary contest, FY-2 Companion Fuzz and the Liquitone Deluxe Stereo Vibe

Hi all! Today I have for you some updates regarding the pedal I built for the DIYStompoxes 10-year Anniversary Contest and the prize I received for winning the contest.

T h e  D I Y S t o m b o x e s  1 0 - y e a r  A n n i v e r s a r y  C o n t e s t is a forum dedicated to all aspects of building your own guitar effects. The forum was started ten years ago by Aron Nelson and has grown out to be one of the leading sites for the DIY pedal-building community. Together with and R.G.Keen's Geofex this has been my main knowledge-base for learning how to build my own stuff.
When I joined five years ago I had no idea I would reach the point where I am now, let alone coming in 1st in the contest, especially considering the high quality builds of all the other contestants.

The prize I chose is a fuzz build by 3 members of the forum; Mark Hammer, Midwayfair, and Pickdropper.  I chose this prize because I'm a huge fan of Midwayfair's circuits (his Cardinal tremolo was my main inspiration for the Deluxe Tremolo) , and Pickdropper's enclosures are among the best looking designs I know of;

Pickdropper's laser-etched Multiplex Delay.

Pickdropper's Andromeda


T h e  F Y - 2  C o m p a n i o n  F u z z

The pedal I received in the mail is a modified version of the FY-2 Fuzz that has been sold under several brand names, such as; Shin-Ei, Companion and Avora. It has been used by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead (it's the fuzzed out bassguitar on 'Exit Music (For a Film)'. Also the guitar-player I played with in my first couple of bands had one.

The original pedal had only a volume and fuzz knob. This version has extra functions that make it much more versatile, especially when it comes to dialing out the mid-scoop to make it cut through the mix easier. I've only had it for a day so I'm not so familiar with the extra functions yet.

The pedal I won. It's hard to see on the picture, but it's a beautiful translucent orange, with the circles being laser-etched.

Some nice personal writing on the bottom-lid of the enclosure.
Usually I go for stuff that's subtle and cleans up well with the guitar's volume knob. This pedal is the opposite of that; there is nothing subtle about it, it is brutal, unhinged and you can forget about cleaning up with the volume knob. It reminds me a lot of my Octave Fuzz with it's gated, oscillating fuzz sounds. Here is a quick demo I made this afternoon;


D e l u x e  S t e r e o  V i b e

This is the pedal I built that won the contest. It is a stereo version of the Vintage Vibe, this time with a separate expression pedal. I built it this way so I would have a lot more space to work with and see if I would like this set-up. The expression pedal controls the speed of the effect, has a Chorus/Vibrato switch in the toe-down position and 'Cancel' at the heel just like the original Uni-Vibe. In the end I do want to bring it back to having everything in a single pedal, just like the Vintage Vibe.

The main pedal and the expression pedal are connected by a 7-core cable with sturdy CB-Plugs.

Lamp and Photocells are hidden underneath the reflective shield.
The wiring inside the expression pedal. The jack in-and output are only there for easier cable routing on a pedalboard.

I made the connection between the main pedal and the expression pedal by using a 7-core cable with sturdy CB-plugs; these plugs are great because they take up very little room, allows for a lot of connections and have a nut that lets you to fasten them down to the other end, so they wont come loose when you trip over the cable. True-Bypass- and Chorus/Vibrato-switching is done by relays.

Update June 15 2014; I probably won't build another one of these, as I managed to fit the whole stereo circuit inside the expression pedal enclosure itself, so it will be cheaper, easier to use and less weight to carry around. I do still make a version in the big box without the expression pedal for those who don't want the foot-controlled speed operation.

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