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My Scratchbuilt Wah Pedal Project


Paul Marossy
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I've been messin' around with building a wah pedal completely from scratch this weeked. Designed, etched and populated a PCB for it Friday afternoon (Colorsound inductorless wah). By Saturday evening, I had the bulk of the mechanics built - minus the pot gear arrangement and the bypass switch. By the end of Sunday, I finished everything but the bypass switch mounting bracket. Works and sounds nice.

Check it out: http://www.diyguitarist.com/DIYStompboxes/DIY-Wah.htm

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Cool work there. I've seen a few of the homemade rocker pedals like this before. I really like this design. It doesn't look a ugly as some of the others I've seen.

Yeah, I have seen some butt ugly ones! :D

This reminds me that I need to get back over there to the DIYStompbox forum.

I have a thread going there on my DIY wah, too. :D

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I've been messin' around with building a wah pedal completely from scratch this weeked. Designed, etched and populated a PCB for it Friday afternoon (Colorsound inductorless wah). By Saturday evening, I had the bulk of the mechanics built - minus the pot gear arrangement and the bypass switch. By the end of Sunday, I finished everything but the bypass switch mounting bracket. Works and sounds nice.

Check it out: http://www.diyguitarist.com/DIYStompboxes/DIY-Wah.htm

Any chance on posting a schematic on that one?

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Good one Paul!

Actually...I've an original colorsound wha here. It's got a really interesting dual lever mechanism to turn the pot rather than the cry baby type gear as you've kind of made. It has a throw of about 3 inches so it has a rediculous range from almost sub-bass to really high and scratchy. Not the midrange tonal depth of a crybaby but an amazing filter with a synthesiser kind of range...quite different!

As an alternative...you might want to see if you could adapt the thing to a hall effect control. Morley use optics to adjust their wha's but I've a Boss Volume pedal that uses a hall effect sensor and a magnet and the action is really good...no friction and no scratchy pots...plus, easier than making those gears if you can find a circuit to do it...

Otherwise...nice build...BTW: I love working with aluminium :D

pete

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BTW: I love working with aluminium

Yeah, me too. It's really easy to work with.

That's interesting about your Colorsound wah. I don't suppose there is any way you could take a picture of that dual lever arrangement, is there? Also, do you experience any kind of volume drop when you engage the effect? I have some volume drop, but I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because my 9V battery is now a little under 8V? I would like to get to unity gain at least...

EDIT: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have a DOD FX-17 wah/vol pedal that I think uses a Hall Effect sensor. It's pretty fascinating - no moving parts inside!

Edited by Paul Marossy
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Yeah...a hall sensor is tiny and I'm sure the circuit wouldn't be too hard to do...I used a sensor to make my magnetic field detector for working on my sustainer drivers and such...just a few bucks. I even wondered if it couldnt form the basis of a hall effect hex pickup....

Anyway...back to reality...it took some finding but here it is...mind the dust:

colorwah1.jpg

Basically there is a fixed lever coming down from the pedal. There is a lever (black) with a slot in it connected to the pot that pivots and slides along a simple pin in the pedal lever...here's a side view:

colorwha2.jpg

I imagine that this thing is quite rare now...I've got all kinds of stuff like this, though I don't use them generally...they do sound cool. You'd have a hard time puting 40 favourites in a pedalboard...but then how would you choose!

So you see, there's more than one way to operate a pot...BTW the case is pressed steel, quite strong...the pedal goes right down over the the switch and presses back as the case is cutaway to allow travel aft of the hinge...

neato!

pete

oh yeah...I found it in my DIY pedalboard eventually...it had replaced my crybaby! I've not noticed a volume drop but...the range is so extreme that at the very back of the throw the bass filter is so low it's almost subaudible...and the other end is really tinny sounding...but it's this extreme range is the beauty of the thing...more like an extreme synth envelope filter...got a EH kind of vibe too.

What I like it for and it excels at is reggae skanking effects...bit of analog delay, dampen all the strings and strum vigorously while depressing th wha....wwwwWWWWWOOoooowww,ooow,owww,owww...across the beat Lee Scratch Perry Style.

Does an amazing digeridoo imitation in the low bass....repeat the low e, quickly depress the pedal up and down for barking dingo effect....wwWwwWwwWwwWOWwwW.... :D

Otherwise...in the mid range of travel you get a very clear and selective very vocal sound, quite different from your thicker chewy traditional crybaby sound.

You can also set the switch to be easy to switch as in general you work in the midrange so you don't accidently hit the off switch!

Anyway...hope this helps...I think there were a few colorsound circuits so I cant vouch for your circuit. I do know that the crybaby tends not to use the full range of the pot but this design does and so provides for the extreme effects

pete

Edited by psw
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but it's this extreme range is the beauty of the thing

I have mine set so that I get the most of the highs possible. It seems to go down too low for my taste, so I am happy with this arrangement.

Otherwise...in the mid range of travel you get a very clear and selective very vocal sound, quite different from your thicker chewy traditional crybaby sound.

This is also what I like about it. :D

EDIT: BTW, I forgot to say thanks for the pics. Very interesting way to do it.

Edited by Paul Marossy
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Paul, your creative solutions never cease to amaze me! That rocker pedal is one of the nicest pieces of midnight engineering I've seen in quite some time - simple, elegant and inexpensive! Very impressive!!

Thanks lk. :D

I love to do this kind of thing. It would be my dream job to design stuff like this all day long, rather than the boring crap I have to do at my current mechanical engineering job. Anyhow, I think the whole project cost about $30-35 or so. When everything is together, it's amazingly sturdy, too.

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