I’m a couple weeks in with my new Line 6 HD500X, and I’m loving it. My band The Drop Daddies has a gig on Friday, and it’ll be the first with the new Blackstar Stage 60 and new pedal board. So I’m getting up to speed building new presets for songs, and getting used to a whole new world at my feet.
At a recent rehearsal with The Drop Daddies, my buddy Ian made an amusing and insightful comment…
Last year, I added a Rocktron Banshee talkbox to my pedal board, so that I could nail the intro to Sweet Emotion, and the solo in Weezer’s Beverly Hills. Yes, it does that sound, and it does it well.
But over the last year, the guys have heard me increasingly frustrated at what a pain in the ass it is to set the thing up (thread the plastic tube up the mic stand, plug in the giant AC adapter), and clean out the spit after the gig.
All that hassle, just for a couple novelty moments during the set. At rehearsal the other day, our drummer Ian came out with this gem:
I see. So, the talk box is the guitarist’s equivalent of the gong. Except you can’t even light it on fire…
Ba dum bum. 🙂Exactly! I think it’s time to get this thing off my pedal board!
In pedal building, we almost exclusively see the Hammond-style diecast aluminum enclosures. You know their names- the ubiquitous 1590B (aka 1290NS) and its plus-size cousin the 125B. Then there’s the larger 1590BB, and the tiny and temperamental 1590A. What these all have in common is the simple generic rectangular shape.
But what if you’re a fan of the spring-loaded foot-pedal enclosures made famous by the BOSS and Ibanez pedals?
Typically, the only way for DIY pedal builders to achieve that look was to buy an old pedal and gut it- but then you’re stuck with the original pedal’s drilling layout.
Now there’s a new option- I just came across these new enclosures from Rixen Pedals.
As I mentioned previously, my pedal board’s power supply died, so I’ve been temporarily using an old Korg 9V power supply.
I’ve been getting some hum from Ryan’s Fulltone Fat-Boost, and finally decided to do some sleuthing to figure out why.
Fortunately, before I even cracked open the Fat-Boost, I hooked up a multimeter to measure the voltage output of the Korg supply, and it turns out that this little guy is really putting out 13V, not 9V. Well, that’s annoying. Is it mislabeled, or just over-compensating for something?
So, I decided to pick up the relatively inexpensive and well-reviewed Visual Sound 1 Spot. Quoting from the FAQ: “The voltage output is fully regulated. It’s at least as quiet as the PedalPower, maybe even quieter.”
Measuring the 1 Spot with the multimeter, I see this one is putting out 9.5V. I’m guessing 5.7% over is within normal tolerance for a 9V supply.
Better yet, no more hum on that Fat-Boost.
Note to future self, don’t trust power supply labels!
Update: Several people asked how the power supplies behaved under load, so…
After a bit of trial and error, it was clear that my ancient SKB PS-25 pedalboard power supply had finally keeled over. I never use batteries, but fortunately a couple of the pedals had old 9V batteries still in them, so it was enough to scrape by for the rehearsal.
The following morning, just a few hours before the gig, I went through my box of old guitar gear to try to find a replacement 9V DC negative-tip power supply.
Hey, here’s the power supply for my Digitech Jamman Delay which I’m not currently using in my live rig. It says 9V, 1.3A. Strange, it doesn’t show a polarity, but it’s a power supply for a guitar pedal, and the plug barrel fits, so it must be good, right? What could possibly go wrong?
I use clear waterslide decal paper, and print on my inkjet Canon Pro9000mkII. After printing, and waiting a while to ensure the ink is dry, I spray on a few coats of Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear acrylic to protect the ink during the soak. Then, after the clearcoat dries for 30 minutes or so, I trim the paper to final dimensions and soak the paper in warm water. When the decal starts to move freely from its backing, I wet the surface of the enclosure and slide the decal directly onto it. I iron out the bubbles with wet fingers, and adjust the decal into its final position, being careful not to stretch the decal.
The next step in finishing up the pedal that we’ve modeled, drilled and painted previously, is to prepare the artwork and labels.
In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to compose your pedal artwork in GIMP, the free GNU Image Manipulation Program. I’m using GIMP 2.8.2 on Windows, but it also runs on Mac and Linux.
I start with an overview of my Under Pressure compressor and Speed Racer Overdrive artwork, and then show how to compose your own pedal artwork from scratch.
I cover the basics of project setup, layout, working with the rulers and guidelines, the graphics and text editing and selection tools, sourcing artwork and fonts, retouching and removing blemishes, extracting components from a larger image, layer compositing with masks, and more.
Here are some of the resources shown in this video:
In previous posts, we modeled the enclosure in Sketchup, drilled it, and now we’re ready for paint and artwork. In this video, I talk about options for finishing the enclosure, and choices for art and labels. Then I demonstrate surface prep, priming and painting, in preparation for the waterslide decals.
To give you an idea of how long this took for me to complete, I started filming the intro and the Sketchup tutorial videos in June of 2011. Over the last year, in the time-spaces between the rest of life, I’ve been gradually editing, revising, extending, and composing music for the project.
In this tutorial, I start out with the absolute basics, and gradually pick up the pace, progressing to more and more advanced topics. I divided the video up into 5 sections, but kept them all together in one 55-minute video. In my previous multi-part videos, I had to split them into multiple YouTube clips, due to the YouTube length restrictions, but now that they’ve relaxed those for my account- I hope it’ll be better having it all in one video.