Saturday, 14 April 2012

Fender Blender

This layout was based on the original schematic, but here's the manufacturers info about the reissue:

There are few Fender products with as much "indie cred" as the Fender Blender. Once thought of as an overly harsh fuzz pedal, the Blender, thanks to players like Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, is now a coveted, and rare, vintage pedal. Like Fender have done with guitars & amps, they are reissuing this pedal to satisfy the demand that has surged past the supply on the vintage market.

The beauty of this pedal is that it does not sound like anything else on the market. It has a totally unique voice. This is a pedal made for players who want to create instead of copy. With a bit of experimentation, a player can get countless sounds out of this pedal, some that were intended and some that were not.

The Blender can be used for leads by metal players looking for an ultra-aggressive tone. This will replace other Octave/Fuzz pedals on pedalboards throughout the land








54 comments:

  1. Thanks buddy, need something to cheer me up a bit. Gutted. ;0(

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    1. Yeah me too mate, was rooting for ya

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  3. Can't seem to get this to work properly, it only has loads of gain from the transistors but no specific fuzzy sounds or octaves up. Any ideas?

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    1. I haven't built this one yet, anyone else had good or bad luck with it?

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  4. yeah, i've been back and forth on this one for some time now, and I can't get it working...

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    1. just plain no sound. I've checked the board inside and out, and all seems correct to the diagram. I'm rewiring all the pots once again. I've read other places that Sustain is Log, not lin. shouldn't matter though...

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    2. I've been over the layout again and can't see any errors. If you both take a high res front and back pic and post the links on here, I'll have a look and see if anything stands out.

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    3. yeah, i think I'll send you some pics. I'm no pro at this stuff, so I might be overlooking or doing something incorrectly, but I re-hooked up each pot and switch again, with no change, still no sound. I'll post pics in a few minutes...

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  5. Will get my probe out tomorrow and search for problem areas!

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    1. Thanks man, much appreciated

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    2. The sound disappears at the anode side of the first two diodes while everything before that gives sound! Hope this helps!

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    3. Thanks for that. Very strange though, they're definitely in the right orientation. What transistors did you use?

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    4. I used 2N5088 turned 180 degrees!

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  6. Idk how I missed this one. Must build! Hopefully I'll get a chance to build it before vacation. Now what kind of enclosure to put it in....

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  7. anyone resolve their issues with it yet?

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  8. Tag this as verified. There are so many different resistors that I am going colour blind.

    (Pseudo) tone bypass makes the tone bassy and muddy. I got better tones with the tone knobs switched on. Might remove the tone switch if I am to box this. More messing around with the strange tonestack might yield more interesting results.

    The blend knob is quite cool. Moves the fuzz to the background while retaining a meatier tone.

    I might have to try out higher gain transistors. I had some 300+ hfe transistors in there. Feels like the circuit is just borderline fuzzy enough.

    Some of the components I used did not fit in the layout complete (eg the diodes I used are at least 4-5 rows long, 47n cap needs 3 rows). I had a veroboard which has 2 more rows and that helped with the spacing.

    I also used 2 x 22k resistors + 10k trimmer instead of 2 x 27k resistors in the octave up section of the circuit. The trimmer might help tune in the ideal octave effect.

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  9. i just built this one tonight, and while it kinda works, mine doesn't sound or work like the original at all. i've tried multiple tansistor types and gone over my build a bunch of times to make sure that everything is built according to the vero, but it's basically a distorted mess so in the bin she goes.

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  10. okay, i fixed it and it now works properly. according to the original fender schematic, the emitter resistor to Q1 is supposed to be 1.5K and not 15K.

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    1. Cheers John, I'll update the layout but the schematic I did it from showed 15K, it was the one by Topopiccione Electronics. But if it sounds right at 1.5K that'll do for me, it could easily have been a mistake in their scheme.

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    2. yeah, i saw that schematic, but i also collected a whole bubch of other ones too, and think that the actual fender one is probably the most accurate. i get some auto oscillation in a couple of drastic control settings, but i'm not sure if the original or the RI does (and i can't remember if ther original one that i owned in the 70's did it), but overall, mine does sound exactly like the youtube videos that i've seen of them.

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  11. i wasn't too crazy about the sound of mine when i clicked it into the boost mode (it was all mids, no highs with less lows) so i replaced the 47k resitor with a 10k one and added a tiny midrange cut circuit to it for that setting. for me, i find the 'boost' setting ALOT more usuable this way.
    here's the tiny vero that i made for it:
    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/FenderBlender/Mid_Cut_Filter.png

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    1. got her all boxed up and labeled today. here's a couple of pics of it:

      http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/FenderBlender/FenderBlender-01.jpg

      http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/FenderBlender/FenderBlender-02.jpg

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    2. beautiful work!
      with what method are you printing the logos on it ?

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    3. thanks. I use a brother p-touch labeler for my pedals.

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    4. Where do the in and outs of the filter tie into? Also I didn't quite understand the calculator. Can you make a suggestion for the values on your daughter board. I'll take advise from anyone just I case John doesn't revisit this.

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  12. I had a request to build one of these and used your layout. It's a pretty crazy pedal. Thanks.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvmVY7w91fA&feature=plcp

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    1. Great job Jeremy, thanks for the vid

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  13. Could somebody do an off board wiring diagram for the tone switch, please?

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  14. What's the difference between the 2N3391A and 2N3391? If I read the datasheet correctly, the A is low noise. Can I just use the A's cause I can find those dirt cheap at Tayda?

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  15. Built it, what a monster! How do I omit the tone switch (which is quite useless IMHO)?

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    1. Just remove the Tone pot, switch and wiring, and make a link between the Sw1 and Sw2 connections on the board.

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  16. Does anyone have an offboard wiring diagram for this? I've seen a few gut shots but I can't quite make it all out. Thanks in advance!

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    1. http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.gr/2012/02/offboard-wiring.html

      http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.gr/2012/04/vero-build-guide.html

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  17. i've made the circuit and works almost fine.... thank you!!!! that "almost" is because when i leave ringing some chord, the sound starts to choppy at the end of the sustain.... it is normal or could be something wrong in my circuit???? i think maybe could be a capacitor in bad shape or something like that.... i'll waiting for your answer.... and thank you again!!!!

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    1. in this circuit in particular i used silicon diodes 1n4148.... could be the reason of the choppy sound????

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    2. You need to use Germanium Diodes for this circuit, use some 1n34a and see how it works out. The original also used Germanium diodes

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    3. I used 1n34a and still hear that choppy sound. I get no fuzz out of this box anyway, just a rather clean signal with a choppy hiss. the blend knob, when turned down, doesn't give me a clean signal either. tripple checked on- and off-board. please help - i need to have this pedal!!!

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  18. so I've done an audio probe troubleshooting. turns out already at Q1 I don't get an output signal at Collector C, so, of course, almost all of the rest is dead. I have several transistors tested (2N3391A, BC549C and B).
    What could be the problem? Where's the bug? Please help!

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  19. any follow ups to if this build is verified ?

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  20. i built one and it works perfect. it also says "verified" below the layout.

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  21. I've got it working but there's a hellish howl that I can't get rid of. I've tried BC550s and 2N5088s (turned 180) but there doesn't seem to be any difference. I'm using 1N34As for the diodes.
    I'm in no way a pro at this; any help is gratefully received!

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    1. the problem is you're using the wrong transistors. neither of those are substitutes for 2n3391a or 2n3391. i would get the correct transistors and it should work no problem.

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    2. What!!??

      No.

      All of the transistors listed above are NPN Silicon transistors and thus totally interchangeable. Also Mark clearly states on the layout that the ones "unknown" tried are very much suitable substitutes. I've built the circuit myself a few times with 2N5088s and had no issues.

      So for one, Zach. No. Advice like that is complete crap and totally misleading.

      For two, oscallition issues are most likely to arise from tiny short(s) on the board. Unknown, use a knife to clean the strip gaps, triple check cuts and component placement. Then construct a probe and see where the oscallation starts. If none of those help, then measure voltages from each transistor pins and post them here. Someone may (or may not) have a board on hand and compare. Or in good case, one of those voltages could tell someone straight away where the problem lies.

      Debugging skills are the most crucial part of building... And. Also. Welcome Unknown.
      +m

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    3. Thanks mirosol, nice finally to benefit personally from your expertise! I've checked for shorts and placement as you said, but will double double check. Also thanks to you both for replying so promptly. 1am debugging is no fun...
      From what I can tell it's a problem with the Blend control so I'll start there and work back.

      Oh, and I have no idea why I show up as Unknown.

      Hopefully I'll report back with good news.

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    4. hey miro. i wasn't trying to be misleading at all. i did a search for substitutions and didn't see BC550 or 2N5088 as viable subs, all that i found were transistors that were 2N4124, 2N4401, and 2N4403 as possible subs, but nothing for definite. as such i didn't want to say "hey man try X transistor in place of the 2n3391 & 2n3391a" cause if they didn't work either i would feel like a prick. coupled with the fact that 2n3391 & 2n3391a are readily available and inexpensive.

      when i have builds that don't work right my first thing to try after going through the board checking for common things, like bridges and mismatched components, is to get the listed active parts if i've subbed them for something else, ICs & transistors, to see if that corrects the problem. if it doesn't then i dig into the board more and do much deeper debugging.

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    5. There is no NPN silicon BJT transistor that can't be subbed 1:1 with another type. Gain range and a few other features can, and will affect the tone for example, in BMP circuits, where BJT amplifiers are stacked and the amplification factor is high due to circuit topology. In fact, if i'd get too much noise out of any circuit, the solution would be to check the caps and gain setting components. Variance of 20% in many caps is way more likely to cause the issue than the semiconductor(s).

      In my experience, substitution of any NPN BJT is never an issue with oscillation or any other major malfuction. Slight tonal differences may occur, but oscillation will never go away with replacing NPN BJT with another NPN BJT. This applies to 99% percent of all semiconductors that have exactly the same main purpose with each other. To be exact, all switching transistors, HF transistors and general purpose amplifier transistors are interchangeable. No, they do not all sound the same in the same circuit, but they all will function right in our small signal, low voltage applications.

      Cross refence guides for transistors rarely apply to our small signal applications. Those usually focus on transistor switching times and other major functions. Thus, not that viable information in this field of application.

      I wasn't implying that you were misleading on purpose. But it's never the transitor type that is at fault when you get an oscillation issues. This is equilevant to people trying to fix old chorus/flangers/delays. For some reason, human mind always thinks the fault is with the most expensive and the biggest semiconductor on board. Hint. It almost never is.

      Suggestion to cure oscillation with replacing an NPN BJT with another type of NPN BJT is not helpful to anyone. Debugging is the only way out of squeeling.
      Sure. It could be a burnt, shorted or otherwise dead transistor. But it almost never is. Swapping transistors won't help a bit until one is compeletely certain the fault is in fact with the transistor.
      +m

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    6. Been a bit busy so not been near the pedal for a bit but, after much agonising, checking of tracks/components/joints the problem turned out to be... the power supply.
      I switched from my workshop's 9V wall wart to the 1 Spot on my pedalboard and voila, all extraneous noise has gone.

      This may re-awaken some old projects that I'd long since written off. Good news all round.

      Plus, this pedal spits and fizzes like a beast (2N5088s and 1N34a diodes).

      Thanks for all your amazing work - this is such a brilliant resource.

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    7. that's awesome news man. really glad you got it up and running as expected and it was something small.

      btw, good info miro and something to keep in mind. i know you weren't insinuating i was being misleading on purpose or anything.

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    8. I may have come off a bit more guns blazing that was actually warranted. However, i've been debugging my builds and faulty factory pedals on a daily basis for almost ten years now. It's never a semiconductor type :)

      For oldmanonthehill, toss the power supply. I'm fairly certain that you have had a short on a circuit that's burnt the regulator on your bench wall wart. If you don't have a proper bench supply with quick release fuse, i'd strongly suggest using batteries for bench testing purposes. Battery snap soldered on to standard plug is a nice thing to have around. You're bound to have shorts in the future too, so draining a battery in 20 seconds is still economically better than to burn wall wart regulators.
      +m

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