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Fet and JFet based overdrive/distortion pedals

Dave P

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
783
Since TM1 and Big Al mentioned Fet and JFet based pedals in another thread, I figured I would start another thread just for these, since I like them too.
Here are a few I own:
Pedals by Tone OD/Distortion- the guy builds them and only sells on EBay, it is a cascaded Fet box that does the jacked Marshall thing really well. He builds the same pedal with different Fets as the Creamsicle for a retail store.
Ramble FX Marvel Drive- a guy in a town near me builds these, another cascaded Fet pedal. These are really cool for Marshall type sounds, plus have a gold plexi front panel and Marshall knobs so they look even cooler. The new ones have relay switching which is still true bypass but with the advantages of using a sealed mechanical relay switch over a clunky foot switch. These pedals have really taken off, the guy is struggling to meet demand.
OceanEFX Pearl Drive- A really juicy sounding moderate gain Fet based box. No longer made and one of my favorites. Not sure if it was designed for it, but it does a real nice sort of Dumbley sound if you want it to. Nice woody sounding OD tones. A shame it is not made anymore, Corby was onto something here.
MXR Joe B Fet Driver- I'm not sure it sounds like my BK Butler Tube Driver, but it is pretty cool. The tone controls have a lot of range so it can sound sweet or really gnarly and ugly depending how it is dialed in.
Audioworks FET Distortion- made in the early 80's by Henry Karn. Hard to find little buggers. Cascaded Fet pedal that was ahead of its time. If carefully dialed in it is capable of nice really midrangey sounds, though a little light on the low end. Since they haven't been made for over 30 years, I've tried to get a few builders to make some tweaked clones to no avail.
 

JohnH

Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
363
There's a few more well known ones too, including ZVex Box of Rock, Subdecay Liquid Sunshine, and one of the best but least appreciated , the Boss OD3 which is my favourite.

JFets and Mosfets are transistors that have response characteristics that can be very similar to vacuum tubes, but in a low-voltage circuit, in which voltage in controls current through it, with similar distortion effects if set up appropriately. They can be great for the home builder, and http://www.runoffgroove.com/ has many designs for Jfet circuits that emulate classic tube amps, or tube-based boosters.

Ive built a few of my own designs, this is my best effort IMO:
http://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/4987/bluejuice-overdrive-using-jfets
 

Dave P

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
783
Very cool, I built the OLC Umble which is FET based, but not from scratch like you
 

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,130
Dave; Very nice to see you back here! I have a Marvel Drive coming this week. Really looking forward to getting it. I have a Zvex, OCD and the Blackstone.
I hope to see you around here now that things have changed( I'm hoping for the better!)
 

Django2014

New member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
330
I've tried the JB FET Driver along with the Standard MXR FET Driver (they sound the same to me, I think the difference is in the paint), And they don't sound identical to the sound I would associate with a Tube Driver. I've never played a tube driver so my reference was Eric Johnson's tone on the Austin City Limits 1988 Concert. The FET Drivers sound close but not as smooth to me.
 

Dave P

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
783
I have a BK Butler Tube Driver with the bias control and the JB Fet Driver, I think the Fet Driver sounds different from the Tube Driver, the low end is much looser and the gain is a little more gnarly with the Fet Driver, but I also put a 12AU7 in the Tube Driver which changed the gain qualities a lot, much smoother and 'violin-y' than the 12AX7. The Fet Driver is a cool pedal though.

TMI, nice to be back, though I don't have as much time to hang out on forums like I used to.
 

Django2014

New member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
330
How is the BK Butler Tube Driver with the bias control, I have been think about getting one just to do that eric johnson violin type lead tone
 

Dave P

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
783
Put a 12AU7 in it and fiddle with the bias control, those sounds are in there.
 

Jeff West

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Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Messages
875
I've got an older Fulltone Supa-Trem, and have frequently used the trick playing out where you can get a fixed mild boost when the pedal is on but set to "soft" w/o modulation. Sounds good, and I believe that pedal uses a JFet.
 

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,130
I've got an older Fulltone Supa-Trem, and have frequently used the trick playing out where you can get a fixed mild boost when the pedal is on but set to "soft" w/o modulation. Sounds good, and I believe that pedal uses a JFet.

Yeah, Mike found that out from one of his customers back around `95 or so. I've got an early one that's still in the cast Hammond box. gives you a 3 db boost.
 
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