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Lab Notebook

Ideas, tips and techniques from the Lab

Do you like the Lab Notebook series? There are many more similar articles available on the AMZ-CDROM including tech articles on diode clipping, tone controls, technology of the Big Muff and Rat distortions, true bypass switching, modifying pot taper, jfet boosters and much more! Check it out!

The articles notated with (pdf) are available for download in PDF format on the AMZ eBook page.

Op Amp Comparisons for low level distortion.   New 14 Mar 2021

Using the LM358 op amp in guitar pedals.   New 20 Feb 2021

Distortion in switching systems used in guitar pedals.   New 11 Mar 2019

Get isolated 24v power from a 9v battery or power outlet.   New 10 Feb 2019

Convert a 9v power source to an isolated output for less hum and noise.   New 7 Feb 2019

Depleted 9v Batteries. Lower voltage and increase resistance?   New 5 Jan 2016

6 Reasons Guitar Pedals Pop or Click   New 11 Nov 2015

Calculate resistor values for a fuzz face circuit   New 18 Mar 2015

Calculate resistor values for a Big Muff transistor gain stage   New 18 Mar 2015

Bridged-T Notch tone control. Variations on an old theme. (pdf)   New 12 Jan 2015

Transistor packages compared.   New 29 Dec 2014

Comparing Signal Distortions in Three Types of Booster Pedals   New 24 Oct 2014

Stupidly Wonderful Tone Control 3 - A new spin on an old tone control from the 1970s   New 14 Dec 2012

Bypass Measurements - Revealing tests on pedal chains comparing true bypass and buffered pedals.   New 11 Apr 2012

Simple Kill Switch - A quick and simple project to make a kill switch that will mute the audio when it is activated   New 27 May 2010

Buffered Bypass for TS Clones - Modify your tube screamer clone for buffered bypass switching (pdf)   New 30 Apr 2008

Guitar FX Patents - 50 audio and guitar effects patents, including the wah, Univibe and more   New 18 Mar 2008

Metal Box Painting - buff the box before painting for some unusual 3D shimmer and design   New 12 Feb 2008

Mosfet Body Diodes - find out more about this little understood aspect of mosfet transistors   New 23 Dec 2007

TS-9 Tone Control Mods - expanding the sound of this versatile circuit (pdf)   New 12 Nov 2007

More Saturation Controls - with some alternate diode clipping circuits   New 12 Sept 2007

Leaky Transistor Buffer - What can you do with leaky germanium transistors?   New 8 Sept 2007

Stupidly Wonderful Tone Control 2 - More designs of output tone controls that don't change volume as the knob is adjusted   New 31 Aug 2007

AMZ Jfet Buffer-Splitter - A simple guitar pedal buffer with independent low impedance outputs   New 26 Aug 2007

AMZ Dual Tone Control - Modify the Big Muff type tone control to have separate controls for the bass and treble   New 8 Aug 2007

Adding a groundplane - Tutorial on how to add a ground plane in Cadsoft Eagle. Also includes a complete jfet buffer schematic and project (pdf)   New 12 May 2007

Bypassing the BMP Tone Control - a simple mod for this common tone control circuit   New 22 Mar 2007

Reverse Power Booster - flip that transistor for an interesting gain/clipping stage   New 22 Nov 2006

More Diode Clipping - using Mosfets and Zeners to expand your clipping options   New 1 Nov 2006

AMZ Double Tone - Improve the tone control filtering with simple mods (pdf)   New 1 Jul 2006

Tone Clipping - A simple and effective method to expand audio signal clipping (pdf)   New 1 Jul 2006

LED Noise - Prevent the LED indicator circuit from causing a "pop" in the audio (pdf)   New 8 Apr 2006

Pedal Impedance - Some clarification of this often misunderstood aspect of pedal designs   New 8 Apr 2006

Low Voltage Boosters - Alternatives to the traditional 9v powered circuits   New 7 Feb 2005

Boosters, Gain & Distortion - Get some insight into why simple booster pedals can sound differently, and why some are "cleaner" sounding than others of similar design.   New 15 Jan 2005

AMZ Super Buffer - Drive long cables and multiple pedal chains with this unique buffer circuit   New 1 Jan 2005

The Case Against True Bypass? - True bypass and long cables? What about a buffer? Read on...   New 7 Apr 2004

The Sound of Distortion - Take the test and hear the distortion!   New 11 Jan 2004

PATENTS ON PARADE - We take a quick look at US patents related to audio electronic cicuits

Is the Rat true bypass? - A complete explanation of the Rat bypass switching system. Adapt it to your effects!   New 17 Dec 2003

Shielding wood or plastic boxes - A quick and easy tip that is much easier than gluing foil inside them!   New 3 Dec 2003

AMZ Online Calculators

New 28 Jan 2003 • Last Revision March 2015

Is it Legal to Clone? What about patents and trademarks? Brand names? Can you clone from a schematic? A brief legal guide to pedal cloning.   New 12 Jun 2003

Compression & Limiting in Distortion Boxes - how does the signal get squashed and squeezed in your favorite pedal? (pdf)   New 17 Jul 2003

AMZ Saturation Control - adjust the depth and response of your clipping circuit with this interesting control variation   New 17 Sep 2002

Pickup Signals - a look at the envelope and output level of a typical guitar pickup   New 20 Aug 2002

Menatone Top Boost in a Can - tweak the internal trimmers to get the best sound from this popular pedal   New 12 Aug 2002

Cheap Boxes - Ideas for inexpensive enclosures from the local hardware and craft stores   New 27 May 2002

YAFF fuzz - Yet another fuzz face, find out how to mod the basic design for lower gain and smoother tone   New 27 May 2002

AMZ Presence Control - An innovative tone control network that adds another dimension to the basic single knob tone control (pdf)   New 4 May 2002

Guitar Pickup Simulation - A simple circuit to shape the frequency response of a signal to imitate the impedance of a guitar pickup output (pdf)   New 8 Apr 2002

TS-9 Fat Mod - Modify your Tube Screamer or clone to have more booty kicking bass response! (pdf)   New 4 Apr 2002

Basic Buffers - A collection of circuit fragments that can be used for impedance matching in FX   New 29 Mar 2002

Warp Controls - How to add some simple circuits that allow clipping to be adjusted between even and odd harmonics   New 22 Mar 2002

Hum & Noise in Effects - And techniques to prevent it.   New 21 Mar 2002

Power Supply Filter - A quick & cheap inductor filter   New 1 Jan 2002

PNP Power! - Use a positive power supply with your pnp fuzzface and eliminate incompatibility problems with the rest of your pedals!   New 7 Mar 2002

Simple Tips and Tricks - A collection of simple tips and tricks that do not rate a complete article.   New 7 Mar 2002

The AMZ Mini-Booster - This classic circuit has been adapted by numerous do-it-yourself effects builders. It excels as a simple booster or smooth distortion component!   Revised 17 Mar 2002




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