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I've just built my first ever pedal - Zendrive clone

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by tonfarbe, Jul 27, 2008.

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  1. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    Yesterday, I finished building my first ever fx pedal, a Zendrive clone from German supplier uk-electronic.
    I know, that guys like Johnny Crash will laugh about it because it is only a kit (not built from scratch - more like painting by numbers),
    but I must confess that I'm proud about my work.
    Prior to this - except for soldering guitar electronics - I had ZERO experience with electronics.
    Looking at schematics, I couldn't even tell which symbol was a resistor and which was a capacitor.
    So first, I did some research on the internet about electronic components, reading schematics and such.

    Then I decided to ordered the kit. I could have started with something more easy like a Looper or a Treble Booster
    but what I needed was an Overdrive, so I settled for the Zendrive clone.
    The kit includes everything you need to build the pedal except for the enclosure and the knobs.
    For 42 Euro incl. shipping I got the kit, a Hammond 190B enclosure and 4 knobs.
    The detailed description has to be downloaded from the website.

    First, I drilled all the holes in the enclosure with my trusty Bosch drill press.
    I did this 'by hand', holding the enclosure with one hand and the drill press with the other.
    Everything worked fine, but this method is NOT recommended. A 13mm drill that gets wedged in metal at 2000 rpm can be pretty dangerous.
    Knowing this, I was very careful, but for my next build, I think I'm going to buy some screw clamps to hold the enclosure.

    The description is very detailed, so, with some double-checking, it was easy to assemble all the parts, even for a novice like me.

    Here is the circuit board with all the components installed and the wires for the pots already connected:
    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, I sprayed the enclosure. Here's my paint-booth on the balcony :oops:
    [​IMG]

    And a pict of the 3PDT switch with most of the wires:
    [​IMG]

    Tools I used:
    - a drill press with metal drills
    - some spray cans (primer, white and transparent lacquer)
    - a phillips screw driver
    - a wire cutting plier
    - soldering iron
    - a printer for the decal and some masking tape
     
  2. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    And here's the final result:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Everything was working perfectly in the first test but after I had performed the final works (fixing the circuit board on the
    back of the pots with some spacers), I encountered some drop-outs in the sound.
    The problem was found and solved within 5 minutes - a cold soldering joint at one of the capacitors.

    Being my first build, this is far from perfect, but I'm totally happy with the result.
    The pedal has a very sweet but yet "open" sound. In bypass mode it is absolutely quiet.
    I've had some good OD pedals before but honestly, I like this one the most.
    I don't hear any "artefacts" when the overdriven sound fades out (like I heared on the Barber Small Fry and LTD which are fantastic pedals btw.)
    and the sound cleans up nicely when I roll back the guitar's volume.

    Building this pedal was fun and educational and it won't be my last one :p

    Thanks for reading.
     
  3. voodoostation

    voodoostation Tele-Afflicted

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    Excellent job! I can't speak for Mr. Crash, but being that you learned a little something while you built this pedal, then that's all that matters, regardless of whether it was a kit or from scratch. The more you understand how the parts function in a circuit and what happens when values are changed, the greater the options and choices are for your own personal tastes. Besides, it's always cool to create things! So good on ya!
     
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  5. stax

    stax Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice job, you should be proud.
    Don’t feel guilty about the painting by numbers aspect of building gear, I would say most people who get into building amps and other gear are only doing that, as long as a little sinks in on each build I wouldn’t worry, I’ve done four and I’m only just starting to understand what does what.:oops:
    How about some sound clips when you have a chance.
    Stax
     
  6. Jenix

    Jenix Tele-Holic

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    wow that looks great, good job!
     
  7. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thats awesome! I gotta say the finish looks very professional and for me thats the trickiest part to nail...I love these kits. So what if its paint by numbers you still learn something, a lot actually especially if you're like me who didn't know a capacitor from a resistor from a trim pot.
     
  8. stax

    stax Tele-Afflicted

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    I may get one myself after looking at the web site, the manual is not in English but it looks easy enough to suss out, good price too.:cool:
    Stax
     
  9. Big Tony

    Big Tony Friend of Leo's

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    Great job!

    I hope it sounds as good as it looks! :)

    / Tony
     
  10. Big Tony

    Big Tony Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the tip!
    Here's a link:

    MEK - UK-Electronic

    Finding parts, and kits, can be a female dog sometimes, in Yer-Up... :rolleyes:

    / Tony
     
  11. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    Thanks guys for all the nice comments.

    The paint job is ok, but it was a hazzle.
    The first so-called 'Aluminium primer' lost it's paint adhesion just when I was ready to attach the decal,
    so I had to sand all the lacquer down again and re-spray the whole thing with better Dupli-Color lacquer.
    This was the only boring thing (waiting for the lacquer to dry) of this whole fun build.

    Per request, here are some raw and dirty recordings.
    Beware, that we had some really hot days with very high humidity here in Berlin and our appartment
    which is right under the building's roof, feels like a sauna.
    My fingers felt like they were glued to the maple neck, so the playing is a bit bumpy.

    I use the Zehndrive as a mild to mid Overdrive. The Gain knob on these recordings was a 11 o'clock.
    When you cranck the gain all the way up, you get into AC/DC / hardrock territory. This is definitely not a high-gain pedal.

    For me, it's always important to hear the clean guitar signal to judge an overdrive's sound, so you first hear the clean signal,
    followed by the click of the Zehndrive's switch and then the overdriven signal.
    Settings: Gain 11, Volume 12, Voice 9 and Tone 4 o'clock

    Bridge pickup Telecaster. At the end you can hear how evenly the overdriven sound fades out: http://www.armeirre.de/jotka/tdpri/Zehndrive_1.mp3

    Neck pickup Stratocaster: http://www.armeirre.de/jotka/tdpri/Zehndrive_2.mp3

    Neck pickup Telecaster. An example how dynamically the Zehndrive reacts to the strength of the picking: http://www.armeirre.de/jotka/tdpri/Zehndrive_3.mp3

    Everything was recorded with a cheap condenser mic in front of my Princeton, going directly into Logic 8 without any further sound processing.
    I used a very light reverb from a Marshal Reflector pedal, nothing else.
     
  12. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    And here's another one, also from Germany: musikding.de
     
  13. -PickupTruck-

    -PickupTruck- Tele-Meister

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    Nice job. What does the voice control do?
     
  14. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    The Tone control is basically, what it says. It changes the sound from dark/muddy to trebly.
    My impression is that the Voice control changes the mids of the signal from almost flat to mid-hump.

    Edit: Just found an explanation on another board which seems to attest my impression.

    "The Tone control is after the OD, and is flat when wide open.
    The Voice control is before the OD and is flat when at minimum.
    When set flat, the Zendrive still has a ~very slight boost around 300-400hz, which makes high notes have more body.
    As the voice control is turned up, the upper mids begin to be emphasized similar to the TS pedals, but the bottom end remains,
    and it still sounds more open and much less compressed."
     
  15. junk126

    junk126 Tele-Meister

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    Sounds cool and looks nice. I'm going to have to try building a pedal soon.
     
  16. RedRock

    RedRock Tele-Holic

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    Guten tag. Kopieren zie der Hermida design?

    Do you have a schematic?
     
  17. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    No, I'm not copying anything here.
    This pedal is built from a kit which I bought from German supplier MEK uk-electronic (link can be found some posts above).
    The description can be downloaded from the website.
     
  18. Big Tony

    Big Tony Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks!

    / Tony
     
  19. Big Tony

    Big Tony Friend of Leo's

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    I'm wondering...could this be a clone of the Klon Centaur???

    [​IMG]

    Klon Centaur

    [​IMG]

    Anyone got a clue?

    / Tony
     
  20. tonfarbe

    tonfarbe Tele-Holic

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    Yes, according to Uwe (the guy who builds the MEK pedals and runs the webstore) it is.
    He announced the kit in his forum and wrote (freely translated):
    "From now on, the Zenaurus is available in the shop. The name says it all - need I say more?"
     
  21. Big Tony

    Big Tony Friend of Leo's

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    Danke!

    / Tony
     
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