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Electra Distortion

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by JoeNeri, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

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    Back in the 1970's, the Electra Guitar Company made some guitars with onboard effects, including overdrive/distortion. Apparently, the distortion circuit has been a staple among today's DIY pedal enthusiasts.

    Does anyone here know anything about this circuit, and/or are any currently manufactured pedals based on it?

    Thanks.
     
  2. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Lovepedal Woodrow is apparently one, but it's a nice simple circuit, perhaps would be a good time to start working on and constructing your own pedals. Plans for the Electra are all over the net in different versions from point to point (no board at all) to tag board to PCB's. Once you get the tools it would be under $20 to get all the parts you need including a painted and drilled enclosure.
     
  3. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    It's a simple boost circuit with clipping diodes added. Lovepedal has made a lot of variations including the COT. The EQD Speaker Cranker another good example.
     
  4. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Emerson Em Drive and Emerson Paramount

    For the DIY beginner, MOD thunderdrive
     
  5. Garage Dog

    Garage Dog TDPRI Member

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  6. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I didn't know the mod thunder drive was an Electra Distortion.
     
  7. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yep it is a fun kit pedal though it is point to point not PCB, or at least mine was, so it can be a little tough to put it together for a first timer but easy for anyone with any other experience like wiring a tele control plate.
    www.modkitsdiy.com/pedal/thunderdrive
     
  8. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I actually did one of their Piledriver boost builds a few years ago when I was just starting to get into electronics, and PTP can be a bit tricky, but now I work on antique radios and test equipment that's pretty much all wired using terminal strips and true PTP wiring, so this would be a breeze. Perhaps I'll buy one someday.
     
  9. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

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    Cool. Thanks, guys.
     
  10. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    Lovepedal Les Lius, Tchula, High Powered Tweed Twin, Englishman...

    Greer Green Giant
     
  11. EuroBailey

    EuroBailey Tele-Holic

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  12. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think given the very modest investment (very simple build = small bill of materials and not much time putting it together), the Electra Distortion variants have their novel uses. And for those who don't know that a pedal is based on the Electra Distortion, there have been a lot of people who've been wowed by what they heard - GP couldn't gush any more over the COT 50 if they tried, the Les Lius is possibly one of the most popular Lovepedal Electra Distortion variants (probably only behind the COT 50), and the Speaker Cranker is possibly one of Equaker Devices most popular pedals.

    I think it's a great place to start - it is only slightly more complex than building a one transistor boost pedal, really only barely more involved than something like the Electro Harmonix LPB-1. There's no biasing of the transistor required, and really any old silicon bipolar transistor (e.g. cheap and readily available) will do.

    ...The parts count is super low, and I guess it can be a bit of a novel experiment to change out different clipping diodes on the output - that's perhaps the biggest variation between many of the current Electra Distortion variants available.

    Building an Electra Distortion is probably also a fun way to build confidence that could lead to the many other simple one transistor pedals that can be built quickly and easily - things like the Vex SHO, or the Bazz Fuss.

    I'd probably also add that for the shadetree DIY pedal builder, there's also a kind of neat novelty to the sort of crude/low-fi kind of sounds that can be wrangled from something like the Electra Distortion (or Bazz Fuss, or even something like a Dallas Rangemaster, although the last one DOES require a germanium transistor, selected for gain and biased to function properly).

    ...And as simple of a DIY build as something like a Fuzz Face is, the one transistor circuits are simply...more simple! Most things like a Fuzz Face also add a second potentiometer to vary the fuzz/distortion/gain/drive. IMO, even if you could add more controls to something like the Electra Distortion, they remove the essence of its simplicity.

    It's kind of fascinating that in a pedal era when many users couldn't imagine using a OD/dist/dirty boost with anything less than 3 controls (and oftentimes there's a desire for more!), the Electra Distortion variant is just a single knob thingie that is definitely not a boost, and yet is pretty daggone popular with a number of guitarists.
     
  13. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    greer ghetto is a great pedal
     
  14. EuroBailey

    EuroBailey Tele-Holic

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    Thanks 11 guage, that's a great summary! I think this might be my next (and first... ) project ! Thanks again for your detail / time in your post.
     
  15. antipho

    antipho NEW MEMBER!

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    Joe Gore just built what looks to be the Mother Of Electra Pedals. Called the Gross, and I think it's out now.
     
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