Germanium transistor OD/distortion pedals

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by D_Malone, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

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    Many thanks for that - I had no idea. It will give me a good point to start from and to experiment.

    Yes, it was great being able to handle (if not play) some beautiful guitars. Macari's used to be London's pre-eminent Gibson dealer but, for whatever reason, I believe they parted company. They used to have 2 shops (one on Denmark St and the other on Charing Cross Road) but now just have the Charing Cross Road shop. It's always busy in there and the owners / staff are a really helpful and nice bunch.

    Always worth a quick look-see if you're in the area.
     
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  2. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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  3. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    OP here. I appreciate all the responses, but what I'm really wondering is if there's anything similar to the Karma Suture out there, i.e. a germanium transistor-based pedal with a relatively flat eq that can be a clean boost, overdrive/distortion, or fuzz.

    Things that make the Karma Suture somewhat unique;

    -Touch sensitivity, dynamics, and clean-up typical of a germanium fuzz, but with a relatively flat eq, and tight low end.

    -Input/output controls that allow it to go from completely clean to super-saturated.

    -Diodes knob for adjusting diode clipping from clean (out of circuit) to full-on distortion.

    -Density knob, which is basically a pre-gain bass control.

    Again, this thing can be a clean boost, an OD/distortion, or fuzz, and it does them all extremely well in my opinion.
     
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  4. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    I found a 1 off germanium transistor that is a "frequency booster" that has 3 knobs...gain, cut/boost and frequency. It will go from clean to over the top...it is the sizzle and greaseey. The frequency is basically a tone knob and the cut boost will cut or boost the frequency. It is quite a useful little box...works and interacts well with the git...for fuzz, just roll off the git's tone for the woolleey or less make a few adjustments for a tighter fuzz. The thing will really push other pedals or amp
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  5. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    The vast majority of GE transistors that are being used are still old stock. Those things got made for quite a few years and were so widely used in consumer electronics that even now it's still not prohibitively difficult to get your hands on raw stock. I bought a pile of them two or three years back. You have to make a testing rig (or buy a PEAK meter or something similar) and them sort them but the actual stock is easy to get. As one of the posters mentioned, there's been talk of small runs of new GE stock recently, and the word is that Dunlop had a batch of NTE275 style remakes done back when they were reissuing the FF (for one of the batches--I know that at one of their reissues used silicon and allegedly sounds awful). But it's not terribly hard for smaller builders to get stock even to this day.

    I like Ge pedals too. They tend to sound warm and they tend to be highly dynamic. But I don't think there's much (if any) difference in tone between silicon and germanium as such. You could make a silicon transistors with similar qualities and if you did it would sound just like the Ge--it's just that makers have no interest in making them because the mass market has no use for them. The difference is a practical one. Ge transistors tend to be less efficient and to have much lower gain/higher leakage. That's not so good for making toasters, but in certain pedal/music circuit contexts, it sounds really good!
     
  6. DeVilleDude

    DeVilleDude Tele-Holic

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    Check out the Dingotone Big Sky Drive. Might be what you're looking for.
     
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  7. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, the Big Sky looks right up my alley!
     
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  8. sclitheroe

    sclitheroe Tele-Meister Ad Free + Supporter

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    I've got a couple of them, great germanium overdrives. Note that they are not germanium transistor based, it's germanium clipping diodes. But they have that warm, spongey germanium goodness in spades.
     
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  9. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    OP here. I believe I've found a real gem, the Leona v2 by Stephen Douglas design. I'm going to post a review after I've spent some more time with it, but so far it seems to be exactly what I've been looking for. Great demo here:
     
  10. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

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    I love them too but hear they can be temperature sensitive.
     
  11. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 on Analog.man, check out his website and the info on the Sun Dial pedals. Lots of info on the different germanium and silicone chips.
     
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  12. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    If you're playing outdoors on a hot day, yes, but aside from that temp shouldn't be an issue, at least in my experience. If it's a concern I suppose silicon would be the way to go.
     
  13. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    The AM stuff is top-notch, yes. I've had a few Sun Faces, and a Beano Boost. These days I'm more interested in germanium transistor OD/distortion, rather than fuzz.
     
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