Next up for the clone kit treatment is the Blues Bro kit, again from MEK in Germany. The Blues Bro is based on the Boss Blues Driver kit, but a comparison of the two schematics shows that this one is a somewhat simplified version, component wise (while I may still be on kits I do try to dig up the original schematics to learn a bit about the workings of the pedals the clones are based on).
This time round I decided to stump up for the pre-drilled enclosure. That and three knobs is all you need to go with the kit. Next time I think I’ll forego the pre-drilled enclosure, but might go for a powder coated one, so all my pedals won’t have a sloppy paint job (see further down). Like previous kits from MEK the instructions are downloaded from the site, and are very clear and simple to follow.
Component count isn’t huge in this one, so it went together handy enough. The four holes to the right of the pcb socket are where the diodes would usually go, but for this build I decided to modify the kit slightly. These two diodes act as clipping diodes which distort the guitar signal to give you the overdriven sound.The diodes supplied with the kit are of different values, which gives asymmetrical clipping, as in the original Blues Driver. I wanted to have a switchable option between this and symmetrical clipping, which gives a smoother overdriven Tube Screamer sound. I was also reading about led clipping, so decided to install two red LEDs as my symmetrical clipping option. LEDs, being diodes too, are often used in this way. What they bring to the party is that it takes more voltage before they start clipping – so in layman’s terms backing off the pedal’s drive pot will clean up the overdrive, and the pedal can almost be used as a clean boost.
Back to the build, and the pre-drilled box did mean that all components fitted neatly, if a little snugly. Next up was the wiring.
If you look closely at the top of the enclosure ( right hand side of picture) you will see the LEDs soldered to the top of the switch. Also, the grey/yellow wires (terminated with a little insulation tape) are the original Fat switch wires that came with the kit. These are used to beef up the sound. I just need to pop in a second switch before they become operational.
And there we have it – the finished pedal. I didn’t time myself, but no more than a couple of hours over two evenings to complete it. Finished off the enclosure with some blackboard paint, for no other reason than that’s what I had handy. Sure I could always decorate it with chalk, but I do like the matt black effect.
So there we have it, another pedal to add to the collection. And yet again another pedal build blog post with no sound clip to complete it. Maybe next time, but I really do like this pedal. Since I had to “borrow” a couple of components from my Der Screamer (a long story) this has become my main overdrive pedal. I love the light overdrive I can get with the LEDs, and I can also tweak the tone and drive to get a half decent beefed up sound on my single coils.