Custom Built Brutalist Jr. - With Steggo!


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Local friend had one of Kurt Ballou's Brutalist Jr. business cards and wanted to know if I could build it up for him. Of course the answer was "yes" - but this being the land of the dinosaurs - you know it had to have a twist!

Brutalist JR - 01.jpg

Since I was building up one of the actual Brutalist Jr. PCBs, I needed to come up with an awesome enclosure to go with it. Once I came up with the enclosure, I realized I would really love to build one for myself using the same enclosure. Fortunately the Brutalist Jr. PCB is back in stock at the God City Instruments store, so I snagged one for myself as well!

As this pedal was designed for just about anyone to build, the layout is very clean and straightforward - and none of the components are particularly exotic. I used my normal mix of 1% metal film resistors, 5% metal film capacitors, MLCCs and Nichicon electrolytic capacitors. For my friend's pedal, I'm using the TL082 op amps like I use in my "International Style" builds (top in the photo above). For my pedal, I'm starting with the TL072 - but I plan on experimenting a little since I already have my own "International Style" build with TL082 op amps.

Brutalist JR - 02.jpg

For the enclosure, the Brutalist Jr. uses a 1590BB sized enclosure - I went with a 1590BB2 because it provides extra depth and makes fitting the jacks and pots easier. I also modified the stomp switch wiring a little from the recommendation in the Brutalist Jr. instructions so I could just use my Steggo 3PDT daughter board. Most of the signal wires, and the wires for the LED are connected to the bottom of the PCB. The only wires I ended up running out of the top of the board was the +9V and the ground connections for the power jack and audio jacks.

Brutalist JR - 03.jpg

For the enclosure, I decided to once again play on the "Brutalist" theme of the pedal and use Brutalist architecture as the basis of the art. I took a Brutalist building and heavily modified it in photoshop before bringing it over to illustrator. I then found a great stegosaurus sketch I was able to digitize and put in green over the sepia of the building. I think it came out looking pretty cool - so cool that (as I mentioned) I had to make one for myself too!

In terms of the sound - it's a Brutalist Jr. It's a no holds barred, melt your face, amazingly high gain distortion pedal. If you dial it way back you can do some more subtle stuff with it as well, though.

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