Earthquaker Bellows

daeg

Active member
Built a bellows with a couple 2n3904's forming a darlington pair instead of the MPSA13. Really nice distortion and fuzz tones (and some cool overdrive tones, too). Very simple circuit, but really effective.
I've done this too. I like the result of the roll-your-own darlingtons in Bazz Fuss circuit, and the Bellows is the best Bazz Fuss circuit IMO.

You can also have some fun by inserting a pot between the collectors, which are normally tied together in an NPN Darlington pair.

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lrgaraujo

New member
I've done this too. I like the result of the roll-your-own darlingtons in Bazz Fuss circuit, and the Bellows is the best Bazz Fuss circuit IMO.

You can also have some fun by inserting a pot between the collectors, which are normally tied together in an NPN Darlington pair.

View attachment 17227
I totally agree with the bellows being the best sounding Bass Fuzz out there.
Well, now it's back to the breadboard, cause i'm certainly interested in placing a pot between the collectors
 

Diynot

Well-known member
Dear sweet baby Jesus, I didn’t realize the Bellows was a Bazz Fuss and EQD charges $115 for a circuit that has less than $5 dollars in parts!? Man have I been doing life wrong. I know, I know this is why we all DIY, just sometimes the glaring commercialism of it all reaches up and smacks me in the face. Love messing with the Bazz Fuss circuit. I like it better than the Electra although both are highly moddable
 

daeg

Active member
Dear sweet baby Jesus, I didn’t realize the Bellows was a Bazz Fuss and EQD charges $115 for a circuit that has less than $5 dollars in parts!? Man have I been doing life wrong. I know, I know this is why we all DIY, just sometimes the glaring commercialism of it all reaches up and smacks me in the face. Love messing with the Bazz Fuss circuit. I like it better than the Electra although both are highly moddable
To be fair, they were the first to use a JFET across the collector and base instead of a diode, and something about that sounds better. Their build also has a microcontroller and relay for bypass which a normal DIYer couldn't do. They also added an unbuffered input volume control like the early fuzzes had, that will load your guitar pickups badly. I always used the Bellows after a buffer.

870ecc70-d016-4665-9c08-950cc6b0bedf_1024x1024.jpg


I've always considered EQD to be like a DIY+ brand. Most of their pedals are mods or slight improvements to long established designs. When they can get away with selling a Bazz Fuss (Bellows), Electra (Speaker Cranker), Rangemaster (Bows) or a Green Ringer (Tentacle) for $130, they'll do it. When they need to do something more complex like FV-1 programming or designing with PLL's, they probably hire a contractor. It's the same story with most boutique pedal companies.
 

Diynot

Well-known member
Ah, I don’t fault them for it really, everyone’s gotta eat. I do love me some EQD, they are from my hometown. I even have a Bows amongst others. When there are multiple companies offering the same you have to set yours apart somehow, but really any of us in this forum could add relay switching with a utility board from pedal PCB. I guess what is really the surprise to me is that people in general will pay that price for a totally replicatable, easy circuit. Just call me a jaded DIYer
 

manfesto

Well-known member
Ah, I don’t fault them for it really, everyone’s gotta eat. I do love me some EQD, they are from my hometown. I even have a Bows amongst others. When there are multiple companies offering the same you have to set yours apart somehow, but really any of us in this forum could add relay switching with a utility board from pedal PCB. I guess what is really the surprise to me is that people in general will pay that price for a totally replicatable, easy circuit. Just call me a jaded DIYer
A) the complexity of a circuit doesn’t actually account for all the much of the cost of a BoM, even when you DIY; building an Amentum isn’t *that* much cheaper than building an Irrlicht, if it’s $3 in circuit parts vs $8 in circuit parts, that doesn’t have much of a dent after I buy a $6 enclosure (plus the time it costs to drill and paint), $3 Footswitch, $3 in jacks, plus time to assemble (of which soldering parts to the PCB isn’t always the most time-consuming part)

B) EQD has to pay a number of employees (not just builders, but designers, accountants, a shipping department, etc) a livable wage plus benefits, plus warehouse space, for it all to live, and all of that *costs*, which has very little to do with commercialism and more with just straight up practicality of what it costs to run a business.

If I sell a build, after the cost of the BoM, I’m lucky to make more than minimum wage for the hours I put into building. And I’m just one dude in my garage doing this on weekends; to make it a viable business with employees would require both higher prices and a *much* better understanding of logistics and markets.

I could build a Bellows clone and add a PedalPCB smart relay board (which is *much* pricier than a 3PDT btw), but I really can’t imagine being able to undercut EQD on price all that much if I wanted to sell it.
 

manfesto

Well-known member
To be fair, they were the first to use a JFET across the collector and base instead of a diode, and something about that sounds better. Their build also has a microcontroller and relay for bypass which a normal DIYer couldn't do. They also added an unbuffered input volume control like the early fuzzes had, that will load your guitar pickups badly. I always used the Bellows after a buffer.

870ecc70-d016-4665-9c08-950cc6b0bedf_1024x1024.jpg


I've always considered EQD to be like a DIY+ brand. Most of their pedals are mods or slight improvements to long established designs. When they can get away with selling a Bazz Fuss (Bellows), Electra (Speaker Cranker), Rangemaster (Bows) or a Green Ringer (Tentacle) for $130, they'll do it. When they need to do something more complex like FV-1 programming or designing with PLL's, they probably hire a contractor. It's the same story with most boutique pedal companies.
Jamie Stillman actually *is* the designer of a lot of that (of course using pre-existing resources when he can, just like the rest of us).

The logic that makes the Data Corrupter go Jamie took from the Schumann PLL, which he freely admits whenever asked (he actually freely admits where pretty much all of his circuits come from, and what he was going for when he modded them); the Rainbow Machine was Jamie learning how the FV-1 works by basically playing with it and hooking it back into itself to make it screech (if you check out the schematic for the Leprechaun, you’ll see it doesn’t have an EEPROM because it’s using the built-in FV-1 programs); if you watch some of the BTS videos of the Astral Destiny development, it was basically Jamie “breaking in” this new kid (assistant?) by having him do DSP work tweaking reverb algorithms.

Like, credit where credit is due; Jamie Stillman doesn’t just take a TubeScreamer, tweak three caps, and goop the IC - he adapted the circuit into the Palisades and the Plumes. His “takes” on classic circuits, regardless of complexity (and, from some of CDB’s threads, design issues stemming from the fact Stillman’s a “tinkerer” first and an “engineer” second), show a fair amount of thoughtfulness and taste, and he and his company are no strangers to DSP.
 

Barry

Well-known member
Dear sweet baby Jesus, I didn’t realize the Bellows was a Bazz Fuss and EQD charges $115 for a circuit that has less than $5 dollars in parts!? Man have I been doing life wrong. I know, I know this is why we all DIY, just sometimes the glaring commercialism of it all reaches up and smacks me in the face. Love messing with the Bazz Fuss circuit. I like it better than the Electra although both are highly moddable
There's a lot more that goes into the cost of a pedal or anything for matter than the parts
 
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Diynot

Well-known member
I get it, I really do. It’s the same as me trying to explain the cost of a medication to anyone who has to pay more than $5 for a prescription. But let me ask this, if everyone is ok with the cost of commercial pedals, fully recognizing the rationale behind the cost, then why are we here on a DIY forum talking about building copies of those same circuits instead of just buying one?
 

manfesto

Well-known member
I get it, I really do. It’s the same as me trying to explain the cost of a medication to anyone who has to pay more than $5 for a prescription. But let me ask this, if everyone is ok with the cost of commercial pedals, fully recognizing the rationale behind the cost, then why are we here on a DIY forum talking about building copies of those same circuits instead of just buying one?
Who says I don’t? My personal gig board is currently 100% pedals purchased from brands I like and like to support.

I build pedals because it’s a fun and relaxing hobby (and as my skill in assembly has increased, so too has my personal satisfaction - once I conquered waterslide decal application I really felt like I’d leveled up), because it was a natural progression from modding pedals and doing shitty stripboard builds in need of constant maintenance, because there are aspects to circuit design that I find fascinating to study, and because in the case of rare or vintage pedals there is no other way for me to hear them.

Basically, I like to DIY pedals because it’s fun, not because it’s cheaper. I’m certainly not here to save money (buying a $30 batch of germanium transistors from overseas to get like two useable Tone Bender sets is a good way to do the opposite); if I wanted to do that I’d just be buying $30 Chinese SMD pedals from Amazon and calling it a day.
 

Feral Feline

Well-known member
I get it, I really do. It’s the same as me trying to explain the cost of a medication to anyone who has to pay more than $5 for a prescription. But let me ask this, if everyone is ok with the cost of commercial pedals, fully recognizing the rationale behind the cost, then why are we here on a DIY forum talking about building copies of those same circuits instead of just buying one?
Indeed! Why does a $14 book cost you $40 when you lose the loaner from the library? The library has to pay for the book, then pay staff to process the book, install its anti-theft widget ($) and its magnetic info strip ($), re-enter it into the system ($) etc...

It's cheaper to buy a coffee table than build one, so why does the local woodworker-nut build his/her own burled walnut coffee table?
It's cheaper to buy a restored classic car than to buy an old wreck and restore it — if every car-nut was just buying already-restored cars, then who would they buy a classic from if nobody's restoring them?


Different people will have different reasons for doing what they do. Satisfaction plays a part, I'm sure.

For me...
I cannot build a POG clone for
a) lack of any DIY kits/PCBs of the POG, probably due to proprietary algorithms;
b) even if there was access to PCBs with preloaded algorithm-chips, I can't build one cheaper than my Mooer Tender Octaver (POG clone).
Same goes for my Future Impact, or M5...

However, I CAN build a Bazz Fuss for cheaper than a commercial entity's version and tweak it to suit my personal needs and preferences.

Old, obscure, hard to find, collector-priced-out-of-reach circuits...
I cannot afford an original Schumann PLL, but I'm curious enough about them to try building one and happy that someone did the work to trace an original and put the schematic out there for DIYers... There are plenty of rare pedals I'd like to try, but even if I could afford them it's nearly impossible to locate one to buy...


Many people here still buy commercially built pedals, even when there is a DIY equivalent available. I bought an LS-2 even though for what I'll use it for I can replicate the features I need in a DIY format (I've already got the PCBs, too).

Admittedly I buy less commercial pedals now than I used to, 'cause I'd rather learn something and build a circuit myself — I've only built one pedal stock so far, the rest I've tweaked in some way because I can, and want to.


I'd be interested to hear others' reasons for DIYing.
 

Diynot

Well-known member
Well, since I started this fire…… I do have my fair share of commercial pedals, but it has been sometime since I have bought one outright. The only commercial one I have on my board currently is an NYC reissue big muff that I rehoused and modded. The thing is, I LOVE PEDALS. I love all the different sounds they can make. It’s like I’m collecting sounds more than the pedals themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a well decorated pedal with good knobs. The thing is, to have the collection of pedals that currently sits on my floor in commercial form would represent thousand upon thousand of dollars that I just can’t justify spending.
When I first started reading about the topologies of some of the commercial pedals and realizing that so many of them were just an outright or slightly tweaked copy of the same old circuits, I sort of got a little jaded over all the hype. Then when I discovered that I could build these myself it was like a light bulb went on.
Like Feral Feline said, I am more than happy to buy a pedal that I can’t for whatever reason build myself, but I also can’t personally justify the cost of buying a commercial Bazz fuss circuit no matter the rationalization of price. As far as unobtainium/rare pedals/parts, I am chasing toneS and not just A tone, so long as I can get in the ballpark I am satisfied even if that means not spec-ing parts to the exact tolerances or part number.
To summarize, I DIY because:
A) I love pedals and love to be able to experience lots of different circuits without absolutely breaking the bank
B) It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to take a handful of parts, a pcb, and a metal box and create something real and usable
C) I like the challenge of building. See my post ab the DIY minimoog. I would totally attempt it
D) I like being able to control the aesthetics.
E) I am also the crazy woodworking nut who just wants one of each of those old cadillacs.
 

spi

Well-known member
I get it, I really do. It’s the same as me trying to explain the cost of a medication to anyone who has to pay more than $5 for a prescription. But let me ask this, if everyone is ok with the cost of commercial pedals, fully recognizing the rationale behind the cost, then why are we here on a DIY forum talking about building copies of those same circuits instead of just buying one?

Let me put a twist on your question.
What if the cost of building a DIY pedal was equivalent to buying a one (e.g. what if they both cost $200)? Would we still want to build it?

I would, because I enjoy the hobby. But... I would only build 1 a year rather than 1 a month, because I wouldn't feel comfortable spending so much. The fact that I can build it cheaply means I can own a lot more than I would otherwise.
 

almondcity

Active member
I got into building because I wanted both the EQD Speaker Cranker and Arrows but didn't want to spend the money for them, but now I get a lot of satisfaction from making things and also being able to tweak things for my taste

From listening to Jamie talk I have a lot of respect for them, I feel like they've tried to do the right things as they've grown bigger
 
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