First off, title reference is to my build, not the project, which is a great sounding pedal and done in typical AWESOME @PedalPCB fashion.
Full disclosure, this is my second attempt at building this pedal. My first attempt was a failure.....didn't work.
I did my usual cursory troubleshooting and couldn't figure it out, gave up and threw it in the "box o shame". (Actually more like a "cupboard o shame")
I was determined to get a working build so I re-ordered the board, quadruple checked everything, and the second board also didn't work.
It was discouraging, frustrating and after a cursory troubleshooting attempt it too "almost" went into the "box o shame".
In fact I was already getting ready to repurpose the enclosure for a different build.
But I was whining and crying to my ever patient friend @szukalski over DM and he gently encouraged me to break out my audio probe and take a closer look.
Reluctantly I did, (I have so little confidence in my troubleshooting skills), but armed with the schematic, I started at "input".
And 3 points in found I the problem.........it was the way I mounted the SMD JFETS on the adapter boards (pics below).
So I snipped off the JFETS, soldered in some sockets, stuck in some of my out-of-spec TO-92 JFETS and BAM! It works!
So this is a FIRST for me, in having a SUCCESSFUL troubleshooting outcome with my audio probe.
And also a FIRST for me not destroying the board with my "fixing" it. (Although a couple of the caps did suffer some battle scars.
So I 'think" the problem with my first two attempts is that the SMD adapter boards were grounding out with each other. I didn't think it would be a problem, but the more I think about it, the more I think that it's probably the ground plane of the boards possibly grounding out? I dunno.
Here's a pic of how I originally built it.
I thought I was being clever and snazzy mounting the 2N5457's on 90 degree pin headers but I think that because the boards were touching they were grounding out.
This next pic is after my troubleshooting. I replaced the footswitch to rule that out (it was a long shot), but after replacing the JFETS it solved the problem!
I'm not too proud of how it looks......but it WORKS WOOHOOO!
So back to the pedal, I built this because I'm always interested in a @PedalPCB original. And because @jeffwhitfield built it, and because @szukalski built it
I was also curious as to what a "discrete overdrive" was, heh. I also was interested in what a "boooteeeek modified TS/SuperStevie" would sound like.
I don't think it sounds too much like a TS and I've never played the SuperStevie but I think it's a great sounding low-ish gain pedal. Much more open sounding to me than a typical TS. Playing with my Strat and and the treble cranked I can definitely see the SRV connection. Played through my PRS Vela with a fatter single coil it's got a nice bluesy thickness.
But I can't tell you how gratifying it is to finally have a WIN with troubleshooting a non-working pedal with an audio probe following a schematic. I now also know why the first build didn't work and may need to retrieve it from banishment in the "box of shame" and box it up and maybe give it to my brother.
Big shout out and thanks to @szukalski for the encouragement to persist with the troubleshooting!