DIY Guitar Effects Projects by Steve N. Mavronis
 
     I got into the DIY world in January 2010 researching the vintage 'gray' DOD 250 Overdrive pedal and how it works. After many months of development I created my own unique PCB layout and finished a stompbox based on the sound of the last 1979-1980 gray version. It represents a classic overdrive that's become very popular with guitar players of the Neoclassical Rock genre for its midrange 'Grail Tone' guitar leads. So I named my new DIY hobby Neo-Classic FX.
 
 

    Click on the '741 Overdrive' link above for full details and features. My custom PCB layout, parts location guide, and circuit schematic (including offboard wiring) are available for free download. I hope you enjoy making your own classic 'gray spec' 250 Overdrive clone. Just email me some feedback on how your build turned out. I know you'll enjoy it too!

 

    I learned that you don't have to pay high auction prices to get the same tone as a vintage original stompbox. Just build your own and it's easier than you would think! My first ever DIY project turned out so nice that I built two of them: My own personal 'black satin' Neo-Classic 741 Overdrive pictured here, and my first 'bare metal' prototype build that went to my close friend who just happens to be American neoclassical guitarist Dean Cascione. He likes it so much that it's become his main rig overdrive and studio recording pedal for his second album Neoclassical Fire! Here are Dean's first impressions upon receiving it:

    "The pedal arrived safe my friend. I have to say the first thing I noticed was the quality of the fit and finish is impeccable! Also I noticed that the pedal has beautiful tonal characteristics and in my opinion perfect output - Your pedal really enhances the Voodoo (amp) tone and is much quieter than the four or so gray clones I have in my possession - Truthfully this is by far the best sounding gray clone I have ever tested! In comparison, your pedal actually has midrange where all the rest of my (250) clones sound tinny and scratchy. I don’t know what you did to enhance the circuit, but I love the tone and the pedal totally kicks ass. Excellent job man - I would say you have re-created the holy grail of tone!!"      - Dean Cascione

3080 Compressor

 

   

 

 

 

    Based on the classic 'script' era MXR Dyna Comp pedal from the 1976-1977 time period, this is my second DIY stompbox project that I successfully built for myself and Dean Cascione. Referencing an original factory schematic, I created a unique custom PCB layout true to the original compression effect with a bit less noise. The Neo-Classic 3080 Compressor performs very well inside my Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor's send/return effects loop along with my Neo-Classic 741 Overdrive. It helps by balancing volume levels adding more sustain, and thickens my single coil pickup tone depending on the knob combination settings I choose.

    Special thanks to Rick (Frequency Central), Pete (Scruffie), and Seth (Spaz), for their vintage CA3080S, CA3080E, CA3080A Operational Transconductance Amplifier (OTA) donations that helped make this project possible.