For this very first post in my new D.I.Y. Blog, I’m sharing a vero board layout I created from Jack Orman’s brilliant “negative ground PNP Fuzz” circuit. Mr. Orman’s brilliant work can be found on his site, where he provides incredible insight into the world of guitar effects design. Bookmark his site, and be sure to order one of his eBooks on the RAT, Big Muff, Tubescreamer, etc. Enlightening stuff!

I don’t want any positive ground effects in my pedal chain (classic fuzz-, rangemaster-, and tonebender-style circuits) so I often build them with a voltage inverter circuit. This extra step is not a big deal, but you sometimes run into inverter chips that whine, and I’ve burn up a lot by missing a tiny short from the copper trace before connecting power. At $1 a pop, I’d rather roast hotdogs.

I recently breadboarded Mr. Orman’s negative ground fuzz circuit, and was pleasantly surprised – no tone difference that I could discern, and no need for extra chips. I could now use my favorite PNP Germanium transistors to build a fuzz that I could daisy-chain into my pedal board.

Since many D.I.Y.ers prefer an easy vero board layout to a circuit diagram, I’m posting this small board (11×7 vero) for you to try out. There should be enough space for all but the clunkiest of Germanium transistors, just put in your resistors first, and leave the electrolytic capacitor legs long enough to lay them down in the open board space nearby.

Here’s the layout – please note that I have used the black circle with a white center (otherwise used as a solder pad) to indicate a cut in the copper vero strip:

Note that the “cut board” image below the layout already shows the copper trace side – that is to say it’s flipped horizontally for cutting. As you may know, the vero layout looks down on the board from the component side, and you have to cut into the copper strip side, so you generally need to “flip” the image to get the cuts right. It’s not a big deal for a small board with just a few cut – I often just do it in my head – but it’s a pain for more complex boards, so whatever I post on this blog will have the cut side image already flipped for you.

You can add the ceramic capacitor (optional) labeled “opt.” if you find the fuzz to be somewhat ‘treble heavy’. This is usually transistor dependent. If you build it, fo example, with 2N3906 Silicon transistors, you may want to pop sockets for that cap, and try 470pf or so, and adjust to taste. Great way to learn what does what in the circuit!

Drop me a message on the contact page, or post a comment, and I’ll be glad to get back to you when I have a chance. I’ll be posting again very soon with some tips on building vero layouts, which I found tricky at first. I’ve got some fun little circuits to share, some of my own creations, some from circuits I haven’t seen layouts for yet.

In the meantime, be sure to visit the awesome site where IvIark and Miro post vero layouts almost daily. Those guys ROCK the DIY community. Many, many thanks to them for inspiration!!

best regards, joe dochtermann