Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Volume Pedal Mod Revisited (Switchable Minimum Volume/Volume Off)

 So with the prospects of once again being a supporting guitarist for Don Matsuo this July, I found myself pondering the volume pedal mod I did years ago where I physically stopped the minimum volume the pedal had to control the gain on my amp.  I don't know what to expect with this gig, despite this being my second go around.  Would I need a gain control, or a volume pedal?  I also got tired of pulling out the screwdriver each time I wanted volume swells on my lap steel.  So, the solution for me was clear.  Create resistance to ground on a switch.  I measured 1.55K on my multimeter as the resistance on my minimum volume with the previous mod.  So the idea, was to put a combo of resistors to equal 1.55K that could be added between the volume pot of the pedal and ground, as well as to be taken away (switchable).  After contemplating drilling a new switch hole, I realized I never used the tuner output.  I actually really have no use for it.  So that was my mounting hole.  Also 100% reversible. 


So, (1.)I de-soldered the tuner jack, and the ground wire (grey) from the board.  (2.) Soldered the pot ground (same grey wire) to the middle switch lug. The tuner jack left me some holes to run wires through!  (3.) Ran a new wire from one side of the switch to the original ground board connection.  (4.) Ran my resistors (1.55K) from that same lug to the opposite lug on the switch.  

 After doing this, I found there are a few pedals on the market that do this same thing with a variable resistance pot, such as the new Ernie Ball MVP.  I did my approach, because I didn't want the potential for the knob to get bumped or moved.  I wanted a quick on-the-fly switch to change the function of my pedal.  For me, this is the perfect volume pedal.  (Also there's a treble bleed mod in there as well) 



Here's a quick clip of it. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

New Split 7 Inch Out in July With Big Guest Stars


 
I know....It's been a while.  It's trange how things line up and how lucky I've been the last year.  Even though some people have these ridiculous superstitions about the calendar year number, the end of 2020 was a productive and musically rewarding one.  A band I play in and record (Born Shit Stirrers) decided to finally put some music down on recording after being inspired and cheered on by Mike Watt after being on the Watt From Pedro Show.  I think a lot of us felt in a suspended state, unsure of what to do in the future.  I certainly felt very uncreative around March of 2020.  The kind and wise words from Watt really got me out of my funk for sure,  "You're out there on the ocean all alone on a boat."  "What are you gonna do?" "Tell the wind which way to blow?"  In other words, make do with what you got and adapt to the situation.  Watt also always ends his radio show with "keep your powder dry".  Kind of an always be ready mantra of the revolutionary war.   
Not only was he the kick in the pants we needed, but he also was kind enough to add his bass to our tracks.  It's got to be one of the biggest musical moments of my life for me to play on the same tracks as a hero of mine.  I'm really proud of how everything turned out and came together, even though I'm probably going to hell for the lyrics.  
Watt wasn't alone either as a guest star.  We were lucky enough to have Joe King(Joe Queer) from The Queers and Reverend Nørb from Boris the Sprinkler grace us with their vocal stylings.  The songs will come out on a split 7 inch in July on Serial Bowl Records in the UK with friends from another semi-local band in Kumamoto Japan, Led Zep Vietcong.  The album names were definitely inspired by the crappy company I was working for last year and our sexual frustrations in lock-down.   I know July is a ways away, so here is a track to wet your beak to until then.  A cover, believe it or not about Richard Gere and a gerbil.  Written by geniuses from Salem/Portland Oregon, The Bumble Bees   

Enjoy!  ~Lum

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Interview with Pete Distefano of Porno for Pyros




I was honored to speak with Pete DiStefano of Porno for Pyros for show number 12!  He talks about art,music, relationships, the debates, doing movie sound tracks, and some wild times.  Interview and songs from Pete including, Porno for Pyros, Venice Underground, Pete DiStefano, and Hellride!  Truly an honor to talk to him.  Hope fans enjoy this as much as I did!  


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Interview on Mike Watt's The Watt From Pedro Show

It was an honor and a pleasure for my band-mates and I to be on the podcast of one of my own musical heroes, Mike Watt. It was a blast and surreal.  Check out our interview and as always, an eclectic batch of great music.  
The Watt From Pedro Show!


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

F.U.K.R. FUKuoka Radio


So this social distancing and not playing shows has got my friends and I a little stir crazy.  We decided to spend the time we aren't record or making music, to share streaming music we like to everyone. We'll try have weekly shows and maybe a few live ones in the future.  So, if you feel like hanging out listening to music with us during these crazy times, check us out on FUKR


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

"Lester" New Born Shit Stirrers Vinyl Out Next Week


Our new vinyl "Lester", comes out next Friday on Serial Bowl Records and Chaos Control out of the Uk.  Pre-orders are available now Here.  I believe these will be in Pepto Bismol pink vinyl.  If you can't tell from the cover, this one is pretty sick and twisted.  If you're into offensive punk rock, grab a copy or download it next week.  Stay safe out there.
~Lum




Friday, March 20, 2020

Klon Clone.

Unknowingly, I recently was in the market for a Klon Centaur overdrive pedal.  By unknowingly, I mean I stumbled upon a super cheap Chinese clone kit version on amazon (https://www.amazon.com) for a mere $46.  I had reservations about it, especially being on amazon, but for that price I didn't have much to lose.  Considering real Klons are going for prices upwards of $3000, I had to try it.  Seems every famous guitarist I like has one these days after all.  
 
I'd seen the complaints about the instructions being unreadable among other things that seemed like beginner problems in the reviews.  Granted they weren't easy to read when the package arrived.  But with a multimeter, and some basic electronic knowledge, you should have no problem.  Only mix-up I had was with the two ceramic caps.  That was easy to mix up.  I got it running on the first try, but I wouldn't recommend this for someone just starting out.  However it really is paint by numbers with the values printed on the board.

Overall I couldn't build this from parts for the cost they are selling it at.  The components I counted compared to the schematic floating around online and it was spot on.  Other then and extra resistor which I think was a foot switch pop filter.  Sounds damn good, and close to every Klon demo I've heard.  The enclosure and paint job alone are worth the price.  No idea how they're making money off this in China.  It's on one of my boards now. Go slow, double check the values, and polarity.  Also the slop or notch on the audio jacks are the ground. There are other Klon clones on the market going for a lot more money.  As well as some Klon inspired pedals like the EHX Soul Food, which is pretty affordable.  But I have to hand it to the guys to threw this together.  For the price is it hard to beat it's value and sound.  Plus it was fun to solder it together for an afternoon.

The simple snobbish punk rock board.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Interview

If anyone is curious to things I and the other folks in the band have to say, then tune in to The Noise Merchant on Rhino Radio Monday, February 17th at 8pm UK time(12pm West Coast, 5am Tuesday Japan), on... 
http://rhinoradio.co.uk

Edit: A saved version is now up at
https://m.mixcloud.com/RhinoRadio/noise-merchant-170220/
(Starts at about the 23:00 mark.)

Monday, February 3, 2020

Raw Horse Meat in Kumamoto...

The stage seemed ridiculous for the crowd size. 
Folks.  Sorry for the ineptitude on replying to comments the last few months.  I found the site bombarded with spam over the summer and it took me a while to find a few of you.  Also I finally broke down and joined the modern zombie world and purchased a "smart"phone after years of irritating loved ones, friends and work by not being available.  So, that means I will actually get notifications a bit quicker on all comments.
Raw horse, my fav!

In other news, we(Godzilla Snacks) are practicing to prepare starting our third EP recording.  Might technically be a full length by the end.  Hopefully I'll have a better space for a home studio soon as well.  Going to be a busy 2020.  

Born Shit Stirrers has a vinyl recording coming out soon on Serial Bowl Records of Sunderland, UK in a joint effort from Boss Tuneage, and Chaos Control Records.  It's somewhat a concept album called "Lester", for reasons that will become more obvious next month.  Again, this band is going to hell.


That very band, Born Shit Stirrers and I dropped a fortune on a out of town gig last weekend.  The very reason touring in Japan is not a great strategy; unless you want to enjoy a vacation as a tourist and drop a load of coin.  One of us needs to buy a van...  We made it to the southern end of Kyushu in a city named Kumamoto.(The creepy black Japanese bear cartoon city) The show went well and all, nothing to really get excited about.  Other than the raw horse sashimi.  Actually a full smorgasbord of horse entrees to be eaten.  We paid a premium for it, but the drummer Jun was nice enough to pick up the bill.  (He has a lot more disposable income now that he quit drugs.)  And to think, people in Europe were getting upset a few years back, that McDonald's was mixing this delicious stuff in with the burger meat!

Well, just thought I'd post something and check in.  Life's been crazy and weird lately, but here's hoping it's good for all of you.  Stay safe, and wash your damn hands, there's bat/snake flu going around.  (Ironically probably started from eating odd raw animals.)




Monday, December 16, 2019

Best Volume Pedal Mods and Hacks

I know, volume pedals.  Boring right?  I used to only use them with lap steel or volume swells when I was younger.  And most my volume swells could have been done with the volume control on my guitar.  So I never pulled the pedal out much for a long period of time.  I think a lot of people are the same way,  That was until I started playing more dynamic music with a lot more volume changes and had a real need for quick control over my distortion vs clean sound.  The full on/off distortion control I got from my amp switcher or pedals wasn't cutting it anymore for the music I was playing.  I also started loving the clean sound of a driven amp with my volume control down.  With my hands busy playing I couldn't make the changes I wanted on the guitar quick enough, so I turned to my old volume pedal to control my gain with my foot.  Only problem was it was hard to get the pedal to turn down to where I needed it to be for a clean sound and not cutting my volume off completely.  Update* I did the same thing electronically which is a much better mod. 

Heightened Rubber Door Stop
A new minimal heel position for my "clean channel"
Solution:  A shaved down rubber door stop from a hardware store at the heel of the foot control.  There just happens to be a small rubber stop with a set screw there already on the Ernie Ball volume pedal.  If you replace that stopper with something a bit higher you can disable the pedal from turning the volume fully off.  Just find the clean tone position you want and measure the height to shave down your door stopper at.  This really makes for easier changes in a live situation.  Everything from distorting to clean all at your control, and no worries of cutting off your volume completely.

Treble Bleed Mods
Next up: Playing clean tone with a standard wired volume pot turned down leads to another potentially unwanted problem.  Just like with your guitar's volume control, you loose treble as the pot is turned down.  I decided with the way I was using my volume pedal, I would have to do a treble bleed mod.  There are a few versions of the mod to the right.  The best resource online is from JohnH on this board site: http://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/5317/treble-bleed-circuit
There you will find all the EQ curves at different decibels with all the possible treble bleed mods, best component values and a improved circuit with a stacked dual concentric pot.  For most of my needs I find the parallel mod does a good enough job retaining the EQ curve across different volumes.  If you do end up doing this mod, you will need help putting the pedal it back together with it's string and string pulley. It's not as easy as it looks.  Plenty of tutorials on youtube to help you with that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrDRKahbY28

Volume Pedal Turned Expression Pedal
The Final Hack: Not a mod, but a use for a standard PASSIVE volume pedal that isn't well know.  Instead of buying an extra expression pedal many companies make for their pedals, you can use a volume pedal with a Y cable with a stereo jack plug.  Just plug the mono jack plugs(Y part) into the volume pedal's input and output, and the stereo jack plug(single tail part of the Y) into the expression jack.  You may have to switch the input and output jacks around if it doesn't work on the first try,  You could also double up or triple up the one pedal to control many different expression controls.  Just use an all female input headphone splitter adapter to run two stereo chords out to different pedals expression inputs.  Or multiply the expression control with more adapters if you want.

So, lots of things you can used a volume pedal for.  So don't overlook them.  Surprisingly it's has become the most essential part of my rig for controlling how much gain I'm getting from my amp.  Probably the most essential part of how my guitar playing works in my three piece band.  These tips and mods aren't all you can do either.  Control the amount of a direct effect in a wet/dry amp setup.  Perhaps make synth like pad sounds with a delay like David Gilmour's sound on sound setup.  http://www.gilmourish.com/?p=287

Experiment.  Have fun.