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Help! Adding an onboard distortion preamp to a bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Kevinchriste, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Kevinchriste


    Apr 15, 2014
    Hi, im in the process of designing the schematic for a bass im going to be refurbishing and i would like to add several things including an onboard distortion/overdrive preamp. Yes I know its way easier to just buy an fx box for this but i think it would be fun an unique to put it onboard instead. Anyone have any tips or schematics they can direct me too? I am an aviation electrician in the navy so i have some knowledge and experience in wiring and schematics. I think this would be a fun project and any help would be greatly appreciated thanks!

  2. lx_night


    Sep 3, 2008
    Oklahoma city
    Very cool idea! Looking forward to the outcome!
  3. Kevinchriste


    Apr 15, 2014
    Thankyou! I found this websight and it give some good insight into how distortion works in a non-tube situation my, but im still looking if i have to ill just trial and error my way to get it to work right but id rather not. And that is one of my concerns and its prolly a dumb concern but to get an effective overdrive in low frequencys what would be needed to change....i mean im sure its not much but its still a concern.

  4. Kevinchriste likes this.
  5. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    There are several 1-transistor overdrives that sound good and lend themselves to "on board" installation. Just do a google image search for these schematics:
    1) Bazz Fuss (yes that's spelled correctly)
    2) Cream Pie germanium booster (there's two versions)
    3) Electra Distortion

    You'll find the circuits are somewhat similar to each other. You can always experiment with the input and output caps, if you think there's not enough bass. Larger value caps pass bass more easily, so for example on the Electra Distortion you could change the output coupling cap, C2 from the stock value of 0.1mfd to a 0.22mfd or even 0.47mfd and see how it affects the sound. Also, you can experiment with different clipping diodes: silicon, germanium, LEDs, ect...
  6. Kevinchriste


    Apr 15, 2014
    Thankyou crater so much good information i will definately look into all of that!
  7. drewfx


    May 14, 2009
    You might find this uesful:

    gmarts !!!!! org !!!! / !!!! index.php?go=217!!!!

    Arrg, can't post links with the new forum SW!

    EDIT: They fixed the link posting. :hyper:

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014