Building a Bass Effects Pedal: Five Knob Compressor

Recently my bandmate Shaun from Electric Villain got me hooked on building bass effects pedals.  I was pretty intimidated at first but it turns out it’s not so bad and is actually really fun, likely due to the IKEA Effect.  There are awesome sites like Build Your Own Clone that design schematics and then create kits with fairly easy to follow instructions.  Do note however, some basic knowledge of electrical engineering and how to solder is required.

After spending some time analyzing my playing Shaun and I determined that I could probably use a compressor pedal.  A compressor can be used to smooth out the “attack” and “release” of an instrument.  I’m not going to go into detail since there are plenty of YouTube videos that demonstrate what they do.

Initially I built a simple two knob compressor but I didn’t like the sound and it didn’t give me a lot of flexibility.  To replace it I decided to build the BYOC Five Knob Compressor which provides the usual knobs for more customization.  I annotated my Flickr photos pretty well so rather than describing step-by-step how the build went, I’ll just leave you with the gallery.  Be sure to read the bottom of the pop-up box for details about each picture!

And that’s how I built my bass effects pedal.  I don’t have any action shots of me soldering because it would have been pretty difficult holding a camera while trying to solder.  If there’s interest, maybe next time I build one I can make a video.  That might be a while though because I’ve already built a handful as you can see in the final shot below and don’t have any others in mind at the moment.

The Final Product

As far as the pedal is concerned, I haven’t had the chance to dive too deeply into its settings.  I found one set that sounds pretty good and have left it there for the time being.  It definitely makes a difference though and rounds my sound out nicely.


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Grub error: symbol not found: ‘grub_divmod64_full’

After fighting to upgrade my system from Debian Squeeze (Stable) to Wheezy (Testing), I thought I was finally in the free and clear once I had installed all of the packages so I rebooted.  After taking a YouTube break, I tried to SSH back into the machine.  Timed out.

I made the long trek to the other room and turned on the TV the machine is connected to and was faced with:

error: symbol not found: 'grub_divmod64_full'

Excellent. Continue reading

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Could not perform immediate configuration on ‘default-jre’

Recently I decided to move a Linux VM I have for running some servers to a recently replaced box that used to be my gaming rig.  I decided to run Debian Squeeze (Stable) since, well, it’s stable.

After a week or so though I started thinking that it would be nice to have some newer packages, particularly Python 2.7 since I’ve been doing a bunch of programming in Python recently.  Some quick research showed that while it would be technically possible to have Python 2.6 and 2.7 side-by-side, it would probably be a bad idea.

So I decided to do what any self-respecting geek would do and upgrade from Stable to Testing. Continue reading

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Life Goal Accomplished!

Do you have any life goals? I bet you do. I think each of us has a set of ultimate goals and desires we’d love to some day achieve.  Some are realistic like someday owning a house or raising a family.  Others are a bit more of a stretch like becoming a world-famous musician or movie star.  And others are nearly impossible like travelling to space or flying without any kind of apparatus providing lift.

I like to choose and reassess my life goals based on what I think I can actually achieve even if it’s a stretch, and once I realize something is truly out of my reach I justify not pursuing it anymore so I can avoid the disappointment that would come along later in life by not having done it.  Overall this process has kept me pretty happy and has motivated me to get stuff done.  Because of my personality I find myself switching life goals almost weekly, re-prioritizing what I want out of life and how to get there, but that’s not what this story’s about.

Despite all of that, there’s one goal that’s held steadfast and true.  Ever since I was young I’ve wanted this.  For a while I was pretty helpless to make any progress towards it due to circumstances out of my control.  It was frustrating but I got a little taste of it every once and a while to keep my appetite strong.  Once I got to college I had a bit more flexibility and power to make moves to achieve my goal, although even still it seemed year after year I wasn’t going very far and for my last three years I pretty much stayed put.

It was post-college when I moved to Seattle that things really started to get interesting and I made some serious progress.

My first year out here I was so crazed adjusting to my new life and being across the country from my family and friends that my life goal progress remained a bit stagnant.  The following year when I got an apartment in the city I moved closer than I had ever before but still didn’t quite make it.  This entire time I continued to have occasions where I could practically taste victory but it was always just out of reach.  Sadly, our move to a house the following year took me further away from my goal.  It was great to have roommates and be in a house but there was definitely an emptiness inside knowing this life goal of mine was slipping ever further into the distance.

And then suddenly and enexpectedly it happened.  I mean, it wasn’t sudden like I woke up and it had happened, but like I definitely didn’t see it coming a few months ago.  After all of this time, I finally did it this weekend.  I achieved one of my life goals.  It’ll actually seem quite simple if you step back and think about it, and you’ll wonder why didn’t I just do it sooner.  But it’s not that simple.  There are always a lot of other factors to consider.

But as of this past Saturday…

I now live across the street from a 7-Eleven and can finally, within minutes, get Slurpees WHENEVER. I. WANT.

Hmm, I think I’m starting to feel a bit thirsty.  I should go remedy that.


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