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Penfar FX
I started Penfar FX in the fall of 2009. It's a one-man operation and all effects are designed, built and tested by me at my home in St. Johns, MI. I build the effects as they are ordered, so each one is built specifically for the person who purchases it. I don't keep completed pedals lying around since I'm a small operation. Helps keep costs to a minimum. I have been thinking about venturing into making PCB's. Just a little hesitant to fiddle with the chemicals used in etching. All my circuits are currently soldered onto stripboard, which I think adds to the handmade/boutique aspect of them.
I started looking into building in the summer of '09. I was looking for something that I could use with my Hot Rod DeVille to get some decent gain without cranking the amp. I did some extensive searching and decided to save some cash and build my own.
Pedal Board
My first build was a Wampler 'Cranked AC'. I purchased the PCB, sourced the parts myself and made my own enclosure. I had no electronics experience when I started, so I had a lot to learn. I hung around the BYOC, FSB and DIYstomp forums getting help understanding things and finding resources. Much to my surprise the 'Cranked AC' fired up on the first try! That really got me started. I built a few more clones after that. It wasn't until early fall of '09, after I created the 'Fat Foot', that I decided I might try selling.
Amp and Breadboard Circuit
Once I decided to start selling I needed to come up with a name. The penny farthing/transistor logo and name are inspired by my love for the 60's show 'The Prisoner'. I've basically relied on word of mouth and some help from Gearmanndude to spread the word. I'm currently waiting on some reviews from Analog War Cry and a couple more demos from Gearmanndude.
I'm constantly drawing up ideas for new effects. If I'm not tweaking a current effect, I'm lying on the floor scribbling on my graph paper with the next idea to try. I just recently overhauled the Fat Foot. Oh baby, it sounds good! Other than the satisfaction of making a player happy, coming up with the names and art is my favourite part of the process. My latest effect is an OD/distortion pedal named 'Aces High'. Yes, I was listening to Iron Maiden at the time...
No big names sporting the Penfar FX logo on their boards yet. Someday, maybe, a Fat Foot could stomp its way to an Auerbach, Corgan or a White. The world may never know... -no, I think that's Tootsie Pops.
Sound samples and more info at Penfar FX penfarfx.com
All Effect Pedals Feature:
* 22AWG handwired
* 1/4" Neutrik jacks
* 16mm Alpha potentiometer
* 2.1mm DC power jack (neg. tip)
* True bypass switching
Fat Foot
My first creation has gotten a make-over. It has all the same features as it did before plus a "Arch" toggle switch to go from the normal slightly scooped tone to boosted mids. It has a little more output and I also revamped the "Stub" control a little. You can get some nice velcro-like fuzz to a more gated fuzz with short decay. The reworked circuit has made me fall back in love with my first born. I hope all of you will dig it as much as I do.
Size = volume
TOEn = tone
Stomp = fuzz level
Stub controls the bias to the fuzz stage for some great fuzz textures
Soul Taker
This is currently my favourite effect from the new batch of pedals. Sounds great with my Les Paul. The tone doesn't colour your signal as much as some other effects. The bass side adds a lot of growl and the treble side is more of a subtle increase. If you need a little more treble then you can increase the "Body" knob. It's very responsive to your guitar's volume. Cleans up really well. Death metal distortion, this is not... but it is damn mean sounding.
Invoke = volume
Body = presence
Agony = tone
Pain = gain
The Conundrum is a med/high gain pedal that had me very, very busy trying to find just the right circuit. I went thru about 4 ideas before finding one I was 100% satisfied with. Utilizing the "?" knob, you can leave it off (all the way left) or slowly increase it to break up your gain. You can get some nice pseudo-fuzz tones out of it. I like using my Les Paul with both pickups, set the "?" knob at about 11:00 with full gain and get some fat, juicy fuzz-like sounds. Want that "metal chug"? The mid value is fixed, but if you crank the bass and add a little treble you can get that mid-scoop that the metal-heads like.
"?" adjusts the bias on the input/gain stage
Crimson Clover
From a soft, barely-there wobble to rapid fire, with the 'Crimson Clover' you can groove to a warm lull or dial in enough chop to challenge Paul Bunyan. The 'Crimson Clover' is my take on the good ol' EA tremolo. I added the "SHAPE" control for some added versatility. It allows you to change the wave shape of the signal to get that choppy tremolo when maxed. Also, the green LED pulses with the speed of the tremolo. There's also enough volume in this bad boy to push a valve amp for a little dirt if desired. The 'Crimson Clover' adds a little warmth to your guitar's signal which I think gives it a nice richness.
The "Glow/Shine" switch will add some warmth to the tone when switched to "Glow" and may also be useful when switching from humbuckers to single coils. The "Shine" setting is the straight signal through the circuit. I really enjoy using the 'Starshine' to push my Blackheart Handsome Devil into some great sounding crunchy overdrive tones. With the knob at minimum you'll get a nice clean boost to your signal. Increase the level to really push your valve amp for some great sounds.
Rooster Fist
The 'Rooster Fist' is my first attempt at using an integrated circuit for a new pedal. A friend of mine had been pestering me to get into using IC's instead of transistors. So, I basically grabbed whatever I had available and took a look at some existing circuits using them as a starting point. This was originally going to bare a graphic I had ready for a clone of a Soul Bender, but I decided against it after my wife reminded me of the band name I came up with for Rock Band. :o) The 'Rooster Fist' is an overdrive pedal. The thing I like about this is I can get a nice low gain overdrive with the "Scratch" rolled back to AC/DC-like tones to a mid-high gain almost fuzz sounding drive when dimed. "Colour" is the tone control and "Crow" is volume. Thanks for looking!
Inside the Soul Taker
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