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Perfboard (or veroboard) is wonderful for creating prototypes of simple effects. It's not too expensive and for more easier to get started with than etching PCB's. Just a little bit of creativity will make you able to do even quite complicated effects on perfboard. Jim Radmer has photos of his perfboard works online. He even has made a Marshall Bluesbreaker on breadboard! Here I give you examples of simple circuits that can be constructed on perfboard and their perfboard layouts.
Perfboard comes in various different forms. However, the most common one is probably striped perfboard. It is very easy to start with and easy to find. It gives an exellent possibility of prototyping one or two transistor circuits and when skillfully used, you don't even have to use any jumper wires. However there is a problem. IC's. No matter which way you put it on the board there are always going to be shortcircuits between the pins. There is a very easy solution for this. You'll have to cut the copper side stripes under the IC. This is easy to do with a Dremel Tool, but in case you don't have one at home or at all a razorblade, DIY knife or a flathead screwdriver will do. Don't kill your fingers! It might be useful to use a socket for the IC since heat conductance is very high on perfboard. I have a habit of soldering the IC socket in before all other components and so I can more easily keep track on the placing of the rest of the components.
This is my variation of the Electra distortion. It was fitted in some Electra guitars in the 70's and is a very small circuit, ideal for a perfboard design. It is also great for trying out how different diodes sound like. My first prototype has half of an 8-pin IC-socket in the place of the diodes for quick diode changing. Read the paragraph "Clipping Diodes" in the Cook Your Own Distortion article to get a clue what the different diode types do. My version has both, hard and soft clipping switchable with a switch, but you don't have to use both of them if you don't want. Then omit the switch and replace it with a jumper.
This simple circuit has one simple secret. The original one had only the hard clipping diodes (D3 and D4). They were Germanium diodes (you can use 1N34A's) and as they turned on, they loaded the output of the transistor Q1. This has some tube-like characteristics and it sounds a little bit like a Tubescreamer. Unbeliavable but true. Try it yourself.
Electro-Harmonix has made a couple very nice boosters. Here are two of them, the Screaming Bird/Tree and the Mole/Hog's Foot. They are very similar, but they have different value capacitors to alter the frequency response. They give effective bass/treble boost when you want a cheap and simple frequency boosting, instead of buying an expensive equalizer pedal. You can remove caps C3 and C4 and make C1 and C2 100nF to modify this to an E-H LPB-1 all-frequency booster.
Here are a few improvement ideas. Try doing both of these on the same board and add a fader pot to have an almost full range booster with a sweeping tone control. When doing simulation this had also a nice mid frequency cut effect that gives nice trashy sound when distorted. Also you can add a fader pot that mixes the boosted signal with the original signal. Note that the circuit makes the boosted signal 180° out-of-phase so you need to have a booster (or a buffer) for the "original" signal also. The original schematic has a 100k volume control pot, but I omitted that. You can add one if you like.
This is a simple treble booster from the Frequency Brighteners article on the Music Electronics µArchive. It is more versatile and effective than the Electro Harmonix Screaming Bird/Tree.
It has two pots. Check the pad names on the schematic and the according labels on the layout for wiring. One for gain (R5) and one for intensity (R4). Turning them both on full blast might give radio frequency interference, especially if the effect is housed in a plastic container or left with no housing at all.
This is a part of a parametric equalizer. It can boost or cut middle frequencies from approximately 500Hz to 5kHz. It can give a little over +/-15dB of boost or cut. You can use boost to get a powerful rock-guitar solo sound or cut the mids for a dreadful and penetrating shred guitar sound. However, in spite of the succesful testing and prototyping so far this is still under development. I am thinking of an emiter/source follower on the input and/or on the output. If you build this project, send me an e-mail and tell me how did it work. Good Luck!
This project has awful lot of offboard wiring which is not a simple task for beginners and, in case of a mistake, debugging will be a real bitchy task. This circuit has two pots, a boost/cut control (R7) and a dual-ganged frequency tweak (R5 & R6). They are wired offboard along with capacitor C1. Be careful with the wiring, it's easy to make a mistake and hard to find it if you do so. The pad A (between R2 and R5) is connected to the IC pin 5 which should be unconnected. However the pin might have a connection tied to and in that case, cut the pin from the socket before soldering.
|The Electra variation||Based on The Electra distortion.||Gif||N/A||Ckt|
|Electro-Harmonix Screaming Bird||A simple treble booster||Gif||N/A||Ckt|
|Electro-Harmonix Hog's Foot (Old)||A simple bass booster||Gif||N/A||Ckt|
|Treble Booster||A versatile treble booster||Gif||N/A||Ckt|
|Mid Scoop||A mid frequency limiter/booster.||Gif||N/A||Ckt|