SHOPPING CART: (0) ITEMS

Decoding the Systech Harmonic Energizer pt3

Posted by Jim Black on 7/28/2017 to Bust Em Out

Last time we took a look at the TROPICAL FISH capacitors in my "Systech Harmonic Energizer" and had a quick look at the other components. No intrinsic mojo was located in the caps. My homework was to go off and find real data sheets on the TROPICAL FISH caps and learn more about the shelf life of capacitors in general. I usually do not recommend New Old Stock (NOS) caps. There is a shelf life for most of the capacitor technology.

Systech Harmonic EnergizerThis time we have a closer look at the components and create a bill of materials. When are create the Bill of Materials (BOM), we run into a wiring anomaly.

This starts our deep dig into this one of a kind effect made famous by Frank Zappa.

Decoding the Systech Harmonic Energizer pt2

Posted by Jim Black on 7/15/2017 to Bust Em Out

Last time we took a gut shot photo of the "Systech Harmonic Energizer" and had a quick look at the components. Nothing strange jumped out except we found some TROPICAL FISH capacitors. This time we have a closer look at the components. What exactly are TROPICAL FISH capacitors? Is there mojo in those fish caps?

Systech Harmonic EnergizerWe get ready to create a Bill of Materials and in doing so, we run into a wiring anomaly

This starts our deep dig into this one of a kind effect made famous by Frank Zappa.

Decoding the Systech Harmonic Energizer pt1

Posted by Jim Black on 7/1/2017 to Bust Em Out

We brought the "Systech Harmonic Energizer" to the Colorado Guitar Show and got so many comments on the pedal we decided to make a kit.

Up until now, RetroTone® has been releasing the standard fuzz boxes that every one expects to see. With the release of the Ampeg Scrambler clone, we decided to start walking on the wild side of the effects world.

Systech Harmonic Energizer

The Harmonic Energizer's claim to fame is that Frank Zappa used it on "Po-Jama People" on the "One Size Fits All" album. People often mistake Zappa's tone during this era as a cocked wah-wah pedal. This pedal is definitely in a category all its own.



Check it out as we explore this one of a kind effect made famous by a one of a kind Artist.

2017 Colorado Guitar Show---Another Smash Hit!

Posted by Jim Black on 6/25/2017 to Announcements

Another fantastic guitar show! Wow, where to start? So many cool things went on this year.

Duane and Charlene Evarts did another fantastic job organizing the show. Folks at the ShowLot's of folks attended this year and as always, the selection of instruments was amazing.
If we didn't see you this year maybe we'll see you next year!

Colorado Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Expo
Saturday, June 24th. 2017; 10:00am - 4:00pm
Lutheran High School
11249 Newlin Gulch Blvd., Parker, CO

2017 Colorado Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Expo

Posted by Jim Black on 5/30/2017 to Announcements

Time flies when you are having fun. We are just about ready for the next Colorado guitar show. We will display some vintage pedals for you to try out as we take votes for our next set of kits.

2017 marks our 5th year at the show. This year is destined to be our best. We can't wait to see our old friends and some of the new faces.

Ampeg Scrambler

We have a new kit based on this Ampeg Scrambler. This 1960s reissue comes with all the noise and grind for guitar players as well as the bass players in the crowd.


 

Colorado Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Expo Saturday, June 24th. 2017; 10:00am - 4:00pm Lutheran High School, 11249 Newlin Gulch Blvd., Parker, CO

2016 Colorado Guitar Show Report

Posted by Jim Black on 6/26/2016 to Announcements

As always, there were absolutely gorgeous guitars from some private collectors and retail vendors.

Overall attendance was up. All the vendor tables were sold out. We saw some familiar faces and some new faces.

Duane and Charlene Evarts did another great job organizing the show.

The RetroTone® demo pedal board attracted more than one friendly face.

Read more...

2016 Colorado Guitar Show is right around the corner

Posted by Jim Black on 6/5/2016 to Announcements
The 2016 Colorado Guitar Show and Custom Luthier Expo is right around the corner on Saturday, June 25th, 2016, from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Lutheran High School 11249 Newlin Gulch Blvd, Parker, CO. RetroTone will be in attendance again this year so stop by the booth and get your hands on our kits to try them out for yourself.

Colorsound Fuzz+Wah Take It Home - 10

Posted by Jim Black on 3/31/2016 to Bust Em Out

What a long road it has been to get this restoration done. Lots of twists and turns. Some very unexpected challenges. Everything is wired up and everything is working. All is well that ends well.

It is time to put this pedal through its paces and find out why certain folks prefer the Colorsound Wah over the Cry Baby. Then, I need to give it back to its owner, my buddy Greg.

Colorsound Fuzz+Wah Wire it up - 9

Posted by Jim Black on 3/11/2016 to Bust Em Out

We are on the final lap of the Colorsound Wah+Fuzz. Greg's baby turned into a major restoration and rebuild. A fair bit of analysis of the wiring revealed where most of the anomalies come from. I'm going to make some guesses about what I observed when I cracked this baby open. If you remember, I told you the wiring didn't match any of the schematics I was finding. Turns out there is a good reason.

When I took on this project, Greg and I talked about how he wanted the controls to work. Toe Switch---Engage Wah, Heal Switch---Engage Fuzz. We also thought that a adding swell (volume) feature would be cool. We never discussed if the wah is first in the chain or the fuzz is first in the chain. I never knew it, but, this who's first topic has fueled many a heated discussion.

Unwinding this puzzle allowed me to discover why this pedal sat around Greg's studio so long. We also learn a moral tale...

Colorsound Fuzz+Wah The Rabbit Hole - 8

Posted by Jim Black on 1/30/2016 to Bust Em Out
A recap of our progress so far is in order. We have traveled a lot of ground in the project and sometimes it is easy to loose track of the goal. A simple addition of an external 9VDC jack turned into a pot core inductor engineering and fabrication project. Not to mention, we still haven't addressed all the other wiring issues this pedal has. But, I digress. Check out this installment for the tools and methods used to fabricate the inductor we need to complete circuit repairs on Greg's Colorsound Fuzz+Wah.