We always like to see vintage pedals in here and this is definitely one of the holy grails. The Shin-ei Uni-Vibe is the original uni-vibe pedal which has inspired clones for decades since its inception as a portable device to emulate a Leslie spinning speaker.
This pedal was in for basic servicing but the important goal was to build a replacement expression pedal since the main unit does not have a Speed knob or a bypass switch rendering the main unit useless. Our replacement expression pedal unit uses a custom 5-pin DIN cable to connect to the main unit so the rate can be adjusted while playing.
The interesting part of this project was that in order to copy the original expression pedal we needed to install a bypass switch in the heel. Most people are familiar with a wah pedal which is activated by pressing down firmly with your toes. While this works great for a wah pedal it can sound bizarre on a univibe as you would need to turn the rate to full speed (toe down) in the process of hitting the switch. By placing the bypass switch in the heel (rocked back) position it allows for a seamless transition from the slowest setting to the bypassed tone with almost no effort.
This project was a custom build but we are always able to recreate similar expression pedals as a direct replacement for the original Uni-Vibe expression pedal.
The Ibanez UE-300 is a relic from the 1980s when multi effects were becoming popular but predates the popularity of digital effects. This unit has an all analog signal path with a compressor, overdrive (tubescreamer), and chorus all built into one unit with a master bypass switch and effects loop. The pedal sounds great but after thirty years the hardware is a bit tired. This rehousing narrows the pedal by almost two inches and also provides the opportunity to install soft-touch footswitches, all new jacks, a bypass switch for the effects loop, and convert the pedal to run on DC instead of 110V AC. This ended up being a big project but the end result should provide years of reliable service and sounds great!
We’ve had quite a few requests to put modulation and delay pedals into a wah pedal casing. The problem is that in order to hit the bypass switch you need to rock the treadle forward which means you lose the setting you were currently at. This add on plate allows a box to be mounted to the side for a bypass switch and a status LED (not yet installed in the above photo).
The Scalpel is a passive volume pedal which allows you to quickly cut the volume of your instrument to a specific level without needing to play around with a large volume pedal or using your hands to adjust the volume knob on your instrument. It also happens to be the most commonly modded pedal that we make.
This custom Scalpel has two key differences from our base model (which can be purchased through our online store). Since this is being used with bass we decided to install a toggle switch to bypass the treble bleed circuit. This circuit was designed to prevent a guitar from sounding dull when turning down the volume by bleeding through some treble. We’ve used this for years on guitar with excellent results but without having time to experiment fully with a bass we went with a toggle switch option. The other change we made was to add a momentary switch to quickly bypass the pedal for short bursts at full volume.
Check out our main page (in the links above) for contact info on custom mods and view the gallery for some of our other custom creations.
Electro Harmonix has a wide variety of old pedals that sound awesome and totally unique but they lack some of the modern features that modern musicians have come to expect. The Hog’s Foot is a unique pedal because it cranks the bass and cuts the treble as opposed to most modern boost pedals which either sound neutral or boost the treble to overdrive an amp.
Some annoyances of these old pedals include a terrible sounding bypass, lack of external power supply (and no battery door at the least!), no status LED, and the battery doesn’t even disconnect when the input plug is removed. In the process of updating this pedal we removed the battery on/off switch and wired up a new input jack to switch the battery off when unplugged the way almost every pedal in the past 40 years has done it. A “Boss style” 2.1mm barrel jack was added for power options as well. The pedal was converted to true bypass and had a red LED installed next to the switch.
Now that the power switch is no longer in use it would have been a shame to leave it without any purpose. The solution we came up with was to allow it to switch from a bass boost to a lower mid / bass boost. This adds a bit more low-mids for punch and helps the pedal cut through the mix if needed. The updates along with a new switch and jack should help the pedal feel at home on any modern pedalboard.
There’s a long history of pedal manufacturers using PCB mounted switches and a spring actuator. This system is very cost effective for manufacturers but leads to problems in reliability as the switches are often cheap and unreliable. Some other pedals with a similar switching scheme include the Line 6 modeler series pedals and the newer TC Electronics pedals such as the Flashback X4. What we do is replace the spring actuator (as shown below) with a standard “soft touch” switch which is a favorite of many musicians these days. This mod works on most pedals that have room for the new, larger, and more durable switch and will withstand the rigors of the road.
The Digitech Whammy has been around forever and the latest revision– while very nice– still doesn’t address the issue of not being able to change presets without leaning over and turning the knob. While some guitarists choose to use a MIDI box to make changes our solution has always been to install a second footswitch so you can cycle through the presets. This was a great hands-free solution but may be tedious for quick changes in the middle of a song.
The box above allows you to remotely control the Whammy and uses the same rotary control as the stock pedal. This box can be mounted on a mic stand or left on a table for easy access. We also offer LED color swaps so you can quickly identify your favorite settings from a distance.
We are often asked to rehouse pedals into wah casings so the effect can be manipulated while still playing guitar. This ends up being a very expensive rehousing due to the cost of the casing as well as a variety of other adjustments that need to be made in order to get the new housing to accept a circuit not designed to fit in it. When MXR released the CSP-001 Variphase there was much anticipation until the reviews came in and many of the flaws were pointed out.
First, the pedal is spring loaded so the pedal automatically returns to the heel-down (or toe-up) position. This means that you cannot set the pedal to the desired rate and then take your foot off of the pedal; You’re constantly fighting with this spring. The first thing we did in this project was remove the spring mechanism (below: left) and install a normal wah torsion block (below: right).
From here we installed a normal stomp switch as you would see on a regular wah pedal which you activate by pressing your toe down. The new switch is true bypass and we even installed a pulsing LED so you can see the rate which the phaser is set to.
The second problem with the CSP-001 is that the circuit was modified from the traditional Phase 90 in an attempt to improve it. While a different circuit doesn’t have to be a bad thing– the massive volume boost when activated is definitely not welcome. This pedal has a volume knob on the side and even at the lowest setting there is a massive increase in volume when activated. With the modifications that the customer requested it ended up being cheaper to just replace the whole CSP-001 circuit board with a 74′ reissue Phase 90 and start from scratch.
Some added modifications include knobs to adjust the maximum speed, mix, and intensity as well as a Phase 45/90 switch, upgraded jacks, and true bypass with a pulsing LED. More info about the modifications for the Phase 90 can be found on the FXdoctor Phase 90 page.
And for those of you wondering why the LED is off-centered: the placement allows you to see the rate while keeping your foot on the pedal.