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Yes that’s where I’d start adjusting the bias resistors distortion is more likely to come from Q2 which amplifies the signal from the buffer Q1 that’s not to say a FET wouldn’t cause it best way to suss where it distorts is to audio probe it

And yes the speed pot on mine was the same there are different versions of the pcb  simply swap lugs 1 and 3 around at the pot lugs not pcb pads no chance of accidentally lifting solder pads with too much heat desoldering then plus it’s a lot easier to desolder pot lugs just heat and lift away no need for solder braid or sucker or new solder

D1 is part of the circuit if it’s not there then you d have an open circuit