Home Forums GuitarPCB Build Support Blues Buster gain sweep

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    Hi there,

    I’ve built a Blues Buster and it sounds great. I love the low end it offers that my other BB style pedals don’t. It is very useable already, just lacking variety…. I know this is low gain but I have a feeling I may have missed something silly or is this the same as other peoples experience??

    Just wondering if there should be a bigger gain sweep, similar to other Blues Breaker type pedals?(It does vary the tone when turned like the original but doesn’t get crunchy enough) This stacks wonderfully with my other BB pedals, very KOT. I’m wondering if changing the gain Pot value will help. Currently 250K… It is definetly doing something, It gets a little bitier but doesn’t ever clean up as much, or get as (mildly) dirty as other BBs I’ve played. It feels like the gain pot sweeps from 11:00- 13:00. Ive ordered a TL072 chip to see if this is less hairy on low gain and Im thinking of increasing the gain pot to 550k. Volume and tone controls work perfectly. Again, its great, I love it but I want it to be closer to the original. Please tell me that either there’s defo something wrong or thats how this pedal works stock so get modding! I have an after blaster to put into action once I get it working to the best of its ability.

    *It sounds darker on low gain and brighter on high gain just like my Original Shredmaster and BluesBreakers just not cleaning up or getting dirty enough. I use the less clipping LED mode mostly btw. Penny for your thoughts? Thanks a million!


    Put R10 on a switch and use the 220k stock value and use 330k as a higher gain value.

    Easy to do by removing R10 and placing our DPDT board on a switch. Then put the two values on the board. You could then mod the values to suit your taste but 220k to 330k is a very good range for the circuit.

    Finally add a Stage 3 Booster or Afterblaster as a combo inside the pedal. Place it after the BB circuit.

    Maybe even try 200k for the stock range and 330k for the higher gain range. The Afterblaster will pick up any loose ends and also add more oomph to the available distortion as well.

    Doing those things will give you more versatility and will be better than other smaller mods.


    Slightly off topic: The biggest thing to do to get the most versatility is to work the guitar Volume Knob. The circuit will react very well depending on what guitar, pickups and Volume control setting. I just showed this example to a friend a week ago who was struggling, trying to play a quieter picking part in a mostly distorted song and was struggling. While he was playing I reached over and turned his guitar volume down to 7 or so for him and he was shocked at what happened (which was a simple thing) but it gets the job done. Hopefully he will work on his habit of grinding everything out on 10.

    Another consideration is lower output pickups “vintage wound” which IMHO are the best and have the most versatility compared to higher output pickups which ultimately decrease your distortion headroom dramatically. While this is subjective it makes a huge difference and is well documented on the webs. I would consider any pickup measuring 10k ohm or higher to be too hot for me. This new and exiting age of pedals and search for more headroom has made “vintage wound” pickups very popular again.

    At the end of the day a circuit is a circuit. (so compare circuit schematic differences) If they are the same they will sound the same. The circuit includes everything from the guitar to the amp and in between. That leaves about a hundred variables to examine. When you start talking about a “hairy chip” though that is where we enter very subjective territory of which I am not going to comment on unless I am standing right there. That said most smaller mods probably would not even be noticeable unless tested in a super quiet “vs. comparison” but while playing the pedal in a normal group setting I doubt you will care or hear much difference.

    I know most of your question was about comparing just two pedals. I gave you the direct Mods up top for that but at the same time your questions also called for me to point out some other things for consideration anyway.


    That is the best customer service I’ve ever seen. Brilliantly clear and detailed response in less than an hour. Thank you!

    I will take your advice and implement your suggestions. I love the idea of having low and high gain on a switch (that’s why I ordered the afterblaster). I actually have a secondry switch in place just not wired up so your advice on 220k v 330k resistors is perfect for me. I’ll add the after blaster later if I still feel it’s necessary.

    Thanks for the clarity on the op amps/chips, these are the meandering paths that can be time wasting and disappointing. I also have mostly single coil vintage o/p pickups on the guitars I’ve tried it with so sounds like I’m heading in the right direction. Cheers!

    Big O

    Barry’s advice is the “old school” way of doing things.  His advice applies to many of the old pedal circuit designs.  Riding guitar knobs can do lots of effects such as cleaning up dirt, wah-like effect (tone knob) and string instrument bowing effect (volume swells).

    Other than cleaning up a fuzz or other dirt type effect, I am not the greatest at using the guitar knobs to accomplish the above mentioned effects.  I rather use a volume pedal and wah pedal because I am just not dexterous enough to do the knob maneuvers well.


    @middleman I am glad to be able to offer any insight.

    @ Big O if by “old school” you mean the likes of Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa and Warren Haynes I resemble that remark. I respectfully disagree that you have to use any kind of guitar gymnastics to employ this tactic.


    For those interested here are a few links for more insight on using your Volume Control on your guitar.



    Here is a direct Bonamassa quote from this article: https://www.musicradar.com/news/joe-bonamassa-reveals-his-guitar-tone-secrets-what-surprises-me-now-more-than-anything-is-the-affordability-of-a-great-sound

    On getting a great overdrive sound

    “I would say 90 per cent of the overdrive comes from the amps. The headroom is in the power section. The thing is, when you overdrive a high-wattage amp, when you roll the guitar back it blooms and there’s enough clean headroom; the amp has got headroom to where it’ll clean up and bloom, and bring in the overdrive gradually.

    “A low-wattage amp in the bathroom will do the same thing as all this will on a big stage. A low-wattage amp, if you roll the guitar down it’ll still destroy it and still compress it. Then, by the time you’re down two or three, it’s still way too distorted. So, where I like it is when you roll the guitar down, the tone cleans up and spreads out.

    “When you wail on it, it gets saturated, but it doesn’t compress, it doesn’t collapse. That’s my kryptonite. If the amp is too distorted and too compressed, I might as well just play miniature golf. I just don’t have the ability to back up the attack enough to where I find the sweet spot.”


    and of course the man himself:


    There are loads of how to videos on YouTube should you wish to explore more.

    Just use “guitar volume knob technique” as a search in YouTube or the net.

    There is a lot more than just volume swells out there.

    Enjoy all the bits above!


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