Home Forums GuitarPCB Build Support Sabotage Drive – Range Knob

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    I just finished my Sabotage. It sounds absolutely amazing through my Bugera V55 head. It’s honestly one of the best distortions I’ve ever heard. My only concern is the range knob. I have mine dialed back to about 9 o’clock and the presence at about 10-11ish.

    If I turn the range any higher than 9 o’clock it starts to get rounder sounding, but then muds-out at about 12 o’clock. I was under the impression that a range circuit cut the lows and allowed the signal to be more mid-bright. I adjusted the presence to compensate, but obviously with presence you can get that glassy overly-crispy sound quite fast. I have settings that I absolutely love, but I’m curious as to why I may be experiencing mud with the Range knob.

    I will note 2 things…
    1) I am using an EMG 81/85 pickup set.
    2) All values are exact to the build doc on my circuit, no substitutions.

    Thanks in advance for any input!


    The good news is you have “one of the best distortion sounds you heard” so I would mark that and keep it right there.

    As for tonal differences between amps and pickups there are always going to be huge differences so the only way to test that out is to try another guitar and amp. You may also want to change pedal order etc.

    If you are concerned there is a build issue you could recheck all caps and resistors by color band especially around that stage of the circuit (nobody is immune to a mistake) then re-flow the project and verify with an Audio Probe. I can’t make any guesses beyond that. This was not my experience with a Les Paul w/ PAF pickups into a Marshall.

    It begs repeating if you are getting a great distortion with the settings available it doesn’t matter where they are on the dial since they are there to accommodate different rigs and ears.


    I would ask what transistor you are using in the Q1 stage And if it is a BC550?

    If it is a BC550 then I have nothing else to add.


    Thanks for replying, Barry. Yeah, as long as I don’t go too high on the range knob it sounds really clean and just sings. Nice and thick, but crisp and responsive to pick attack. It’s very dynamic. So yeah, I’m very happy about that.

    I was just more or less wondering what exactly I should be hearing when i increase the range knob… should I be hearing a fattened sound or more of a mid and high bump? If it’s supposed to be fattened, the fact that I’m slamming it with active pickups could be part of the reason it doesn’t respond well in the range department. If I don’t see a difference with passive pickups or different amp settings I will have to crack it back open.

    I was testing it on it’s own straight into my amp, no other pedals in the chain. Maybe I’ll also try putting it in my normal chain to see how my buffer affects it as well. I can tell you one thing it does NOT play well with others… I did attempt to stack it with a Tube Screamer Mini and both pedals became very angry.

    It def looks sharp all dressed up in black and green…


    I have to double check Q1 when I get home, but I used the set you sent with the original bundle.




    The Range pot is at the beginning of the signal path.  as you turn it CW, it is reducing the resistance seen by your guitar.  Since you are using low impedance EMG pickups (I love mine!) I suspect the change in the input impedance is not healthy for the pickups.  If you place another pedal in front of the Sabotage, it may solve this issue.

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