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Mandolin pedals... Fuzz, distortion, etc.

PostPosted: 03 Sep 2017, 20:49
by elenore19
Hey all- my name is Elliot. It's been a while (4+ years) since I've been on the forum, but I'll make it quick.
Anyone have any suggestions as to some distortion/fuzz/noisemaking pedals that are mandolin/acoustic friendly (i.e. not as feedback heavy)?
I've been having fun with a fuzz factory but only certain settings really work with it due to feedback happening quite often (I assume it's the whole acoustic problem?)
Would introducing a noise gate somewhere in the signal chain?
Also is there any pedal I could put in front of all my pedals to add low end to the signal before the pedal? A thought on making it sound less hollow and shrill at times.

Just thinking.
Anyone have any experience with "heavy" sounding pedals and acoustic instruments?
It's good to be back, thanks in advance for whatever advice/words you have for me.


Re: Mandolin pedals... Fuzz, distortion, etc.

PostPosted: 03 Sep 2017, 22:36
by Nocentelli
I'm not sure exactly how noisy you want to get, but a circuit like Tim Escobedo's uglyface is heavily gated, so whistling feedback shouldn't be a problem. It can also generate sub-octaves for that extra low end you're after.


If that's a bit much, in general fuzz generated by abusing cmos logic chips is often pleasantly gated, not exactly ideal for tasteful jazzy-blues noodling but ideal for your purposes. Escobedo has several such designs up at: ... ppets.html

Many early (i.e. mid-life '60s) fuzz pedals also gate a little, but this is often heavily dependent on the bias of the transistors, and can be rather unpredictable.

Here is a great "80's hair metal" distortion circuit that Juanro posted here at FSB as part of a circuit design completion a few years back called the "Shit trigger", a dirt circuit based on a schmitt trigger using a few transistors. It sounds much better than the description implies, and it also has a very useful gating action I believe might help when using it with acoustic instruments.

What kind of pick-up are you using as a sound source?

Re: Mandolin pedals... Fuzz, distortion, etc.

PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 06:15
by elenore19
Great looking circuits! Thanks for those!

I'm pretty sure the pickup is a K&K mandolin twin internal pickup ( ... l-jack.htm)

I think I've narrowed more what I'm looking for.
Looking for a way to make my mandolin sound like a heavy riffing machine.

A more feasible thing that I want is... A circuit that boosts low frequencies (maybe even as far as offering an octave down?) that i can throw in front of any circuit to add some serious low end.

Thanks again for the reply.