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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zvex Box Of Rock Clone

According to Z.Vex website the Box of Rock is "Z.Vex Effect's first "distortion" pedal, highly specialized to simulate the "everything on 10" sound of a classic Marshall ® JTM45 non-master-volume amplifier". Whatever.. the Box of Rock seems to work equally well on slightly overdriven blues tones and there's is also a separate boost section based on the Super Hard-On circuit.

I hardly ever use distorted tones, but this pedal is versatile enough to suit my playing style. Just don't crank it up to 11 son! Since the idea behind the BOR design is a cranked Marshall amp, I tried to make some simple aesthetic choises that would suit the theme. Marshall style graphics, knobs and a big ass jewel light.

Here's the circuit I built on a vero board. IvIark from Guitar FX Layouts -site designed the layout. BTW those guys are making some serious DIY history: at this time there's way over 450 verified layouts on that site. That is amazing! The Box of Rock design itself is pretty straight forward: three cascaded Super Hard-On circuits, a basic tonestack and another SHO stage (boost) at the end.


This was the first time I ever used water slide decals. The decal was pretty easy to apply, but there was some minor tearing and lifting after I applied the lacquer (as you can see from the final picture). Well, you can't win all the time.


...and here's the finished pedal:


The led indicator is for the BOR-side of the effect, so there's no separate indicator for the boost-circuit. The decal is pretty sensitive and I had to use those nasty white plastic washers on the foot switches to prevent tearing. There's some errors on the finish, but overall this thing looks pretty cool.

How does it sound like? 

My Box of Rock clone sounds crunchy, fat and works very very well with humbuckers. There's plenty of gain on tap, but the effect sounds pretty amazing with lower gain settings too.

Direct link to Youtube: http://youtu.be/8PA5DoGEab8


I like it best when the drive is just slightly turned up and you get a hint of crunch and compression. The tone control works almost like a high end roll-off. I mainly set it almost all the way up since the pedal is pretty dark sounding. The boost section is pretty neat and it definitely adds some extra life and sparkle to your guitar sound. There's A LOT of gain available, so you can really cook your tube amp with this one. Rock on!

14 comments:

  1. Great post! I assume you drilled the enclosure before applying the decal?

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  2. Thanks Henry! Yeah, I drilled the enclosure before applying the decal. The decal seems to be pretty sensitive and it got lifted slightly around the pots and switches, especially when tightening the switches. Maybe I should have used more lacquer. And remember to cut the holes for pots and switches on the decal before you apply the final lacquer.. I cutted the holes on the decal after the lacquer and it was a bad idea.

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  3. After you print the decal, give it 2-3 coats of lacquer and let it fully dry, 12-24 hours. Slide it on the case, carefully and patiently smooth out the bubbles and any wrinkles. Also need to make sure there ore no surface bumps before you lay it down. Let dry overnight. Cut the holes using an xacto blade and then apply 2-3 more coats and let it fully dry for 24 hours after the last coat. I built this one as well and agree, it sounds great.

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    1. Thanks for the tips Pete! I'm still pretty stoked on this pedal.. it works so well for low-gain blues leads. There's a bit too much bass for my needs and overall the effect is pretty dark sounding. Maybe I should do some input/output cap mods for this one..

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  4. Great looking build! I've built a couple SHO's and a 2 in 1, those boost circuits add a particular brilliance to the sound.now I think I need one of these. Again, beautiful build, man.

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  5. Can you get the golden version of these knobs as well? and if yes, where (did you get yours)?

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    1. Yes, there's also a golden version available. I bought the silver ones from ebay: http://myworld.ebay.com/dasetn/

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  6. Hi,i'm a french beginner in DIY.I love this pedal.Is there a PCB of this diy pedal?
    Thanks
    Carlo

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    1. Hi Carlo. Yeah, actually there is.. Poodle's Pedal Parts (http://shop.pedalparts.co.uk) sells circuit boards and kits for BOR (it's called Rock Box). I have ordered few Klon PCBs and some parts from Poodle and they have been top quality.

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  7. Hi can i buy one?
    Do you build and ship?
    Would love to have one :)

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    1. Hi Søren! Yeah, I could make one for you if you're interested.. Send me a message to contact(at)jurimusic.com and we can talk more!

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    2. First off - the design of your site is killer... very nice, clean look, and a tasty graphic at the top. Seeing that the header mentions live-looping - I know I'll be back. The pedal itself - well, I've been using IvIark's layouts for awhile myself - nice clean build there. The graphics on the pedal, just as you said - evoke Marshall... with the chrome-ish faceplate and graphics -- NICELY DONE! I would have been interested in seeing a gutshot with the offboard and all the rest, but the images you do provide are great, so can't really complain.

      I've a question about using the Jewel - I have a few in my toolbox from past and future tube-amp builds, and I really like the classiness that it adds to this build. The question is - how are you powering the jewel? In my amp builds, iirc, I've powered those with the incoming AC line, pre-standby; did you get a low-voltage bulb (I haven't gone searching yet ;-), or jury-rig clear LED in there, or ?

      (last question: Do you just have your domain redirect to blogger? I guess that must be it... otherwise there'd be like a "blogspot.com" on the tail end of the URL.. still -- fantastic usage of the tools my friend).

      Cheers, and thanks for documenting your work -

      Stephen

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    3. Hi Stephen. Thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

      On this project I had to leave the gutshot picture out because it was a huge mess.. :) If I would build this pedal again, I would definitelly use a pcb with board mounted pots. Apparently four pots and a LED is too much wiring for me..

      About the jewel: I removed the original bulb, installed a LED bezel inside the jewel light and used a regular 5mm LED. I made a little tutorial about it, check it out:
      http://www.jurimusic.com/2014/02/diy-tips-tricks-how-to-use-jewel-light.html

      Yeah, I'm using blogger with a custom domain. Blogger is a bit clumsy and customizing options are limited, but it works! Anyway, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. It's always nice to get some feedback! :)

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