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Stealing pedal circuits? It started right off the bat


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Cliff notes: The second guitar pedal ever made was a circuit clone of the first pedal ever made. 

When was it? About 10 or 15 years ago, it was a big deal in the "effects community" (i.e, this place) because it was gradually becoming apparent that many "boutique" pedals were straight up copies or slight modifications of mass-produced pedal designs. And so started an informal project by the effects community to reverse-engineer boutique pedals and reveal their secrets.  Boutique builders did NOT LIKE THIS EXPOSURE, and some threatened legal action against platform where this damaging, infringing media (like electronic schematics of effects pedal) was for a time, prohibited here at HC. 

You also weren't allowed to link to, nor EVEN MENTION what came to be known as the "forbidden forum" (freestompboxes.org) because they were a 'rogue' forum where you could see for yourself that the Fulltone FullDrive is tweaked version of the Ibanez tubescreamer.  Somehow, the boutique pedal business has survived and thrived. There's more pedals for more companies - big and small - than ever before. 

The thread about the first Tonebenders sent me on an internet search, as I don't think I had ever seen a schematic for the "MK I" tonebender.  Well, it turns out that the second guitar pedal ever made (Tonebender Mk 1) was a tweaked copy of the first (Maestro FZ-1). The "designer" tweaked the design by running the circuit at a higher voltage, and presumably had to adjust resistor values to match the higher voltage and different transistors used. But it's a direct copy of the FZ-1 circuit, and I find it surprising that Maestro/Gibson didn't do more to protect their intellectual property, as the device was patented and it would have been easy to show that the circuit had been copied. 

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in electronics it is called transistor standard schematics. a distortion pedal is more or less an standard amplifier schematic, normally you want to set it that it has a clean signal to operate.

havin'g a feedback loop from emitter to base (or was it collector to base) makes it more linear, putting a diode instead an resistor there makes it clip..


so the real difference is, if it use one, two or three transistors or op-amps or fet, the building blocks were more or lessthe same, as thats how analog electronics work, thats why the first pedals looked and worked very similar

about the boutique discussion, there was a lot of snake oil and bull{censored}ting going on, selling just a tube screamer for 1o times the price, without adding anything to it beside goop that nobody can check it...

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