This one is kind of like hurling yourself down a BMX ramp, determined to pull off a double back flip with a 360 spin, a week after learning to ride a bike - it's gonna end in tears.
If you start off with a hundred transistors, you might only find ten that measure in range - if you are lucky. Of those ten you might only find one that sounds right - if you are lucky.
Everything that Zach and Travis says here is true. I've not even attempted this one yet, just too intimidating, and I don't have anywhere near enough transistors to play with to get it right.
This is why I tried to gently point you in the direction of the Green Giant / Germanium Giant the other day. Super simple, proven to work and sounds great. As I said, you can learn an awful lot from one of these, a Fuzz Face or a Tone Bender.
It's funny because I have done a lot of very complicated circuits here, like JCM800, Thor, Sabra Cabra, compressors with LDRs, or the Diesel Diefet with 7 pots and five bias trimpots - and on some of those if you don't have everything perfect (like no pots wired backwards, etc) it won't work at all until you figure out every issue.
And I have built several different germanium builds now, including a couple a fuzzes with fairly low component counts. I have not done a fuzz face or tone bender yet, just because I saw other builds I could do faster. Some whose names I don't even remember but they all worked. Crimson Drive, EHX Germ Overdrive, I think I did the Monolith Fuzz Oracle, Travis Axial Rangemaster, and a couple more - all worked.
I looked at the Green Giant but it doesn't specify a Ge, just a 3904, so I chose to skip it. I did other silicon fuzzes in the past when I first started.
I guess it's obvious I haven't always read the deep background on every circuit. I generally just look at the layout and BOM and see if I have all the parts. I missed the text in the EHX OD that said I need PNP Si transistors.
This one looked easy - but up until now the success factor on almost every circuit for me has been black or white - if I build them right they work, but if I don't they don't work. I have never heard of one where you have to go beyond the part number specified to find the exact perfect part attributes. I have seen it discussed (of course) but with my FET builds it was never that critical (that was my experience - I know they say you have to match forward voltage in some circuits, but I never had those issues - my builds generally worked. I also have almost every major kind of FET out there now, so I am not substituting FETs)
So - this is a new wrinkle to me. i would like to hear a working one.
The thing about the Germanium Giant is that the original Green Giant is just the 3,000,000th Electra (this time with a neat saturation control), and we'd discovered that it sounds great decked out in all Ge (transistor and diodes). It's a super simple and friendly build. I'm going to build one myself. It's for this reason that it's a good starting point for experimenting with germanium, as it's forgiving of imperfections unlike so many of the fuzz schems around here.
Where is this Germanium Giant? I searched for it but do not see it.
On 6/20/2015 10:12 AM, Silver Blues
[via Guitar FX Layouts] wrote:
The thing about the Germanium Giant is that the
original Green Giant is just the 3,000,000th Electra (this time
with a neat saturation control), and we'd discovered that it
sounds great decked out in all Ge (transistor and diodes). It's a
super simple and friendly build. I'm going to build one myself.
It's for this reason that it's a good starting point for
experimenting with germanium, as it's forgiving of imperfections
unlike so many of the fuzz schems around here.
watching the steam-liners roll by...
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It's in the contributions section oster as the green giant. It all started with my layout for the green giant and spiraled to the Germaniun Giant, and apparently I created something else from it and nasty had made a layout from my idea all posted in that thread.
There are many builds that are not plug and play. Most of the FET builds, as frank pointed out, require choosing the right FETs, not just insterting and adjusting a trimmer for bias.
hFEs aren't terribly critical to me, but definitely something higher than what I have would be nice (which is kind of a given lol). Perhaps like 110-130 range would be nice. I'm not at home right now but I'll check my spreadsheet on Monday for you. IIRC I think I've got low 30s to high 40s with excellent low leakage (most under 25uA) at 22deg.