I haven’t been happy with my guitar tone for years now. I have an amazing Dr. Z amp. Of course I play a Groove Custom Tele (shameless plug for my brand). It was my overdriven tone I wasn’t happy with. I have tried new distortion and overdrive pedals, but they all just seem to end up with distortion and loss of my guitar’s tone. People in, “The Biz” call it transparency. A transparent overdrive kind of simulates driving the guitars signal into a tube amplifier and pushing the preamp tubes to a point they start to clip and distort. Normally, you need to turn the amp up to an ear piercing level for this to happen and it’s just not practical. Mostly for the drummer whom you can’t even hear over your blasting amp.

So, that was the dilemma, but what do do? Mere mortal men do not have the means to sample every single overdrive for an extended period. It turns out a friend at work use to build remakes of vintage guitar pedals. After speaking with him, he leant me about 10 of his overdrives to try out. They were reproductions of vintage pedals so the thought was that if I found one that I liked, I would find the true version in the wild and snatch it up. I gave each pedal five minutes. I figured if I didn’t like it in five minutes, it wasn’t for me. I made two piles of pedals, one was discards, thrown away like yesterdays jam. The second was the pedals that I liked. I ended up with three out of the ten. I tested the remaining three the same way and ended up with one… The Timmy. I had never heard of this pedal before and when I asked my buddy at work, he gave me the story.

The Timmy was created by a man named Paul Cochrane. He designed the circuit and started producing these pedals for sale online. They went for pretty big money for an overdrive, in the $250 range and were all hand made. The DIY community were intrigued with his design and how good this pedal sounded and would post in the forums speculating about his design. Paul, being the lurker that he was (unverified), was watching. He posted on a forum that if people wanted the schematic, all they had to do was ask. He went on to say that he would send it to whomever wanted it with the stipulation that people do not make them to sell.

So, I got my greedy paws on the schematic and drew it out in EasyEDA.

Paul Cochrane’s Timmy

So then it was on to designing the circuit boards. Also in EasyEDA.

The circuit board layout

Now it was time to create the Gerber files. The gerber files are used by the board manufacturers to build the circuit boards.

Next was to get them manufactured. For this I used This company is amazing. They manufacture your custom PCB’s and they are delivered within four days. The best part, it’s less than $18 with shipping for 10 boards. How is that even possible? It’s not my place to question…

In four days time I had my new boards in hand. Time to stuff these bad boys and get started. I ordered a case and a foot switch on Amazon and the rest of the parts on All in for enough parts to build at least 5 pedals (for my friends of course), it was about $30.

Here is a list of the components

R1 8.2k
R2 10k
R3 2.2M
R4 510k
R5 3.3k
R6 3.3k
R7 1.5k
R8 3.3k
R9 3.3k

C1 47u
C2 47u
C3 47n
C4 100p
C5 39n
C6 1u
C7 10n
C8 1u

D1 1N5817 – COM-08589
D2 1N4148
D3 1N4148
D4 1N4148
D5 1N4148
D6 1N4148
D7 1N4148
D8 1N4148

Bass A50k Pot
Gain A1M Pot
Treble A50k Pot
Volume A10k Pot

Sw1 SPST on/off/on (foot switch)

IC1 JRC4559

You will need two phono jacks for the input and output and a power connector as well.

And ended up with something exactly like this..

Now it was on to the case and wiring the Timmy up. I measured and drilled the holes for the pots, switch, power jack, and audio jacks. Now…how do I make it stand out on my pedal board. Hmmm. I know, I will laser engrave the name and pot names on the chassis. And that turned out a little something like this… Yeah, I know the foot switch hole looks off. It is just a tad. During drilling I realized that my drill bits are garbage. Something that I will have to remedy.

And here it is All built on my board. I played my first gig with it a couple of weeks ago and I think I have it dialed in. I no longer sound like I play in an 80’s metal band, just nice transparent overdrive and on the cheap. Total cost was around $50. Not bad.. Thanks to my friend John M for making all this possible.

Hit me up if you want more details or have questions. I have enough parts to build another so if you are interested in building one…

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