Monday, April 20, 2009

Shatterbox to Bardobox

Ah - the lure of the super-rare cool-looking fuzz! In this case the John Hornby Skewes Shatterbox! Such a cool name, in a cool wedge shaped box, cousin of the even more rare Zonk Machine! When this circuit (or at least the stripboard version) came to light earlier this year thanks to ElectricWarrior at FSB /DAM, I had just made a Kruscher (TB 1 variant) for a rabid 60s fuzz fan in Birmingham. I was happy he liked it. He asked if I could make him a Shatterbox, and I said yes. That was my first mistake. I was soon to learn that the Shatterbox is basically a crap sounding bassy fuzz with a nice treble boost added. I should have built the circuit first and told him it was crap and not to bother, but I didn't. He wanted a Shatterbox, so that's what I made him. But: it did sound pretty crap. I knew he didn't have much money and felt bad sending him a lemon, so I offered to mod it to make it sound more like the benchmark ear-hurting fuzz sound of the guitar solo in the Third Bardo garage-psych classic 'Five Years Ahead Of My Time' that he wanted. It was hard! I came close to totally rebuilding it, but managed to make some mods to fit the bill better - a louder, more trebly fuzz, combining with the icepick treble boost to go to a place where most people don't want to go. It still sounds horrible, but horrible in a good way, for his most singular needs. If I was building from scratch, I would just hard-wire the 2 effects in series rather than keeping the pretence that the fuzz sounds any good by itelf, and cut out the fuzz control completely, leaving it on max the whole time. I'd call it the BardoBox! As it was I repainted the Shatterbox to reflect it's new and more horrible guts. Hopefully he will dig it. Ok - halfway through is the solo that inspired this - have a listen.

1 comment:

pinkster said...

hey man,
if ya wanna make this box not suck so bad, try moving the "swell" control to the other side of the switch, so it becomes a gain control for the boost instead of a volume control for the fuzz.. ime it works a lot better that way, and is probably what they meant to do in the first place. ;)
peace out