The BYOC (Build Your Own Clone) Overdrive kit is based on the infamous Ibanez TS-808 pedal. This is one of the most imitated overdrive pedals on the planet and many others have been based on this design. So what sets this “clone” apart from others? First it is a kit which is very affordable and the end result yields a boutique quality pedal. Second because it is a kit you can tweak it any way you like to suit your personal taste! That is the most unique part of this pedal. What works for me may not work for another player and vice versa. Included in this kit are all the parts and instructions for all types of mods and how they affect the sound and response of the pedal. If you are a solder sniffer like me and love to experiment and tweak this will keep you busy for a while. If you do not like to tweak just build it stock and you’re done with an excellent sounding and high quality pedal that will last for decades.
On the Bench: Ok so to get started open your kit and make sure all the parts are there. This eliminates any set backs when you are near completion and then discover you are missing on little component keeping you from firing it up and rockin’ out. All the components are very high quality and the footswitch is true bypass. The aluminum box is sturdy and you can paint and decorate it any way you like. I left mine totally blank and I get a lot of players asking “what’s that grey pedal on your board”? When I tell them it is a kit, eyebrows go up.
Everything is included in this kit even de-soldering braid for swapping parts. You only need to supply a few hand tools, soldering iron and solder. The circuit boards are clearly marked and every component fits perfectly in its place making for a pleasant building experience. There is nothing worse than when you have to perform a little “reptile dentistry” to make parts fit correctly with files and unibits. Tweak-able parts such as the RC4558 chip, the alternate TLC2272 chip and different diodes are among the many different options. Assembly and tweaking instructions are available online in PDF format. They are clear and very easy to follow. BYOC offers support on their Forum. Because of the clear instructions and Forum support I thought building this kit was easy.
The tweaks I made to this pedal were as follows. All else was stock TS-808.
- 1- Swapped the 1NP electrolytic caps for .15 tantalum caps. This helped preserve the original tone and made the Tone knob more “guitar friendly”.
- 2- Swapped the .047 film cap with a .1 film cap. This increased the bass and reduced the mid hump (what hump?: ) that can be prominent in TS pedals.
- 3- 2k Tone pot. This changed the taper and “feel” of the Tone knob and made the control smoother and graded.
In the Shop: The test guitar that was used was a Scott Lentz S-type guitar. Swamp ash body with maple neck.
The test amp was a 5F6-A Bassman clone using Mercury Magnetics transformers, Sozo caps, carbon comp resistors, a Larry Rodgers tweed covered pine cabinet and 4- Weber VST, 10A125 speakers. Current production Sovtek 12AX7LPS’s and Tung Sol 5881’s were used and the GZ34 was an N.O.S. General Electric. The amp was hand built by me here at 300Guitars.
The Lentz S-type was plugged into the Normal channel of the amp with the Volume at 12 o’clock, Treble 2 o’clock, Bass 9 o’clock, Middle 11 o’clock and Presence at 2 o’clock.
Without the BYOC Overdrive engaged the Lentz S-type and 5F6-A had that classic blues/rock type of sound. Nice clarity with great tweed texture and harmonic content. On the middle or neck pickup you could get that Texas tone all day long. Now it was time to go over the top. With the BYOC Overdrive set with the Drive at 2 o’clock, Tone at 11 o’clock and Level at 1 o’clock the sound was just over the edge and had a very natural overdrive tone with nice sustain. As compared side by side to a current production boutique TS-808 and a vintage Ibanez TS-808 the BYOC sounded (dare I say) better! There, I said it. This may be in part to the tweaks I made to suit my taste and the high quality components. The BYOC sounded fuller with a pronounced vocal quality. The treble was clear but not harsh and there was plenty of mids. Bottom end was great with the Lentz S-type. The pedal hade a very lively and dynamic response. For further comparison I tried a Telecaster type guitar with Jason Lollar Imperial humbuckers. This guitar has a swamp ash body with a maple neck and was based on the Jeff Beck Tele-Gib that Seymour Duncan built for him. The humbuckers sounded great with the pedal as well. The bottom was not mushy and works well with single coils or full size humbuckers.
On the Gig: The BYOC Overdrive sounded great for chugging rhythm parts and Texas type shuffle work. The clarity was there minus the pronounced mid hump and sounded very natural and not very pedal-like which is a good thing in this application. For solo work the notes just jumped off the Lentz S-type and sang through the 5F6-A. The middle pickup was searing as was the bridge pickup and the neck pickup had a Gilmour quality that was way cool. SRV tones were all there in spades and you could get all the blues tones you wanted. The pedal also responded very well with the volume control of the guitar. You could clean it up or let it rip. What added to the whole experience was the fact that I built this pedal myself exactly how I wanted it with all the supplied tweak parts and detailed instructions.
Final Analysis: The BYOC Overdrive kit is a winner for many reasons. You can build it yourself the way you want it, the quality is top notch, everything is supplied, all components fit perfectly and the sound is awesome! Through email correspondence the company is friendly and quick to respond. The kit is only $89.99 available directly from BYOC. A lot of tone and personal satisfaction for a great price!