Fig. 1. You’ll need to drill three holes in your enclosure: two for the input and output jacks, and
one for the potentiometer. Here I’ve used an old chrome Moon Phaser enclosure.
Fig. 2. The
two jacks and the potentiometer mounted to the box.
Fig. 3. The simple wiring scheme looks
like this: One wire from the ground (sleeve) tag of one of the jacks connects to the ground tag
of the other jack. A second wire from the tip tag of one jack connects to the middle tag of the
potentiometer. This becomes your input jack. A third wire from the tip tag of the output jack
connects to the left tag of the potentiometer.
Fig. 4. Set up Tarquin between your guitar output and fuzz input.
Hello rock ’n’ rollers—greetings from the
land of the long white cloud: Aotearoa
(the Maori name for New Zealand). I
decided to make this column a little more
practical than some of my previous contributions
(not that there’s anything wrong with
existential musings on the nature of the
volume knob). With that in mind, here’s a
super-simple device that will let you coax
new sounds from your fuzz pedal.
Let’s call this device “Tarquin.” Why?
Simply because the name amuses me (no
disrespect to readers who might happen to be
named Tarquin). To build your own Tarquin,
you’ll need a 250k A log potentiometer, two
1/4" jacks, a diecast enclosure, and three
short wires. For tools, you’ll need a soldering
iron, solder, and a drill to make holes in the
enclosure for the potentiometer and jacks.
What exactly is Tarquin? If you put
it in front of your fuzz pedal and adjust
its dial, you increase the series resistance
between your guitar pickup and the fuzz
pedal’s input. This is different from your
guitar’s volume control because Tarquin’s
potentiometer does not connect to ground.
Increasing the series resistance will reduce
the pedal’s gain and also impact its tone
and sustain. Tarquin opens up a bunch
of options that were previously not there.
A number of fuzz pedals offer this sort of
control as part of their built-in interface. If
your fuzz has “input,” “fuzz,” and “output”
controls, it’s a safe bet that the input control
is adjusting the input series resistance.
How do we bring Tarquin to life? The
first step is to drill the die-cast enclosure
you’re popping Tarquin into. You’ll need
to drill two holes for the input and output
jacks, as well as one on top (or wherever
you like) to hold the potentiometer (Fig.
1). To provide ground shielding, make sure
the enclosure has bare metal where the
sockets and potentiometer are fitted.
Next you’ll need to attach the two jacks
and potentiometer to the box (Fig. 2).
Now solder one wire from the ground
(sleeve) tag of one of the jacks to the
ground tag of the other jack. Solder
another wire from the tip tag of one jack
to the middle tag of the potentiometer.
This becomes your input jack. Solder the
third wire from the tip tag of the output
jack to the left tag of the potentiometer.
Refer to Fig. 3 for the potentiometer’s left/right orientation.
Finally, screw on the back of the device
and then adorn it with suitable folk art,
religious iconography, Victorian erotica, or
whatever else you think might befit Tarquin.
Now to test: Plug your guitar into
Tarquin’s input jack. Connect Tarquin’s output
jack to your fuzz pedal input. Plug the
output of your fuzz pedal into your amp.
(See Fig. 4.) Play with Tarquin. Experiment
with Tarquin. Love Tarquin.
Here’s the usual proviso: If you’re not comfy
soldering, get someone who is to help out.
Until next time, champagne wishes and
is a Libran. He likes long
walks on the beach and loves watching
the sun set. He likes going out dancing
but is just as happy to cuddle up in front
of the fire with a good movie and glass
of Pinot. He also is the CEO and head
designer at Red Witch Analog Pedals.