Valve Pedals
DIY Stompbox Gallery

Big Baby 2

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Big Baby

While purging the pedal mountain a regular of ours and his godson bought out all our remaining valve pedals. Said godson (who runs a studio) fell in love with the Big Baby and wanted another, when the godfather heard, he wanted one too. So despite trying to retire from pedal building, we have two more. That said, it does something really rather special that's hard to pin down. Cleggy is now wanting one.

JTM45 & Atomic 16

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Grind Customs STM800 Kit

The other two circuits we adapted to the STM800 board. Indeed this is probably the longest anything has ever sat in the 'to be boxed' box. These are the prototypes Cleggy made prior to the release of the STM800 board that Grind Customs did to turn the valve projects into kits. It's slightly embarrasing that it's taken me this long to put them in boxes!

They are both pre-amps to go with my power amp combo (along with the STM800 and Big Baby). One is a Marshall JTM45, the other is a Soldano Atomic 16.

Big Baby

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Baby Boobtube

This is a peach. Along with the STM800v2, I think this is one of the best valve effects I've heard.

It's the HV version of the Baby Boobtube. But then we wanted a vol/gain control on the front of it, well that called for a buffer and we didn't want to use anything pedal based for it, so it gets one half of a 12AU7 (actually a HiFi buffer). Then we wanted more tone options on the back, so we added a Baxandall tone stack and used the other half of the 12AU7 as another buffer before that.

Different to the baby, it doesn't really saturate for a start. Probably the Bax does that, but as the 6BR7 has so much output, it still runs it with no problems at all. All round it just sounds bloody lovely.

STM800v2 (Boobtube Twin)

What it does: Distortion
What it's based on: Marshall JCM800 front end

This is, to all intents and purposes, a Marshall in a box. Quite literally. It's the front end of a JCM800 amp scaled down and stuck in a stomp with the valves running starved plate. Power is from a Schmitt trigger based charge pump getting us up to 60v on the plates for this one.

Update: A lot of people ask me about building this one as their first valve effect. My response usually is don't. The reason being that it's stepping into valve pedals at the deep end. Someone also mentioned that it was incredibly loud. Yup, it will be, you're essentially strapping another three stages on the front of your pre-amp.

UpdateII: Evolution baby! We decided to rebuild the Boobtube Twin after the success of the Phil's drowned Mesa. So here is a simplified version. 190V, 12AX7 Marshall in a box.

Small BoobTube

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: BoobTube

More downsizing using a TH Custom Valv-e-tizer PCB built as a stock BoobTube.


What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: VOX AC30

This is the baby boobtube with Renegadrian's 6.66x supply and Klon buffer on a single piece of vero with a submini tube. Logic dictates that this little creation be named Damien.

Sonically it's nigh on identical to it's bigger brother. Just in a wee box. Now to get it onto a PCB and make it even more compact!

Baby Boobtube

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: VOX AC30

The BBT is essentially the first stage of a VOX AC30 on the back of a valve socket. All the rest of the gubbins in the box are power or buffer. Simplicity itself, one knob, that's it. It has a different flavor to the Boobtube. It has a lot of punch, especially in the lower frequencies.

BBT1 is for Dave. I was seriously struggling to find something to go on these as there's simply no space on the box for a sizable design. Dave has many cats...

BBT2 is mine. I found a creepy version of the My Neighbour Totoro art. Somewhat un-Ghibli'd with a child with a shotgun covered in blood in the rain. It fit in the gap though and I liked the art. No other reason for it.

BBT3 is Cleggy's. Based around a Vox AC30 control panel. Or at least that's what I've tried to make it look like. As usual, the last one is the neatest.

Shred-O-Matic / Sandy Drive

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Madbean Kingslayer + BabyBoobTube

Phil brought us the Akai Shred-o-matic to see what we could do with. It's a horrible, brittle thing and a valve effect in as much as it has a light up valve in it (we lost count of the number of transistors in it!). He just said; see what you guys can get in there.

Our original plan was another BoobTube and a Klone. A combo we know is stonking. But he's already got a couple of BoobTubes and 2 Klones (and a real Klon Centaur). So we thought we'd do something different. This is a pentode based boost, like the old 6BR7 ones we've done in the past, except now with a bit more knowledge, it's much, much better. IMO every bit as good as the original BoobTubes but in a different way.

Even on it's own, running as a pure valve effect it's a great valve OD. We've added a switchable SFT on the front of it which can be a handy tone stack to a full on distortion. They work damned well together.

The second switch chooses between the volume of the BBT being on the knob or the footpedal.

Update: This one is coming back to us to be re-fettled... The valve section is staying, but the SFT is going to be replaced with something else.

Indeed here it is, Hurricane Sandy had it's way with it and it needed compeletely rebuilding. This time it's been subject to a bit more thorough conversion. The SFT has gone, in it's place a Kingslayer. The tube is also now stompable with the treddle operating the volume of the valve side of the circuit.

Angel of Death (Metal)

What it does: Massive Overdriveness
What it's based on: Merlin B's Spark Gap & Frequency Central Promiscuous Girlfriend

There's no words to describe just how insane it is running Merlin's quite fantastic Spark Gap into FC's dirty Prom Girl. To be honest you'd never hear the words anyhow as you'd be suffering from cronic tinitus.

Great pedals in their own right. Pure evil when used together. Here they are in a single box of sonic doom.


What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Boobtube

Yet another progression of the boobtube (our take on a Matsumin Valvecaster). This time it's got a 40v going to the plates (same 12v to the heaters and 15v to the output buffer). The vero is simply power and buffer, none of the silicon on there is doing anything for the sound, that's all tube and point to point. The second stage tube is a stompable boost.

To be honest. We don't think it really needs the second stage, but it's given us an idea for boobtube 2...


What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Modified Matsumin Valvecaster

After building the Philcaster, it turned out so good that I decided to re-visit one of my old valve pedals. So this is my Danger: High Voltage pedal re-cycled into a more PC style circuit.

I've gone for a single valve pedal as I still have my old Twincaster for double valve excess. This has more grunt than the PC does in single tube mode so it doesn't really clean up as well as the PC does.

So what's different? Well quite a few of the values are for a start to make this more simple than the much more tweakable PC. All the components are mounted directly to the socket to minimise noise from cables going backwards and forwards to the boards as with previous versions. The gain no-longer adjusts the bias of the valve, instead working between stages. Theres a buffer on the output and theres Madbean's Road Rage providing 15v to that, 23v to the plates and 12v to the heaters. It can take a variety of valves, but out of what we had, the NOS Brimar 12BH7 sounded best.

The results are stonking. This is the quietest valve pedal we've made so far and it pushes my new 6V6 MJW 5 watt amp (very clean) into pure AC/DC overdrive. It sounds glorious.

2nd Boobtube has the charge pump sending 40v to the plates. This noticably increases headroom, so I think we'll be doing that from now on. Tube is an RCA 12AU7A cleartop. Managed to snag a couple of those for very sensible money. Near as damnit as awesome as the Brimar in mine.

Boobtube 3 is, I suspect, the final evolution of the BT circuit. It now runs from a 9v PSU and draws no more than 400ma current (when using a 12AU7A valve). Heaters are getting 6v in parallel, buffer is getting 18v and plates are still getting 40v. It kicks arse and is the final stage of getting all my regular used pedals down to 2 Jonny Shredfreak 9v PSUs rather than the multitude of bricks I had beforehand.

Wizard's Sleeve

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Merlin Blencoe's Spark Gap

This a certain valve wizard's Spark Gap. It's literally a tube TubeScreamer with valve clipping. Stonking thing.

2nd Sleeve with our now standard tube guards (yup, U bolts). Another for Cleggy, messy again as it had to come out a few times for fault finding (I blame him for handing me the wrong resistors to put in).


What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: 2x Mastumin Valvecasters

It was called a Philcaster because it was built for Phil, and Frankencaster exists.

Run in a single valve it can be a clean boost or distortion. With two it's just got massively more gain. It also has a bright switch which when enabled can cut out some of the inherent bassiness of the pedal when used with humbuckers. Also of note is that this pedal really sounds best when used after a pedal with a buffer in it in the chain.

It's running a Madbean Road Rage charge pump (the only bit of silicon in the pedal), running the plates at 24v, heaters are running 12v. The valves are NOS RFT ECC82. Unlike the ones I've done running 12DW8's, these don't require anywhere near the current and sound better too.

Thermionic Vibradrive

What it does: Boost & Tremolo
What it's based on: Matsumin Vibracaster

The replacement for the Maltese Valvething which was my first build it from scratch pedal and as such, was a bloody mess. As I was making myself a new Valvecaster I decided that I may as well make it a vibracaster and use the 12DW8 tube that I absolutely love the sound of. et voila.

Well it did look lovely inside until I had to take it apart a few times fault finding it. So it's a bit of a mess now too. Ah well.

Prom Girl

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Frequency Central's Promiscuous Girlfriend

Very similar in nature to the Valve-o-trons in that it's a warm valve boost, but it has a dirtier edge and a hell of a lot more grunt.

Another album cover here, my turn with PoisonBlack's excellent Lust Stained Dispair. To keep it looking appropriately dirty, the enclosure is unfinished with a transparent decal on it (just laquered over the top). It looks really good in the flesh, quite metallic, but it's a swine to photograph.

Thermionic Overdrive II

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Renegadrian's Twincaster

I love valves for both their sound and their glowing retro goodness. I've made a pair of these Twincasters, the only twist being that they're running 12v 12DW8 valves. These bad boys were designed for in-car use in the 50's-60's I would guess, especially given their current draw (1A for the pair of them!). Also being designed to run at 12V there's no problem in seeing the glowage. The heaters are MUCH brighter than the LED. Finally, it sounds awesome. Brighter than a valvecaster and with HUGE amounts of level. This could easily be used as a pre.

The design is once again Marauder's Therion go-to. As I haven't got a pedal with that on it even mine has it this time. The insides are, errm, busy.


What it does: Boost/Overdrive/Tremolo
What it's based on: Valve-o-tron & Vibracaster

This came about from running a Valve-o-tron into a Valvecaster and it sounding really very good. As we know the Valvecaster responds well to boost on the front of it, it seemed only right for that boost to come from a valve also. That I knew would work, so to make it more interesting instead of a straight Valvecaster, it's the Vibracaster tremolo instead. If you dial the depth back it behaves like a stock Valvecaster, so you get the best of both worlds.

I built this for the BYOC forum 2009 'open class' build off which I'm delighted to have finished second in. Some absolutely stonking builds in there with 'Clockworks' a deserving victor! Still, considering it's my 8th pedal (probably about 14th overall counting multiples for Marauder and oddities), I couldn't be more chuffed with the result.

Valve-o-tron III

What it does: Boost
What it's based on: Valve-o-tron

Yet another built for Marauder the only difference this time being LED clipping.

Danger! High Voltage (Valve-o-tron II)

What it does: Boost
What it's based on: Valve-o-tron

A bit more ambitious this one with added tone and gain controls. Additionally it has a multitude of clipping options on a rotary switch.

Valve-o-tron I

What it does: Boost
What it's based on: EF86 Distortion

Based on a EF86 Valve Distortion originally by Renegadrian, but with a 6BR7 instead and some added diode clipping on a switch.

I'm really quite pleased with how the internals turned out, I really took my time with them this time (unlike the Valvecaster!). Modified further with sync/async/none clipping options.

Thermionic Overdrive

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Electro Harmonix LPB-1 Linear Power Booster & Matsumin Valvecaster

Marauder's Valvecaster. I only did the wiring on this, the decal is his work on this pedal.

Maltese Valvething

What it does: Overdrive
What it's based on: Electro Harmonix LPB-1 Linear Power Booster & Matsumin Valvecaster

An LPB-1 circuit feeding the Valvecaster. It's a hell of a mess inside as I didn't know what enclosure I was going to put it in when I wired it. Then I'd used pots that were too big so I had to modify all the holes so they'd fit. The thing is, because it works so well and sounds so good, I'm loathed to take it apart and re-house it

This is the first pedal I made that wasn't from a kit, some 200 pedals ago... Can you tell...? ;)

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