Thursday, March 22, 2018

El Roacho, or, Secret Sauce Debugged.

I've been toying with the idea of rolling my own Fender style vibrato optocoupler devices for a while now, and a suitable test bed arrived the other day.

It's a Deluxe Reverb Reissue of the '68 Custom variety, and I have been trying out a couple of upgrade transformers to see if I could boost the output a modest amount. So I figured it was a suitable candidate for some roach research of the corksniffer variety.

What do I mean by corksniffer? Read on.

A while ago there was a fellow down in Texas who allowed as how he had discovered the secret formula after diligent experimentation and research into the subject.

He called it the "Surf Bug" and sold quite a number of them for about twenty bucks a copy, until he sadly passed away and, so 'tis said, took the secrets to the grave with him. He did business as Tonecraft Amplification.

After that there was the "Black Widow" bug that was being sold by Austin Amplifier, or so 'tis said although I do not have anything current on the situation.

According to the savants on the TDPRI discussion forum both these operations are out of commission-or maybe one, or maybe operating on some astral plane.

You can read all about the alleged secret sauce mojo here.

Well. I am about to rip the lid off this entire subject. The secret sauce dies here.

I autopsied a number of known working vibrato roaches, and did not learn much of great value. The dark resistance is so high that my multimeter couldn't measure it anyway. 

I obtained a number of GL5537 and GL5537-1 photocells.on fleabay the why pay more store, and a number of NE-2 neon bulbs. I made up a couple of test articles and put each one in the package with the relevant photocell. Of course they slipped out of the packages so I don't really know which was which.

They both worked fine, and the results are a slightly smoother and less choppy vibrato that sounds a bit more like a tube modulated vibrato. Attached are a photograph of the first article and a shop sketch.

In addition there is a photograph I found of what are supposed to be five new Surf Bugs.

I can't tell the difference.

I fully expect that I will be lambasted by people who just want to believe the magic sprinkles and the existence of secret sauce.

Perfectly all right says I. Bring on the bashing

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