Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36 Custom Controller

Posted: January 16, 2013 in FX, Hughes & KettnerTubemeister 36 Controller
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As a little fun side project I’ve decided to build a foot controller for my Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 36. This seems an odd move as one of the excellent things about this amp is the fact that is has fantastic midi support, and when I purchased the amp I also bought the companies FSM-432 midi footswitch. With the midi you can control channels, reverb, fx loop and the power soak, while traditional footswitches can control the reverb, channels and fx loop. My beef with the midi is this: when I want to use the amp with analog pedals (as opposed to a multi fx that does it all) I have to lug a huge footswitch around on top of my fx board, and in a band setting I only want 3 sounds (which incidently are the names of the amps channels) clean, crunch and lead, so a midi footswitch is a bit OTT.

My second beef with using midi is that unless I blow a rediculous (atleast 3 figures) amount of cash on some looper/midi controller control pedal I can’t bring analog pedals in and out of the loop at the same time as switching amp channels. While this sounds trivial, it is a bitch when playing live. I’m sick of having to stomp the channel switch, then the overdrive, then the compressor and noise gate all mid song, it’s just too much. I could make do with just stomping twice – the overdrive and the channel, but it is still a bit annoying, plus I want the pedals on that I want on, not just what is convieneient.

So anyway, here’s my design. It has been an absolute bastard trying to fit it all on, but here she is:

Decal

Basically, at the heart of it you have an A/B channel switch, where A is always clean B can be either Crunch or Lead. When you engage A the signal is routed through loop A which in my case will have the compressor in it. When you stomp to channel B the signal is routed through loop B which will have a couple of OD’s and a noise gate in there. If you stomp the C/L (Crunch/Lead) switch the tubemeister will change between crunch and lead, but both will use loop B. Kill is a soft touch momentary killswitch, and the pedal also has the 072 buffer built in, which can be toggled on and off. Reverb and FX Loop  predictably control the amps reverb and the amps FX loop. Loop A and Loop B both have a toggle switch that bypasses them, so that want to bypass the pedals in them you don’t have to use a patch cable to cover them up. The area marked V~ will have a pot which can be used to reduce the voltage at the variable dc out socket between 1.6v~ and 9v~ so that not only are you not loosing a space on your DC power brick to this pedal you also get a starvable output to make the fuzzes and overdrives sound crazy. There are LED’s to indicate everything, 9 in total.

So, really this is a stripped down Morse Device, stripped down Bomb Idea, a switchable 072 buffer, and a alternate true bypass looper within a channel swith pedal! The enclosure is a Hammond 1590BB, and believe me it is a real squeeze to get everything in, yet alone in usable positions.

The slightly odd jack arrangement is to allow for the stereo cables going to the amp for channel and reverb/loop to be convienet for hooking into when this is on the left hand side of a pedal board. There should be enough room to use right angled jacks at the top although they may interfeer with the loop A and loop B toggle switches a bit, depending on what ones I use. Basically I’m after a small footprint swiss-army-knife style utility pedal that makes everything more portable.

I’ll post the layout diagram on when it is finalised as well as schematics so people can build their own without any of the faffing. Maybe it is something I would consider building for others (could change the functions of the reverb/fx loop/crunch lead toggles to suit your amp) but it is probably won’t ever be one I make many of because of the high cost of parts most notably a 4PDT footswitch and 3 3PDT toggle switches.

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