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Hi there, welcome to my blog - La Revolution Deux. It's an odd name - but I like it! Here you will find all the info on my various DIY Guitar effects builds, amplifiers and guitars. Everything from a humble Ibanez tubescreamer to the holiest KLON Overdrive.

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Tycobrahe - Octavia

An original Tycobrahe Octavia Pedal
There aren't many Tycobrahe pedals around, the company was only in the pedal business for a few years before it ceased manufacturing. One of it's most infamous (and yes, I do mean infamous - have you heard this thing?!) offerings is the Tycobrahe Octavia fuzz pedal. As rumour has it the Tycobrahe Octavia came into being after one of Roger Mayer's (who was Jimi Hendrix's FX guy) original Octavia circuits was taken into Tycobrahe for repair and was traced out by an employee.


Above you can see (supposedly) the schematic that was traced by a Tycobrahe worker from the hand made Roger Mayer pedal. Here's a bit more info from the Radio WC6W website; 


"This is the schematic, traced from the pedal that was brought, by a "Jeff Beck" crew member, to Tycobrahe Sound for repair, which became the genesis of the Tycobrahe Guitar Pedal line. The polarity "fixes" that resulted when the demarked transistors were removed and analyzed on a Tektronix curve tracer may be seen on this first draft."


For those of you who sport a pair of glasses or are drunk, here's an easier to read schematic;



Looking at the schematic the Octavia is pretty simple - a high gain fuzz circuit driving the octave generation circuit comprising of a small audio transformer and a couple of germanium diodes. If you want to cancel the octave up effect all you need to do is switch one of these diodes out of the circuit.

The Octavia is an evil sounding beast with a huge amount of fuzz available, twin that with the octave up (it makes all notes played sound an octave up) effect and the swells and bloom that you get and you've got one of the Devil's favourite FX pedals. Check out this demo of the Octavia in action to see what I mean;

 

It's a very specific sound, you can hear the Octavia employed well on "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix and many of his tracks with the Band of Gypsies.

Gutshot of an original Tycobrahe Octavia
So what if you fancy building one and cracking out some of the old Hendrix licks? Well, here's a vero layout for the Tycobrahe Octavia by Dr Tony Balls. This is an NPN negative ground layout (unlike the original which was PNP positive ground) which means you can use it with your pedal power daisy chains without a problem;

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