The Dodo


This one is called the Dodo because it is my version of an iconic overdrive preamp pedal that came in a gray or yellow enclosure and was built by a company with a name very similar to that of the poor extinct bird. My pedal and its inspiration are both derivatives of the classic opamp distortion circuit first popularised by the MXR Distortion+ in the early 1970s. Like that pedal and the many pedals inspired by it, it's a hard clipping distortion circuit and the Gain knob doubles as a tone control as more high frequencies and overtones are dialed in as you turn it clockwise. Several versions of the original pedal exist; similarly, I made a few different versions of this pedal as well.



I had heard good things about the DOD 250, but my experiences with other distortion pedals up to that point had been largely disappointing, so I shied away from buying a used original and decided to build one myself. When the first one I made sounded really nice, I dived deeper into the world of this kind of distortion circuit. After building the 1997 and the Vintage Dodo, I decided to concentrate my efforts on the Double Dodo, which is essentially two Vintage Dodos in one enclosure, and which became my most successful pedal. Later, I started building single Dodos again, with kind of an emphasis on the rare 1982 version of the DOD 250.

Double Dodo Variations

The 1997 Edition


This was one of the first pedals I built, mostly for practice purposes and because it uses the RC4558 opamp and I had some lying around that I had bought by mistake and had no real use for them. The stripboard layout was devised by mirosol. Building the pedal was a big learning experience, especially when it came to what not to do with the clear coat. The pedal sounded great and whet my appetite for doing some more research on the DOD 250. It remained a one-off build.

The Vintage Edition


Building the Yellow Dodo had sparked my interest in the original gray box version of the DOD 250. Since these are not cheaply available on the market, I decided to build one myself. The Vintage Dodo got its name from the fact that it was supposed to be my version of the very first version of the DOD 250 from circa 1976, but I later found out that the schematic I used was in fact a different version; most likely an early pre-series prototype. I also tried a somewhat "vintagey" graphic design for this one, which came out of the printer in a very different way than intended, due to wrong printer settings and an incorrect adhesive. It still looked cool though, and it sounded fantastic, so much so that I decided to build an expanded version of it, the Double Dodo. Thus, the Vintage Dodo has been a one-off pedal. At the time of this writing, it is in Portugal.

graydodo_new.jpgI hadn't expected to build another one of these, but then a friend asked me to build one as a present for his stepdaughter. It's essentially the same as the Vintage Dodo, only with a non-vintage design and an added clipping switch.

The 1982 Edition

yellowdodo82s.jpgThe last two runs of the DOD 250 in 1981 and 1982 came in yellow enclosures, even though the circuit inside remained unchanged; in 1982, they briefly used the LF351 opamp in place of the LM741/UA741. This 1982 version is rather rare, and many believe it to be the best-sounding version of all DOD 250s, so of course I had to build it to find out if that is true; my first builds went into the Double Dodo Timewarp Edition, but I later decided to build standalone Dodo pedals based in this version. Similar to what I had done on the Double Dodos, I added a clipping switch for symmetrical/asymmetrical clipping and a tone switch for the original 1982 sound or the classic Dodo sound.