The Hand

hand.jpgThe Hand is a dual-opamp based overdrive/distortion pedal with MOSFET clipping that does anything from clean boost to heavy distortion with all shades of crunch in between. Cleans up with the volume knob of your guitar. The Tone Shift switch emphasises the higher mids, whereas the Hi/Lo switch doubles the internal voltage of the pedal for somewhat more headroom and different drive characteristics. Works with a 9V battery or a 9V DC power supply.


Another one on the pared-down "workshop" series of pedals I built primarily for myself to try out a circuit. I built this purely because I was curious and for the soldering practice. In the end, it turned out to be mostly a practice lesson in finding bad solder joints, and the lesson learned was that sometimes it takes only one minute to find one in daylight that you didn't see in an hour in artificial light. The pedal I had been curious about was the Electro Harmonix OD Glove, which in turn is nothing but a more sophisticated clone of the famous Fulltone OCD.

It was probably not a very clever idea to copy a pedal that is (a) readily available everywhere, (b) anything but expensive, and (c) heavily cloned by the Chinese, so the sales value of this pedal, should I choose to part with it, is probably pretty low, unless I can find somebody who appreciates handbuilt items or my design.

I chose the big box format to make sure I could fit in the pots and switches with out any headaches, and that came with the bonus of having extra space for a nice big picture of the hand, and room for a 9V battery. Other than that, I went for the same minimalism like I had done with the Beardface Prototype - unpainted metal, no LED bezel. There are no plans to build a second pedal like it, so I felt that a basic design sufficed. In the end, I was pretty pleased with its looks.

I spent some time thinking how to label the internal voltage switch. I felt that labelling it "9/18" might tempt a possible future buyer to connect an 18V power supply and thus fry the pedal. After some deliberation I went for "Hi/Lo" even though that might confuse those who know the OCD, where the "Hi/Lo" switch is in fact the "Tone Shift" switch...

The pedal sounds nice and OCD-ish, and pretty muscular in fact. With the Tone Shift engaged, it has a tendency to go into feedback if the Tone knob is above 3 o'clock. Not sure if this is by design or due to some mistake on my part. Other than that, it works nicely. Still playing around with it a bit before I decide whether to keep it or sell it.