The Honey Bee Challenge – Folk Driver DIY Overdrive

19 04 2009

Hi everyone, as some of you may already know, Björn Juhl sent me a Honey Bee pedal to play with. The idea was to listen to the sound and see if it can inspire a nice DIY project. Well, after spending some time with it, I’ve come up with something that sounds good and will certainly remind people familiar with the sound of the Honey Bee.

My goal was to keep the design as simple as possible, but still try to fit in some tricks. This uses both positive and negative feedback to get its sound. R8 is something I learned from the big old red RCA book – it’s positive feedback to boost the gain of the first stage; it was suggested as an alternative to using cathode bypass capacitor in a tube stage, well, it works just as well with a transistor. The combination of R9+C4 is negative feedback to reduce the high frequency gain and give the signature smooth sound. It also promotes stability in the circuit. I settled on the clipping diode combination after trying several different kinds, and the 1N4001+1N4148 combo had the best sound for this thing and reminded me most of the HB.

The Timbre control adjusts both the low-frequencies and the amount of drive. At the 12 o’clock position is the minimum drive amount. At one extreme it’s max gain with lows emphasized, and the other is max gain with the lows cut. It’s sort of like having the HB’s Gain and Nature controls on one knob.

Here is the schematic: Folk Driver
I have a PCB design done up with ExpressPCB so people could order some if they want, and the board is a single-sided design so it is easy to make yourself. I will post the file up after I verify it (probably tomorrow…).
Stay tuned for the full build project.




3 responses

6 11 2009

Great Build Martin,

I had the opportunity to play with this pedal last night at practice and it sounds fantastic.

Though it does have similar qualities to the Honey Bee it stands it’s own and in many ways I like it better than the HB. The overall response is tighter where the HB can be mushy at times.

1 05 2010

Thanks for all your cool pedal ideas and creations,Im trying to build your folk driver circuit on vero board and the layout on has a spot were the clipping diodes are not oriented as usual is this correct or a misprint on the vero layout? Thanks and keep on stompin!!

1 05 2010

If you mean the vero drawn by member “ibodog2”, I just checked it and it looks to be correct. The way it’s drawn is maybe a little confusing in that area, but it looks like it all connects as it should.

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