Modding the Crybaby

What’s wrong with the standard Crybaby?

Everyone knows that classic wah sound from the days of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. A couple of months ago I was itching to get some wah sounds at home so I started looking at Crybabys on Ebay. I soon noticed that the more customisable the pedal, the greater the price, and most of them were more than I was willing to pay.

After some searching I found a GCB95 (basic model) that was listed as Spares/Repairs because “it makes a horrible sound when I plug it into a wall socket”. I picked it up for £20 + P&P and it was a simple fix: the capacitor that smooths out the 9V DC had blown and replacing it fixed everything!

However I wasn’t happy with the sounds I was getting, the pedal sounded quite flat and is infamous for “tone suck” while in bypass mode. I was also missing those extra dials on the more expensive models to shape the sound more. There was also an annoying “dead spot” in the middle of the pedal’s travel where moving my foot wouldn’t change the tone. I needed to start modding.

Let the modding commence

This was my first ever pedal mod and the first time I’d picked up a soldering iron since school. Nevertheless I ambitiously decided to perform all the following mods:

  • Increase gain (with knob)
  • Q control (with knob)
  • Change the pot for a “ProPot” to get smoother tone change
  • Replace inductor with a red Fasel for some growl
  • True bypass switching to avoid “tone suck”
  • Sweep caps (4 values on a rotary switch)
  • Add an LED
  • Mid boost

Most of the details on resistor and capacitor values can be found here and here with details on adding an LED and true bypass here and here. (Thanks stinkfoot.se!)

Whilst I got most of the parts from Maplin’s, the Fasel and ProPot were from Banzai Music and both the resistors and 3PDT switch (for true bypass) were from Ebay. Overall I spent less than £60 on both the pedal itself and all the parts, less than buying just the pedal for new!

A few hours of soldering and some minor burns later it was complete.

inside_pedal_fix.jpg Inside of the pedal after the mods were complete.

The results

Overall I’m very happy with how it turned out, the pedal now sounds much more lively and is very customisable. I can achieve dramatic changes in tone by fiddling with the knobs, the Fasel sounds great and the ProPot gives a smooth transition from bass to treble without any “dead spots”.

Here is a quick recording of the intro to Voodoo Child I did after the mods were finished. What else would you test a wah on?

Voodoo Child Intro

Settings

my_rig_fix.jpg The setup I used for recording. I used Blackstar cabinet emulation straight into Reaper.

Guitar: Neck pickup

Blackstar HT-5R: Channel: Clean Vol: 8 o’clock Tone: 11 o’clock Reverb: 9 o’clock

Digitech Bad Monkey: Level: Max Low: 12 o’clock High: 12 o’clock Gain: 9 o’clock

Dunlop Crybaby (Modded): Gain: 75% Cap: 0.022uF (Same as Dunlop JH-1) Q: 80%

As you can hear the extra gain from the Bad Monkey and Crybaby is just pushing the tubes into a nice breakup sound (this amp has pretty low headroom).

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Modding the Crybaby

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