The ‘SCRAM!BLAM!’ pedal

A local made Ampeg Scrambler clone…

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m a fan of local made pedals. For one thing… I amazed that anyone could build one of these things and make it work. It’s totally beyond me… for one, I don’t have the patience to sit down and solder one of these things together… and another thing is that I’d probably screw it up anyway. So I’ll leave my clever friends to sort that stuff out. I just want to play them.

Back in 2003, I frequented a local message board called TOMB (Time Off Message Board). This is actually where guitarnerd began… I started a thread called ‘Guitar Nerd thread…and other stuff for teh music nerds’ in July 2005 and after it hit 60 pages I thought… “Hey, I could turn this into a blog”, so I quit TOMB (after 4806 posts… it wasn’t easy) and here we are.

One of my TOMB friends was user: Cardboard Tube Samurai, who happened to be Dan,  a local guitarist from The Shrewms (and currently with the band Ironside). CTS mentioned that he’d made a crazy fuzz pedal based on an Ampeg Scrambler. Amazed that ANYONE could make their own pedals, I messaged him and asked if he could make me one too. Dan said sure… and 2 weeks later he dropped a yellow box off to my work.

Excuse the art… this was my first ever pedal design so I didn’t know what I was doing yet. I’ve been meaning to redo it one day. But who cares what it looks like, it’s what it sounds like which matters most. And this thing sounds freak’n awesome.

With everything on ten, the best explanation is that is sounds like plate glass shattering on sheet metal. It rips your head off. I instantly added it to my pedal board and used it for tearing peoples faces off every now and then. For single note lines it adds a great sizzle, and the bitcrush decay is just evil.

Here’s the obligatory gut shot for those interested…

Later on, to help me control this pedal a little, I got Dan to add a volume knob on the side. This brings the levels in line with my other pedals. The Transfuse control just cleans up the effect… on zero it’s the straight clean guitar sound. On ten, the gates of hell open.

After using it with everything cranked to ten for years, only recently I’ve found out how great it sounds with the morph setting on zero. It tames the sound and turns this beast into a great overdrive pedal, nice and warm but with a touch of that awesome decay at the end of the note. It’d be great for a garage band who needs dirt that sounds nice but not too smooth.

I’ve recorded a sample with the morph on zero so you can see what I mean, and then I crank the morph to full so you can hear the craziness.I just played some riffs to a drum loop. For this I used my G&L SC1, as the single coil sounds especially spikey with this pedal.

Next up, here’s a short tune with the rhythm guitar track running the Scam! Blam! with the morph on zero. Then there’s a lead guitar track on top with it on full. This shows what the pedal could sound like in a band situation…

Dan has offered to redo the pedal to sort out the level issues, but I’m really happy with how it is. None of my current bands have the need for this craziness, but I’m hoping in the future I’ll be able to subject people to this horrible/awesome noise again.