Groovy One

Some of you who have been involved in do-it-yourself guitar effects for more than a decade will probably remember the days when all 125B enclosures had grooves all around the inside of the enclosures.  This was probably 10 to 15 years ago.  The word was that the grooves were there so that you could slide PCB cards into the appropriate grooves for your needs and it would hold your circuits in place.  I don’t really know for sure if that is what they were there for, but it seemed like a reasonable explanation.  

Well, in my mind (full of great ideas) I thought: why don’t I design my PCBs to fit in the grooves and use the groove as intended.  The PCB fits vertically so there was a lot more room in the box for more pots, switches and jacks without having the circuit get in the way.   It really wasn’t a bad idea (except for one huge thing that I bet you can all guess).  So, I designed about eight or nine PCBs that fit in the grooves, including circuits based on Big Muff, Tube Screamer, Green Ringer, Orange Squeezer, Fuzz Face, Octavia and a few others (trade marks mentioned here belong to their rightful owners not General Guitar Gadgets).  Some of the fortunate folks who bought GGG Pedals 10 to 12 years ago may have one with the PCB in the grooves!  (Bobble based on BMP photo below)

groove bobble

As most of you have probably guessed by now, about the time I got into full production with these made-to-fit PCBs, someone (who I won’t mention by name) talked one of the enclosure manufacturers into supplying them with a non-grooved version of the 125B.  The non-grooved 125B’s where a hit!  Within a matter of (literally) months, the non-grooved versions were everywhere and the old grooved versions were virtually impossible to find.  There went my great idea…

My lesson learned was: never design a PCB based on a certain enclosure.  This lesson carried over further so that we don’t design PCBs based on any given enclosure drill pattern either.  This is part of our continuing philosophy on the style of kits we offer and it allows us to offer kits with various enclosure options and even options to buy the kit without the enclosure and use your own enclosure with simpler design considerations.

I think most people (including me) would agree that the 125B is much better off without the grooves.  The grooves did make drilling and placement of jacks (or other side-mounted components) sort of weird to say the least.  But it’s a funny story of bad timing on our part and some DIY stompbox history!

Written by:
JD Sleep
General Guitar Gadgets