Our long national nightmare is over.
The Gristlelizer is finally complete, and it works. Pretty much. I’m a little uncertain that the bias and depth potentiometers are doing what they should, but the device now modulates sound to some pretty terrific effect.
So what have we learned from all of this?
Aside from a tremendous amount of electronics troubleshooting skills, basic electrical engineering concepts, and elementary soldering iron safety, I’ve also learned:
1. I’ve learned that people in general are very glad to help out, and enjoy the opportunity to share what they’ve learned with others who are less far along. I am extremely grateful to Justin, who helped out tremendously by e-mail, and my former cow-orker Chris D, who helped out tremendously by phone. I would never have gotten this thing up and running without their help. I’m also grateful to Todd and Toby at Smashing Guitars / Endangered Audio, who haven’t always been responsive to e-mails, but who came through with crucial tips at crucial times.
2. I’ve learned — for about the eight thousandth time — that I should take my original estimate of how long something is likely to take and multiply it by a factor of, oh, 3 million. That way I’m likely to be real excited about all the self-imposed deadlines I meet, and less likely to be dismayed at how unwarranted and short-lived my project-related optimism winds up being.
3. I’ve learned that, yes, TR2 absolutely, positively MUST be a 2N3819 transistor. Which Radio Shack no longer sells, thank you very much. Transistors they do sell now — even those that certain well-intentioned Internet sites suggest are viable substitutions — will not work in the Gristleizer. Even “direct” replacements such as the GTE312 will not work, so don’t bother trying, bub. It’s 2N3819, or it’s a nonfunctional Gristlelizer. End of story.
So, stay tuned for more exciting updates, but not so much about the Gristlelizer. I will be continuing to tweak the bias and depth pots to see if they are, in fact, behaving like they should, and I may post a sound clip or two, but that’s all you’re likely to hear from the Gristlelizer. At least until the NEXT Long Afternoon record is done.
It has a working title now, by the way. Whoo hoo.
I also have other things to share, including the work of a great visual artist living and working in the greater State College area metroplex, and a new chance for all of us to help nail down, for once and for all, just who is the biggest douchebag in rock and roll.