Several people have asked me to repost my older layouts for the often copied (and frequently sold for big bucks, see below for details) Electra Distortion circuit. This is a surprisingly good-sounding circuit for so few components. No fancy parts needed; just a fun little circuit that swings way above its weight.
The name is a little misleading, though. It’s really not a distortion in the modern sense of the word. At best, it’s a medium overdrive gain-wise.
My old schematic drawing and two different DIY layouts for the Electra Distortion are posted below. One is for perf board and the other is for building the Electra on an eyelet, turret, or strip board.
If you like simplicity and great tone, also check out my “Onsie”, which is a very classic take on the old Bazz Fuss circuit, as well as my “SmallBazz” project, which is a germanium mojo-infused version of the Bazz Fuss.
Electra Distortion Schematic
Electra Distortion DIY Layouts
The first one is for perfboard, while the second is for an eyelet / turret style build.
Cash Cow: The Electra Distortion in the Boutique Pedal World
As mentioned above, the Electra has made its rounds in the boutique pedal world, ranging back to the earlier days when everything was a mystery and before folks like FreeStompBoxes were willing to tear things apart and see what was under the hood. Perhaps the best known, and widest selling, is/was the Church of Tone 50 by Lovepedal. Also knowns as “COT50”, there were no less than a dozen different slight variations of this pedals sold over many years, all being slight mods on the classic Electra original.
Lovepedal also sold other pedals with essentially the same circuit (very minor changes), including: Les Lius, Tchula, Champ, JTM, and others. The mileage squeezed out of this one simple circuit is simply astounding.
Another very successful Electra variant is the “Speaker Cranker” from Earthquaker Devices.