Self-made overdrive pedal VEMURAM Jan Ray clone Self-made overdrive pedal VEMURAM Jan Ray clone


Self-made overdrive pedal VEMURAM Jan Ray clone

Self-made Guitar Effect Pedals

My self-made effect pedalsThis is a list page of the effect pedals that I made. You can see articles on how I made them for each board type (universal board, through hole / surface mount printed board) and enclosure size (normal, mini).

Find an article about your favorite effect pedal.


Gorgeous overdrive Jan Ray
About circuit
PCB supplier
About parts and enclosure
Enclosure processing
Wiring in the enclosure
Output sound check
Sound samples

[Addition] Jan Ray mini-sized with surface-mounted chip parts
[Addition] Completed by incorporating into a mini size enclosure
[Additional MOD] Modification to lower the output impedance

Gorgeous overdrive Jan Ray

Jan Ray imageJan Ray is an overdrive made by Japanese stomp maker VEMURAM. It features clean boost to low gain distortion which sounds the core of guitar strings nicely.

The real Jan Ray is housed in a gorgeous brass enclosure and shows the presence that should be called "the highest peak" effect pedal. Probably because of that, the price is higher than US $ 350. Wow!

Therefore, I tried to make my own by using the circuit diagram and board layout obtained on the Internet. This page is a report from the start to the completion of my own work.

About circuit

It seems that the real Jan Ray's circuit boards and parts are painted black or glued together so that I do not know what kind of circuit and parts are used. Still, an engineer disassembles the purchased Jan Ray, removes the trace mask, removes the parts, measures the resistance value and the capacitance of the capacitor, and writes it on the circuit diagram. Awesome work!

As an outline of the circuit, a double diode (1N4148, a normal switching diode) is put in the feedback of an operational amplifier to make distortion. It has the same circuit as the existing effect pedal "Timmy", but the resistance value, diode wiring and capacitor capacity are slightly different. It's a Timmy clone. If you don't make your own DIY stuff and don't care about the subtle differences in sound, you should be better to buy Timmy.

However, Jan Ray's enclosure is made of brass, and the grades of the parts used are probably selected. There is no doubt that something will be different compared to Timmy, as all the professionals have highly evaluated it. If you want the real one, you should buy a Jan Ray. There are many comparison videos of the two on YouTube, so please listen and compare.

Self-made Jan Ray PCB

PCB supplier

When I made my own Centaur last time, I made it by wiring point-to-point on a universal board based on the circuit diagram on the Internet. I like this method and it was one of the pleasures, but recently my aged eyes makes me harder detailed works, so this time I tried to make it using the printed circuit board sold on the Internet. As a result, it was very easy and it worked well on the first attempt.

As for the parts, I bought all the parts (parts, switches, jacks, solder, potentiometers, knobs, painted enclosure, etc.) from the mail order effect pedal parts shop in Japan "Garrett Audio". Excluding the PCB, it costs about US$45.

About parts and enclosure

I bought price-orientedgeneral-purpose electronic components. The resistances are carbon 5%, 1/4W, and the capacitors are the cheapest ones regardless of the type. The operational amplifier is JRC4558DD (low noise type). Since the sound changes depending on the operational amplifier, a socket is attached so that it can be changed to another thing.

Self-made Jan Ray partsI have a opinion: Especially distortion effect pedals are not HiFi audio, so it is meaningless to use high-end audio parts. If you change the type of parts, the sound will change, but using higher parts does not always produce a better sound.

Even though I thought it was sounding good that day, I sometimes didn't feel it because my mood would change the next day. I remember that when I was cloning the Centaur. It may be true that after listening for 5 or 10 minutes, your ears get used to it and you cannot judge whether the sound is good or bad.

There is no such thing as "absolute" or "best" in sound. It depends on our mood of the day. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to pay attention to the type of parts, so I'm just using economy ones.

Enclosure processing

I chose a HAMMOND 1590BS enclosure with a rough black paint. It costed US $ 15. Since the effect pedal needs to house a battery, pods, a footswitch and phone jacks in a small box, the hole positions must be determined so that they do not interfere with each other. I arranged the actual parts in the enclosure and decided the rough position.

Self-made Jan Ray enclosure layout

Write down the position on a piece of paper, tape it, and then mark the center of the hole with a sharp screwdriver (ideally a center punch). Based on the mark, make a small hole with a 3mm drill, and then widen the hole with a 6mm drill in order to insert a reamer.

Self-made Jan Ray marking hole position

The holes for potentiometers, jacks, and switches are different in size, so decide by looking through the actual parts while widening the holes with a reamer little by little.

Self-made Jan Ray hole processing

Self-made Jan Ray parts implementation

Wiring in the enclosure

After attaching the potentiometers, jacks and foot switch to the enclosure, wire the inside of the enclosure. For the wiring material, I used the 24 AWG frexible wire. There are two types of electric wires: the "frexible wire" type, which is a bundle of thin wires that I use, and the "solid wire" type, which is made up of one solid wire. The solid wire can keep the shape, so it results in a beautiful finish. However, if bending the solid wire several times, it will break easily, so I think it is not for beginners. Beginners should buy a "frexible wire" type.

The LED fits just into a 3mm drill hole. With the head of the red LED inserted, fixed with instant adhesive from the back side. The wiring between the pod and the PCB should be as short as possible, but it is convenient to make it long enough to turn the board over for a trouble shooting. Be careful that noise will be added to the wire if it is too long.

Self-made Jan Ray wiring

Output sound check

I used PCB this time and there must be no miss wiring, so I checked the sound output after attaching everything to the enclosure. There was a problem that the GAIN potentiometers No. 1 and No. 3 were wired in reverse resulting the GAIN knob worked in reverse, but the others worked without any problems. When I made my own Centaur on a universal board, it didn't work well in one shot, so this time it was super easy!

Self-made Jan Ray work table

As many YouTube reviews, the chord backing with stratocaster's single coil pickup sounds good. For rhythm guitars, it's better to use a low gain overdrive like Jan Ray to slightly distort the peaks and compress it, rather than a clean tone or a compression sound like DynaComp.

When using a Les Paul humbucker, when I raise the GAIN and set the Les Paul volume at about 6, it will be close to the original distortion of a Fender amp. When setting the volume to MAX, it comfortably overdrives. I feel the responsiveness to the volume knob of the guitar is pretty good.

Sound samples

The same phrase will be played twice. The first half is OFF (buffered bypass) and the second half is ON.
Recording environment: Fender Stratocaster -> Self-made Centaur -> Mooer Preamp 060 (Fender Clean, Cabinet ON) -> UR22mkII -> DAW (Studio One)

Chord backing(MP3)

Rhythm guitar(MP3)


I closed the enclosure and completed it. The real Jan Ray doesn't have the labels of the knob printed on it, but I put stickers on the knob with knob initial. My own black Jan Ray has been completed. I'm so satisfied!

Self-made Jan Ray completed!
My own black Jan Ray clone completed!

[Addition] Jan Ray mini-sized with surface-mounted chip parts

It's been eight months since I made the black Jan Ray clone in the above article at the end of 2020. As you can see in the index of the article, I have made all kinds of effect pedals such as distortion, auto wah, chorus, analog delay, octaver, compressor, phaser and so on. Recently, I am working on miniaturization of surface mount parts.

The switcher and self-made effect pedals are built into the pedal board. Normal size pedals are too big to fit on the pedal board, so I plan to minisize everything possible.

So, I made a surface mount version of the bright red BB-PREAMP in the above article. The circuit is exactly the same, but the constants that are not available for surface mount components have been changed to something close.

Printed board design

I used the printed board sold when making the above black Jan Ray. I designed and ordered all the PCBs myself to miniaturize the pedals. I design a board using the free board design software "KiCAD" and place an order with the Chinese board maker "Fusion PCB". For sizes up to 10cmx10cm, 10 PCBs cost only $ 5. DHL shipping costs $ 15, so the total is around $ 20, but it's still incredibly cheap.

The structure of the PCB is a double-sided through hole, but Jan Ray has a small number of parts, so it was possible to design by mounting parts on only one side. The figure on the left is the silk printing on the front side and the pad of the part (the part where the solder rides), and the figure on the right is the trace (red is the front side, green is the back side). Actually, all the excess on both sides is filled with ground to make it solid earth, but the picture below hides solid earth.

The following is a completed image of KiCAD's 3D display function.

The following is the actually completed board. The delivery date varies depending on the resist color specified when ordering. I specified "black" this time. It arrived within 9 days (4 days of manufacture, 5 days of DHL delivery) after ordering on the WEB page.

Please refer to the following page for details on PCB design.

KiCad PCB design data

The PCB data created using "KiCad (Windows 64-bit) Version: (6.0.4), release build" is provided. The ZIP file contains the schematic, board design data, and original component data. Please read the terms of use and disclaimer in the attached "readme.pdf" before using this data.

Obtain surface mount components online

I have made many effectors using surface mount chip parts. The parts I purchased online are summarized on the following page.

Mounting surface mount components

2012 size (2.0mmx1.2mm) is used for the chip resistor and chip capacitor. I think this size is just right when mounting parts by hand soldering. The electrolytic capacitor also uses a surface mount type that does not have lead holes.
I don't think there is any effect on sound even if the resistors and capacitors are changed to surface mount components. However, for the distortion-creating diodes, I used the same through-hole components as the black Jan Ray to avoid changing the sound.

Mounting is the work of picking up and soldering parts with tweezers. I use a stand loupe (magnifying mirror) because the parts are very small and it is quite difficult work for me with old eyes. Constants and model numbers are printed on resistors, electrolytics, and ICs, but not on capacitors. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully manage the parts of the capacitor by writing constants on the package tape.

Refer to the Self-made Riot article for the hand soldering of surface mout components

Operation check

I am currently using a small digital oscilloscope that I bought for $ 40. In order to check the rotation direction and gain amount of the pot, a test signal such as a sine wave generated by PC free software is output from the audio interface (Steinburg UR22mkII) and input to the produced PCB.

The circuit board is tested before it is incorporated into the enclosure. Currently, I insert the wire from the printed board into the breadboard and connect it to the input / output jack and power supply (9V battery).

This time, the sound was output in one shot with no mistakes. There is a semi-fixed pot on the board that determines the brightness of the high frequencies. I will adjust the position while listening to it after this.

Surface mount mini size Jan Ray sound sample

This is an interlude phrase of the original song "Thinking About You" using my own Jan Ray (surface mount version above). Les Paul's front pickup sounds lightly distorted and mild tones.

Recording environment: Gibson Les Paul (front, tone 5) → Self-made EP Booster → Self-made ISP noise reduction → This unit (mini size Jan Ray) → MOOER MicroPreamp 006 (Fender amplifier cabinet simulator) → UR22mkII → DAW (Studio One)

Thinking About You Interlude Solo (MP3)

[Addition] Completed by incorporating into a mini size enclosure

Create an original sticker

I used the mini size "HAMMOND 1590A" for enclosure. I created the original label using a sticker that can be made with an inkjet printer and attached it to the enclosure. I heard that Jan Ray is aiming for the distortion that comes out with the setting called MAGIC6 (Volume6, Treble6, Middle3, Bass2 setting) of Fender's 1960s black face amplifier. I named this mini effector "MAGIC 6" instead of "Jan Ray" and made a sticker with the design of the fender amplifier as a motif.

[Additional MOD] Modification to lower the output impedance

This "MAGIC 6" has a 10kΩ pot VOLUME at the output, which is directly connected to the output jack. Therefore, the output impedance is relatively high, with a maximum of 10 kΩ depending on the position of the pot. Depending on the pedal connected after "MAGIC 6", this output impedance may have an adverse effect.
Also, because there is no protection resistance at the output, when the VOLUME is full, if the output is shorted, the operational amplifier may be overloaded.

There is no particular harm to my pedal board, but I tried to keep the output impedance constant by lowering it to 470Ω by providing a buffer at the output, similar to the self-made modification of "Keeley 4 Knobs Compressor".

The circuit is a simple circuit of the emitter follower using the NPN transistor "2SC1815". I simply added the circuit below after the output so as not to change the original PCB circuit.

Created with a small universal board to fit in the enclosure

Since this MAGIC 6 is made in mini size, the empty space is only above the output jack, so I made it small with a universal board so that it fits here.


Achieves stable low gain overdrive

With the addition of this circuit, no matter how the connection changes with the switcher, the tone color / volume change with MAGIC6 ON / OFF will not occur.

There is no difference in sound between the JanRay clone made with the through-hole parts earlier and the JanRay clone made with the surface mount parts this time. Unlike power amplifiers that use a large current, the effect pedal is driven by a small current, so the change in sound depending on the type of parts was minimal. I realized again that the difference in sound is almost determined by the circuit configuration.

Below is the current effector board. There are tons of pedals in it, but the switcher makes it easier to use. For the switcher, "One Control Agamidae Tail Loop" that can switch 6 loops is used. I modified it and added an LED to display ON / OFF of the effect loop.

Click here for the latest effector board that has been updated by incorporating the mini size JanRay (MAGIC 6).

For beginners, I have created pages for selecting tools for self-made.