The new Bob Mould signature distortion came about from my love of Bob's guitar tone. I'd long been a fan of Bob Moulds work from Husker Du right through to his latest albums, and his wall of guitar fuzz was always a spectacle to behold. It was a relentless grind of distortion and harmonics weaved into catchy, melodic pop.
Bob has always used the classic MXR Distortion +, which was the first effects pedal he bought when he decided to start a band. They were easily accessible and affordable back in the 70's and early 80's and another one of my guitar heroes used almost the same set up as Bob in his band The Saints. Ed Kuepper bought a Dist + as his first pedal to use with his SG through a locally made solid state EDA PA head and there is definitely similarities in guitar tones between early Saints and Husker Du.
The Tym "Beauty & Ruin" Bob Mould signature distortion is exactly the same circuit as my St Paul Distortion with new artwork and in the smaller, custom made enclosure. It features the classic late 70's/early 80's Dist + circuit based on two of my favorite originals and would be close to the one Bob had bought new.
It uses the classic 741 IC, just like the originals and the two silicon diodes for clipping, give a slightly clearer and crisper distortion than the earlier germanium based units. Component values are based on my two favorites with some very slight changes in a couple of component values to fine tune it to these two units.
The circuit is a tried and tested, and much copied simple single op amp pushing into a diode clipping stage. The thing about the Dist + circuit was as you turned the gain up, the base frequencies were pulled out to keep the circuit tight. It can leave the signal a bit trebley and lacking in bottom end for some players and amps. Vintage MXR units are way more consistent in tone and component values than say vintage EH but they do vary in tone slightly over the years, probably more due to drifting values than manufacturing inconsistencies. Getting that balance of clarity and bite along with not getting too muddy was what I loved about these two originals I have.
The pedal is housed in my custom made stainless steel enclosures with artwork done, as always, by my good friend Tone from Guitarnerd. Bob loved the original St Paul Distortion artwork that was inspired by Husker Du's Metal Circus cover but we discussed updating it for this signature version. Tony sent through a few ideas and versions and we eventually settled on this cross between the original and artwork from the new album.
The pedal has the typical volume and gain as is standard on all these units and is powered by a standard Boss style 9V adaptor jack with no option for battery like all my pedals. Artwork and details were sorted out and a package including the pedal and certificate like my other signature pedals was finalised to Bobs specs.
These are NOT limited edition and I will make these as long as there is demand and Bob and I are happy with the arrangements. They are however, like all my stuff, limited supply as I make EVERYTHING myself, by hand in my workshop here in Brisbane so, like my other hand made gear, they will be made in small batches as I get time.
"While touring in Australia a few years ago, Tim brought me a Tymexar St. Paul distortion pedal. I was touched by the gesture but didn't get around to trying out the pedal until recording the guitar tracks for Beauty & Ruin. I was thrilled at the sound of the Tymexar – all the good essential qualities of the original MXR Distortion+, a much higher signal output, and best of all, a noticeable reduction in the sometimes overbearing high frequency sizzle.
We've modified the look of the Tymexar and are proud to present the new, custom hand made Beauty & Ruin signature pedal. I hope you all enjoy and use this pedal as much as I do." Bob Mould.