Request: Himmelstrutz Fetto

Here’s a vero layout for the Himmelstrutz Fetto. I also did a stripped down version with all switches and jumpers hardwired in the default setting. Both of the layouts are based on information from this thread over at freestompboxes.

Note that the correct transistor has yet to be determined, but it’s a JFET with D G S pinout. I’ll update the layout if/when the identity of the JFET is discovered.

Update (03.05.2011): Built the “full” vero yesterday, and although I was unable to find the correct transistors it did sound good using either 2SK117 or 2SK170, so I guess the vero itself is now verified.

Update (03.09.2011): I’ve successfully built this and I’m calling it verified. The only uncertainty is the exact transistors used in the original unit, but in my experience 2SK170s work just fine.

Update (10.12.2011): The stripped-down version is now also verified thanks to adamk. I also updated the layouts with the reputedly correct transistor (2SK170GR).

Update (28.12.2011): There have also been reports of the 2SK170BL sounding better than the supposedly correct 2SK170GR, so you might want to try both and make up your own mind.

Update (19.04.2012): Boxed the stripped version as a 2-in-1 with the King of Tone single version. The Fetto part is on the right side.

Update (18.07.2012): Forgot to mention a cut underneath R14 on the “stripped” version.

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34 thoughts on “Request: Himmelstrutz Fetto

  1. Gudday Harald,
    Just built the stripped version using 2sk30, and it sounds great. However, my presence control doesn’t seem to affect the tone that much, but it does act like a volume… Any ideas?


  2. Hi Mike,
    I don’t recommend and particular caps as long as they have the proper voltage rating and are reasonable for the work at hand (i.e. large 600V caps don’t work well in a small effect pedal). I don’t claim to hear much, if any, difference between the various cap materials, so I typically use whatever brand I have at hand. But some have prettier colors than others though ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Hi and thanks for sharing this beautiful built!

    What kind of capacitors do you suggest? Are the caps above made of polypropylene?

    Thank you very much!

  4. Thanks harald. I did the switch mod and left the 250K as it is as the gain was sufficient. One thing I noticed is, by mistake I placed Q1 the other way and still the circuit was working with a little more compression and low end. What could be the reason?

  5. Yes, that’s worth a try. Also you could replace R14 with a jumper and R15 with a 500k (would be the same as setting the gain trim to 100% on the full version).

  6. Thanks Harald, hopefully adding a switch with one end to ground and other end with a 2.2 uF and 470R to Q2 source will add an option of more gain. Will try.

  7. Hi travorkates005,
    If you look at the schematic posted on FSB you’ll notice there’s a whole bunch of switches and trim pots. All I did to create the “stripped down” version was to look at the default settings, then remove all the switches and trim pots along with the extra components that was now left unused. If you want to add more gain I suggest looking at the gain options on the original schematic. I never drew a separate schematic of the “stripped down” version, but rather worked it out in my head from the riginal schematic as I did the layout.

  8. Built this, (the stripped version) sounds awesome. Can u please suggest a means to get more gain? maybe a switch…where to put it? and can you pls share the schematic of the stripped version

  9. If you consider a 10% tolerance on most caps both choices will probably be just fine. I’d go with it.

  10. Hi, I have difficulties to find the 200nF and 25nF capacitors… Can I use 220nF and 27nF? Thanks

  11. Hi tinkercreek,
    i`m glad you like it! This mod made this box one of my favourites!


  12. I just tried the suggestion that Hako made about changing the 1n cap ( c17 in the stripped version ) to a higher value. I socketed a 10n cap in that spot since I usually play single coils and wanted to really darken the pedal up. Wow! What a difference. The presence control is usable across the entire sweep now. Also with the brittle high end that used to be there, the distortion always just sounded really unnatural to me. Now it sounds very smooth and rich across the different settings. I may build another with a switchable set of caps at that spot since I’ve recently acquired a couple of humbucker equipped guitars. Thanks for the tip, Hako and thanks Harald for all the great layouts!

  13. Hi,

    i think i have a nice mod for all of you who think this beast is a bit too trebly / aggressive. After having a look at the schematic of the original version, i started fiddling around with the 1n cap going to lug 2 of the volume pot (which is one of the treble-cut options). Increasing the value of this cap makes the harsh treble go away and the presence pot much more usable. Adjust to taste (3n3 to 10n or so) and have fun!


  14. I’m still waiting for those BLs to arrive at Mouser – set for delivery in March. Hope the BLs help to soften that treble bite a little…

  15. Hi,

    build the “shrinked” version today, and it sounds great;-)! I had 3 2SK170GR flying around, so i used them. I might try 170BLยดs sometime, as presence settings above 50% seem a bit too much on the trebly side for me…. Anyway, great job (again) Harald!


  16. adamk

    You know, I think “aggressive” probably nails it as a description of the pedal with the GRs. I remember the Youtube sample that I had listened to being much more “fluid” ( or “smoother” as you describe ) sounding. The one that I built has kind of a harshness to it in the top end. I like the amount of overdrive I can get out of the pedal, even in the high gain settings. But when I turn back the tone control to tame the treble, I lose some other frequencies that I kind of want in there. You know, it just gets more “muffled” overall.

    So, from how you describe it, I believe the BLs may be the solution for me. If I had more know how, I think it might even be cool to have a way to switch between the two different types in the pedal.

    Alas, the only source I know of for these transistors ( Mouser Electronics ) won’t have another batch until January 6th – not too far off though. I’ll definitely order some and give them a try and report back. Thanks for the feedback ( your English is excellent btw ) and thanks to Harald for the site!

  17. tinkercreek,

    I’m not good enough in English to properly describe the perceived difference between GR’s and BL’s and I’m still not convinced that this is not just in my mind ๐Ÿ™‚

    But to the point I think what you described is similar to my experiences. Using the GR’s the pedal was harsher more ‘agressive’ not the thing I experienced with my first BL built which I think was a bit smoother. However I also play a Strat almost exclusively and even with 2SK170BLs the Fetto needs me to adjust my volume knob to 9 out of 10. Anyways I do this to every dirt pedal on my strat. That’s my poor man’s brige pickup tone control. Plus it comes on handy when I need just a little bit of more volume (and top end – like a treble booster) for solos etc.

    Funny thing is you more or less described the same usage of Fetto as I play mine. I would love to know your opinion on the other FET batches. If what I think about these trannies are right you should benefit from swapping out the GRs for BLs. Please report back if you tried. I’m really curious about this if it really makes a difference or my mind is playing games with me ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, I gigged my fetto yesterday for the whole night and boy I’m still in love with this pedal. My 50’s strat to the fetto on the edge of breakup with more clipping as I dig in harder this thing signs. I don’t really play it with more gain even if the pedal could handle it. Maybe the guys who play with more drive like the GRs better. Not me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope it’s useful.

  18. adamk

    That’s interesting. I built it using the GR’s. I thought it sounded pretty good but the more I have played through it, the more I became dissatisfied with it. It just seems to be a little raspy and strident on the top end. I have to turn the tone control back to about 9 or 10 o’clock just to tame some of the high end in higher gain settings.

    Is this the difference in the two transistors that you speak of? I’ll have to order some of the BL’s to see if that improves the sound ( for me ). My apologies to those of you who like that pronounced top end. I’m just mostly a Strat player so the highs are already kind of pronounced with the single coils.

    I’ll report back after I get a batch and test them…. ( if that is ok with you, Harald! )


  19. Good feedback. We can all agree to disagree ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll try both transistors and see which one I like the most, and I’ll update the post with your suggestion.

  20. Hi Harald,

    I built another Fetto Stripped last week and I would like to share my experiences.
    First one I did was using 2SK170BL FET-s. That was the one I said sounded awesome. For the record it sounded so good that I gave it to a friend of mine who is a working professional musician for the living to give it a trial.

    I built a few other pedals since (Folk Driver, Xotic EP booster) but always missed the Fetto. So I grabbed solder and iron and built another one. I used the same components as before but this time 2SK170GR FET-s.
    From the very beginning I noticed (at least to my ears) the GR one did not sound that good as the BL one.
    First I thought it’s phantasm but as I played it more and more I was more certain. So I swapped in some 2SK170BL-s and what a difference, now it sounds just as awesome as my first one.

    This might be subjective but in my experience the 2SK170BL sounds better in this schematics.

  21. Haha, you couldn’t wait ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, you do connect both to C17, but you don’t necessarily have to physically connect both wires at C17. I usually daisy-chain wires at the pot lugs as they’re spacious and can accommodate several.

  22. Harald

    Just for the heck of it, I tried connecting both to lug 2 of the volume pot and it worked! Guess I should have just trusted the layout. I’ve built several other projects here and had no issues.

    I agree with adamk on the sound quality. This is a great sounding overdrive! Cheers on all the work you do here. Thanks again.

  23. Harald

    Just finished the stripped Fetto and was down to connecting the last wire when I noticed something that seems odd. The layout has two different wires attaching to lug 2 of the volume pot. On the vero layout, it shows volume 2 right off of C17. And then down underneath the vero layout where there is writing, it indicates that volume 2 should connect to output. Is this correct? I’ve never seen two wires connecting to the same pot lug on a layout before so I was just confused. Do I connect lug 2 of volume to the strip right off of C17 and to output? Going to hold off for confirmation.


  24. Okay. Excuse me but I will be sentimental about this.
    Finished building the Stripped (defaults only) Fetto. The vero layout and the schematic is flawless.
    I literally cried when I heard how good it sounds. Tomorrow I will throw away all my other overdrives.
    It sounds fantastic on it’s own with my strat but especially awesome when other instruments are playing (i.e. band setting)
    I love also how small it is for what it can do. I took a picture:
    Smaller than a matchbox…

    Harald, thank you for the layout and the great website you made. This was my first build but definitely not the last.
    Your stripped layout is now officially VERIFIED ๐Ÿ™‚


  25. Hi Harald,

    Thank you for the layouts. I appreciate your work.
    I’m currently building the stripped (defaults only version).
    Let you know if it works.

  26. Hi, CH1. I can’t answer for anyone but myself, but I did try the 2N3819 transistors and, given that the posted schematic is correct, the bias is way off. Either the schematic values are wrong or the transistors aren’t 2N3819. I did try a number of different transistors and found that only 2SK117 and 2SK170 worked (again given the published schematic values).

  27. Whats your sourse for this statement about 2n3819? At the FSB-forum they are not so sure.

    Thanks for the vero.

  28. Transistors will be probably 2n3819,
    again this pedal works grate with 18v.

    thanks again.

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