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Effectrode is the last word in Tone! - Guitar effects pedals crafted using handselected
miniature or N.O.S. subminiature vacuum tubes and finest audio-grade components.

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Authentic Davies Dakaware, Chicago 1510 Knobs


All Effectrode PC-2A Tube Compressor and Blackbird pedals are now fitted with genuine Davies Moulding U.S.A. knobs (pictured on the right). This is a completely bespoke knob custom manufactured especially for Effectrode using the original Chicago, Dakaware 1510 knob moulds from the 1940s. Unlike the Taiwanese copy (pictured on the left) which is made from plastic and prone to cracking, this knob is made from solid phenolic resin. It’s much … Read More →

Mullard Electricity Substation

Mullard Blackburn Electricity Substation

I continued to make my way around the Mullard Blackburn Works site boundary along Whitebirk Drive (A6119). I walked past a tired looking Blackburn Council street sign announcing ‘Stand Out in Darwen – Together’ (a relatively recent campaign to encourage and inspire the young people of Blackburn). I can’t help but think how this pales in comparison with the the sweeping new horizons – much larger scale, longer-term opportunities – … Read More →

The Last Tubes Made on Blackburn Site

TechTube Blackburn E813CC

After almost 30 years the Blackburn site was manufacturing tubes again – 100% British made tubes! The TechTube™ Blackburn E813CC was a serious engineering effort to redesign the ECC83 dual-triode from the ground up with an improved specification. First impressions are that the glass envelope of this new tube is not as elegantly shaped or as aesthetically pleasing as the old Mullard tubes however what’s of real interest is what’s … Read More →

Tubes in the Rubble and Ruins

Ribble House in the distance

I certainly wasn’t going to let a pesky little thing like security and administration spoil my day out at Mullard. Undeterred, I decided to scout around the site perimeter to take a few more pictures and followed Philips Road towards the south boundary. I turned on to Blakewater Road and stopped to take this photograph showing a deserted landscape of rubble and broken masonry amongst which brambles and grasses were … Read More →

Aerial View of the Mullard Blackburn Site

Aerial view of the Mullard Blackburn site

Not being able to gain access to the heart of the site meant some additional homework was required to fully determine the lay of the land. Using this photograph (provided by LET for use in the Cotton Town digitisation project) that shows a superb aerial view of the entire 46 acre Mullard Blackburn site (probably taken in the 1960s) and an old film documentary about the works, I as able … Read More →

Quality Guitar Cable Made in the U.S.A

Death Valley Guitar Cable

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing a review of these beautiful handmade cables from Death Valley Cable Company in U.S.A. I had recently discovered G&H Industries copper core jack plugs and was determined to find an excellent quality instrument cable to partner with them. After searching the internet I stumbled upon Death Valley Cable Company who appear to be exactly what I was looking for – artisans who are … Read More →

The Mullard Purchasing Department and How to Freak Out a Security Guard

Glenfiled House, Mullard, Blackburn

The photograph above shows the main entrance to the Mullard Blackburn site and ‘Glenfield House’ – a modern office block that was erected in 1961 for the purchasing and personnel departments. I was quite pleased with the composition of this picture which I cheekily snapped while the site security guard was hovering just a few feet from me on the phone to his boss. This part of the once mighty … Read More →

Tube enthusiast: know your tube codes.

Mullard Blackburn ECC83 tube code

My recent visit to the Mullard Blackburn factory got me interested in identifying the origin of the few Mullard tubes I own. The factory, date of manufacture and revision of a particular tube can be determined from a code that was etched into the side of the glass envelope. Looking at the photograph of the Mullard ECC83 it can be seen that the code is written in two lines. The … Read More →

Binson Echorec Repainting

Test panel for Binson Echorec paint job

This photograph shows a test panel paint job for a customer who wanted their Binson Echorec echo-delay machine to be restored to ‘as new’ condition. To achieve this beautiful finish two coats are applied to the bare metal. A metallic silver base coat is applied first and then this is overcoated with a translucent gold. There’s a huge amount of depth to the finish and variability in the gold second … Read More →

Mullard Blackburn Chemical Workshop

Mullard Blackburn chemical plant

This empty and derelict workshop was part of the Mullard Blackburn chemical plant built in 1959 to produce the large quantities of laboratory-grade chemicals required in the manufacture of vacuum tubes. Mullard were one of the leaders amongst a worldwide empire of tube manufacturing expertise that supplied tubes for audio reproduction equipment, that is radios, phonograms, hi-fi and guitar amplifiers, professional studio gear, mixers, microphone preamps, equalisers and compressors. However … Read More →