Ultimate Yngwie Malmsteen “Grey Mod” Pedal

evosevic yngwie 308 mod

Several boutique pedal shops offer a so-called ‘grey mod’, swapping out factory components of the DOD YJM 308 or DOD 250 reissue overdrive pedals for hand-picked parts that better match the properties of the original, grey 1970s DOD 250. The vintage pedal is identified as having a smoother, thicker tone than its reissue grandchildren, and no matter how accurately the marketing material tells you these newer models recreate their ancestor, they use different components that have a clear impact on their sound.

Meanwhile, used prices have soared. As I write, there are two original grey 250s on eBay. One seller is asking $319.99, while another would like $425. This second fellow will provide free shipping! Yes, well. You can see why a modern pedal, modified to grey spec (~$100) is attractive. And these grey mods often come with mod cons such as standard BOSS power jacks (rather than DOD’s weird size), LED indicators (handy for live work, so you know when it’s on), and the SUV child seat of the pedal world, true bypass.

The problem is that there was significant variation in the bits and bobs that went into making a pedal in the 70s; changes in components based on what was available, what was cheap. Changes that were never recorded on the static schematic. The result? There’s not one vintage DOD 250 circuit to recreate, but many, with their own tones. If you buy a ‘grey mod’, what iteration are you getting? Usually one based on that misleading schematic, or on a random sample 250 that could house any one of DOD’s evolving configurations.

John Evosevic, a modder working in Nashville, offers a different grey mod — one that takes this variation into account in order to recapture a specific circuit: Malmsteen’s “magic” grey 250.

“My mod is perhaps a bit different in that I am not necessarily blueprinting to the original schematic as per the other modders. Instead, I am basically seeking to duplicate a ’70s variant of the 250, which I have determined that Yngwie has used to get his sounds.”

It was not a short process. John and a friend halfway around the world studied old 250s, on and off, for about three years.

“My friend in New Zealand and I have cataloged several different 250 circuits. What’s more, the official schematic does not reflect changes made to the circuit. It would seem that there were some happy accidents that occurred with the ongoing circuit tweaking that made for some exceptional 250s. That’s what I sought to duplicate, and I believe that Yngwie has one of these ‘happy accident’ 250s.”

The Yngwie Strat certainly needs something. Its anemic pickups barely muster a whisper until they are assisted by a pedal. I often say Fender should include a 250 or 308 in the case with the signature Strat, so essential is their pairing.

The stock YJM 308, which I’ve owned for years, will certainly get you into the ballpark of Yngwie tone, which is pretty fair for $30-40, but it has some unpleasant characteristics. It’s a bit too hard, a bit too thin, somewhat harsh. The Evosevic grey mod (sometimes called the “Outlier” mod — John’s forum name) reverses all that, for a round, warm, tubey, musical overdrive. With a Marshall type amp and some Greenback speakers, you get everything from pre-Rising Force up through the early 90s — my personal favorite tone-period for Malmsteen, with records like Eclipse and Fire & Ice — depending how much gain you bring in. The smooth, undulating mids, lyrical and creamy; the bubbly top; the warm, attenuated bass.

When I got my Evosevic, I rolled a backing track I’d made for something else and recorded 90 seconds of meandering, faltering solo over the top, in one take, using the pedal, an ’01 Malmsteen Strat, a Splawn Competition, and English Greenbacks, to see how it recorded.

Here is the mp3: Evosevic YJM pedal – Early Test

My Splawn has a distinct juicy mid focus and a tight articulation that it is always going to impose upon anything coming through its input jack — that’s its thing, it’s not as neutral as an old Marshall — but even so I think the results with the pedal were very good. In retrospect I’d use a little less gain on the amp side, as I do now, to get the sound to open up even more, but hey it was a quick, dirty test and it sounds great.

More recently I recorded some videos demonstrating the tone with some tweaks:

As is my luck, my modded pedal, this wondrous tone secret I’d stumbled upon, had a fault: its battery would drain within a few days or a week, even when off with no jacks connected. In comparison, my stock 308 would hold a usable charge for as much as a year, depending on how much I used it. John did everything in his power to make this right. He took the pedal back and embarked on a forensic style hunt for the problem, reporting back at length during the troubleshooting process about what had been found, what stage things were at, and often about hotsauce, though that is another article. All without any nagging or chasing on my part. And, when it was fixed, he reimbursed me for shipping as well as for the batteries that had been guzzled by the formerly gluttonous pedal. It’s tough to find this kind of customer care for a $2,500 amp, never mind a $90 pedal.

The pedal sounds so good that I sometimes feel I am shooting myself in the foot just telling people about it. I’ve often joked with John that it’d really help me out if he’d retire now that I have mine — I could be one of these tone gods with an infuriating secret. But that’s not going to happen. John brushes off my jolly jokes and sinister threats while little islands of people in online communities catch on and snap up the wonder-box that could have made me famous. At least internet famous. And plans are afoot to have some circuit boards etched for a stand-alone clone of this holy grail 250 circuit, resulting in a ready-made, ready-to-buy pedal that will make it even simpler for other players to erase my advantage. Dagnabbit.

Heartily/grudgingly recommended for the Yngwie tone freak.

— G.A.N.

Links

The MetroAmp Forum thread where initial interest in the Evosevic/Outlier pedal blew up.

Spring Hill Guitar, the only web address I have for John, currently redirecting to his MySpace page.

16 Replies to “Ultimate Yngwie Malmsteen “Grey Mod” Pedal”

  1. i have a les paul standard and im playing it through a marshall 15 watt if i get the dod yingvie pedal and a boss noise gate will it get me close to replicating the yingvie tone thanks

    1. In my experience you need either a true single coil or a stacked humbucker like the DiMarzio HS-3 to get in the ballpark, I’m afraid Alex. It’s surprisingly easy to get reasonable Yngwie type tone out of different guitars and amps so long as you have the two main elements: the pedal and the right kind of pickup.

  2. Geeez…How can I get my hands on a Outlier mod??? It sounds wonderful. Are you in contact with him?

    Regards

    /Peter

    1. Ha – beautiful tone, right? He can be a hard man to pin down. Most people contact him through various discussion forums, but the latest direct email I have for him is YJM308MODS@hotmail.com. I’ve posted a message on one of his Splawn forum threads as well, to get you hooked up. An extremely nice and principled guy to do business with.

      1. Peter (Guitarman) says: Reply

        Ah, that’s great!!

        But is it possible to buy a DOD YJM308 from him and get it modded at the same time?
        Ah, sorry I shouldn’t bother you with questions like this…I’ll send him a mail on the adress above.

        Thanks for your time and your great page!

        /Peter (Guitarman)

        Ps. I haven’t been able to measure the necks on the Yngwie-strats just yet but I’ll report back on the differences.

        1. Last I heard, John was keeping a decent stock of 308s, but I’m sure it fluctuates based on demand for his mod and availability of the discontinued pedal. No problem – I am here to talk guitar rather than do real work. I’ll jaw about gear and tone all day!

  3. Hi, Gray-
    Mark from Ohio again. Wanted to get your opinion on a website I found, http://www.analogman.com/dodmod.htm. I like the idea that I can purchase the pedal, somewhat custom order certain features (LED, etc.), all at one location. The credentials and the build-up sound impressive enough. Any thoughts on this outfit? Thanks again in advance……

    1. Hi Mark. I know a few people on the Splawn forum with that Analogman mod who love it, though I’ve never used it myself. My only caveat would be that, as the page says, the mod was designed from the DOD schematic and a sampling of three grey 250s. With the periodically changing components of vintage pedals, as Mr. Evosevic saw with his sustained study of the 250, there’s no guarantee the Analogman is based off one of the best combinations, just that it will match a certain authentic vintage config.

      I think you have two different products and markets: Analogman’s general 250 clone that by all accounts sounds great; and Outlier’s 250 that specifically copies Yngwie’s favorite 250s – likely a slightly different circuit owing to those unrecorded parts substitutions which made for so many varied 250s. I commend both of them for not going boutique-crazy with their prices.

      Does this make sense? It is 2.30 a.m.

  4. Gray-
    Yes, that made perfect sense; thanks. I’ll probably pursue, then, Outlier’s mod’s, if I can reach him. I’ve already e-mailed him (with the address that you gave; thanks), but haven’t heard back yet. I’ll keep trying. Again, thank you for the responses to all my questions; this is a great forum……

    1. Perhaps he has vanished and my pedal is now worth millions?! 🙂

      Sorry that email isn’t working out. Hotmail addresses always seem a bit insubstantial. John can often be found wandering the halls of the Yngwie forum, as ‘Outlier’, if you hit a dead end.

      Feeling a little guilty for diverting a sale from Analogman. He has a good reputation as far as I know, and I want to stress again that I have not played his 250 mod – it might sound amazing! I wanted the most accurate Yngwie pedal I could get, however, which is why John Evosevic’s approach won me over.

      EDIT: Oh, and John does let you choose LED color and stuff, too (I notice you mentioned that earlier.) I was the only one to choose pink… He’s very flexible. I saw him make one for another Splawn forum member with a switch that went between the 308-spec input capacitor (thinner sounding; screechy modern Yngwie) and the 250-spec input cap (buttery bubbly viking goodness) for no upcharge.

    2. Rikk Morosini says: Reply

      My EVO Grey Mod disguised in a YJM DOD 308 is my secret weapon I have owned for awhile now and I have NEVER sold, nor ever will 😉
      If you want smooth organic PUSH to your killer boutique amp, buy this pedal period. Im the other guy NOT mentioned on the Splawn Forum lol that didnt have the pin switch added, mine is the original version that SMOKES. John hasnt emailed me at all, I have reached out to him a few times, with NO LUCK……ahhhg the tone ghost dissapeared, dam 😉

      1. Can you let John know I would like to purchase this pedal or I can supply the DOD308 pedal if he could mod it. I sent him an email about 1 year ago or over and never heard anything back. I just sent another email to his yahoo and hotmail email addresses I stumbled upon during internet trenching. Never thought to ask you though to send him a line on my behalf? I would appreciate it very much! Are you yngwie308 on other forums. I have thought to sign up and ask that member also if this fails?

  5. And what about the hiss noise?? Is there a definitely solution??

    I’m curious about the Earthquake Devices White Light, based on the Dod 250 but with some differences.

    The hiss background noise is something hard to accept in my opinion.

  6. I bought two from John. I have all the corresponding emails. I’ll sell one to the right guy!

  7. Hugo Gonzalez says: Reply

    Congratulations!!! Beautiful sound, reminds fire and ice era!!
    I am trying to find a dod 250 mod, and I sent an email to john, and I got no answer from him! I think he did stop making this pedal! Well, voodoo lab also did stop selling dod mod, only if you send the pedal, then they make the mod, but I’m from Rio de Janeiro, so it’s complicated!! I Only find this Modest mike, Chicago stompworks, alchemy audio… which one do you think is the best grey 250 mod????
    Thank you, and I really enjoy this site ✌🏻✌🏻✌🏻

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