NAMM 2018 Diary - Day 1 (travel) January 24 2018

Exhausted, and the plane hasn't even left the ground.

One of the bad parts about creating something like effect pedals is you agonize over designs for months and months and you settle on a sound and function set, and then you're stricken by inspiration at the 11th hour and it throws your notions on their head. That has been the case with Launch Code.

I had originally designed it with one set of features and a very specific sound in mind, and then as NAMM was approaching I was spending time in the workshop listening to music and certain textures gave me thoughts about how I could change the circuit and go a completely different direction.

Launch Code was originally a comparator fuzz with selectable waveforms (triangle and square), octave up switch, and gating control. The other half of the pedal was an oscillator that the player could tune but it was only mixed with the guitar when you held down a momentary switch. It also used the guitar signal to drive a vactrol that could cause the oscillation pitch to drift. That version sat on the breadboard for a long, long time, being periodically tweaked and messed with. It's still on a breadboard. The original concept' s inception came from watching a friend set off a toy ray gun beside his guitar pickups. I thought it would be cool to do that all within a pedal. The footswitch would act like an air raid siren.

Then, one morning I was getting ready and out of the blue the song Girl by Beck got stuck in my head. I liked the cheesy chirpy synth line and had the idea that it would be cool to make a guitar sound like that without midi pickups or digital pitch tracking. So, I literally went back to the drawing board in the months leading up to NAMM and redesigned the circuit. I know a pedal's hitting the sweet spot when I'm wasting way too much time playing with the prototype, and that's what happened with Launch Code. Unfortunately, that meant a lot of long hours leading up to the show. So, while I'm worn the hell out, I'm stoked for people to try out the new boxes. This long flight / layovers will give me a chance to sleep anyway.

Update - halfway through Chicago layover. So. Bored. Though I have become the God-king of gate C16 due to my multiple power strips brought for the show.

Sat next to a guy on the way up from Charlotte that talked about how electric guitars don't matter (acoustic instruments are the only ones where workmanship shines through). Sigh.

Side note - Wendy's breakfast is truly a treat if you can ever get it. They have this sandwich that has eggs, cheese and tomato and it is so good. A pleasant break from normal fast food breakfast fare. I missed Wendy's breakfast in the terminal by 15 minutes this morning.

Landed in Anaheim, checked into my motel and promptly passed out. Let's go, NAMM DAY 1!