Things are growing! July 29 2020
First off, apologies. I have always been absolute garbage at keeping this site updated. As long as orders were coming in, I didn't really think too much about the state of the site, and that was a lapse on my part. As someone that has peeked into this page, you deserve better, so what better time than the Great Plague to get reinvested over here. Also, I'm not digging the page design anymore, so I'll probably switch stuff up. Stay tuned...
So what's been going on, you ask? Well, as soon we got back from vacation in February, our world was kind of turned upside down. I got a new "day" job, and then, well, COVID pretty much shut everything down. I made it into the office at my new job one time before they sent us all to work remotely. My kid started home school, wife started working from home as well. Like anything, there's good and bad about it. I don't have a horrible commute anymore, I get to spend more time with the family, I get to be available for answering questions during home school, and I get to take a break, grab a guitar or bass, and decompress when needed. I'm really trying to stay on the sunny side here. Not too long into the lockdown, my parents needed some help on upkeep at our family farm, so weekends have been spent driving up into the mountains and getting some fresh air / outside work time.
In the shop, things have been kind of quiet, which was on purpose since I had my plate full otherwise. I was going through stock this week and thinking about which pedals I make are truly great and which are meh, and I think I'm going to skinny things down considerably. Definitely keeping my all time favorites Butch (one of my fav drive pedals ever), Asphalt Lunch (so good on bass, I promise to do more videos with it this year), Launch Code (scratches that specific glitchy itch), and Dirty Old Man 2 (just a good soft clipping sustain box). Probably will also keep Fuzzy Memory (now that I've got some good delay chips in stock). Psycho Andy and Psycho Andy Deluxe are such an acquired taste in fuzz textures (and the Deluxe is a pain to build) that I think I'm going to kick those to the curb. I've got some new fuzz circuits brewing on the ol' breadboards that I like a lot better anyway, so there will be no lack of good fuzz tones in the store. Science Friction will either be retired or re-done, because I just think there's more that could be done with that circuit. Mossy Bump will also be up for a redesign or retire.
As for new stuff, I've had one design in particular that has been in development for a long time called Bright Future. One of my passions for about 15 years now has been amp-less recording rigs. I absolutely love my amps, and one of my top 10 guitar memories ever was playing outdoor shows and hearing the natural reverb of buildings and restricting all those close in reflections you hear recording inside. That being said, if you're in an apartment or if you only get time to yourself to play when everyone else is in bed, putting a set of warm tubes through their paces isn't practical. I've gone the digital route, but was never satisfied with the results. Likewise, a lot of the analog boxes I've tried out will tick some of the boxes I'm looking for in a platform for my pedalboard, but not all of them. Things like gain-staging well with other drive pedals ahead of it, balancing gain with signal to noise ratio, having a nice bright tone without getting brittle, and having enough clean output on tap to drive a unity gain level for cab simulators / mixers were always close but just out of reach. The closest I think I've gotten is the two ADA preamp boxes, the APP-1 and the MP-1 Channel. Particularly the MP-1 with some JJ tubes, that's pretty much what I'm going for in a platform sound on the edge of break up. Problem is the MP-1 boxes are kind of expensive, becoming hard to find, rely on tubes that can subtly change over time (if that's not your bag), and work best with a separate power adapter. In Bright Future, I'm working toward a solution that checks as many of those boxes that I can. I've been really studying amps, how they handle gain staging, tone controls, impedance relationships, etc. over the past few years and want to dive into making more preamp boxes that can offer something closer to my particular tastes. Chances are, someone else out there will like it too (I hope).
On the more extreme end o' the spectrum, I'm doing some experiments with certain chips I've found to see what kinds of neat things will happen in weird applications. More to come on this front. Check out those awesome Brutalist knobs in the pic. I've just GOT to design something cool for them to decorate.
I've also been doing a bunch of luthier projects, so I think I'll use this space to share my experiences, what has worked well, what hasn't, what tools I recommend, etc.
One other thing I'll share. I don't normally offer pedal repairs to anyone other than friends as a favor, for two main reasons. I don't want to get into some of these boxes and find that the repair is going to be a time consuming nightmare, and I wouldn't feel right charging friends, so I just nip it in the bud. However, I had a friend from college ask if I could take a look at a "Lamb" era DOD Corrosion distortion pedal that was intermittently cutting out, and the brother of a friend came into a cache of vintage pedals that didn't work and wanted me to take a look. The Corrosion was an easy enough fix, but it brought up some interesting thoughts about build quality that I'll share at some point. The vintage pedals ask was a lot more interesting. I'll use this space to share what I find and show pics.
That's it! I'm not dead, just been neglectful of this space for far too long. Hope you are doing well and can find some joy during this rough period. We'll get through it together.
Be good to yourself and to others.