Posted: 2013/04/29 in Uncategorized

For no particular reason I felt like sharing some thoughts on building gear today.

If I didn’t think it sounded horribly pompous, I would categorize it under “Philosophy of Building Guitar FX” or some such nonsense…comments are most welcome.


Why do we build things like this?  So many inexpensive mass-produced products are easily available off-the-shelf.  In many cases they are adequate to the job at hand, and fit the budget.  Nothing wrong with that.   Sometimes they only need a little fine tuning  (a properly modified Boss SD-1 can sound fabulous.)  Tinkering with extant pedals is fun, something akin to what guys did in the 1950’s modifying old Fords into hot rods.  It’s also educational.  And then, every once in a while there is a need for a sonic tool that doesn’t exist or disappeared long ago.  You have an idea, so why not try and realize it?  Much of the reward is found in overcoming the challenges involved and the creative process is a pleasure in and of itself.  Build 1, 2, a few more…  Every time you repeat the process you make improvements, and and strive towards perfection incrementally, all the while knowing you will never reach it.

There is great satisfaction in building something of real quality, but also a lingering question…could I make it even better if I changed x, y, or z?  This tendency is contradicted by the knowledge that you don’t want to “fix something that’s not broken” as the old saying goes.  There is a balance to achieve.  If it’s good, it’s good.  Much of consumer culture revolves around the idea that you’ve always got to have the latest and greatest.  Oooh. Aaaah.  Buy more stuff.  The cheaper it is, the more you can buy.  And the quicker you can toss it.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  I think this is mostly backwards. I would rather say, “buy less, but be discerning”.

Whenever I have money to spend I am cautious, and try not to be wasteful.  I choose thoughtfully.  Some things cost more, but are worth much more than what they cost.  Quality food costs more but tastes better than cheap food, and saves you in the long run with better health.  A good pair of shoes can cost five times the price of some cheap imported sneakers.  Those sneakers will last a year before hitting the landfill, while high quality shoes can easily go ten years, get resoled for not much, and then go another ten.  Tools are another purchase where I feel that a little extra expense is worth it.  A finely -crafted knife or chisel is a pleasure to hold and examine.  And so guitar gear is just another tool.  It’s tool you use to take you on your sonic explorations and  musical adventures.  It should sound great.  It should be rugged, and survive the rigors of touring, from the bedroom, to the bar, or maybe the stadium.  And I do believe, that it should also be pleasing to hold and look at.

In short, why?  For the fun, satisfaction, and pride in making cool stuff.


  1. archaos says:


    Amen !

  2. Tim Morton says:

    I love my sdd 3kp

    I have used it every day since buying it

    It thrills me !

    keep up the good work

    best regards


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