Fuzzrocious pedals is a Ratajski family affair. Ryan handles electronics design and business, while Shannon (shown here) does the painting—sometimes with the help of their kids.
FuzzrociousRyan Ratajski and family are Fuzzrocious pedals. “Everything has grown organically for us,” he says. “We make sure we’re helping bands out and making things people enjoy. My wife, Shannon, does all the hand painting. I do the designing, soldering, internet, and everything else. Even the kids get to help out—people commission them to make their art on the pedals.”
Fuzzrocious pedals are customizable and some are variations on classic circuits. One example is Feed Me, an innovative take on multiple variations of the Big Muff. “The tone stacks in those old Big Muffs are different,” Ratajski says. “That’s why some people are like, ‘Civil War is the best,’ or ‘Black Russian is my favorite.’ I examined the components of 12 or 13 of the most popular Big Muff versions. We put those on rotaries and added some more as well, so you can dial in all the classic tone stacks. There are over 20,000 combinations you can get tone-wise.”
All Fuzzrocious pedals are built to order. “If you come to Fuzzrocious,” says Ryan, “you’re getting something that’s made for you. It is not coming off a shelf.”
Ratajski also enjoys collaborating. He teamed up with Electro-Faustus to create the Greyfly—a combination of his Grey Stache Fuzz with EF’s Blackfly. “We hooked up at NAMM last year,” he says. “A mutual friend brought us together. They loved how their Blackfly sounded through our Grey Stache Fuzz, and we agreed. You can pluck the springs, scrape them, twang them. You can tap the box and yell into it. It’s a piezo mic, so you can create noise with it. When you add that fuzz, it exacerbates everything that’s going on with your sound.”
“I examined the components of 12 or 13 of the most popular Big Muff versions,” says Ryan of the Muff-inspired Feed Me EQ/preamp/tone-shaper. “We put those on rotaries and added some more as well.”
Ratajski’s most extreme pedal was the Zuul, which is currently on hiatus. “That was an oscillator that was semi-blended with your clean signal into a drive circuit,” he says. “It went from super hummingbird speed to a super low click. When it went even faster it would get into crazy oscillation behind your signal and you could tune it to a pitch. That’s something we are going to bring back in the future in a new way.”
The Anomalies delay is based on a PT2399 chip. Each run of 25 features different artwork.
From his current line, the big seller is the Demon. “The Queens of the Stone Age guys embraced the pedal and talked about it a lot,” he says. “That was the impetus to really skyrocket the sales for that pedal. It’s by far our best-selling pedal.”
When you order a Fuzzrocious pedal, you have three options for artwork: painted by Shannon, painted by her kids, or both.
But regardless of how many they sell, all Fuzzrocious pedals are built to order. “If you come to Fuzzrocious, you’re getting something that’s made for you. We start production when your order comes in. It is not coming off a shelf. You are getting something from soup to nuts that’s been handmade just for you.”