The power of positive thinking is the best adaptor for the voltage flow of life.
The energy I have in my early 30s is fleeting on my best days—spread thin between ventures and responsibilities, my dreams and hobbies, and even the responsibilities, dreams, and desires of those closest to me. I need and want to help with those, too.
And then there’s what everybody else in the world is doing. Which, I think, is what this article is about. Maybe you’ll get a brief glimpse into a guitar pedal company owner’s brain and thought process, as scattered and full of bullshit as it may be.
Us and them. It’s easy in this industry to think about what everyone else is doing and be affected by it—make decisions because of it, have hurt feelings or a sense of encroachment based on previous products, ideas, or marketing. It all feels like fair game to find offense. We mostly know each other. We at least have a sense of our peers’ backgrounds: if they’re a new kid, if they’re a seasoned veteran, if they’ve made some good decisions or made some questionable moves.
Most of those judgments are subjective. How I see one manufacturer varies from the next. This is a huge part of my business that has nothing to do with my company, products, or sales. Or it could, because I have that choice. And here’s the juice: I don’t want to spend precious energy worrying about, critiquing, or mentally fighting what other companies do. As a consumer and pedal user/hoarder/appreciator, I would much rather be excited about the next great pedal or improvement on an existing pedal. I want people I know to create something awesome. And then I want to play it.
I’ve been fighting off this example the last couple of weeks when thinking about this article, but go with me, because I couldn’t squelch it. Let’s take an appliance that almost everyone uses—a refrigerator. Fridges have been in homes since 1913. So there have been a lot of fridge makers and many improvements upon the initial design and principle: to keep food cold. Some people prefer one fridge over another. Maybe it’s the brand, maybe it’s an additional feature, maybe it makes ice quicker, colder, or in different shapes. Stupid analogy, sure, but there are a lot of pedal makers out there coming up with good, innovative ideas and getting their ideas made and into the hands of players. That’s great. We seem to be in the “Golden Age” of pedals. I’ve heard that said. I don’t want to believe it, because I think the age that comes after “Golden” is usually pretty dismal. And that’s my future. Bummer.
Accentuate the positive. As I write, I’m in the midst of the holiday takeover, fielding a Black Friday sales stretch into the bulk of late December. So now we scramble. We build. We organize. We build. We sleep a little. We build. And hopefully we ship everything in time for people to be happy. Then we sleep a lot.
If you’re reading this column at the end of January or beyond, all of the new pedals and musical toys have been rolled out at NAMM. When that happens, do I get jealous, petty, nitpicky, critical, or harsh about what other manufacturers are putting out? Or upset that I didn’t come up with the same idea, or that maybe it’s close to an idea I had, executed or not? Or do I try to see these pedals and toys as innovations and exciting developments? It’s a big struggle, but celebrating cool things that others made is how I want to expend my energy.I’m working on this in myself—to not react to what other companies do, to not revel in their perceived failures or be bitter about their perceived successes. Sure, it’s all business and we’re all competing, but I use pedals, too. Mostly not even the ones I make. It is the “Golden Age,” after all. Why not share in the excitement? Put the positivity out there. Let other companies be responsible for their decisions and I’ll be responsible for mine. I have the energy for that.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.