state of the stomp

Busted stompbox? Here are tips from a tech on when to repair and when to despair.

It is a cruel world out there, and no quarter is offered to your pedals, no matter how carefully you proceed from gig to gig. Just like an amp or guitar, your pedalboard can become an instrumental part of what you do as a player. But broken pedals are natural given they’re instruments that you step on, so getting them repaired is something we’ll all need to confront. While we’d love to have nothing wasted and everything working, whether or not something can be fixed reasonably is not always cut and dried.

Read MoreShow less
Isolated power supplies like this 1 SPOT Pro from Truetone helped silence the groans, whines, and ticks once common to pedalboards.

All 9V blocks are not created equal. Here's what to look for to avoid hiss, hum, and crackle.

(Originally published April 22, 2020)

At the dawn of the guitar-effects age, powering pedals was relatively simple. If an effects pedal didn't take a standard 9V battery like your AM transistor radio, it plugged into the wall like your avocado-green toaster. Forever dissatisfied, guitar players eventually grew weary of changing batteries, and plugging stuff into the wall was kind of a drag, too.

Read MoreShow less

In the pedal-building community—as in Alcatraz—sharing is caring.

When I have a conversation about business with someone outside of the music industry, I often find it leads to a discussion of competitors or competition. These terms tend to place a comedic smile upon my face. Both of those words are almost always used by the person not in the music industry. As natural as the concept of competition is, the response I give is often received as unnatural. This could solely be because folks are not used to hearing how our industry actually operates internally.

Read MoreShow less