Pedal Manufacturers (Question)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Mooncusser, May 7, 2008.

  1. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Hi gang,

    I have a question that I have wanted to ask for some time now.

    How do you go about founding your own business in regards to a new pedal effects line?
    Where is the first place to start, and what is the standard protocol that should follow?
    I thank you in advance for your help.
    Best regards,
    Mass
     
  2. Montez

    Montez Member

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    You do understand that this is a market that is very saturated with small builders? It wont be easy and the odds of getting rich building effects pedals is about as good as becoming a rockstar.

    That being said...The easiest way to start is to think small initially.
    • Build a couple of pedals.
    • Get to know who host open jams in your area.
    • Ask if you can add your pedals to the jam's house amps so musicians can try them out.
    • Play at the jams to show the performance of the pedals.
    • If folks like them, you will build a reputation for building good tone.
    • Eventually people will start buying them.
    • Don't be afraid to as for feedback.
    • Don't be discouraged, Use criticism creatively.
    • Listen to the feedback from folks who try them.
    • Incrementally improve your product until the feedback is all positive!
    • When the builds can be consistently repeated with quality, performance, fit and finish. Find the finest boutique shop in your area (forget SA and GC). if you have impressed enough local musicians, chances are the shop has already heard about you. Remember stores want to pay wholesale.
    • Price to the market you want to play in. High end boutique? Mass produced?
    • Don't play beat the price with your competition. Bring product to the table that your competitors cannot.
    • If you product is quality and priced right you will begin building sales.
    • It takes work and persistence to build the business.
    Hope this helps...Good luck!:AOK
     
  3. soli528

    soli528 Silver Supporting Member

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  4. Uma Floresta

    Uma Floresta Senior Member

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    Please, please, please, if you start a business, no more TS/Rat/FF/Treblebooster/etc clones. There already hundreds of those around. Do something unique!
     
  5. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Montez,

    Thank you for all the advice!

    I appreciate it. I'm not looking to get rich.....simply for the passion of it.
    I've been kicking an idea around for years now, and with my electrical background I think I can produce something new and interesting (for you Uma! :AOK)
    Tell me though, do you have to copyright or patent your circuit schematic?
    Take care,
    Mass
     
  6. FLYING V 83

    FLYING V 83 Pedal Trading Guru Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll paint your boxes for you, Mass.
    :BEER
     
  7. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    V,

    With the beautiful job you do.........

    You got it!
    :drink
     
  8. TweedBassman

    TweedBassman Member

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    if you truly want to build a business, start with a solid business plan... and step one on that plan should be: don't plan on making money for a long time.

    every dollar i make goes right back into parts, tools, expenses, prototypes, etc etc... do NOT underestimate how much money it takes to build pedals, even on a small scale. a lot of folks think, 'oh, it's $20 of parts thrown together, whatever.' it all really adds up.

    and i agree with uma... no more same ol' pedals. there is a market for it but basing a business off of things that already exist is a short term gain.

    and lastly... if you really want it, don't listen to what anyone says, just go do it. the hardest part by far is waking up every morning and motivating yourself. haha.
     
  9. Lizard Leg

    Lizard Leg Member

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    If you want to build pedals, read the above again. Do it because you love it, not because you think you'll get rich. The R & D and prototyping for a new design can cost much, much more than you can think - trust me.

    The other thing I would recommend is to get a fume extractor!! Soldering for hours on end with your nose stuck inside of a circuit, do some research into what exactly is IN the fumes you're breathing.
     
  10. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Guys,

    Thats the exact way I am aprroaching this one. Like I said...not to get rich, but for the passion involved. I have 15 years worth of soldering,welding, brazing, oxy..ect... under my belt on all venues and types, and have an extensive 15 year high and low voltage license as well. I really think I have enough to proceed with construction.

    I agree.......something new is in order out there for the player!
    There are tons and tons of take-off circuits on the market that keep flooding the choices between similarity differences in foundation.
    Like I said..been kicking this one around for some years, so it's not a passing thought.
    I can't thank you enough for your advice.
    Regards,
    Mass
     
  11. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    1)buy a boss pedal
    2) open it and mimick the circuitry
    3) make very small adjustments to resistors
    4)place new circuit in shiny new painted box
    5)come up with neat name and design logo



    just kidding guys...SOME of my boutiques do sound better than my boss...
     
  12. Montez

    Montez Member

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    A list of tools you may need...
    Hand tools:
    • Good quality Soldering station. Don't do cheap here if you want it to last! Capable of soldering lead-free for RohS compliance.
    • Solder sucker and Solder wick
    • Flux pen
    • Flush cutters. Hard to find good ones that are affordable. I Recommend Erem.
    • Hemostats straight and curved
    • Needle nose pliers
    • Various nut drivers
    • ESD wrist strap
    • Chip extractor
    • Micro-clip test jumpers
    • small files
    • various small pliers, diagonal cutters etc
    • Wire stripper. Get a good quality stripper.
    • Exacto knife
    • metal Picks
    Bench tools:
    • Oscilloscope a 10-20mhz is OK under $300
    • Scope probe set $50
    • Signal generator. A used Heathkit works well can be found for around $50-$60
    • Regulated Power supply 0-24v DC
    • Drill Press for drilling prototype boxes. I recommend sending out for production drilling, paint and silkscreen.
    • Dremel rotary tool with various micro drill bits, cutting tools and drill press conversion kit.
    • Transistor tester, gain, leakage, etc
    • Fume Extractor
    Misc:
    • About every conceivable value of resistors and capacitors. Low voltage, low wattage,
    • Various pots
    • Vero strip, and pad per hole proto pcb boards.
    Computer software: Get very proficient! it will cut you R&D time.
    • Spice simulator
    • Eagle Cad
    • Graphics software for creating graphics for the silk screens and advertisement fliers. I use Gimp. (Complex but powerful and free)
    • Camera for pedal pics and documenting prototypes
    Anybody think of any thing else?
     
  13. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

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    Goop and lots of it.
     
  14. Lizard Leg

    Lizard Leg Member

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    A very comfortable bench/chair to sit at for hours on end while working. I use the heavy duty keyboard benches from GC - for me they just work. every other chair I try kills my back after an hour.

    For drilling proto boxes a step bit is a real time saver.

    A breadboard can save you invaluable time in R & D. I have a plate rigged up that my board fits in that has power jacks, in/out jacks, and about 5 holes for various value pots, as well as a few toggles.
     
  15. steadygarcia

    steadygarcia Member

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    That Low Fuzz pedal of yours looks pretty cool. Anywhere I can hear some sound clips?
     
  16. Montez

    Montez Member

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    I am working on the patent for the Mirage compressor. The reality is that it is very difficult to patent effects circuits as most of the standard variations have been in the public domain for a long time. In the end I may not get the patent but the prior art will be on file. (cannot legally defend, but it will be at some level a deterrent to someone else attempting to patent my work.) Expect to spend big$$ for patent attorneys. which will eat your margins for years to come, especially if you have to defend the patent. In the long run probably not worth it unless you have something really unusual or extraordinary. I think of Ebow as an example.

    I copyright my PCB artwork. this gives me some rights albeit weak, to control publication of my PCB boards. There is a healthy discussion on this topic in this thread.http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=389702&goto=newpost
     
  17. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    A digital multimeter, bench or handheld.

    A stock of spooled wire in the colors of your choice, solid or stranded per your personal preference. I like 26AWG stranded, PVC insulated.

    If you're going to build more than a pedal or two a day, then a small solder pot can save loads of time tinning wires.

    For RoHS, I get better results with Tin/Silver/Copper (SAC) with at least 2% non-activated (e.g., "no clean" or "water soluble") flux. Activated fluxes eat up soldering tips quickly, leading to "black tip syndrome".

    Flux remover. "No clean" fluxes won't hurt your circuits if you don't clean them off, but they make the board sticky and it looks nasty. Good ventilation is important, as always.

    If you're going to use PCB's, then you'll want supplies for prototyping your PCB layouts before sending them out for fab. Toner Transfer paper is good, if you've got a laser printer.

    Set aside at least 1 hour a day to read. Feel free to switch around between electronics theory, technical literature, music oriented magazines, or whatever floats your boat depending on your mood. Never stop learning.
     
  18. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    Kudos on the patent application! It takes years, but it's a great feeling. :BEER

    I couldn't counter Kiki's last argument in that thread. I couldn't find any case history to back up my arguments, and could only find a single well documented exception to photographing copyrighted works, and that only applied to copyrighted buildings. He may be right - a photograph of a copyrighted work may be an infringement, but the concept of fair use still applies. If the photograph is being used for journalistic, education, research, or non-profit uses then it generally can't be prosecuted successfully as an infringement.

    I still think you might want to look into multilayer PCB's. A photograph reveals nothing if the important traces are buried on in inside layer. Depending on the size of your boards and the number of via holes, it would only add a buck or two to your PCB costs. On the other hand, if you make your own PCB's then it's moot (unless you have your own laminate press).
     
  19. Montez

    Montez Member

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    Dang...forgot the multimeter...I actually found 2 meters useful as many times I need to take multiple reading across the circuits.


    :AOK Good advise!
     
  20. TweedBassman

    TweedBassman Member

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    don't forget to slowly lose your mind and develop a hearty online bad attitude and general hatred towards any current and potential customers! throw in the occasional off-topic political rant and you've made it!

    i keed, i keed.


    (steadygarcia, there's some clips up on the site. thanks!)
     

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