What happened to all these pedal builders????

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Crossfireblues, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. Crossfireblues

    Crossfireblues Member

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    After buying thousands of dollars of pedals, you find something outstanding and sometimes not. But when you do you discover they’re not in business anymore. Competition is stiff but often times I wonder what happened???? Kauffman...keisman...mercy seat...emfx...swell pedals...
    I’ve sent several emails and messages on every platform I can find and no answer. Any input??
     
  2. tonedover

    tonedover Silver Supporting Member

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    there are only so many pedal dollars to go around and the influx of “cheap pedals” in the last five years has obviously really changed the game

    im surprised how many builders are still afloat frankly
     
  3. captaincoconut

    captaincoconut Member

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    I've never heard of them. Maybe that's a factor.
     
  4. Crossfireblues

    Crossfireblues Member

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    It’s not ‘cheap’ pedals I’m referring to. Nothing any of them had was necessarily cheap. Maybe the used market has the prices as cheap but to buy them new was relatively expensive
     
  5. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Member

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    I think he was saying that the influx of good, inexpensive pedals has made it harder for higher end pedal makers to stay solvent.
     
  6. Crossfireblues

    Crossfireblues Member

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    Possibly. I know when I bought their pedals, new most of them was 350. Of course now not so much. And that list is kinda small. Some give a ‘thanks guys just gonna close the shop’ type post but these just fell away without a word. Great pedals though. Good luck ever finding a Kauffman pedal
     
  7. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    The boutique pedal market was kind of a "bubble" like the tech bubble of the '90's. As long as there were wait lists and high margins, people could expect to get at least most of their money back on resale. For a lot of people, pedals became collectables, then investments, where factors like hand-soldering, hand-painting and limited availability affected prices more than utility.

    I'm guessing here, but I think a couple of "pedal scandals" (Freekish Blues, the Vertex wah) hurt honest boutique makers when a lot of collectors realized that maybe the magic wasn't in the build process. People gushed about their hand-crafted, US-made pedals and then found that they weren't either of those, but still sounded the same, and started to wonder maybe whether money could be better spent.

    There's also the fact that boutiques have been around long enough that the nature of the market now has people wondering, "if I buy this now and it dies next year, am I stuck with a brick?" That's the case for me... thanks to the magic of goop, I have several hundred dollars invested in a pair of paperweights, and I'll never let that happen again.
     
  8. Chubbles

    Chubbles Member

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    Devi Ever seems to out as well. She had more reasonably priced boutique pedals.
     
  9. Phillip_H

    Phillip_H Supporting Member

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    This is it. Another example is the current trend of craft breweries. There's a little brewery on almost every corner these days, but they won't all be able to keep their doors open long term.
     
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  10. magnus02

    magnus02 Supporting Member

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    Low barrier to entry and I'm guessing these companies might have been a side business? I've been on TGP quite a while and am into obscure brands and have never heard of these companies.

    When it's a hobby business and it takes up too much time, or you lose passion, or sales slow down or your family expands it's probably one of the first things to go. Or you realize it takes $50 in parts and 6 hours to make/sell/ship/market a pedal and all of the sudden losing your free time for $20-30 an hour and you realize you'd rather have your weekends/nights back.

    Or it was a business and competition got too fierce.

    Either way, the barriers to entry are SO LOW in pedal building that it's inevitable that many will come and go.
     
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  11. Vhailor

    Vhailor Supporting Member

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    The only "pedals" for which I've paid $350 or more are very elaborate digital multi-fx.

    I don't know what kind of pedals these vanished builders were making but, for me, I need to be getting a tremendous amount of utility, usability, and versatility for that kind of money. And very few pedals deliver that.

    Although not impossible for it to be otherwise, it's likely that, if I were see what was on offer for $350 from these builders, I would have been very unimpressed with what I'd have gotten for that kind of money.
     
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  12. strawberries

    strawberries Member

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  13. eltorrero

    eltorrero Member

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    It’s easy making clones of pedals, making nice paintings on them and charge whatever you like. Then you make some money, get bored and return to your normal life, because there are guys who are skilled and can work on new designs.
    Also, To me nothing has to cost more than 200€ and less than 50€. Most pedals, even if they have tons of components, will not cost to a builder more than 50€. Then he charges 250€ or more. It’s a steal. And we are talking about the same old designs. 99% of pedal market make circles around the same 10 ish old pedal designs. Everybody is stating that he has the best take Of Tubescreamer, Klon, CE-2, DM2. And I will ask you, why paying 250€ taking a TS808 clone when the original costs around 170 or even better getting for 130€ the TS9. True bypass? Huh..
     
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  14. Johnny Fuzz

    Johnny Fuzz Member

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    They all died horrible and violent deaths. Some of them were even attacked by cannibals.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  15. guitarslinger21

    guitarslinger21 Member

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    Never heard of any of those brands in op.
     
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  16. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    I notice Kauffman mentioned a few times. I had swapped into the Auroa argyle looking one back when they came out. What a horrible pedal. Totally dull and lifeless.
     
  17. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    Someone mentioned a bubble. Could be that happened early on. There were definitely some fine builders, for example Corby that built OceanEFX pedals (The Pearl Drive was excellent and well known) that indicated they had to stop due to lack of orders.

    However in the last number of years things have exploded and there are a large number of boutique builders all over the world. Guys like Analogman, Mr. Black, Skreddy, Barber are all members here on TGP and participate.

    I recall a few years ago running across a thread where folks were listing all the small builders they could think of. I went through those lists trying to find great stuff that was off the radar and I found even more builders.

    I would say the market is strong right now and the cream rises to the top. While TGP has a lot of "members" very few, less than 1000, regularly participate. So when a pedal comes out and a few TGPers lament the cost of the pedal I often laugh because sales of these pedals, based on serial number, often equal or exceed the number of members even logged into TGP.

    In other cases the guys are very well known, like Joe Gore, but they don't necessarily push their pedals, so not as many folks may know about them. That being said, he's got a very nice selection of excellent sounding pedals and is obviously selling enough to keep developing new ones and maintain a business.
     
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  18. Paul Conway

    Paul Conway Member

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    ...in concert with continued problems with wage levels and cost of living.

    Nine or ten years ago I bought a Timmy (still have it) and a couple of other boutique things. Nowadays those things stay at home (if I still have them) and I gig with Mooer etc - because they are good enough. (My present gig doesn't require any sound sorcery, though.)
     
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  19. jblake

    jblake Member

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    Swell Pedals was operated by two guys in the Nashville area. I made a Craigslist deal with one of them around the time that they were just about to release the G-TOD. I’m standing in this guy’s garage as he demonstrated a prototype through a pair of studio monitors (it actually sounded really good), but all I can think is:
    A. Swell Pedals is going to be really problematic to find on Google.
    B. Why would I want to play through monitors? (This was 15+ years ago.)

    I never actually saw a G-TOD in the wild, but when MXR released the GT-OD a year later I somehow got the two confused and thought maybe this was the pedal he was working on. I really like the aesthetics of the Swell pedals.
     
  20. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    There aren’t a lot of new ideas with pedals. Companies like Boss and Maxon have seen builders releasing clones of their discontinued pedals and have released reissues that often come in at a better price.
     

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