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Their notes often have hardly any attack – a finger-pluck compared with a guitar’s plectrum-strummed chord.

The notes can last a very, very…. very long time.

The notes are often very low too.

 

The first two observations very a mild surprise to me.

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Finally got the audioclip up for the Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3… I think it shows a lot of potential. I like my photo-switch photos (that you change with the mouse?). I’d like the whole site to be full of them – interactive photos, maybe a before-and-after. Something to do once I’ve finished all the problems I’m currently wrestling with.
I’ve got to remember my own advice; don’t just battle away at the next problem in front of you – can you just walk around it, or ignore it?

When I first started making stompboxes for other people, I was building all kinds of mad pedals that required a ton of fiddly, time-consuming work. I just thought, ‘if someone actually wants them I’ll be so delighted that I won’t mind the work that goes into them’.

Well it turns out that people do actually want them; they’re priced unrealistically for how long they take – amazing bargains. Meanwhile though I’ve honed down the production process for new models, making them quicker and easier to produce, and with a higher work-first-time percentage. And as they’re quicker to make, they’re cheaper – and more popular.

But people still order the other older ones. At the moment I’m making several of them, and one or two of them are acting strangely, and it is a massive pain to sort out. They’re quite complicated (it’s good to stretch your ability), but… right now I am really going through it, trying to get everything right.

It is hard work.

So, maybe in future I’ll price them so that I’ll be alot happier to make them. Or just replace them with newer models. Writing this blog is a nice distraction from these problems… But they’re there lurking in the back of my mind. I just think in a year’s time I will have solved these current problems.

And probably be working a bunch of new ones.

Of course one of the new pedal ideas has got to be a distortion. I mean guitarists like these alot… I’ve got 14 or 15 I think. But I could really do with another – one that does something new, a bit different.

A while ago a ‘descant’ effect was suggested to me. It creates a tone one and a half octaves above the original note – that’s a fifth and an octave above. Fifths are quite neat; strong-sounding and fairly ubiquitous, and a quiet high fifth tucked away above the original note just before it slams into some ferocious overdrive circuit, might sound quite big. Might sound like burbling nonsense when you play a chord into it, but it’s worth a try.

So I’ve got the beginning circuit on the test bed.

But all that comes out is the input – with a squared-off waveform. I can tell this, by the way, not only through how it sounds, but also by looking at the waveform on my new handheld oscilloscope!

I tweaked further – with no improvement, and decided to leave it for today – and make some Igors.

I took the DrFF-3 down to Macari’s on Charing Cross Rd in London, and got a great response from manager Anthony there. He’s checking the vibe at http://stompboxes.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10015 which seems to be going well.

Macari’s are such a cool shop to be associated with; birthplace of the legendary Sola Sound and Colorsound pedals – I totally love my Tonebender – and really an independent (unlike alot of Denmark St shops), stocking different gear to everyone else. Have to see how it goes – but I’m quite hopeful.

BRAND NEW STUFF

While building the current units, I’m also trying to develop new pedals (more spinning plates). I’m wondering about venturing into tap tempo stuff, and ordered a chip (from www.moltenvoltage.com ) which will hopefully do this. I’m thinking of using it for my ‘triggered drop’ circuit – which currently just needs a regular trigger from a discharging capacitor to create the pulse to make the effect.

It’ll be incredibly neat if it does the job, and for under 100 quid…

This is going to be about the full details of the day-to-day world of Rainger FX. I’m not going to hold back from the technical stuff, and bravely reveal how little I know about electronics.

If you want, do give advice, or just feedback as to how great or totally awesomely incredible the ideas mentioned are; I’m trying to develop new sounds, so I guess a percentage of them are going to be less than impressive – even if I get them working.

So. I’m currently working on developing small, cheap ideas, plus I’m steadily churning out the Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (http://www.raingerfx.com/dr%20freak%202.html ), plus some Compactotrons (http://www.raingerfx.com/compactotron%20c-2.html ), and occasional El Distortos (http://www.raingerfx.com/el%20distorto.html ).

Dr Freakenstein developments

With the Dr Freakenstein, it’s at an interesting stage; got a box full of enclosures – drilled, painted, ready to go – and a stack of printed PCBs, ready to have all the components installed – by me… It’s a slog, but very enjoyable as the end result is such a beautiful thing…

I had a nice realisation yesterday – the ‘hi/lo’ button I’ve added is truly great. It not only raises and lowers the intensity of the overtone, but it also – on ‘lo’ and when using the neck pickup on the guitar – introduces a low octave! With the Igor foot controller controlling the LFO bias, you can also get some great organ-like tones out of it. I’ve got to record an audioclip for it over the next few days, and I’ve got about 6 different sounds I’ve got to include.