Top 5 guitar pedal facts that should light a « warning » sign, from a DIYer

Recently, the "boutique" pedal world was shook  with many scandals and  scams, combined with more than questionable business strategies. Taking advantage of the over trust of people towards small local companies, some manufacturers allow themselves the worst scammers. What could we do to detect rogues builders among the honest small companies manufacturers? Here are some tips!

1. Do not buy guitar pedals with goop (and yes, that includes the mighty klon). Goop is a kind of black resin that is put on the components of a circuit. Builders often say that “it protects the components” or “avoid oxidation”… This is not true. Most of the time, it is used to hide that the circuit was stolen from somewhere, or to prevent people from copying it (but it does not work as people manage to remove it). The biggest problem is that you cannot replace a component because it is melt in this black disgusting soup. So goop = big trust issue and possible irreversible failure for your devices
Klon Centaur Goop
 Who spilled oil on my Klon?

2. Do not buy analog overdrive / fuzz that are above 250 euros (except for collectibles ones). Electronics are cheap. Most of the time, and especially for distortion / fuzz / overdrive pedals, the most expensive part is the enclosure! When above this price, ask yourself questions before buying… Of course there are exceptions, but do not whine when you will discover that your 350 euros Jan Ray costs approximately 50 to make! A very expensive pedal will not always sound better than a cheap one (cf point 5). Dont get me wrong, it is normal that a builder makes some money out of his business (you have to live!), but sometimes it is just too much I think. This does not apply for numeric pedals, where more development time is needed, and use microcontroller that are quite expensive.
Vemuram shanks price
This is completely insane. A fuzz face
 (so 10 components) for 400 dollars?

3. Do not spend a lot of money for “top quality components”. Today, the price difference between a correct component and a high quality one is really low. Basically, between a standard electrolytic capacitor and a high end one, there will be near 0.30 euros difference maximum! HiFi capacitors are quite useless in guitar effects are there are used to be ultra transparent, but are not really appropriate for guitar pedal use: you do not want a total and extremely precise reproduction of the original signal, do you? A standard wima MKP2 is transparent enough! Even rare and vintage transistors often have alternatives that are cheaper and totally usable. So do not waste your money on components if you are looking for a particular sound. It is only valid if you are looking for a replica for instance.
4. Check the inside before buying it. Everyone should be able to know exactly what he is buying. Do you buy a computer without checking its specs and components? Do you buy stuff without knowing what they’re made of? No, of course! So it is the same with guitar effects! Ask to look inside or search for pictures on the web to know the global complexity of the circuit, what it is inspired of...etc Also, SMD components indicates you that there is very little chances that the circuit was hand assembled.

Joyo Freekish blues alpha drive

 Left: Joyo Ultimate Drive (cheap OCD clone)
Right: Freekish Blues Alpha Drive: a rebranded Joyo! 
(with goop, remember the first fact?) 

5. Do not trust the hype, trust your ears, not you eyes. Most of the time, people recommend an effect upon another one because it “sounds better”. But when blind tested, most people are not able to tell anymore what sounds the best or even which is which. Your brain is modifying a lot what you are hearing depending on what you see! A psychosomatic effect makes your brain actually believe that the most expensive pedal sounds better. An A/B box can be a great investment to blind test pedals to hear for real whether they really sound that much better or not. Try to test some pedal with a random switching between the 2... Most of the time it is impossible to tell the difference, or to tell which one sounds the best! They can sound different of course, but generally speaking, such a blind test is full of surprises!

dont believe the hype 
Could. Not. Resist.
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4 Comment

uh.. the 4th tips is surprise me lot
thanks for the nice tips :D

This comment has been removed by the author. - Hapus

I believe that gooping the Klon Centaur circuit board was a stunt to generate buzz and make the Klon seem mysterious and inscrutable. It doesn't keep anyone with a multi-meter from finding out the values of the components and subsequently cloning the pedal. Then Bill Finnegan stops making them so supply and demand, driven by the hype he hoped that gooping would generate, sends its price soaring through the roof. When he comes back to the market with the new Klon KTR pedal, he disingenuously embosses the top with, "Kindly remember: the ridiculous hype that offends so many is not of my making." But, of course, it is.