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What I WON’T Build

I hate to even have to say this, but there are a few things that I will refuse to build. Some of these things are based on past experiences, and other ones are legal/ethics-related and to protect the integrity of my business (such as it is). If there is something you really really want that is somehow on this list, maybe we can reach a compromise, I’m a flexible guy, but keep in mind that I’ve put alot of thought into this and I don’t find any of it unreasonable. Through the power of negation, this list should also serve to let you know what I WILL build. So, here it is:

THINGS I WILL NOT BUILD:

  • Exact clones of other current-production “boutique” effects pedals. I define “boutique” as other small-time builders such as myself, who sell low quantities. I realize that many small-time builders are just building tweaked clones of classic effects like the ProCo Rat, so if you ask me to build a tweaked Rat with the same features, it will probably be very similar to that other guy’s. But the point is, I’m not going to copy exactly what that other person is doing for the sake of it being a 100% clone. A modified/improved version of a known boutique effect is OK. For example, I won’t build you a clone of the Hermida ZenDrive, but I would have no problem building something that is “along the same lines” and intended to have a similar tone. But my idea would be to make something for you that’s BETTER, otherwise, why not just buy the original? Same goes for the larger boutique companies like Catalinbread or Wampler; there’s no point in me building a clone of a mass-produced pedal like that unless you want a drastically modified or improved version of it.
  • Anything with copyrighted/trademarked images or logos in the graphics other than ones owned by SoulSonicFX or yourself (and you can prove you own it). In other words don’t ask me to build you some weird fuzz and then put a ZVex or Electro-Harmonix logo on it. Not going to happen. I am absolutely opposed to the unethical (and illegal!) practice of counterfeiting.
  • Anything containing words or graphics I’d be ashamed to have my name associated with. This is completely at my own discretion, but I will say that I don’t get offended easily, and I’m always willing to work out a compromise if you asked for something I’m not comfortable with.
  • DSP-based effects. I don’t know programming, so there’s no way for me to design this. But, it is possible for me to build things that contain pre-programmed microcontrollers, like a tap tempo LFO for example, if there is a pre-programmed chip available with that function.
  • Anything with stripboard/veroboard. I hate this stuff. There’s no reason you should even request it. If you want an “old timey hand-wired” look, I will happily build the thing on perf board or with turrets, or even point-to-point air wired, but NOT stripboard.
  • Anything using other people’s PCB design/artwork. This is a potential copyright issue as well as a quality issue. I design all my own PCBs, and I feel my designs are superior to most of the ones currently floating around the ‘net. The only exception is if you hire me to assemble a kit, in which case I will use whatever board is included with the kit. This only counts for FULL kits that include everything. Please don’t ask me to use some board you found a guy selling on his website that I’ve never heard of… the layout is probably horrible.
  • Popular original DIY effects with their origins obscured. I won’t try to hide the fact that something was originally a DIY circuit, and will give full credit to the original designer. This will be the case even if I modify/improve the circuit. The name of the original circuit and its designer will be printed on the label on the inside of the box, and if the circuit hasn’t been substantially modified, I would like to stick with the original name of the effect as well. If the original schematic for the DIY circuit says “commerical use forbidden” or anything like that, I will refuse to build it. Some will say, “subject to licensing”; Runoffgroove’s projects are an example of this. When that is the case, I will make an effort to contact the original designer to arrange permission to build it for profit. If you want me to dramatically redesign a DIY circuit, that would probably be OK, because the circuit will be different enough to be a new thing, though I will likely still put “inspired by” on the inside label.
  • An exact clone of the Klon Centaur. Yes, it’s out of production, and I have built a few in the past, but I think this is a pointless thing to do nowadays with so many “klones” on the market. If you really desire the absolute best “klone”, one that is truly superior to the original, then I suggest you take a look at my Illuminated Overdrive. It is the trend-setter of its class.

I think this covers it all. Hopefully it won’t turn you off from asking me to build something for you, and hopefully I’ll never have to add anything to the list. 😉