The genius of craftsmanship does not depend on its attachment to the past or on the handmade… It is specified by personalized productions thanks to the direct contact with the customer, and the possibility of improve the product in the course of its realization. Its limitations are of course in technological and budgetary limits, but even more so in those of our desires!
Antique stompboxes restarting
Classic or custom, still actual or forgotten, old pedals often have much personality. They deserve to be back to light, even if the fashion snobs them, or if we find in them nowadays a certain number of defects or vulgarities! …
Do not leave your beautiful oldies at the bottom of a drawer:
We can restore them, correct their original defects, or adapt their color to today’s mood, and especially to your playing!
• Fix an old lady who was injured long time ago …
• Revive an outdated stompbox through reversible modifications..
• Give a so called vintage Fuzz the NOS transistors it deserve – or advertise.
• Civilize or modernize a harsh sounding disto box,
• And your other treasures or still mute desires.
Improvement of ordinary material
Various modifications on a chinese stompbox
Some cheap materials are enough well realized to be easyily modified : Most pedals manufactured before about 2005, and currently some Chinese pedals well made in traditional components.
Yes ! There are some !
In general, it is sufficient to recalculate the values of components which have been defined in a hurry or by routine.
Often, it is also necessary to put back devices that the manufacturer had leaved out by negligence or stinginess.
In the best of cases, this allows to obtain quality material from low cost : technically optimized , and especially better adapted to the musician’s personal playing.
When the pedal is materially few transformable, one can gain enough in quality to make a cheap material playable and credible.
• Replacement of too cheap components by more reliable and efficient models.
• Improved efficience and progressivity in the controls.
• Tone and overdrive enhancements, presets installation.
• Adaptations of guitar pedals to other electrified instruments.
Small amps, too
What is said about pedals can be said about amps under 15W (not if more powerfull).
We can consider modifications on the tone, gain, ergonomics of the controls, installation of accessories: switches, credible line outputs, loudspeaker outputs …
As for the pedals, the limits are more mechanical (volume, mounting, drilling) than electronic … And financial : the time of labor is the most part of the cost price.
But remember : Asking for informations costs nothing.
Special design and construction
Productions following special ordering are possible, and represent the closest link between the craftsman and his customer . It is just necessary that the client knows how to explain what he wants, and that the craftsman is able to understand and respond to these demands. I hope I will !
Typical procedure for a “custom” ordering
• You explain what you want – the most accuratly you can…
• We analyze existing products to get benchmarks…
• We constitute a list of specifications to frame my research…
• I present a project with its price, that you accept or refuse.
These researches and achievements are worth for me and their price for you if no existing product can replace them advantageously. With my experience and the simplicity of analog techniques, some specific projects can be easy to design and do not cost more than an ordinary pedal…
Other projects can be heavier, but indispensable… However, they can be cleverly developed with a better price-quality ratio than if using high-end or expensively over-famed equipment
• Specific adapters and preamps, autonomous or to be included in existing devices.
• Connection and routing boxes, passive or active.
• Special power supplies.
• Advanced customization of an existing device.
• Fusion of several pedals in one housing.
• Contemporary redesign of an obsolete material.
• Design & manufacture of a specific equipment.
Conditions and limits of intervention
What determines mainly the price of an intervention?
One should note that in small electronics, the price depends relatively few from components.
Most are industrial components of very low price. Active components, especially vintage ones are a bit more expansive. The most pricey are electromecanical or heavy componants like potentiometers or transformers and enclosure…
The final cost price comes mainly from working time : tests, dismantling, cleaning, engineering, mechanical and electronic manufacture, reassembly, final test …
I can change the diodes or the tone of an overdriver for a very low price, but it will be a little more if I have to desolder and replace a potentiometer, and even more if I have to change or transform the housing to install an additional mounting.
If you want a fridge or a Game Boy inside the pedal, please allow some delay and budget…
Something good to know…
• As a micro-company (a special status in France), Guitar Poppa is exempt from VAT, which reduces its prices.
• Fabrications and interventions are subject to european legal guarantees, parts and labor.
Cases of impossibility
Some interventions are impossible,
destructive or without benefit…
I will not proceed into the following cases:
• Modifications weaken the material integrity of the product.
• Modifications affect safe operation.
• The product uses a technology that I am unable to modify.
In particular, it is built by robots with surface micro-components that can’t be desoldered or replaced.
• Intervention requires a very long working time that the client cannot or will not understand.
Guitarists, harmonicists, and Guitar Poppa
during the “First Encounters around Harmonica”,
Lyon, october 2016.
In any case, it is the contact between musicians, and the pleasure of design that motivate the Guitar Poppa project!