Dr J Factory Tour

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Our quick, virtual tour of the busy Dr J factory.

If you’re at all like us, you’re probably a bit curious how Dr J makes original design boutique quality pedals for so little. At the factory we got a look at how it’s all done.

From the start, the culture wall sets the tone. This is where Dr J sets the tone for the company. The wall is lined with images of the team and its accomplishments. Next stop the conference room for some high level discussions, then on the meeting room for a traditional ceremonial tea while discussing the products. Then comes materials, production, and testing. Then on to the extensive R&D department where there are many new products being developed.  And finally to Dee Leung, the principal designer for Dr J.

We’re really impressed with the factory and product. One thing many players forget is that all the Dr J pedals are original design. Dee has really done a great job of creating original interpretations of some classic pedals and adding his own twist.

Says, Tone Report, “Dr. J has taken the build quality, ingenuity and tweakability several steps further, while similarly offering the pedal board-friendly size and extreme value-to-tone ratio.” Click here to read the Tone Report review on the Shadow Echo.

We’re partial to the Shadow Echo for it’s spacey vibe, the Sparrow Driver & DI as a no nonsense bass pre-amp and driver, and the Green Crystal for it’s not so straight interpretation of a classic overdrive pedal. But all the pedals are really usable. The Planes Walker Fuzz has both germanium and silicon transistors and does a good job emulating the Supro Sound. And the Aerolite Comp and Armor Buffer and good additions to any pedal board.

But don’t take our word for it, check one out now at your local music store and discovery for yourself what Dr J is all about.

Meet the Builder of the MxD : Joe Bochar

What was your initial inspiration the led to the MxD?

Pedals began with the need to get crunchy tones thru a tube amp at low
volumes. I was playing with some guys and the local venues were very
small… anything over 30 watts was going to be over the top as far as
volume goes. I was using an old Princeton Reverb and even that was pushing
it… sometimes it ended up being a Vox AC4 thru a 1×12 cab. I wanted to
get a crunchy, plexi-ish sound at a low volume, but I also wanted to switch
some sort of “boost” to add some extra gain/grind for solos.

Do you play an instrument?

I do play… 30 years now! I don’t have a dedicated “pedalboard”, as
much as bring things to gigs depending on who I play with. Most of the time
it’s a modded wah, and MxD for classic rock guys. For more modern stuff (or
in situations I can really go off the deep end) I will add a Whammy 2, and
an FM-4 filter pedal.

What’s the strangest request you ever received (besides this questionnaire)?

Can’t think of anything “strange”.

Who are some of the more famous users and endorsees?’

We have Larry Mitchell using the pedal.

What’s coming up in 2015?

2015 looks to be an expansion year: larger shop/working area, more
designs/expand the pedal line, some limited run pedals. Moving forward one
step at a time.

Check out some of Joe’s super nice, hand-crafted guitars on his site.

www.jbguitars.com

Meet Adam K the Designer of Taurus Effects

Taurus Team Frankfurt

What was your initial inspiration the led to creating Taurus?

Music was always in the first place. My head was full of sounds served by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Wish Bone Ash, David Gilmour and others. It was really hard to get decent music gear in Poland back in the 80’s – I had some knowledge and ideas, those two factors combined lead me to my first projects. It seems this project was good enough, so other musicians started asking me if I can do another units for them.

Adam's first band

Do you play an instrument?

Yes of course. I am a guitar player. I don’t think I would start doing amps otherwise.

What’s the strangest request you ever received (besides this bloody questionnaire)?

There was a lot of strange requests and demands in over 30 years of Taurus history, but to be honest strangest are coming from my head. That is why Taurus offers devices like Stomp-Heads that are far beyond “tradition” of guitar heads. I am always trying to push my own limits to create something unique, something that I would like to have as a musician.

Who are some of the more famous Taurus Users and Endorsees?

I am proud to say that a lot of great musicians put their trust into Taurus, and it is really hard to list all of them. For sure it is worth to mention people like Nathan East, Al Di Meola, Wojtek Pilichowski, Marcus Miller or Wes Borland, but I have same respect and positive energy for all of those who choose Taurus as a tool in their artistic journey.

What’s coming up in 2015 for Taurus?

When it comes about new projects we Adam and Matare planning to enhance Stomp-Head guitar amplifiers family with brand new Stomp-Head 1 and Stomp-Head 5. Also we are not going to forget about bass players, so we will launch double channel Vandall-300 head and probably new line of bass combos. In 2015 we will be also focused on promoting the brand and our flagship products – Stomp-Heads in USA and other parts of the globe!

Meet Dee Leung the Designer of Dr J Effect Pedals

Dee Leung Dr J Make Your Own Tone
What was your initial inspiration the led to creating Pedals?
I think most of brand of effect pedal in China are just following some bad fashion. They use some cheap and inferior component and low the price. And I want to make some pedals that more exquisite, special, adjustable, and with humanization design, regardless of the cost.

You play guitar, tell us, what’s on your pedalboard?
I love playing guitar! I love every kind of sound from the instrument and what it can create with a band. And I always think deeply about the every type of instrument and their tone. I know how important they are and what they sound like.

Dee LeungThere are all Dr.J pedals in my pedalboard, and I will even use the D53 Sparrow Bass DI on some occasions. And I also have a lot pedals from other brands like DOD、BOSS、OKKO、LOVEPEDAL、BARBER、WAMPLER and so on.

What’s the strangest request you ever received (besides this crazy interview)?
Actually, there is not much request that would let me feel strange. (I’m strange enough 🙂 ).

Who are some of the more well-known Dr J users and endorsees?
We have Jose de Castro plus many others.

What’s coming up in 2015 for Dr J?
It is a business secret 🙂 , but I promise there would be something we take serious.

Meet the Builder : Rhys the Reason Behind Bigfoot Engineering

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01) What was your initial inspiration the led to creating pedals?

In a nutshell, it was Les Paul who inspired me to pursue musical electronics. I always admired him as a performer, and I was lucky enough to see him before he died, but he was also fantastically inventive and technologically minded. He built gear out of necessity as a musician, and I’ve always strived to create equipment that serves a real musical purpose. I built my first guitar amplifier when I was 16 from an old valve Hacker radio because I couldn’t afford a real tube amp. I even made a 2×12″ cabinet for it because I lusted after a Fender Twin. I felt a real affinity with Les that still motivates me to this day; his resilience was remarkable.

102) Do you play guitar? If so, what’s on your pedal board?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 9. I always loved unique gear, so I was swapping out pickups, respraying guitars, and modifying amps and pedals from an early age. Over the years I amassed quite a sizeable collection of valve amps in particular, and frequently ran multiple amp/cab setups on stage and in the studio. I think this lead to me being very fussy when it came to pedals, because I had the real deal stacked up behind me. The ‘board I used for many years had 2 original Tubescreamers, a DD-3, a DM-2, and a TU-2. I could pull a lot of sounds out of it, but I always had at least 2 amps with me. Now I only use the Bigfoot ‘board and a single amplifier, and for me it’s like having a whole range of vintage amps lined up, not just in terms of sound, but feel too. The ‘board is wired with the Trouble Booster first, then the Octo Puss, the King Fuzz, the Thunder Pup, then the Octo Puss Prime.

603) What’s the strangest request you ever received (besides this questionnaire)?

An old friend of mine, a very talented guy if a little unorthodox, thought of each frequency band like a certain type of cheese; an analogy he thought would help people to understand him where his technical knowledge was limited. For example, the bass frequencies were referred to as the blue cheeses, while the lower mids were the creamy, milder cheeses. He once asked me if I could help him get a little more Camembert from his Jazzmaster!

 

504) Who are some of the more famous Bigfoot Engineering’s users and endorsees?

We are really lucky to have some incredible players using Bigfoot. I’m particularly proud to have Marc Ford as an endorsee. He is one of the most naturally gifted guitarists I’ve ever heard, and it’s very affirming to know our gear is responsive enough for such a dynamic player. I was also really excited to see the Thunder Pup on the Black Crowes’ Lay Down with Number 13 tour; Rich Robinson is just incredible. Bigfoot are also finding fans in the studio. Brendan Benson from The Raconteurs has been using his King Fuzz on a whole host of production credits, so you may well have heard us on record by now.

 

405) What’s coming up in 2015 for BFE?

I’m really excited about what we have lined up for next year. Now we have a great range of preamp, overdrive, boost, distortion and fuzz sounds, we’re moving into modulation territory, all with our trademark responsiveness, fatness, and lots of character. First up for release will be a throbbing, thunderously deep tremolo.

Meet Bigfoot Engineering’s Rhys Stubbs

(watch the video to see Rhy’s demo of his new Trouble Booster)

Who designs Bigfoot Engineering’s pedals?

Bigfoot Engineering Ltd. was founded in 2009 by Rhys Stubbs, a guitarist, recording studio manager, and electronic engineer. After working for the Wimbledon based company Vortexion, originally popularized by Joe Meek, he spread his creative wings with a venture of his own. His one-off custom built studio consoles, outboard, guitar amplifiers and effects pedals proved to be in demand and have inspired the current range of Bigfoot Engineering products.

Why Bigfoot Engineering Products?

Bigfoot are building effects pedals that have the sonic integrity of tube/valve amplifiers, characterized in particular by frequency response, breakup, compression, and touch sensitivity. You can hear it, and you can feel it too.

Bigfoot-Engineering-printedWhere are Bigfoot pedals made?

Made in England, every Bigfoot product exudes quality, originality, and rock solid reliability. The future of this company is set to be an exciting one. This is one Bigfoot you can expect to see a lot more of.

Are Bigfoot pedals handmade?

Yes, with regards to the manufacturing, it is almost all done in-house here at the workshop. This means that we can keep quality control to our exacting standards throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Bigfoot-Engineering-enclosuTo begin with, we machine the enclosures and enamel the graphics by hand (but we don’t cast the aluminum boxes here). The circuit boards are manufactured for us by a company in Hertfordshire, England, and we populate and solder the boards here ourselves by hand. We then bolt in all the panel mount components and hand-wire all the off-board components. Once all the soldering is completed here by hand, the last stage is to mount the dials and feet, and even the packaging is silk screened here by hand. Finally, every pedal is tested by us with a guitar and an amplifier before being dispatched.

In addition, all design work is undertaken in-house, including R&D, prototyping, PCB and layout design.

Are Bigfoot pedals true bypass?

Some are true bypass and some are buffered bypass, see product pages for details.

Who plays Bigfoot?

  • Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs)
  • Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes), hailed as his favorite pedal*
  • Marc Ford (The Black Crowes/Ben Harper/Gov’t Mule)
  • Stephen Street (producer/engineer for Blur/Graham Coxon)

*source: http://www.mi-pro.co.uk/news/read/best-of-british-a-guide-to-the-uk-s-top-mi-brands/018732

Want to learn more about Bigfoot?

Click here to go tour the Bigfoot pedals on our site.