Curse My Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal!

At long last, I reveal my blog’s sleazy ulterior motive: hoodwinking you into buying my crap! Bwa-ha-ha.

I exaggerate. But after several years of scheming, I’ve figured out a way to bring my stompbox designs to market that will permit me to keep doing stuff I love, like writing geeky stuff for my blog and music magazines, recording and gigging, and continuing to create new gizmos.

Can anyone help me figure out this incredibly complicated pedal?

Can you help me figure out this super-complicated pedal?

Here’s the deal: I’ve partnered with Vintage King, a leading purveyor of high-end audio gear, to sell my stompbox designs through their online store and their retail shops in LA and Nashville. (They also ship overseas.) They’re being manufactured to my specs by Cusack Music in Michigan. (In addition to their own highly regarded pedal line, Cusack builds for many other boutique brands, often anonymously.) I’m working with a brilliant young engineer named Tony Lott, who not only goes the extra mile to accommodate my weird requests, but routinely offers suggestions that improve my designs.

Here a little promo video for our first release, Duh Remedial Fuzz:

Look and sound familiar? Yeah, I’ve been using the circuit in recordings and demo videos for a couple of years now, either in stompbox form, or built right into guitars. The final, official version of Duh is on the cover of this month’s Guitar Player magazine, and GP’s Mike Molenda wrote a real sweetheart of a review:

Joe Gore treated me to a very early prototype of the Duh a few years ago, and its brilliant design—one knob (for “louder”), whimsical name, responsive dynamics (with both performance gestures and guitar-volume manipulations), and simultaneously fierce and expressive tone—ensured that the battered test version never left my pedalboard. The new, tough and ready for prime time, U.S.-made Duh is similarly remarkable. The additional R&D time has really paid off, as this is a pedal that doesn’t give up one less-than-spectacular sound. It reminds me of ’60s records where the fuzz sounds jumped right out of the grooves and changed my world forever.

Shucks, Mike! Guitar Player even bestowed their coveted Editors Pick award. Equally shucks-inducing is the fact that the Pixies have been using Duh since last year. Be still, my punk-pop heart.

What does it mean for this blog? Probably not much, beyond an occasional new product plug like this one.

I put together a little FAQ about my stompboxes. It’s here if you’re curious. You can order pedals from my Vintage King page. More releases are coming very soon, including improved versions of my Cult, Screech, Boring, Purr, Gross, Filth, Storybook, and Drive Without a Face pedals.

Till then, feel free to curse my sudden but inevitable betrayal. :satansmoking:

31 comments to Curse My Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal!

  • smgear

    Very cool! I’m glad you’re getting those tones out there. Although, I think we need to come up with some off-tonefiend marketing strategies – you’ve trained and indoctrinated too many of your current followers to just build their own gear. 🙂 Will PG let you publicize it through them or would that cross their conflict of interest line? Who should I email to request that one of their other editors interview the great Joe Gore about his path into pedal building and the tone philosophies that contribute to the ‘unassuming kickassery’ of his new pedal line?

    • joe

      Oh man — you have any idea how much I’ve wondered that very thing? This is uncharted ethical territory for me, and part of me thinks PG should steer clear of my stuff! On the other hand, though, the mag has many contributors who do have a financial stake in the musical instrument industry. Really, the only course I can think of is to err on the side of disclosure in all things. But hey—they actually do respond to EVERY emailed query, so say what you will! 🙂

      • mwseniff

        Personally I would rather read stuff from someone in the industry as long as they are not blatantly self promoting. The reason being that they know what they are talking about and they are not putting out dangerous misinformation. I have read guitar amp maintenance and repair articles by folks that seemed to be writing from stuff they misread elsewhere. Some of those articles could get amps blown up, folks maimed or even killed. At least the industry folk understand their own liability. Just make sure you point out your connection truthfully and it will be very ethical.

      • smgear

        Cool. I’ll drop them a line.

        A couple of other suggestions.

        – regarding full disclosure, use your pedals when appropriate in your other gear demos and “fully disclose” what you’re using 🙂 you might consider going through your old posts and you tube vids and adding plugs when appropriate. Are you planning to add a space on this website or your personal site as an official ‘home’ for info on the pedals and where to find them? I assume you have something planned, so once that is up, then plaster that link across your old content and in your bios.

        – I think what I’ll propose in my email, and/or something you could ethically suggest to the PG boss/other sr. editors as well, would be to add either a segment (web and/or print), or perhaps even an issue subtheme where the senior contributors interview each other about their experience, projects, etc. I think readers would enjoy learning more about the writers they like, it would strengthen credibility for the mag, and it would give you guys an opportunity to pitch your personal projects. I think it would be worthwhile doing even if it wasn’t official content, but merely extended bio’s on the website which was linked from your articles.

  • Stoked to hear about this Joe! The business arrangements seem to be just what the doctor ordered to maintain your busy schedule and avoid huffing too much solder smoke…

    • joe

      Thanks! Yeah, that was the hard part, though I have high hopes for the partnership. Plus, I’m just not a very good craftsperson! If you have one of my homemade pedals, and it’s still working, awesome! But really, the sound is my expertise, not the engineering. The factory-made pedals sound as intended, and they are vastly more reliable than if I’ve built them myself. 🙂

  • Adam Levy

    Awesome review! But it's additional R&D time, right? Or have you been field-testing the pedal in a Chaka Khan cover band?

  • Coolness that more of your circuits will get into more hands. Some of those pedal names are new. Curious to know what’s cooking there. Is the Beef renamed among those? (Still love that pedal.)

    • joe

      Hi Bear! LOL — I used that Beef name and image on a bunch of things, and I’m not sure exactly which incarnation you have. I THINK the closest thing is what I’ll probably call Drive Without a Face — it’s a no-knob pedal what sounds like it’s bypassed when your guitar volume is part way down, but that pours on a ton of gain when you max out the guitar’s volume knob. I’ve made them with one and two knobs, but the no-knob is more fun. 🙂

      • The Beef that I have is a two-knob two-transistor circuit that you had said evolved from a Fuzz Face. Cleaner sounding than bypass with light touch or rolled back volume, something like early New Order when digging in. I would imagine you’re talking about something further on that evolution.

  • el reclusa

    This is awesome, Joe! Jon Cusack and his crew seem to really be all about doing things to high standards. Sweet!

    • joe

      Yeah, I’ve been really impressed with their shop! They have much expertise that I lack, but they’ve been totally willing to source weird parts and deploy them in weird ways. Tony Lott from Cusack is an absolute pleasure to work with, and his input has improved everything I’ve submitted.

  • Jay Quackenbush

    Youre forgiven for the firefly reference.

  • mwseniff

    What the heck is R&B time? I know R&D means research and development but R&D I am missing. Maybe I need more Cool Brew coffee or something. Congrats on the pedal deal I know from experience that getting others to build your designs and pay your share to you can be fraught with amazingly unexpected obstacles.

    • joe

      Ha! The great Adam Levy beat you to it, pointing that out! What do you think I am? Some sort of professional editor, or something?! 😉

      • mwseniff

        I was actually thinking Research & Blog or Research & Boogie.

        • joe

          Naw — it stands for Really Bad proofing. A speciality of mine.

          • Personally, I always liked a little fuzz in my R&B, so I’m OK with either interpretation.

          • Evil

            Rhythm and Brews.

            In college I had a weekly jazz/blues gig at a brewpub…

          • joe

            Fuzz in R&B — I know, right? Like “Psychedlic Shack”-era Temptations. I swear, man — that early ’70s Motown stuff is even more amazing than the ’60s stuff. 🙂

          • mwseniff

            The Temptations are a big fave of mine as well. Saw them a few times back in the early 70’s they were a tight band. Thought I might get beat up when we went to one venue but it turned out to be one of my best concert experiences ever. Got invited to a great party afterwards and a nice place to crash. They could really get people in the audience connected with each other. It was almost magic.

  • Joe Gore

    Damn you, you editors! 😉

  • Oinkus

    Would only be a betrayal if you came to my house and took back the Ego Booster you gave me ? Starting a business partnership and selling products is just a part of life. Thrilled to death and hope it works out in every good way possible ! Speaking of which had a nice young man over here I met on the Seymour Duncan forums and he really liked your pedal. Kind of crazy there is 5 or 6 people that frequent that spot in my area. No one here is remotely close so there will be no jamming or cookouts geez.

    • joe

      The Duncan forum is a trip! It’s amazing how popular it is, something like the third-most populated music forum anywhere. There are people on there with, like 20,000 posts. What kind of weirdo gets that worked up about pickups? Oh, wait …

  • Sounds awesome Joe. How much does the final sound depend on EQ and the shaping effect of the amp I wonder. It seems to me that is the problem with a lot of ‘simple’ fuzz pedals, their actual output is often pretty raw and needs the highs rolled off by the rest of the effects and amp chain. I think it is interesting to see what happens when a talented guitarist, someone who is very well versed in the effects sound world and knows the recording process, spends some time to really fine tune a pedal like this. Did you have any problems making the circuit reproduceable? Fuzz pedals are often very sensitive to component variations.

  • Oinkus

    7am there are 686 users online SD forums sheesh , last month : Most users ever online was 4,915, 05-14-2014 at 08:34 PM. You have come up a few times recently , I sent people over here for some info like The Pagey Project and your humbucker P90 review.Of course some moron said something obnoxious and I had to tell them where to find a clue.

  • Jermaine Eyum

    Congrats Joe! With any luck you’ll soon be a division of Harmon j/k

  • Jimmy Havok

    Ummm…needs a knob that goes to 11. But squeeze the numbers all into the first half of the rotation.

  • Colm

    Awesome news, my man. Well done!

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