Below is a guest post by Lucas Hoelbling. He was kind enough to send me a post about his journey of pedal building and about some upcoming pedals he’s developing. As a guy who dabbles in circuits and such I felt this was pretty inspiring. If you are interested in guest posting or submitting a guest review, please contact me!
Hi! I’m Lucas Hoelbling, 17 years old and I live in Carinthia, Austria. I got the idea of making guitar and bass pedals in school. I go to school in the HTL Moessingerstrasse here in Carinthia. There I take telecommunications and electronics classes. I always was more a fan of the analog stuff like transistors, opamps and so on than the digital stuff like microcontrollers and stuff. So a friend of mine thought we would do something different with the knowledge that is given to us in school and design our own guitar and bass pedals! The previously mentioned friend, who also happens to be a bass player, has this crazy rig of effects that I always was fascinated with. So one day when I was bored I got on the PC and got basic knowledge how the different types of pedals work. After a little more research I really thought everything you can do in a pedal has already been done. I literally thought I would never be able to create something new and my pedals would always be referred to some other pedals. So days went by and I always found new schematics, plans and layouts of the pedals that everybody has heard of. Then I suddenly got the idea of a new, different kind of pedal. So I drew a basic sketch of how it should work. The next day I showed it to my electronics teacher and he did a few changes but approved it. I was stoked and could not wait to build it. The next day I got home from school and ordered the stuff I needed.
A few days later I had already designed a logo, thought of programming an own website for it and the parts I ordered finally arrived. I immediately started soldering and fifteen minutes later it was done. The next day I gave it to my friend to test it. It was not working. I really felt sad and tried to find the error. I simulated the circuit on the PC and everything was working properly. I double checked the circuit of the pedal multiple times. It just was not working. The reason was that in the simulation all the components are in perfect environment, not influencing each other and not heating up… so basically in real life it would never be able to work. Basically I’m discovering all the problems that other pedal builders already fixed. But I like it this way, so I can get to my own solutions. I am currently working on version 5 of the pedal that is called MOM-D – The GMOO. It is basically a distortion pedal with adjustable cut-off times and switchable FX-Loop that gives you more crazy noises.
A big problem or advantage for me is that I am a little perfectionist in such things. If that pedal does not have the sound I want it to have it’s not going to be sold. So for now I have multiple pedals in development- The GMOO, The TremoloOo, The MOM-D WaveFun, and a simple booster but I don’t have a name for it yet. Available to order are only two pedals by now. The MOM-D LÖÖPER, a completely customizable A/B Line selector. The second pedal, which is not really a pedal, is the MOM-D Kraftwerk (translated it means Powerplant). It’s also a completely customizable power supply for your pedals/pedalboard. I am currently giving away one of those two pedals to one lucky person that likes my MOM-D Facebook page.
The idea behind all my pedals is that they are completely customizable. That means if you want a LÖÖPER with three FX-Chains with a volume knob for every chain and no tuner output you can have it. If you just need a box that switches between your amps or mutes your signal or really anything- you can ask for it. If you need a Kraftwerk for your pedalboard that consists out of 20+ pedals you get it. If you just need a little no-noise power supply for your 3 pedals you can have it too. Just shoot me an e-mail telling me what you imagine and we can work something out for sure ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
I really think there has to be a change in the industry. They really should make pedals more custom. Also I want to say that all the parts I use to build my stuff are bought in my local electronics shop. It’s called Drauelectronic and I really love to support them because they are a really personal and small business. The owner of the shop has known me since I was six years old so we get along pretty good. I also try to sell my products as cheap as possible. That means I just calculate the costs of the parts I need plus a small fee for the power I use to run my soldering iron and the solder I need. So for every product there are around 5-10€ that are really for me. That money I use to develop more pedals and build prototypes.