A few months ago I stumbled across a very interesting video which featured a guy with his mod of the Electro-Harmonix Micro Synth. Later I came to find out it was Michael Dunn of shotgunnmods doing the wizardry on the micro synth. shotgunnmods specializes in the EHX micro synth mod, but also does some very impressive work on Piezo bridge/saddle mods as well as other pedal mods.
First, I want to showcase the video (shotgunndunn) I saw a while back. I really dig his enthusiasm and you can really see he enjoys electronics, and tweaking in general.
I sent Michael an email with a small mini-interview and he was kind enough to respond. I have to say, I really enjoyed his answers!
– So explain to me what shotgunnmods does exactly?
At shotgunnmods I specialize in high profile guitar, pedal, and amp mods. For the guitar my biggest innovation is offering piezo mods for virtually ANY type of bridge. In the pedal domain my claim to fame is the EHX Micro Synth expression pedal mod.
– What got you interested in electronics?
My father was my inspiration for getting into electronics. As a child, him and I worked on everything together from car audio, home theater, and various electronic repairs. It was these experiences that got me burning with passion for electronics, specifically audio electronics.
– How long has shotgunnmods been around?
While I have been involved in the field for close to 20 I started doing this for a profit in January of 2009. In October of 2009 was when I became a legitimate legal entity known as shotgunnmods, LLC.
– What got you interested in the EHX Micro Synth?
I have always loved 60’s and 70’s rock music. Big, fat, analog, etc… I wanted my guitar to have similar ‘weight’ issues… I first tried the EHX Micro Synth back in 2000. I fell in love with it. It made me have to think differently as a player. I kind of like that ‘stiff’ feel the pedal offered. Yet, I always wanted more.
– What got you interested in Piezo mods?
I heard a guitar in a local guitar shop that had a piezo bridge installed. Before I actually realized what it was my mind totally thought it was an acoustic guitar. It was actually several years before I first experimented with anything piezo related. I soon found out about companies like L.R. Baggs, and GraphTech. I found out that each had some options for the most popular type of bridges/saddles. Being an Ibanez player I was feeling left out. So I bought a milling machine and converted it into a full blown CNC mill. I can now turn virtually any saddle into a piezo saddle. My biggest accomplishments with this have been the Ibanez ZR, Edge III, Lo-Pro Edge, Original Edge, and the Floyd Rose piezo mods. With these mods the player can have authentic acoustic guitar simulations with the flip of a switch. Once the piezos are installed in the saddles you can feed the signal into GraphTech Hexpander (s) for full MIDI triggering. The results are utterly mind blowing. I have a YouTube video demonstrating this on an Ibanez RG-2228. All 8 strings able to channel MIDI notes!!! I have several other bridges on deck for the future. The Kahler being my next priority.
– What other pedals do you mod.. and what types of mods?
I have what I call the ‘shotgunnmods DS-1 7 string Humbucker mod’ Catchy eh? A few years back I heard about the Keeley mods for the DS-1. So I researched, found out what he did and modded my own. I loved what it did for my Tele, but it turned my 7 stringers (all loaded w/ humbuckers) into flabby moosh. So I basically thinned it out a bit so humbuckers won’t sound like butt cheese though it. I have have some pretty wicked offerings for the Wah pedal as well.
– Are you planning on developing your own pedals at some point?
I actually did design a pedal. It is a 2 channel Overdrive/Distortion pedal. Playing off the whole ‘shotgunn’ thing I planned (and still do intend to…) call it the ‘Double Barrel’. There is another company that has a dual O.D pedal called the double barrel. I was so bummed to find that out. Essentially I took the preamp of my favorite S.S. amp, modded it and added another several gain stages to really take it over the top. I also have some different clipping options available by flipping a 3 -way toggle switch.
– How does the future of pedal development look to you? Has everything been done?
To me the future is bright. As long as there are guys like me who are NEVER satisfied there will be PLENTY cool new ideas. My dad always complains about how ‘critical’ my ear is. If nobody had a super critical ear there would be no new advancements in sound. If everyone were ‘content’ there would be no drive to compel us to create something better. I, for one, will NEVER be satisfied. Perhaps for a short while, but never indefinitely.
If you’re interested in the Electro-Harmonix Micro Synth mod or want to check out his other mods, please visit his web site. shotgunnmods is also on Facebook so be sure to ‘like’ the page to keep up to date with his mods or other offerings!