Last week I found out about the Ubermut pedal.. and was blown away by the great concept. Basically, it’s a overdrive pedal where you can swap out components (via tone packs) to completely redefine the pedal. Absolutely brilliant. For people that like to tweak.. this is a dream come true! For people getting into pedal design, this is a great thing to begin to understand what happens in a circuit. Plug-n-Play components in a pedal. Brilliant.
So, I had a chance to send Osmar “OJ” Aguilar a few questions about the Ubermut.
Where are you located?
We are located in Kenosha WI, right between Chicago and Milwaukee.
How long have you been in business?
We run a small product design service that has been around a few years now. This pedal building business is a new venture for both of us, its great to be able to develop our own pedals right here in house.
Why did you come up with the concept of Ubermut?
I have always enjoyed modding and tinkering with my guitars, amps, pedals, mics, ect. It just finally dawned on me that I should build a pedal that lets others do the same thing, even if they don’t know anything about why it works.
Where do you see Ubermut going in the future?
I am hoping we get the opportunity to continue doing what we love for the musicians out there that get a kick out of great analog tones. I think for the most part, the designs we have in mind for future pedals are all going to be analog and certainly quirky and unique in their own way.
I really try to push the envelope sonically in my designs, even if it means spending more on the parts. I hope our unique designs, fastidious attention to detail, and good service will help us earn the trust of the music community.
Will you be at NAMM this year?
We certainly want to attend NAMM as guests to meet fellow builders and just talk with everyone and we would like to have a booth next season for Ubermut.
Will you be branching off into different effects other than overdrives? If so, what?
Yes, we have been working on a very cool preamp for vocals. I can’t share too much yet but it is going to be a great tone shaping circuit for the gigging player. We also have some interesting concept circuits started for tremolo, octave, and reverb effects that aren’t what you would expect.
Do I need to use tone packs or can I use any components?
You can certainly find your own components, that is what makes this so flexible. The Tone Packs are a great way to start off and also to get access to rare parts that we find.
Are the tone shapes based of clipping diodes or do they go beyond (caps, resistors, etc)?
Currently, the 16 Tone Packs that we have are based on clipping diodes. We have just started experimenting with capacitors and trim pots as well.
Can I hurt my Ubermut by putting in the wrong combination of components?
If you stick with our Tone Packs and combinations thereof, you shouldn’t have any worries. If you put a part in backwards the worst that will happen is it will just not alter the tone, it will just bypass the component.
What kind of tones can you achieve with the various tone packs?
From the artists that have played on these pedals so far, we have heard them say everything from a slightly compressed super clean boost to a smooth 808 type overdrive leading up to some crunchy distortion tones and then into fuzz territory. The Ubermut pedal certainly has its own distinct basic voicing to it, the Tone Packs can heavily color it from there to suit just about any style, guitar, and amp combination from what we have seen.
Do I need tools or experience to make these adjustments?
Just your ears. We wanted to make it easy so we found a mil spec socket that we modified. Basically you just push the parts into the socket and the jaws of the socket hold the part in place, even if you are really rough on your gear, it will stay put.
Will there be new tone packs in the future?
Yes, we are always on the lookout for great sounding components. If we see a particularly awesome grouping of parts, we will buy them, test and match them with each other before turning them into a new Tone Pack.
Are these in stores? How can I get one?
They will be available next week on our website. We are also working on getting into music stores and catalogs but that may take a little while.
How much are Ubermuts?
On Kickstarter.com we are raising pledges for the first production run. For the next week or so while our project is running on Kickstarter, they are selling on preorder for $165. After that, they will be at retail price of $185 on our website.
How much are tone packs?
The price for the Tone Packs will vary depending on the rarity or the parts, the assembly time (some parts require soldering before we package them), quantity ect. They will range from $5 to $30 on average.
So how does the Ubermut sounds? Well… check out this demo video posted today!! You can hear various tone packs in action. I absolutely love the response from the players in this video. You can really see the excitement from the players about this pedal.