I worked in a high end guitar shop for over 13 years and never played effects in my personal rig. I realized that after playing just about everything on the market, no one really made what I wanted to hear. The first effect I really wanted to tackle was a Univibe.
There were some inherent problems with any one you could buy, boutique or not, and I started researching how to do it myself. I started messing around with some pedal kits and eventually taught myself how to do what I needed to do.
I originally built pedals for my own board and made them look cool because I was tired of looking at plain grey boxes with black knobs. I figured that if I had beautiful looking guitars, I should have a cool looking pedal board too.
It turns out that I wasn't the only guitar player who wanted that. I started getting people who wanted what I had on my board so eventually I stared my own company. I quit my job at the guitar shop over a year ago and I've been doing well ever since.
I worked on my first orders on a small bench in the corner of my garage. It was crammed and totally make-shift but I got the job done. I eventually built out half of our two car garage into a full shop and that is where I am currently building. I love it and I'm close to my family.
My first pedal was a simple loop switcher that worked perfectly the first time. I had been doing guitar electronics repair for over a decade so I knew my way around a soldering iron.
It was a simple box but it was not only my first attempt at a pedal but also my first attempt at a clear-coated water-slide decal. The same technique I use today. It was called the "Froot Loop".
I produce online videos for other companies and so doing video demos of my own gear was a natural progression. I have a lot of contacts in the industry which helped too. The videos helped get people's attention and word of mouth propelled it from there.
Local bands saw us using our pedals on stage and I've had a lot of people come up to me and ask what I was using. With all the graphics on my board, it definitely catches people's attention.
Since day one, I've had friends who play my effects including Chris Bristol from Barcelona and Leif Anderson from Vendetta Red. Ian Crawford, who plays with Panic At The Disco, is an old friend of mine and has an entire custom Tortuga board built by me.
Damon Johnson from Alice Cooper's band plays a Neptune and a Yeti, Howard Leese from Heart has a Neptune on tour right now with Bad Company and I just got an email from Sameer Battacharya saying that his Neptune was the vibe of choice on the upcoming Flyleaf album.
Right now I build about 40 pedals a month. I'm a one man shop and I do everything by hand. I definitely try to have a quick turnaround though. I don't want to have a waiting list.
I'm located in Renton, Washington - just south of Seattle where Jimi Hendrix grew up and now currently resides. I actually lived across the street from his grave for a few years. He is the reason I play guitar and ultimately the reason I stared building effects.
As far as new effects, I've got a working prototype of an Analog Dual Chorus / Vibrato that I hope to have out by the end of the year.