Clean boost pedals and best fuzz pedals for the money…by Trachouse Pedals
Here’s FXDB’s interview with David W. Aucoin of Trachouse Pedals:
Please read the interview.
I couldn’t find a clean boost pedal that I liked so I decided to take an electronics course and try to build a boost pedal that I wanted. I went on line and took an electronics course with Penn Foster online school. After taking the course I started messing with some clean boost pedals I had and learning as much about circuits and designs that I could. Soon I became familiar with circuitry and how things worked along with a talent to solder pretty well.
After about 8 months of working on a clean boost layout that would make a solid state amp sound like a tube amp (or at least drive an amp) I was happy with one breadboard attempt. I then put the circuit together and tested the pedal. I tweaked it a couple of times and then finally I had the sound I was looking for. I put it together in a metal enclosure and took it to a gig. The bass player noticed that my rig sounded different and commented about it.
The same night a musician was in the crowd and came up to me at break to ask how do I make two solid state amps sound like tube amps. I told him I made this boost pedal. He asked me to make him one and so I made him one and after that he told someone else and so it went on from there.
I discovered that others wanted a clean boost pedal like mine more than I realized. Word of mouth began to spread, eBay and free ads is all I do. Now I have a waiting list when I am making them.
I have a full time job. I play for enjoyment on weekends with a band that plays a couple of times a month at the most. I write music when I get a chance. I am very active in my Praise band at church.
Basically I keep things sort of laid back. People do like my pedals and since 2008 I have only had one that came back because of an led problem and a couple that came back because they though it was a distortion pedal. I take pride in the fact that I take my time and build each pedal by hand and test each pedal myself.
Later I also made me a fuzz pedal that will compress when volume is cranked on guitar and soon found out that a lot of others wanted a fuzz that reacts like that also. It compresses at full on fuzz. The fuzz will sometimes pickup radio noise but if a customer contacts me I can help them solve the problem most of the time by pedal placement techniques. Old original Fuzz face pedals also pick up radio signals in certain situations. Mostly because of the way the pedal is placed in the pedal chain.
Thus, I am a pedal maker by default. I have been pretty much a lone ranger purely because I started off mainly for my own personal interest. The only other things that have helped me was the internet with the vast amount of information and forums that people post online. Like I mentioned before I started making pedals for my own interest and others heard and asked me to build them a pedal or two or modded something for them.
Where does the name and logo come from?
I came up with the name Trachouse solely because I liked the sound of it and wanted something different. I have a slogan ‘Stay on trac with Trachouse Pedals’. I left the ‘k’ off because the domain for Trackhouse was taken.
I had an artist in Walker LA, where I live, design the logo. I gave her free reign to design the whole look of my pedals now.
What sets Trachouse Pedals apart from other builders?
1. I want my customers to be completely satisfied or money back with no questions asked.
2. I still make every pedal I sell, they are totally hand wired and I take great care and pride in each pedal.
How do you start on a new pedal?
I build each pedal one at a time. No mass production. It takes me approx. 2 to 2-1/2 hours to make one pedal.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
Everything is produced by me, David W. Aucoin.
Trachouse Pedals are totally handmade. I uses stripboard and totally point to point hand wiring. I use top quality parts.
Enclosures are professionally painted. They are finished with decals on top, which are of high quality, durable and professionally done.
How important is the look of your pedals?
Well interesting question. I started off with a plain enclosure and then as time went on several customers said they would pay more for a better looking pedal or could they send me an enclosure to use. Trachouse pedals are now painted and have a very clean look because I realize people want good looking stuff. Now there are musicians that don’t really care but I had to look at the whole market and deliver a top notch product.
However some customers do still want the old plain look at the same price I charge for the painted. So I build both. But I will charge full price moving forward.
Is parts selection important?
Absolutely! I have used the same components that are in the original pedals on my board from day one. I will always keep the exact sound no matter what.
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
Of course my first pedal I made. The Cream Boost. I have so many people email me about this pedal and how it has made their rigs come alive.
Very proud of that pedal. Yes! the Cream Boost for sure.
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
The Cream Boost was the hardest. It took about 8 months to finally perfect it.
Which of your pedals is the most popular?
The Cream Boost. It stands out because after you learn how to set your amp and guitar volume with the pedal your 1st, 2nd and 3rd string are now boosted in a way that is hard to describe. Normally in a rig your 4th,5th and 6th string stand out so much the higher strings won’t cut through when cranked but with the Cream boost the 1st,2nd and 3rd strings cut through. Someone only has to try it and see. The pedal speaks for itself.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
I made the pedals I have for my own taste:
• Cream boost
• Brown Edge Boost
• Red 70’s Fuzz
I have reviews on in Harmony central and all over the internet in forums of people that use them. I get emails from studio players that have used them and they send me a free CD and credit my pedal on their CD. As far as big time artist I don’t know of any to this point. Haven’t let me know if they do. I would imagine their tech helps them with all of their sound stuff. I really don’t know. A few really good players have endorsed my pedals. Willie Vega for one from New York.
What does the future of Trachouse Pedals look like?
Like I have said from the beginning I got started making pedals by others hearing my sound. So I will continue to make these pedals because I like to see people get a good sound. How far it will go I have no idea mainly because I wouldn’t know how to bring my pedals to another level anyway. I am not a business man. But I do know that people love the clean boost and fuzz pedals I make and I am grateful for that. I also make single and double loopers for my board and so I will probably add them to my inventory because I am going to have a membership site about pedal boad order and how to use guitar pedals. I plan to have a forum so people can discuss issues and help each other out. It will be called (GPO) Guitar Pedal Order.
In the future I will look at a distortion/overdrive because of so many request.
Are you working on any new products?
I hope to have my new pedal the ‘Jaffa Drive’.
But I am by myself and I stay busy with what I have so no promises on that.
David W. Aucoin