I recently unearthed this picture. It was the very original prototype of the Leadmater fuzz I brought to Michael Wagener's Wireworld Studio to get his input on things I should tweak. I must say that it is a little more aesthetically pleasing these days. 

 

Here is a short clip Liz Phair at PAX-AM in LA.  Ryan Adams was recording tracks for her new album on a drool-worthy vintage API console, I believe originally from one of the Sunset Sound Studio rooms, but correct me if I'm wrong.

This blog has been a little neglected as of late, all apologies. There will be many new updates soon. 

Here is a sneak preview of one of those updates. Stay tuned!

 

The Vampower Leadmaster Fuzz is now available at Rock Block Guitars in Nashville, TN. 

Rock Block has always been one of my favorite shops. They are one of those shops were you can get lucky find something really unique like a vintage Civil War Big Muff or a Leslie Speaker cabinet at the shop. They also have one of the best amp selection in town, I highly recommend stopping in. 

 

Rock Block Guitars is located 2113 Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203.

The Nashville Music Gear Expo starts Tomorrow at 6PM, I will be set up in the "Think" Room if you want to check out the Leadmaster and here about some of the things I have coming down the pipe. There will also be a live stream for those of you who cannot make it available at:

bit.ly/nmgelive

See you there!

 

I wanted to share a little feedback I recently received of the Leadmaster Fuzz from a guitarist name Peter in Vienna, Austria:

"Hi, FYI your pedal arrived today. Great tone, nails exactly and instantly the sounds from the heroes of my youth. 
I have had to search Slade songs to play along with, as I found exactly their tone at a first checkout. Your pedal does a better job than my boutique shatterbox replica in nailing my favorite Bolan sound of the T.REX (the brown) album, for example "Is it love". The brittling of the transistor is exceptionally good!  The pedal nails exactly THAT tone/sound!
Hope to hear and see more gear from you, greetings from good old Europe.
Peter"

Its no secret, vintage components in most cases just sound better especially when you are trying to achieve that 70's rock sound. 

Not every company is meticulous about the type of components they are using in their pedal and the ones who are trying to recreate authentic replicas of vintage pedals like the Shatterbox ends up costing two to three times as much as the Leadmaster and a lot less versatile and dynamic tonally. 

Thank you for the kind words Peter! Cheers!


Vampower pedals are now available at Eastside Music Supply in East Nashville off of Fatherland avenue. Stop in and try it out!  Contact Blair and he will hook you up.



I got a chance to meet Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins last weekend before the band took stage at the Ascend Amphitheater here in Nashville.  It was a fantastic show. I think the band is sounding better now than they ever have in my opinion. Jeff Schroeder's guitar tone was amazing, it really stood out to me. 

I talked to Billy about what I'm doing as far as bringing Vampower back. He was interested in the amplifier reissue I'm building as he actually owns an original Vamp amp that he used on the Oceania album. I gave him a custom Leadmaster fuzz I built for him with a serial number of "Zero" for obvious reasons.

What distinguishes the Vampower Leadmaster apart from other pedals on the market?

One of the problems with mass produced pedals is that they are manufactured without quality checks on individual components or transistors. No two guitar pedals will sound exactly the same and not every guitar pedal will sound as good as it should without being tested by a musician who knows what it should sound like. I wouldn’t send anything out that I didn’t strongly feel sounded great.

I primarily use vintage new old stock components, it is not something nostalgic about. When designing the Leadmaster circuit I’ve used just about everything you could imagine including the run of the mill components that you can buy from many parts sites that are manufactured out of China. There is nothing wrong with using those components, many successful boutique pedal makers certainly use those. I just personally did not like the sound of a lot of those components.

Oddly enough, I had actually auditioned hand made in the USA capacitors that were around $7 dollars each (buying into the hype) and to my surprise they did not sound as good as a particular 20 cent Chinese capacitor I compared them to.  

Not everything that is vintage is always going to sound better than a newer component. I have experienced this with diode shootouts. Every part in this circuit I have selected because it sounds exceptionally good. If that means I have to invest more time and resources to secure rare components or limited myself to only producing in small batches that is worth it to me. Vampower doesn’t work unless it has a reputation of sounding great.