If you play guitar in a band (or on your own) chances are you own a few effects pedals. Getting your first Boss pedal has become a rite of passage for young players (mine was a Boss CE-2!). However, the market for people wanting to get creative and boost/change/manipulate their sound is a bit like Alice’s rabbit hole…once you fall in things can get overwhelming and down right weird. If you find yourself wanting more, something really unique or in some cases…something that doesn’t exist yet…well then you’ve got a problem. You have to get more than creative. That’s when you need someone like Kris.
Chapter4Effects (aka Kris Lucia) makes custom hand crafted effects pedals that you wont find anywhere else. It’s way cool because he does it himself. No factory, staff, no distributers…it’s one guy coming up with idea’s and making it happen.
MIA: Ok..the market for boutique, custom or hand made effects is an interesting one. What got u started?
KL: I have always loved guitar pedals and have been playing guitar since high school and by the time i hit 20 my pedal collection was huge!
I started wanting specific tones and textures that I couldn’t find anywhere, I’d buy a pedal that was close to the sound I had in my head and I would start modifying it but it never quite got there, so I started looking into how to design circuits and after I made a few fuzz’s and overdrives my guitar and bass playing friends got excited and asked if I can make them custom pedals, then it just grew from there.
MIA: Pedal mods and custom builds are an interesting aspect to this whole industry. Can u tell us about some of the more interesting jobs you’ve done? Is it something u get a lot of requests to do?
KL: I’ve built one of our Raygun dying battery simulator pedals inside a bat mobile, a fuzz face in a round M’nM’s tin.
As for circuits there was one Big Muff fuzz style but with 3 different types of clipping, octave capabilities, mid eq control, pre gain, different bass responses built into a switch.
My favourite one though, a guy wanted a really gnarly extreme fuzz with a switch that makes it sound like everything broken, the design for it was psychedelic pug.
We get quite a few people looking for custom pedals and it’s probably the most fun part of building pedals, designing a circuit suited to a particular persons style and sound.
A pedal like the Ray Gun (dying battery simulator) is pretty different! Who designs and decides how they look and what they’ll do?
(got a favourite?)
The Raygun started from a mod that would be installed in big muff’s and other fuzz pedals where you could starve the voltage going to the pedal, since the mod only directly affected the power and didn’t mess with the other parts of the circuit I thought why not put it on its own so you can use it with multiple pedals freely.
All designs/names etc are thought up on the spot, 99% of the time being the first thing that pops in my head (hence names like “disgruntled butterfly” and “Eclectic Thumbsucker”).
As for designing the circuits its normally what I feel is missing in the fuzz and overdrive industry, I see a pocket that hasn’t been filled or I see a way to improve on something and then create the circuit with that mentality in mind, or I just go nuts and design something crazy that I love and sometimes release it into the world. sometimes.
My favourite pedal currently is the Eccentric Caterpillar, its a super versatile fuzz that can be smooth or ‘synthy velcro’ with a huge eq range.
MIA: What training or qualifications do you have? How important were they to what ur doing with Chapter4? Any suggestions for people keen to try and learn a little bit?
KL: I studied a diploma of sound engineering but it didn’t help a lot on the circuit side of things, it helped more training my ear to know what it is I want specifically in regards to gain, frequency, controls.
So I had to teach myself how to build and design circuits, there was a lot of reading and even a lot more failed builds before i got to where i needed to be. Any advice I have for people wanting to start building pedals is research a lot and don’t give up whenever you fail, because you will, a bunch of times.
MIA: Who are some players/artists using chapter4effects that people can check out?
KL: The hardcore band Coves https://www.facebook.com/coveshc
Singer songwriter Adie Haines https://www.facebook.com/adiehainesmusic
the heavy funk band Silent Duck https://www.facebook.com/Silent-Duck-107595675957550
and of course my band, the straight-jacket tailors https://www.facebook.com/thestraightjackettailorsband/
To check out what’s up for grabs from Kris/Chapter4Effects go have a look here:
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