The last entry was about one of Brian Wampler’s pedals and he just uploaded a video to his YouTube channel recently:
In the previous entry I referred to the Paisley Drive as “Wampler’s approach of the Tube Screamer”. Now based on the above video I have to correct myself: the Paisley Drive is not more of a Tube Screamer than say a Big Muff. Yes, the atrchitecture is very similar, but then what? This is only one of the not unlimited ways of building a distortion device with opamps. And the tone is almost totally different. Following this line of thought it becomes quickly clear why electronic circuits can’t be patented. The basic electric components are simple building blocks just as bricks and mortar. There are finite types of electric components so with finite number of these one can only build a finite number of variations. And of course if one wants to build something useful too, then the number of variations gets even more limited. There are about a dozen basic circuit types that can be used. Of course one can tune these to his/her taste and add extra features – this is then what will make that design unique. Horribile dictu: if I only change one simple resistor value in the basic Tube Screamer circuit I can already call it my own unique design. Of course it is a different question if this “new” design has a “good” or “unique” tone. And I have no objections whatsoever against cloning existing designs. Why not? If I had the knowledge, the tools and could get my hands on good quality raw materials I would probably build my own Les Paul guitar too, especially if it would be cheaper than the original. There are builders, who after some very minor changes call a design their own and unique and sell that effect for steep prices. Well… You can try. There always will be snobs who will be happy to pay that price if the seller can justify with enough bla-bla. The rest will go after their ears and go with that effect that sounds the best with their rigs be that a Joyo or a Friedman.
One more thought: there is no such thing as “the best overdrive” (or delay, reverb, or whatever effect you wish for). Today with this guitar and that amp I like one effect, next day it might be another one. And with another guitar or amp already today I like another one. So one has to able to get the effect that provides the sound one is wishing for with the rig one has. Also we need to consider that this is not a static choice, taste changes. With some mods existing pedals can be tailored to our own taste even better. This is the DIY or custom pedal building’s real value.
That’s it for today, next time I’ll be back again with something to build, I promise.
(Legal notice: Star Wars or Clone Wars are not my trademarks)