Tonefreak - Abunai 2 OD (Boutique on BYOC boards?)

General documentation, gut shot, schematic links, ongoing circuit tracing, deep thoughts ... all about boutique stompboxes.
call1800ksmyazz
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Post by call1800ksmyazz »

soulsonic wrote:It's really refreshing to see a builder come out and lay it all down in a frank and civil manner. I can see that it is certainly possible to rush to judgment when you only have half the story. I'm sorry if I was overtly rude with my remarks, I just get really steamed up over those guys out there who DO fit the mean-spirited descriptions I used. I apologize for assuming you are one of them. I wish you the best of luck with your business. I'm a big fan of ExpressPCB too!

Now if only the other pedal builders could be as decent and polite as you.....
Wow I totally agree with that. Lets give a round of applause for Mr. Tonefreak :wink:

Seriously, now I am wishing you were in South Florida so we can talk guitars and pedals. Get him a beer :D

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Cheers,
Kerry

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Post by markm »

bajaman wrote:thanks tonefreak, for dropping by and thanks, for the explanations etc. :)
we are not all anti booteekers here, so please feel free to contribute or use anything you find here ( a small acknowledgement is all that is required in most cases, if you use anything learned here for commercial gain - credit where credit is due :wink: )
And - good luck with your pedal making :wink: :)
bajaman
I second that! :D
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modman
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Post by modman »

Welcome Tonefreak,

The forum is no personal dig at anyone, just a small space somewhere on the internet to discuss stuff that should have been open for discussion on bigger forums because it's legal. Pedals are not rocket science, but with the step towards electronics for the average musician seeming gigantic, electronic diy-ers and diy musician were bound to meet on the web.

If your skills cut it, you still provided the same expertise to the working guitarist as another does: guaranteeing it will work and will be liked is a big gamble. Still it's handwork and handtested -- how many guitarist could afford that 15 years ago? Not many...

It is my polite personal belief that there is little money to be made making pedals, and as you show: much more in selling kits or pcbs

Excellent thread started by Joe Gagan @ TOF
joegagan circuit stealers on: 09-03-2007, 09:03:25 »

the members here who are concerned about circuit 'secrets' being stolen off this board are missing the point somewhat IMO.

There are many aspects that go into succeeding in the effects game

my guess is that the type of person who comes to this board, steals a design and tries to produce it commercially has enough character flaws so as to do himself in sooner than later.

As RG has pointed out a zillion times, any circuit can be reverse engineered. if a pedal is available commercially ( and successful), someone will eventually want to clone it.
If a circuit is a design that originated from this board but has not been produced commercially, the designer took the risk knowingly when posting the schematic. Hence the trend in the last few years to withold schems by alot of members. each person makes their own decision.

So why do I take a laisse faire attitude about people knowing my circuits>?

The average buyer is interested in WHO they are buying the pedal from. Each company or builder develops its own repuation for style, tone and quality.
Zvex cannot be hurt by cloners in my opinion because he created a product that is so unique in so many ways that a cloner can only hope to capture certain aspects - and the LARGE majority of buyers will spend the $$ to have a REAL one.

Same principle applies to all of us if we choose to produce commercially. Product design, quality of production, artwork, are the stock in trade along with the actual circuit design. It is our responsibility to make the product unique enough and quality enough that the public will reward us by buying the one we make.

I sold a $480 version of the easyface last month. defies logic if all you think about is the circuit design - it's just a barely modded fuzzface, and it is a circuit that thousands of people have had access to for about 6 years. the difference was the artwork, the assembly method and my reputation. the buyer wanted the one that I made.

the internet is a great thing. we have the ability to publicize incredibly for very little cost.
same thing applies to having a circuit 'stolen'. This can also be used to advantage if approached right. All controversy can be used for gain!
if you are a designer who may want to go commercial or have your designs licensed, might be best off to not publish the thing here. but I don't think it is a hard and fast rule - I think that in some cases having your circuit stolen could be a good thing!
it ends for now with this post by Jack Orman:
amz-fx wrote:
aron wrote: I think part of it is that some people are apparently either selling, or passing themselves off as being "knowledgeable" somewhere else, all while profiting from the information that they ask for here. Many of the members here are members on other forums and they see that happening.
Aron,

Here is my personal favorite:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=UoSVAeMCoY4

If they can afford an expensive CNC machine to drill boxes then they can certainly afford to pay a small fee to the people whose circuits then have misappropriated! No excuse

regards, Jack
should bump that thread. That's not really posting, is it?

Let's talk some more, I will go through this thread and remove offensive messages after I get back from the store.

thanks for sharing your thoughts, some that went before had less at stake and couldn't express themselves half as calmly.
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Post by MoreCowbell »

Just a quick comment: Dereck (Tonefreak) is definitely a standup guy. Working with him has been a very good experience. He knows "tone", and knows what he's looking for...and is not too arrogant to ask for help in finding it. I definitely count him among my friends. I like the way he does business, and wish him all the luck in the world.

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Post by tonefreak »

I appreciate the kind words, but my true intent is to encourage meaningful dialog.

Clean Lift is a Jack Orman design sold exclusively thru Japan. Japan wants just a plain vanilla clean boost. I built several and the MOSFET boost by AMZ FX cannot be beat, IMO, in terms of tranparancy and simplicity... it only has one knob!! So I contacted Jack and we have a licensing agreement for Japan only. Clean Lift will not be sold in the US. AMZ FX is even on my PCB... I believe the line reads "2007 Tone Freak, LLC and AMZ FX" or something to that effect.

Dragonfly Distortion is a collaboration between Andy Carrell ("Dragonfly" on DIYStompboxes) and I. I approached Andy after he expressed frustration with builders taking his ideas and not properly giving him credit or compensation. I told him that I wanted to do something that would show both the DIY world and pedal companies that collaboration, not separation, can work. I told him what I had been working on, and asked him to put a spin on it. Andy came thru and now I have a licensing agreement with him on a per unit basis. I won't detail the design out of respect for Andy, but do contact him any time as a reference.

Abunai... as you all know, is a TS808 variant... no secret sauce in there. The Abunai is where it all started... I built this for me originally, and then a combo Fuzz Face/Abunai for my friend Chris Nix.

He really liked it and directed his buddies my direction.

Mostly, people approached me... I didn't go out to ebaY or Craig's List. Japan contacted me because they needed a pedal like this that was more readily available. I'm not sure, but I think Tone Factor contacted me and I made intial contact with pedalGEEK... or vice versa. I decided to go the reseller route because direct orders takes a lot of time. I make less going the reseller route in terms of margin, but I make it up by having more time to build, getting my infrastructure up to speed and do some R&D.

I was very serious about anyone coming by to a visit. You can watch me go thru the finances, schedule parts, coordinate my suppliers, coordinate my PCB assembly house (they stuff the Abunai PCB), design graphics, answer emails, sort parts, and, if you're still awake, watch me build.

Right now, I do depend on people's help. I can't hire extra hands, so I contract out. I spend so much time on biz stuff and building that there is not much time for R&D... hence my collaboration with Andy. Now that I have included an assembly house to stuff the Abunai, I hope to do more breadboarding and real R&D.

But to be quite honest, I really like working with Andy... he is super cool and it's nice to bounce things off someone else instead of doing stuff by yourself all the time. And when the product launches... you share the experience!

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Post by $uperpuma »

As a "extra set of hands" for Dereck, I too have to chime in and expose the fact that he is... a stand up guy, good communication, things done as promised, etc. Just a cool guy to work with.

-Nate

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Post by grolschie »

tonefreak wrote:Wow. Rough room.
Busted!!! I was reading this thread from the beginning today and thinking that this is all just B.S. Next thing, the latest victim walks right into our forum. Do we really want this place to be known for its knifing of the good guys? I see no reason for personal dirt mongering on the honest pedal makers? I mean, ToneFreak even says on his site:
I started building pedals for myself because I wanted to take my guitar tone in my own hands. I shared my creations with my friends, and they started to ask me to build them some. Soon the word spread and before I knew it, my little shop was created. I'm not doing anything ground breaking here, I'm just creating effects based on the classic circuits I love... with some twists!
Lets all just enjoying making stuff and leave the "Tall Poppy Syndrome" stuff to other forums? I agree with Bajamans first post - very well said.

Anyways, welcome to FreeStompBoxes, ToneFreak. I hope that you have not been put off already by others judgement and criticism.

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Post by CS Jones »

wtf... ?

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Post by bumblebee »

This place has already kinda become DIYSTOMPBOXES, it'll get worse too unless we all say fuck it and get on with the reason you guys started this place in the first place.

If i want info or want to contribute info about "censored" circuits that interest me i'll come here, if i want "the young and the restless" i'll go to diy.

I have a low post count at diy but i been there for a long time and i know theres some really good people there that i respect but theres also some drama queens, lets not make this place a stage for their antics!

If this place gets swamped by the goodie two shoes from diy then its no use having this forum.

lets make it right peoples,its a cool place!

:D :D :D :D


EDIT:woops, i posted this in the wrong thread but since i cant find the right thread this can stay here now anyways. :oops:

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Post by modman »

I'm just really surprised that you could make money off exporting modded tubescreamers to Japan. These must be some killer mods. Seriously.

http://www.harrysjp.com/abunai.htm

You guys really got it together it seems, but this really confuses me:
Dragonfly Guitars?
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Post by The Rotagilla »

modman wrote:I'm just really surprised that you could make money off exporting modded tubescreamers to Japan. These must be some killer mods. Seriously.

http://www.harrysjp.com/abunai.htm
Check out the Japan Yen to US Dollar conversion. Now that's serious.

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Post by modman »

431 EUR ????? Didn't even pay attention to that at all. Just before that I was looking at some prices for the Teese compressor dumped at musictoys for $79 before going out of production which I saw for 23,000 yen (half of this Abunai).

So I thought it was about $150.

It's not a bad idea to make them very very expensive then they will catch some attention on the japanese TS market.
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tonefreak
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Post by tonefreak »

modman wrote:431 EUR ????? Didn't even pay attention to that at all. Just before that I was looking at some prices for the Teese compressor dumped at musictoys for $79 before going out of production which I saw for 23,000 yen (half of this Abunai).

So I thought it was about $150.

It's not a bad idea to make them very very expensive then they will catch some attention on the japanese TS market.
I can't dictate what Japan sells them for, but I was hoping for lower prices. Dealer cost is dealer cost, so I don't make any more profit from Japan than I do here in the US.

Another thing they do is compare the Abunai with the LDO... that's a bummer because I've compared them side-by-side and they do not sound alike. It's very misleading. I guess it's my fault for putting a 3-way toggle.

The guy over at Harry's is the same person that brought Keeley, Landgraff, Lovepedal, etc. over to the Japanese market. He knows the Japanese market very well so my stuff got good placement in many of the high end guitar stores through out Japan. 20 units sell out within 3-days of arrival.

Harry's Inc. contacted me, which was a stroke of luck. I'm not sure why they picked me because I was still selling direct at the time and was very unknown. Partnering with Harry's really boosted things for my business in a couple ways.

1) Harry's buys a lot of pedals at a time. I was able to reinvest that money into buying bulk components and hardware to reduce my costs.
2) Having my name all over Japan facilitated more emails from resellers here in the US that wanted to sell my products.

I have a new deal with Japan in that I just send them my stuffed PCBs. They are so close to Taiwan that they can get much better costs on many of the components I use. So Harry's will be doing the assembly of any effect that they want to sell from me. I make much less money, but I save in international shipping costs and can get my stuff to market much faster over there. Harry's has their own mod line called "WEEDS", so they have a very good tech staff.

If there was no Japan, I would probably be still selling direct in very low volumes. Again, the Abunai is a TS808 variant that I personally like the sound of. But most of my modest success was being in the right place at the right time and the will to let other people assemble my product in order to make them more readily available than my competitors.

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Post by tonefreak »

modman wrote:I'm just really surprised that you could make money off exporting modded tubescreamers to Japan. These must be some killer mods. Seriously.

http://www.harrysjp.com/abunai.htm

You guys really got it together it seems, but this really confuses me:
Dragonfly Guitars?
Dragonfly Guitars existed before the Dragonfly Distortion... coincidence that worked out.

There are no killer mods... I'm considering posting my schematic. Abunai, for me, is a great sounding TS808 variant... it's the sound I like and use everday. But, as I have mentioned before, in order to be successful in business you have to do your homework. One of the short comings of some of my competitors is availability... I wanted to avoid waiting lists and this requires to let go some of the assembly responsibilities. Another is total market saturation to where no one reseller makes any money on your stuff because ever reseller has it. Etc., etc.

I have a product that other people seem to like. Japan facilitated an opportunity to bring my stuff to market properly. To achieve any sort of success in business, you have to look at the entire picture and not focus entirely on the product itself.

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Post by markm »

Is the Booster for Japan a stock version of the MosFET Boost?
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Post by tonefreak »

markm wrote:Is the Booster for Japan a stock version of the MosFET Boost?
Yup. I added resistors to eliminate pop, which I understand is now standard on the PCBs that Jack sells, but not present in the original schematics. I made my own PCBs... that ways the look and quality of my PCBs remain consistent between each product.

In Japan, it really is all about the entire package. For my tastes, Jack's boost fit the bill... yes, it not original, but it does exactly what the Japanese like clean boosts to do. Put it in a small enclosure with some clean graphics and they really don't care about the circuit as long as it performs and lasts.

The Japanese love things from the US... jeans, cars, etc. Higher quality effects pedals is a newer market over there. And with the limited availability of my competitors, I was able to get decent market penetration by the mere fact you can get my stuff instead of being on a waiting list.

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Post by vanessa »

[smilie=sleep.gif]

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Post by soulsonic »

Japan does seem like a really great market to sell pedals in. I wonder how it is for Amps over there? The voltages are different there, but that's a minor detail. The biggest thing would probably be the shipping.

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Post by Chas Johnson »

vanessa wrote:[smilie=sleep.gif]
You do seem like a nasty jealous little girl, don't you 'nessy?

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Post by grolschie »

This says it all: LINK

My apologies in advance. :lol:

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