I’ve been having heaps of fun this year designing the graphics for Tym Guitars new pedal range. For a guitarnerd like me, it’s a dream to design stuff like this and actually see it made… sitting there… a real guitar pedal!
It usually starts with an email from Tim saying …”I’ve designed a new boost/fuzz/etc pedal… could you design me some graphics. The controls are volume/boost/etc. Go nuts.” The printing process is a heat press system that embeds the colour into the steel, and I only have black & red to use, which is fine. The process also kind of blends the red into the black, so I have to watch the fine lines etc so they don’t look too blurry.
The first pedal I designed was the Screaming Muff, which is an EXACT replica of the first generation Big Muff (using original and rare NOS 70′s parts) combined with a Screaming Tree treble booster. The named Screaming Muff sounded pretty awesome too. I kept the look pretty close to the original Big Muff, but different enough to make it look like a Tym pedal. Tim was pretty happy with it, and they sold out pretty quick as he was only able to make 10 pedals. (He only had enough NOS parts for that amount. I said they were rare!)
I had one put aside for me because I know how rare (and expensive) the original Rams Head Big Muffs are, and this is as close to the real thing as I am ever going to get. Some guy offered Tim 700 bucks for my pedal, but Tim said “…nope.” I plugged in the prototype at the shop one day and it nearly blew my face off. The sustain and sheer bass-laden BALLS this pedal puts out is terrifying. It makes my USA reissue Big Muff sound like garbage. Anyone wanna buy a used Big Muff?
The next few pedals I designed were the Human Fly & Boost. The Human Fly was a tribute to Lux Interior of The Cramps who had passed away recently. I based the pedal design on the old movie poster from the 60′s movie, The Fly, and found the font the Cramps used for their logo.With the Boost pedal, instead of the usual guitar pedal graphics, I thought of the rocket booster that the 60′s Batmobile had. It made the pedal look like a comic book cover and it stood out a lot from the usual boost pedals.
I was really happy with the results, though some details got lost in the art due to the heat-printing process. Nothing anyone can notice, but I’m a picky bastard.
I plugged the Boost pedal into Tim’s new SuperTone 40 amp and again was blown away by the sound. It sounded like the perfect JCM800 Marshall. Heaps of clarity but bottom end too. I tried The Human Fly and it is The Cramps in a box. If you love ratty 60′s garage buzz, this pedal has it.
The next few pedals were the Distortion & Buzzrite. With the Distortion pedal, I was stumped for a while as there are a gazillion distortion pedals out there and I wanted this one to look a little different. Later on that week, I was watching an episode of Star Trek and someone said ‘sub-space distortion’. Being a sci-fi nerd I based the pedal on that. I designed a pedal that looked like the cover of those 50′s pulp sci-fi magazines that had killer robots on them, bent of destroying humans and causing general mayhem and destruction. Exactly the same thing this pedal does.
The Buzzrite is Tim’s tribute to the Mosrite Fuzzrite pedal. This was fun as I tried to copy the original Fuzzrite’s design as close as humanely possible. Where the original says ‘fuzzrite by Mosrite of California’, Tim’s says ‘buzzrite by Wosrite of Brisbane, Australia’. I found the exact same fonts as the original and fitted it to Tim’s pedal size. It turned out great.
There’s a few new pedals I’ve designed that haven’t been made yet but are in the works. The SuperfuzzBigMudd is Tim’s tribute to the classic Mudhoney album ‘SuperfuzzBigMuff’ and combines a Super Fuzz and Big Muff pedal into the one beast.