[interview] Cog Effects: Tom George

Here's FXDB's interview with Tom George of Cog Effects.

Cog Effects is owned and run by Tom George in Sheffield, UK, and was formed in 2013.

How did Cog Effects start?

Cog Effects started when I found a lack of bass guitar oriented effects pedals that gave me the tones I was after in my band. It began initially with changes to existing pedals before building them from scratch with changes to allow more freedom over the tones that could be squeezed out. This general theme has carried on into Cog Effects, where a decent proportion of my business is in the form of custom orders to add further scope to the circuits I already offer in my stock range.

Internet helped me a lot: GEOFEX, AMZ and diystompboxes.com provide great resources for the DIY pedal builder, and builders such as SFX Sound, Ruz Guitar Gear and Frequency Central UK have put out pedals I have particularly admired.

Cog EffectsWhere does the name come from?

When registering the birth of my first son I needed to provide my job title for the official record. At the time, my full time job was as a Recruitment Consultant and I didn't like the idea of that appearing on my son's birth certificate (only Estate Agent would have been worse...) and I instead gave "Audio Engineer" as my job title and decided I would put my efforts into developing pedal building from a hobby into a business. COG are my son's initials, and it seemed quite fitting to name it after him!

What sets Cog Effects apart from other builders?

The idea behind Cog Effects was to provide the player with access to the builder, giving a more personal service and the option of affordable custom pedals.

How do you name your pedals?

All my pedal names are Star Wars related - either people, events or starships from the films. I'm a huge Star Wars geek. Sorry!

Can you tell us something about the production process?

Cog Effects Grand TarkinAll pedals are etched, drilled, painted, assembled and tested by one man.

Cog Effects stock pedals are built using chemically-etched Hammond and Eddystone enclosures, professionally fabricated PCBs, and Alpha pots and switches. Custom pedals can vary depending on the specification but generally follow the same building methods.

How important is the look of your pedals?

It is second to the sound, but it's important to me to build a "look" for all my pedals, so even when it isn't a standard finish you know it's a Cog. Almost all my pedals have etched or engraved artwork against a bare metal background for a more "back to basics" vibe.

Is parts selection important?

Of course! If it wouldn't go on my own pedalboard it shouldn't go on anyone else's...

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The pedal I'm most proud of is actually a one-off custom order of a dual bass distortion and fuzz, named "Inertia" by the customer and featuring an 18v Knightfall and a Grand Tarkin Bass Fuzz with the additional tone stack mods first seen on the custom Tarkin I built for Dweezil Zappa.

Cog Effects KnightfallWhich of your pedals was your toughest build?

The "Like Rome" custom pedal was hugely labor-intensive due to the amount of parallel signal processing and routing, so from a pure time perspective this was definitely the toughest build.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The Tarkin and its variants. It takes basis from one of the most loved pedals ever and expands on this to create a new set of fuzz tones, as well as being a fantastic base for modification and customization.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Dweezil Zappa creates the core of his fuzz tones from a combination of his custom dual Tarkin and a Wampler Velvet fuzz and has been very happy with it on his current world tour!

Are you working on any new products?

Many! The Knightfall 66, Windu Fet Boost, and TK-421 are all in the final stages of development to be released in 2014.

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