[interview] Gig-FX: Jeff Purchon

Here's FXDB's interview with Jeff Purchon of Gig-FX:

How did Gig-FX start?

I used to be a pro musician touring and playing with cats like Noel Redding, Robert Palmer, Buddy Miles, Clive Bunker etc. I played guitar since age 11 and it is a passion of mine. I found the pedals I was using not to be fulfilling and thought I could do better. The Chopper gives sounds I can't get from any other pedal for example as it allows me to pan and chop live so I can sound like some of the vintage recordings. Another example is the VOD - it is a tube-like overdrive with 3-band EQ. Overdrive pedals with mere tone controls drive me crazy - inadequate!

All of the inspiration comes from playing and listening to music, none of it comes from listening to other effects or technical input.

Where do the name and logo come from?

The products are meant to be used at gigs and they are effects hence Gig-FX.

The lines in the logo represent the lines used in music sheets (EGBDF...).

What sets Gig-FX apart from other builders?

  1. The pedals are born out of playing live on stage and getting entertaining sounds
  2. They are light-weight, aluminum, optical - quiet and light!
  3. Aimed at the pros.
  4. The pedal mechanical design is unique - it allows the pedal to have several controls but not occupy any large pedal board space

How do you start on a new pedal?

It takes us two years to develop a new pedal! We get the idea, we mess with circuits, we settle on the features, build a prototype, and then we take the pedal to a roster of pros we know to try out, finally, when we have all the input, we finalize the design, build more prototypes, final test them and only then do we put them in production.

How do you name your pedals?

We name our products by committee. We ask for ideas and then pick one.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We have our own small manufacturing company in Shenzhen, made up of highly competent analog engineers. We have known them for a decade and done lots of business with them. They are honest and very capable.

The casings are aluminium, the switching is all optical, features Better-Than-True-Bypass circuitry. We use surface mount technology because it is more consistent than hand-wired.

How important is the look of your pedals?

VERY!!!! It is our signature. The shape of the pedals is unique, patented and allows more features in a smaller space.

Is parts selection important?

Yes, especially the op amps. Wherever there is gain there is pain, so we try to select the quietest gain blocks. Also the components we choose for the signal path are all 1% tolerance in order to get consistent sound from pedal to pedal.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud and why?

The Chopper - most innovative. The VOD - so damn useful. The Megawah - four wahs in one pedal.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The Prochop was the toughest build. We incorporated a MIDI sync - we are not digital guys so we had to work with external expertise.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The Megawah is our most popular because it kicks ass in the wah department. Has a wider sweep, better low end, is switchless and is quiet.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

We make pedals mostly for working musicians, not so much for the living room players unless they aspire to play live and get the best sounds.

There's a whole list of famous users:

  • Adam Jones - Tool
  • Adrian Belew - King Crimson
  • Ben Curtis - School of Seven Bells / Secret Machines
  • Dan Lawson - Sony Recording Artist
  • Jarred Cannon - Hierosonic
  • Joe Barresi - Anthrax, Weezer, Hole, Skunk Anansie
  • Juan Alderete - The Mars Volta
  • Mark Tremonti - Alter Bridge / Creed
  • Mick Thomson - Slipknot
  • Mike Scott - Justin Timberlake / Prince
  • Nick McCabe - The Verve
  • Paul Rivera Jr. - Rivera amplifiers
  • Peter Frampton, Grammy award winning artist
  • Rene Benton - top industry session guitarist
  • The Artist formerly known as Prince
  • Johnny Hiland - Favored Nations Solo Artist
  • Brett Tuggle - Fleetwood Mac, Coverdale/Page, Vai / Roth
  • Eric Krasno - Soulive
  • Jeff Wooton - Gorillaz, Liam Gallagher
  • John "JT" Thomas - Bruce Hornsby (keyboards)
  • Johnny A - provides reviews of products
  • Jordan Rudess, Dream Theater
  • Mark Wood - Celine Dion, Lenny Kravitz
  • Mike Scott - Justin Timberlake / Prince
  • Neal Evans - Soulive (keyboards)
  • Nick McCabe - The Verve
  • Peter Frampton, Grammy award winning artist
  • Richard Fortus - Guns and Roses
  • Robin Finke, NIN
  • Rudy Guess - Producer, songwriter, Carole King etc
  • Steven Housden, Little River Band, Glen Frey, John Entwhistle
  • Will Calhoun - Living Colour
  • Brett Petrusek - Guitarist, Premier Guitar
  • Cisco Robles, Jr - sessionist, recording artist, producer
  • Dan Lawson - Sony Recording Artist
  • Dave Hutchings
  • Dave Spencer - Deepest Symphony
  • Doctah B Sirius
  • Ed Supple - LA session guitar player
  • Freddie Fox - Pro jazz guitarist, Orleans label
  • Galo Rivera - Pro guitarist
  • Gary Hoey, Peavey artist, Sony Records
  • Ivo Magalhaes - Lullabye from Portugal
  • Mario Hebert, guitarist Cirque Du Soleil
  • Mike McClean, session bassist, Austin
  • Paul Allen, Ten Finger Orchestra
  • Rob Daniels, guitarist with Jimmy Wayne
  • Semiramos Carvalho - guitarist
  • Thaddeus Hogarth - Berklee Professor and performing artist
  • Vernon Reid, Living Color
  • Jeff Wooton - Gorillaz, Liam Gallagher
  • Steve Stevens - Billy Idol / Michael Jackson / Robert Palmer
  • Bootsy Collins
  • Jean Baudin - 10 String Bass Virtuoso
  • Luis Espaillat - Nashville bassist, Jimmy Wayne and others
  • Thee Ram Jam (Bootsy Collins)
  • Brett Tuggle - Fleetwood Mac, Coverdale/Page, Vai / Roth
  • Cisco Robles, Jr - sessionist, recording artist, producer

What does the future of Gig-FX look like?

We are a small company intending only to launch products that are inspired and different. We have no desire to become a me-too effects house. We have several new product ideas in the works.

Are you working on any new products?

The Variable Echo will be a pedal like no other delay. The sound is so ambient and dreamy and controllable with an on-board expression pedal.

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