Here's FXDB's interview with Vyacheslav Groshev of Grosheff.
Grosheff is run by Vyacheslav (Ches) Groshev
in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine.
How did Grosheff start?
I became interested in radio electronics about 14 years old. Then my mother gave me my first acoustic guitar, so I learned to play it and a bit later I saw a simple fuzz-box circuit in the radio magazine. I was very impressed with the idea of getting a variety of new sounds from a simple guitar sound.
I began the first experiments on the creation of such devices. After high school, I enrolled at the Radio Engineering Faculty of the Polytechnical Institute. After graduating from the institute in 1984, I worked as a designer at a large radio factory and, at the same time, played guitar in a local jazz band.
In 1985 I started the first serious experiments on the design of guitar pedals. In 1987 I met a man named Sergey Zapolskiy, who also played guitar and in the same year we established a joint commercial project for the production of guitar pedals, which we called simply – "G'n'Z". I was engaged in the designing and manufacture of electronic circuits, and Sergey was producing beautiful bodys for the pedals. In addition Sergey tested our pedal in real conditions, did expert evaluation of their sound and gave his recommendations. I listened and thought and... did something in my own way again. We sold quite a lot of pedals.
After the victory of the West in the Cold War (in 90's) and the collapse of the Soviet Union the economical situation in our country has drastically changed. In early 2000's, Sergey concentrated on his work as a guitar player in the band, and I continued to produce pedals under the GROSHEFF brand.
It's my last name, written in the Western manner for easier pronunciation.
What sets Grosheff apart from other builders?
My pedals sound differently from other. You can achieve a significantly larger number of shades of sound from my pedals.
How do you start on a new pedal?
The idea of a new sound comes into my head (or I hear good sounding guitar somewhere) and I want to realize that sound (or something just as good). At the same time the functional schematic of the future device and some features of functional units of the scheme are formed in my head (this is professional). All of this has been heavily criticized and gradually matures. Only later I start to draw the scheme and solder it. Then comes the step of making changes to the original schematics in order to achieve the desired sound. Finally there's the phase of testing with different guitars and amps. And after that the production can start.
The entire process usually takes 1-2 months.
How do you name your pedals?
I try to match the pedal name to the character of the sound and purpose of the pedal.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
Yes, I build my pedals just by myself in-house.
Circuits are hand made on PCB, the enclosures are bought and painted by hand.
How important is the look of your pedals?
Of course important. But in reality, their beauty is limited to my real technological capabilities and the limited budget for external design.
Is parts selection important?
I made radio-electronic devices already for a long time. I know what components and brands of parts in the local market are the most reliable and good. Therefore I only use those. Price, of course, is also important, I'm guided by the economic laws.
Sometimes I see pedals that I made 20 years ago under the “G'n'Z” brand. Sometimes they need to have a button or connector replaced, but the electronics continued to work.
All of them. They are like different own children.
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
The tube pedals: Metal Head and Rising Sun Drive. In addition to the fairly complex schemes they have internal transformer voltage charge. Transformers I also reel up by myself.
Which of your pedals is the most popular?
The reason (in my opinion) is good sound (falling into the category of popular) at a rather low price.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
I manufactured mostly only OverDrive and Distortion, but for different musical styles.
There is at least one musician of international level, using my "Big Drive" - Vitaly Makukin. You can watch a lot of his music videos on Youtube.
In October of 2005 I had a short conversation with Jim Marshall (he was at the exhibition in Kiev, as I did). He expressed his approval of my work. I think it's a blessing.
I made the pedals as good as I can. I made my pedals because... I can't "not make them": it lives inside of me. All pedals are made by my hands, tested by me. In existing economical conditions in my country, I do not plan to expand production. This is a single manual production. I guarantee the quality of each pedal assembly.
The model number will vary in accordance with the requirements of the times and progress in terms of the modern guitar sound.
I think that I will make the pedals to the end of my days. :)
Are you working on any new products?
Yes, now I'm working on a pedal that will be called “Burn”. It will be an analog emulator of different guitar overdrive sounds by Ritchie Blackmore. I think, it will take a couple of months to finish it.