Here's FXDB's interview with David Harrington of Guitar Tone Company.
Guitar Tone Company is run by David Harrington located in Brewster NY (relocated from NYC). He is the sole designer and builder and works by himself.
How did Guitar Tone Company start?
I was running a Recording studio in NYC and had played guitar my whole life. The whole NY scene led to a lot of partying I decided to get totally clean, after I did I needed something to do besides going out. I started making clones of famous pedals, and also reading as much as I could about electronics, but everything I did still had the footprint of a guitar player and engineer that new what good tone was. One day I had an idea to make the ultimate distortion pedal and it was my first original design unlike anything else made. The pedal sounded so good that people started asking me to make them one. I would also test designs out by letting my engineer friends try them. I built a phase filter type pedal and gave it to recording engineer Jamey Staub and he used it on a big album he was doing. But it was so hard to make I never built another one.
I had no background in electronics at all, so first I would say books helped me. Also there was a guy that did maintenance at the Magic Shop recording studio in NYC and I could go to him with questions, he was also making pedals. Also on line DIY sites helped amazingly, all the available schematics were essential to my development.
Originally the company was NYC guitar tone. I moved to Canada for 4 years and tried to expand the company and we came up with that name.
I loved the Ford GT40 sports car and sort of copped the look.
What sets Guitar Tone Company apart from other builders?
Sound like no other.
How do you start on a new pedal?
This is an old design so it is all about the work of making a hand made pedal. Chemicals, glue, etching, soldering, all that crap.
How do you name your pedals?
Super 72 originally was called the Super 70 because the 70's rocked! when I changed the pedal it became the Super 70 two , so I made that the super 72, which was the greatest year for rock records!
Can you tell us something about the production process?
GTC had the boards made overseas, enclosures manufactured. but now everything is just done in my house by hand.
The Bloody Finger is entirely hand made from gluing the enclosure together ,etching the circuit board, and hand soldering, and assembling.
SOOOOOOOO Important my pedals are gorgeous!!!!
Is parts selection important?
YES everything is top shelf.
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
The Super 72 (Bloody Finger) is THE BEST distortion pedal you can get!
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
The Jamey Staubulator. I don't even want to think about it. But it is on a famous record.
Which of your pedals is the most popular?
The Super 72 (Bloody Finger)! most people know it because Billy Corgan said on YouTube it was the best and he has used it on everything .
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
I only make the greatest distortion pedal ever made... because I love the sound, I use the pedal myself and I want other people to dig how great it is.
- James Blood Ulmer: "This pedal is SO good it must be a mistake you made it"
- Billy Corgan: "This is the best lead pedal I ever had"
- T Bone Wolk: " These things are better than anything I heard"
- Andy Taylor: "I loved them, they are part of my studio"
- The Strokes: "what??? that insane distortion thing"
- Mick Taylor: "Can you turn my girlfriend on????"
What does the future of Guitar Tone Company look like?
GTC originally had 3 pedals that can be seen on the website. Robert Randolph and Taj Mahal play the Ball Buster. There was also a Compressor Over Drive called the CO2 and the Super 72. Based on the hype from Billy Corgan the only pedal I am making now is the original 72, but in its pure hand made state. The Super 72 is the same circuit as the Bloody Finger only difference is the Bloody finger is hand made hand etched circuit board with a plexiglass mirrored enclosure.
Are you working on any new products?