Here's FXDB's interview with Erik Jarvi of Inductor Guitars.
Inductor Guitars is run by Erik Jarvi, out in Warrenville, IL about 30 miles west of Chicago. Erik makes pedals, low wattage amps and - sometime in the future - guitars.
How did Inductor Guitars start?
While trying to prototype a guitar - which is on the back burner now - I needed a product to compliment it. Out of that came the MP-1, a Harmonic Percolator clone, with more pedals to follow. I started tinkering with electronics from my time as an audio engineer, starting with repairs and lots of bad cables. It's only a hop and a skip to build fuzz pedals from there.
I didn't get any direct help, but I stand on the shoulders of giants, I've read lots and lots and studied fuzz circuits from the online communities. Building fuzz pedals IMHO is all about putting your own personal sound/idea/touch/mojo to a circuit - Doing something new to an old circuit, or building my own designs with a heavy nod to the classics while adding something unexpected/quirky/hey_this_sounds_good!
The name of the company was the last thing to be decided upon. I was looking at varitone circuits and different ways to add inductors to guitar tone circuits. I wanted an name to denote electric guitars as opposed to acoustics and thought since pickups use Faraday's Law of Induction, Inductor Guitars! Usually my method of naming have long convoluted series of in-jokes that nobody gets but me. Meanings within meanings within meanings.
I wanted a logo that incorporated the electrical symbol of an inductor and I have a friend Marc Ludena over at bassline shift design whip it up. I think he did a great job! He also put together the MP1 artwork.
What sets Inductor Guitars apart from other builders?
Right now as the company stands, my personal views on how fuzz pedals sound sets me apart from everyone else. The future is wide open...
How do you start on a new pedal?
I have too many ideas and not enough time! I come up with an idea, do some web research on that idea, then bread board or go right to a prototype... It can takes months for an idea to come to completion.
The MP-1 started life out as the French Press a word play on Harmonic Percolator, but soon before it was released I changed to to the Mellifluous Pussy, more corny word play with a nod to the Pussy Fuzz. The Pussy Fuzz was a 3 or 4 off pedal that Mr. Bill built for Pussy Galore as gifts from Steve Albini.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
So far it's just me in house, if my dogs had thumbs they'd be put to work so I can relax and watch my soap operas all day.
The first batch of MP-1's were all hand wired, but I'm going to go to PCB's. The enclosures are standard Hammond clones from Small Bear Electronics.
As far as artwork - they are vinyl stickers, but soon I'll have an announcement about a limited edition line.
How important is the look of your pedals?
Well I'd love to say NONE, but I've spent way to many days worrying about the looks of my pedals, but now I think I've come up with a "standard" look. More info to come later as I announce the limited editions pedals.
I get the best possible parts that I can 1% metal film resistors, avoiding electrolytics in the audio path, etc. (Yes there is one carbon resistor in the MP-1) I don't skimp on these. The MP-1 uses NOS 2n404a's even though they are hard to find and expensive.
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
So far the MP-1, my only product!Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
So far my pedals are my own tastes, but willing to hear what my customers want.
I heard through the grape vine that Surfer Blood used my MP-1 as a bass fuzz channel on their next album. And just today Phil Karnats from The Secret Machines emailed me about how the MP-1 is now on his pedal board as his number one fuzz.
"Your pedal sound like dirty crap but in a good way!" - Made up quote.
What does the future of Inductor Guitars look like?
We, me and the dogs, are currently planning on building our company to keep the dogs fed and soldering iron on. We're doing it so far!
Are you working on any new products?
Yup! I have plenty of ideas but the next one out is an all germanium fuzz that should cut through a mix. It's based a idea of my own with all Russian transistors with germanium diodes, an inductor thrown in for good measure. I'd like it to be out by early October 2012...