[interview] K.S. Aji Tone Workshop: Kintoko S. Aji

Here's FXDB's interview with Kintoko S. Aji of K.S. Aji Tone Workshop:

How did K.S. Aji Tone Workshop start?

Like many other builders, I first started it as a hobby: I was playing guitar and was very curious about guitar sound. I began to dismantle my first OD pedal which is an 80's MXR Distortion+ and learned to build it by myself with modifications to suit my needs.

Seven years ago (2005) I started to modify Boss pedals in my spare time while I was working in a real estate company. I sold those pedals on eBay and the feedback was great, so I tried to sell my own handmade pedal, the Blues Creamer overdrive, which is a derivative of the Tube Screamer.

As time goes on and I get more and more customers with different needs and playing style, I was inspired by them to build different kinds of pedals, now we have at least 12 types of pedals ranging from overdrive/distortion types to modulation to delay/reverb.

I didn't get any help, except from internet and books.

Where does the name come from?

It's my Tone workshop :)

What sets K.S. Aji Tone Workshop apart from other builders?

Our goal has always been the same, to build the best sounding pedals based on famous and vintage stompbox at reasonable price range

How do you name your pedals?

My favorite pedal name is the Trondolo tremolo, Trondolo means bad boy in Javanese language and it sounds similar to the word "tremolo".

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We build them in-house with help from 2 employees.

I build our own PCB's on fiberglass (transparent type), and I print and etch them in our workshop. Most circuits are developed from existing design (well known pedals) that in our opinion have some flaws, we improved the design and are using much higher quality components, better parts and more suitable types of active components (chips, transistors).

All enclosures are Hammond boxes, we are using waterslide decals for the graphics and spray paint them so it would last longer.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Very important, musical instruments are influenced by fashion.

Is parts selection important?

As long it has great quality I will use them.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Maybe the Red Creamer and the Blues Creamer, very versatile overdrives.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The Fuzz FU-223, actually it's the easiest to build but to make them sound great are very challenging.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

Our most popular pedals are the Blues Creamer overdrive, the Red Creamer overdrive and the Echologue delay, those 3 pedals have great reviews from AudioPro magazine (Indonesia) and are most sought after in the secondhand market, as I have limited production.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

No specific genres.

No famous international artist are using our pedals yet, but I have built pedals for many Indonesian top players. I don't do endorsements, but some of Indonesia's famous guitar players use our overdrive pedals as their main OD's.

What does the future of K.S. Aji Tone Workshop look like?

Now I work for a real estate/property developer as deputy director, that really robs my time as a pedal builder, however I still build pedals in my spare  time as my side business.

Currently we don't have any plans to jump into mass production pedals or build a factory, so I just enjoy building the pedal one by one, sell them and have a great time.

Are you working on any new products?

No, but I have plans to build a stereo reverb this year, no need to be rushed, I just want it to be great.

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