[interview] Option 5: Jay Woods

Here's FXDB's interview with Jay Woods of Option 5:

How did Option 5 start?

When I was 13, I had my amp blow up on me. I used my limited electronic knowledge (I had a small foundation of it at the time.) to repair the amp. My distortion pedal I owned sounded terrible. I decided that if I could repair an amp that I could also design my own effects. Work on the Destination Overdrive actually began when I was 16 (19 years ago!!).

I had been modding amps and building effects since 1995 but Option 5 "officially" began in 2002.

I have a relationship with a few guys that have inspired me. They either reached out to me, or me out to them. None of them influenced my designs, but more-so the way I represented my company and went about doing business. Among these awesome, influentual guys are:

If I missed anyone, I apologize - you were, most likely, equally important.

Where do the name and logo come from?

While laying out my business plan in 2002, I wrote down several options. Upon choosing Option number 5, I exclaimed, "Option 5 it is!" Another person in the room said, "That sounds like a good company name." I agree and the rest is, as they say, history.

I just wanted to have a logo that solidified my original slogan, which is this: Solid. Simple. Reliable. 

I wanted the logo to say those things. Two years ago, I changed the "t" in the logo to a cross, which represents my faith in Jesus Christ and that I want to honor him in all that I do with the business.

What sets Option 5 apart from other builders?

Original designs in a clone market. That is not to bash cloners, it just sets Option 5 apart from most "boutique" builders (not all).

How do you start on a new pedal?

  • Past designs that re-surface.
  • Customer/friend suggestion.
  • Inspiration from all sorts of places - music - dreams - chit chat with musicians, etc...

Names can be fun but most of them need to sound good with "Destination" in front of them, since that was established from the get-go for Option 5's pedals.

Idea to Production can take anywhere from 2 months to 3 years! It just depends on the hurdles and blessings that I am presented with throughout the course of the design experience.

How do you name your pedals?

I remember coming up with "Destination" when I realized that this (making musical products) was what I was purposed to do. It was my "destination." I am not certain when I decided to begin every pedal name with "Destination" but it is now and shall remain as far as I know.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

Pedals built in house. I have up to 5 guys helping me at any given time, depending on orders, etc..

Circuits are high quality, doubles sided, PB free, FP4 PC boards, hand stuffed and soldered by a real human being.

Enclosures, at this time, are bought and then drilled at my 2nd cousin's machine shop. We use vinyl decals made by a local company for our pedals.

How important is the look of your pedals?

I always wanted to convey the "Solid. Simple. Reliable." thing, so the look is important. I wanted them to look professional but also wanted them to look hand-built. I think there is room for improvement even now but I do not wish to leave behind the simplicity of the look.

How important is parts selection?

My designs stem from all my years of repairing amps and effects. I have seen most of the major pit-falls and why things fail. I avoid those design philosophies and incorporate all the reliable techniques I have been exposed to. That is the major design concept for Option 5. I have also discovered that some components do sound better than others and some have less noise, etc... those are also implemented in our designs and remain quite important.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The Destination Overdrive II is my favorite pedal because that is where this all came from. It may be an unsung hero just waiting to be discovered.

I am very happy with the Destination Rotation Single because it has been, up to this point, the biggest seller.

I am excited about the Destination Delay x2 because it has the potential for really taking off. The DDX2 took some really fancy designing and was a major accomplishment for me and Option 5.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The DDX2 was the toughest build because of space constraints, features, dead-lines, and faulty components that I had no control over. It was a beautiful nightmare with positive results. I enjoyed the struggle most days. It was a real challenge, but as many things are in life, the struggles strengthen and build your character. I believe Option 5 got some growth out of the struggles from the DDX2.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The Destination Rotation Single is my most popular product. It stands out because when I started building them, there were not a lot of Leslie sims in pedal form. Now there are a ton. I feel like I had alot to do with that movement, beginning with my original Destination Rotation, but continuing on with the DRS.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Option 5 caters to a broad spectrum of tasty-tone seekers that don't mind paying for quality and attention to detail, built in the US products.

I made a pedal for Johnny Hiland. It was stolen before he could get it :( I will probably make him another soon. I am currently working on designs for 2 huge artists. I cannot discuss the details of either project.

What does the future of Option 5 look like?

Advertising campaign underway.

Designing currently:

  • Destination Fuzzbender
  • Destination Motorvation (distortion)
  • Destination Tremulation (tremelo)
  • Destination Rotation Double (Dual Leslie sim)

Big plans, Option 5 is still alive :)

Are you working on any new products?

  • Destination Fuzzbender - Before year end.
  • Destination Motorvation (Distortion) - Before year end.
  • Destination Tremulation (Tremelo) - Before year end.
  • Destination Rotation Double (Dual Leslie Sim) - Just after year end.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Also check out Effects Database's social media accounts: