Here's FXDB's interview with Yusuke Tanaka of Ovaltone:
How did Ovaltone start?
I was a guitar player and I didn't like effect pedals. I have always performed only with a guitar and amplifier.
But at a certain moment it became difficult for me to carry my amplifier, so I had to buy a good driver pedal. I tried many pedals but I could get no satisfaction from any of them so I decided to make a pedal by myself.
Our main inspiration was the information on Internet.
I wanted to make pedals that feel natural. The shape of an egg is very natural, so I chose Ovaltone.
I live in near the sea and there are many surfboard shops there and subconsciously I was influenced by the logos of those shops.
What sets Ovaltone apart from other builders?
How do you start on a new pedal?
I imagine the kind of effect guitar players want to use, or I hear an impression of it and make a prototype after that image.
I modify the prototype until the sound I want comes out of it. Sometimes that means I have to start all over.
Next I eliminate the negative elements (noise,difficulty,...) as much as possible without losing the sound.
How do you name your pedals?
There is no formula. They are associated with the sound of the pedals or how they feel.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
Everything is done in-house.
Only one builder makes all the circuits, hand-wired. The enclosures are bought, then sanded, spray painted and finished with decals.
I think that effects pedals are a bit like boys' toys.
I do not want to make pedals which are expensive because of their appearance, but I like to give the coolest possible looks as far as this doesn't impact the price too much.
Is parts selection important?
Since certain parts have an impact on the character of the sound, the part best suited for that location in the circuit is used.
I don't use NOS or vintage parts because I want to make the same pedals for all customers.
I am proud of all pedals that get good feedback.Which of your pedals is the most popular?
THe OD-FIVE 2: it has a nice sound, enough gain and 2 channels with independent controls.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
Our pedals are used by some great Japanese studio musicians:
What does the future of Ovaltone look like?
At the moment we only work by mail order, so I would like to have a place for customers who want to try our pedals
Are you working on any new products?Yes:
- Booster for ultra-gain
- Driver for session
- Super Fat Overdrive