Here's FXDB's interview with Alexander Rastopchin of Rastop Designs:
How did Rastop Designs start?
I've been building effects since I've started playing guitar - back in the early seventies.
I was inspired by all early guitar effects - from fuzzes to phasers and all. But the strongest inspiration I was getting from listening/watching guys like Page, Beck, Hendrix, Zappa (too many to list all) and trying to translate the sound into the building blocks of electronics.
Where do the name and logo come from?
Rastop - is my artistic name, short from the full Rastopchin, designs - because I design them.
The AR (my initials) star logo was designed by Belarussian designer Vladimir Tsesler.
What sets Rastop Designs apart from other builders?
I play through my pedals more than other builders do, tend not to follow the trends/hype, build each pedal and treat it like a child of mine.
How do you start on a new pedal?
Like I mentioned before - THE SOUND in your head, you want it, you design it, prototype it, build it, take to the gig, and start all over again. Names come from chip types, classic effects, sounds, exterior ("tweedy")
Takes from one day to lifetime to perfect it.
How do you name your pedals?
The "Tweedy" is naturally covered in real tweed (just like 57 Bassman...)
The 60's Fuzz nickname is "Hello, I love you", after the Doors song.
The "Octafussy": James Bond meets Roger Mayer
Can you tell us something about the production process?
Everything is built in-house.
All pedals are hand-wired (some SMT's and PCB's, but all pots etc. are off-board. The enclosures are mostly Hammond ( or Hammond knockoffs) drilled at the shop. I use mostly natural aluminum, sprayed colors and custom real tweed cover to finish the enclosures. No decals/paintings.
How important is the look of your pedals?
Not the first priority, I like the face without mascara...
How important is parts selection?
All parts are selected accordingly to their schematic destination. Signal path, timing, filtering and so on. Design is important to avoid specs shift.
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
Proud of all distortions/fuzzes - all are different sounding beasts, some
are perfect for studio because of noise reduction, some are just very
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
Technically, I'd say Super Divider (and Bass Divider), phaser/tremolo and ring modulator.
Which of your pedals are the most popular?
Super Divider, Tweedy, Ring Modulator, Envelope Follower.
With the Super Divider, those who mastered it get the most incredible sounds.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
No specific genre/public.
I didn't really sell directly to famous players, though I'm aware of some resold pedals ending up in notable studios.
What does the future of Rastop Designs look like?
With all billions of gadgets available on the market today, I still keep building simple, but different boxes and I'll stick to it.
Are you working on any new products?
Just finished a new Fuzz/Octave/Schmitt trigger box. A nice show-off of NOS Russian Germanium transistors.