[interview] Trachouse Pedals: David W. Aucoin

Here's FXDB's interview with David W. Aucoin of Trachouse Pedals:

How did Trachouse Pedals start?

I couldn't find a boost pedal that I liked so I decided to take an electronics course. I went on line and took an electronics course with Penn Foster online school. After taking the course I started messing with some pedals I had and learning as much about circuits and designs as I could. Soon I became familiar with circuitry and how things worked along with a talent to solder pretty well.

After about 8 months of working on a boost layout that would make a solid state amp sound like a tube amp I was happy with one breadboard attempt. I then put the circuit together and tested the pedal. I tweaked it a couple of times and then finally I had the sound I was looking for. I put it together in a metal enclosure and took it to a gig. The bass player noticed that my rig sounded different and commented about it. The same night a musician was in the crowd and came up to me at break to ask how do I make two solid state amps sound like tube amps. I told him I made this boost pedal. He asked me to make him one. I made him one and after that he told someone else and so it went on from there.

I discovered that others wanted a boost pedal like mine more that I realized. Word of mouth, eBay and free ads is all I do. Now I have waiting list.

I have a full time job. I play for enjoyment on weekends with a band that plays a couple of times a month at the most. I write music when I get a chance. I am very active in my Praise band at church. Basically I keep thing sort of laid back. People do like my pedals and since 2008 I have only had one that came back because of an led problem and a couple that came back because they though it was a distortion pedal. So I take pride in that fact and I put a lot of time in building my pedals.

Later I also made me a fuzz pedal that will compress when volume is cranked on guitar and soon found out that a lot of others wanted a fuzz that reacts like that also. It compresses at full on fuzz. The fuzz will sometimes pickup radio noise but if a customer contacts me I can help them solve the problem most of the time by pedal placement techniques.

Thus I am a pedal maker by default. I have been pretty much a lone ranger purely because I started off mainly for my own personal interest. The only other things that have helped me was the internet with the vast amount of information and forums that people post on. Like I mentioned before I started making pedals for my own interest and others heard and asked me to build them a pedal or two or modded something for them.

Where do the name and logo come from?

I came up with the name Trachouse solely because I liked the sound and wanted something different. I have a slogan 'Stay on trac with Trachouse Pedals'. I left the 'k' off because the domain for Trackhouse was taken.

I had an artist in Walker LA, where I live, design the logo. I gave her free reign to design the whole look of my pedals now.

What sets Trachouse Pedals apart from other builders?

  1. I want my customers to but completely satisfied or money back with no questions asked.

  2. I still make every pedal I sell and take great care and pride in each pedal.

How do you start on a new pedal?

I build each pedal one at a time. No mass production. It takes me approx. 2 hours to make one pedal.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

Everything is produced by me, David W. Aucoin.

Trachouse Pedals are totally handmade. I uses stripboard and totally point to point hand wiring. I use top quality parts.

Enclosures are professionally painted. They are finished with decals on top, which are of high quality, durable and professionally done.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Well interesting question. I started off with a plain enclosure and then as time went on several customers said they would pay more for a better looking pedal. Trachouse pedals are now painted and have a very clean look.

However some customers do still want the old plain look at the same price I charge for the painted. So I build both.

Is parts selection important?

I have used the same components that are in the original pedals on my board from day one. I will always keep the exact sound no matter what.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Of course my first pedal I made. The Cream boost. I have so many people email me about this pedal and how it has made their rigs come alive.

Very proud of that pedal. Yes!

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

I haven't gotten to that point yet. Like stated earlier I do this for my enjoyment so it hasn't been very difficult since I have the time for trial and error.

I do think as things move on and as I get a little involved with time delay effects I will have more of a challenge.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The Cream boost. It stands out because after you learn how to set your amp and guitar volume with the pedal your 1st, 2nd and 3rd string are now boosted in a way that is hard to describe.

Normally in a rig your 4th,5th and 6th string stand out so much the higher strings won't cut through but with the Cream boost it will. Someone only has to try it and see.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

I made the pedals I have for my own taste:

I have reviews on my site. A few players have endorsed my pedals.

What does the future of Trachouse Pedals look like?

Like I have said from the beginning I got started making pedals by others hearing my sound. So I will continue to make these pedals but have no plans to try to go to another level. Mainly because I wouldn't know how anyway. I am not a business man. But I do know that people love the boost and fuzz pedals I make and I am grateful for that.

In the future I will look at a distortion/overdrive because of so many request.

Are you working on any new products?

By mid 2012 I hope to have my new pedal the 'Jaffa Drive'.

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