Fret-Ware Machine Gun Repeat



This Fret-Ware ( Fret-Ware brand is the copyright of Don Audio) 'Machine Gun Repeat' guitar effect pedal was hand-made by me (Don) at the Don Audio music shop in Leeds, England in 1995.

The prototype effect was originally designed for my own use but the first one sold was to John Squire of the Stone Roses.

He bought Ser No: 2002 in 1995, as a custom order and specified that his pedal was to be in a plain box with no artwork or labeling at all (the serial number wasn't stamped on the box either) and it had a latching switch fitted instead of the standard originally intended momentary switch.

He used the effect quite a lot & he continued to use this sound effect after forming the Sea Horses. You can hear this effect clearly on the song Suicide Drive ( 2:46 seconds in) on the 'Do It Yourself' album which was released in 1997. I'm not absolutely certain if he used the pedal for this, or got recording studio engineers to do a recreation of it with 'gates' - & I never thought to ask Martin his guitar tech at the time. The pedal was certainly used in the latter Stone Roses live performances & on this recording it certainly does sound like my pedal ).

These pedals along with other models were made in very small quantities usually to special order. Most of them (other models included), were sent to a dealer in Japan.

This effect is essentially a simple volume chopping sound effect. The original idea was to replicate the effect obtained by flicking the guitar pickup selector (as you can with a guitar which has independent volume controls for the pickups - but you can't with a 'Strat' type guitar) to get an on/off effect but with the advantage of a much wider speed range, which on higher speed settings gives the 'Machine Gun' effect.

It is somewhat similar to a tremolo pedal but slightly more complicated as it has a mark-space ratio which is not 50% and it has a more severe & greater effect depth than a tremolo pedal does even at full depth setting.The controls are extremely simple... a speed control and a momentary footswitch (so the effect only comes on * while you're standing on the switch. It is powered by a single PP3 battery but also has an input socket for using a regulated 9volt D.C. power supply.

If set on a very low speed with a thin clean guitar sound, arpeggios sound not unlike a banjo. A fairly useless sound effect and quite difficult to play but the best result (a completely different sound) is obtained by putting a good distortion pedal in front of it, then it can help give all sorts of interesting harmonic overtones. With a distortion pedal which is set to also give a volume boost the off period of the chopped sound is not fully off & some sound breakthrough is heard which makes for a smoother overall tone.

A ruggedly designed & built pedal with the electronics (old fashioned - all transistor analogue circuitry) completely sealed in resin - so drinks spilt over the pedal won't kill it & components won't fall off the board as can happen with some / most other pedals - even the label is printed on the reverse side of tough clear plastic (Lexan) , so it won't wear away with regular scratching from shoes. About the worst that can happen to this pedal is that the speed pot or a jack socket could get broken, or the switch wears out (all are easily replaceable with readily available parts).

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