I took EVERYTHING I have learned from building thousands of pedals, from circuit design and tone to quality components, assembly methods, as well as the hidden costs in inventory management and distribution, and distilled it all into a new pedalboard friendly format I am calling the “Live Series”.
I had three primary goals when designing the Live Series:
QUALITY - The Live Series takes VFE Pedals already high standard for quality from our standard lineup and kicks it up a level by using a glass-reinforced substrate in the potentiometers and hand-wired Switchcraft audio jacks. Read more about the component and construction quality of the Live Series in the “Components & Construction” section below.
USABILITY - From the large, solid metal knobs to the simple, clean layout, the Live Series was designed to be as intuitive as possible. The goal is make each pedal easy enough to operate and dial in without the need for a manual (though one is included). Top-mounted jacks were chosen for quick & compact setup on a pedalboard, while the control layout and tapers were designed to make finding the perfect tone as easy as the twelve-bar blues.
AFFORDABILITY - By using a direct-only model that is built in limited, unique runs, the Live Series cuts out all extra costs that are not related to product quality or tone. By using this method you, the player, save 25-40% (yes, you read that right) off what the standard distribution and inventory cost model would dictate.
4 pedals will be available in the first run, but an additional pedal will become available at each of the $5K, $10K, and $15K backing levels. New paint colors will also be available at these backing levels.
AVAILABLE LIVE SERIES PEDALS
MORE PEDAL OPTIONS
Looking for something different? I plan to develop many new Live Series pedals in 2016, but for the sake of this Kickstarter, I can convert most standard series VFE pedals into the Live Series format. Email me at email@example.com to see if there is another pedal in the standard VFE lineup that you'd like to have made in the simpler, more affordable Live Series format.
Please note that the shipment date will likely be in March/April for any conversion requests, and DIY requests will likely not include full documentation (just an unpolished schematic & parts list). All conversion requests must be approved by Peter via email.
COMPONENTS & CONSTRUCTION
All Live Series pedals are built with the following components, construction methods, and unique features. All Live Series pedals are powered by the industry standard, 2.1mm pin, center-negative power supply (voltage range varies by pedal, but all will work on 9V). NO BATTERY POWER!
- Low tolerance, glass-reinforced Vimex potentiometers
- Large 20mm, solid metal knobs
- Hammond 1590BS diecast enclosure
- Rugged Carling momentary footswitch
- Hand-wired Switchcraft audio jacks
- DualMode momentary switching option
- Non-latching relay automatically bypasses the pedal if power is lost (this feature only works in true bypass mode, not in buffer mode)
- 1% metal film resistors and 5% metal film capacitors
- USA-made, double side plated circuit boards
- Built by hand in Puyallup, WA
Backers will get to choose from 6 enclosure colors and 6 knob colors...at first. 3 additional enclosure colors will be available at each of the $5K, $10K, and $15K backing levels.
DIY KITS & CIRCUIT BOARDS
For the first time ever, I am offering both circuit boards and barebone DIY kits to Kickstarter backers. This is a test run to gauge interest in a regular DIY option for Live Series pedals when regular production begins.
CIRCUIT BOARD ($15 level) - Your choice of one Live Series circuit board. Includes switching system micro controller (with DualMode switching), and downloadable .pdf document with detailed parts list, schematic and more.
BAREBONE DIY KIT ($49 level) - Your choice of one Live Series barebone DIY pedal kit. Barebone DIY kits do Include the enclosure (your choice of color), circuit board, Carling footswitch, pots, knobs (your choice of color), jacks, LED (your choice of color), LED bezel, switching system micro controller (with DualMode switching), and downloadable .pdf document with detailed parts list, schematic and more. These pedal kits DO NOT INCLUDE the small, inexpensive circuit components or a graphic print.
BTDR-3H REVERB BRICK ($17 extra) - Add a BTDR-3H reverb brick to your Ravine delay + reverb barebone kit or PCB at the $32 or $66 levels.
Technical support is not offered beyond the documents provided for DIY builders. If you have never built a DIY kit before, I recommend purchasing the pedal fully assembled. If you are unable to successfully build the pedal, I won't be able to help!
All DIY kits can be returned for a $25 credit towards a purchase of any VFE product - even if the kit is returned partially or fully assembled.
While there are no demo videos out yet for the new Live Series pedals, there are many demos of the standard series pedals that the first set of Live Series pedals is derived from. For this Kickstarter campaign, all pedals available will be derived from a standard series pedal - so you can have a reference point for the tone of each Live Series pedal offered here.
MERMAID - Derived from the Merman transparent overdrive
STANDOUT - Derived from the Focus mid booster
RED WOLF - Derived from the Alpha Dog vintage distortion
RISE & FALL - Derived from the Old School vintage tremolo
RAVINE - Derived from the Yodeler delay + verb
- Kickstarter campaign begins November 7
- Kickstarter ends on December 2 (my birthday!)
- Mid-to-late December - receive enclosures & circuit boards
- Late December - begin assembly of circuit boards
- Early January - receive first shipment of Vimex potentiometers
- Mid-to-late January - finish building and shipping early bird pedals, circuit boards and barebone DIY kits
- February - finish building and shipping all remaining rewards
The primary goal of this campaign is expand the Live Series pedal lineup through a crowdfunding campaign. Once we reach the initial $2500 level, I will give more specific information about the stretch goals to expand and improve the Live Series.
Here are is a summary of the stretch goals:
- New effects added to the lineup at $5K, $10K, and $15K
- New color options added at $5K, $10K, and $15K
- Mod ideas included with DIY kits & circuit boards (50+ combined backers of the two DIY levels).
5 QUESTIONS FOR PETER
In the video below, I answer these 5 questions...unscripted...so it's kinda long (15 minutes). Enjoy!
- What inspired you to play guitar?
- What got you into building guitar pedals?
- What about guitar pedal design surprised you?
- Why did you design the Live Series pedal format?
- What is unique about the Live Series?
Risks and challenges
Because the pedals in this project are derived from previously established products, the biggest design challenges have already been addressed, and key parts are already on order. So the only real challenge is to meet the promised deadlines for shipping backer rewards.
Here is are some possible scenarios that could delay the shipment of your reward:
#1 - Parts do not arrive on time. In particular, the Vimex pots are not scheduled to arrive until early January. If this order is delayed, which is possible due to the high demand on the manufacturer leading up to the Chinese New Year, production will be delayed accordingly. If this happens, backers will have a choice on whether to receive their rewards on time with Alpha pots or wait for the glass-reinforced Vimex pots.
#2 - Orders of my other products exceed my production capacity, which may slow down overall production. My production schedule priority will go to filling backer rewards, so even if this does happen, it should not cause a lengthy delay.
#3 - January is the first month that my wife returns to work after a few months of maternity leave. The adjustment to a new daily rhythm and schedule may reduce my time in the shop, slowing down production.
- (26 days)