Building a Pedal

I have learned in the last 7 years that building a pedal like the Effigy Control Pedal is hard.  Designing it was even harder.  It would have been impossible without my friend Face, co-founder of Effigy Labs.  He's a world-class musician, music producer, studio engineer, and composer, to name a few of his titles.  He's doing the selling and quality checking, and I'm doing R&D, Product Management, and Operations.

Taking the Effigy Control Pedal from concept to available-for-sale products has been a challenging and rewarding journey.  I've learned a lot about hardware, software, and business.  I will try to share the highlights of Effigy's journey in my blog.

It really started with two main ideas:  ergonomics and performance.  We looked around at the current technology and didn't see a lot of progress.  Take for instance, one of the most common pedals still for sale today, the "crybaby" wah pedal.  It's several inches tall at it's lowest point.  If you've ever played one, you know all about how limiting this asymmetrical way of standing for long periods of time can be.  You can't just stand on your wah pedal all the time, at least I can't; my hip gets sore. 

And so on, so we started saying things like "Why don't we make something flatter?"  As time went on, we started saying "and while we're at it, let's do better than what's out there".  This led to discussions of the nature and performance of MIDI control surfaces.  Face was disappointed in the progress here too.  Sure, there are aftertouches and soft pads on many devices, but they are all, compared to Face's vision, very low-res.  His descriptions of the current technology reminded me of something Richard Feynman said, about doing something well vs. doing it at all[1].  It was, he analogized, like a dog playing checkers - if you see a dog playing checkers, it doesn't matter how well he's doing it, it's that he's doing it at all!  The MIDI controllers out there are cool because they're doing it at all.  Waiting for something to come along and do it well.  I have brought this pedal to the world because I want to bring the world a new way to play.  I hope you all like it too, and if you do I'll keep making them.  Thanks for now.

[1] - "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman"

Jody Roberts