For guitarists, the names Boss, Electro-Harmonix, and MXR are seen as easily accessible and commonplace brands for tone manipulation. Easy to demo and try out at your local GC store. …But what about the unsatisfied musician who wants to dig deeper? Indie pedal-makers and DIY hobbyists are a growing number in the music tech scene. Some would even say we’re going through a gear renaissance right now, and who are we to dispute that? Let’s be real, if you wanted to make the perfect pedal, wouldn’t you want to market it? Knowledge on the topic is so abundant over the internet, that only a few late nights of research can give you a push into the world of potentiometers, PCB’s, diodes and beyond.
The problem for the rest of us less-savvy tone snobs, is that we’re usually in X part of the world, and they’re sometimes many miles, if not states away at location Y. Main Drag Music is a store dedicated to the more eclectic rockers. You can find them tucked away in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, a stones throw away from the East River. Main Drag has an annual get-together of pedalsmiths large and small during their Stompbox Expo.
I had the chance to be a part of Expo last weekend, as a product specialist for a small company called Valeton. We were one among dozens of other bright-eyed manufacturers looking to strut their stuff. The best part about it, many of the smaller indie guys came from mostly all corners of the country, some even came from as far as France.
Expo opened at about noon on Saturday, and a rush of people came in, guitar in hand. At each booth could be found an assortment of pedals by vendor, an AmpliFire amp modeler, spec sheets and all types of swag. All of the reps were just psyched to be there and to talk tech with the attendees. The setup was simple: Walk up to a vendor, plug up to the amp modeler, pop on the provided headphones, engage the pedal(s) of choice, jam out. The event went on for two days with nonstop foot traffic in and out of the store. Connections were made, ideas were expressed, boxes were stomped.
Here is a list of the vendors that attended this year:
Atomic Amps (Amplifire)
Chase Bliss Audio
Death By Audio
Jonny Rock Gear
Main Ace FX
Mod Kits DIY
My Beat Buddy
Old Blood Noise
If you’re a local musician in the that cares about tone, keep Main Drag on your radar.