#1
Hey guys, I'm doing a coursework assignment currently and I'd love it if you'd help me out by answering just few basic questions so I can have some "original" market research! It's about pedals, I'd appreciate it a lot!

Ok,

1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?

2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?

3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?


Cheers!
#2
Quote by Hogg111
Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?

Yes, there is always room for specialists in a market providing generic products. Specialists that provide products on an individual need basis, instead of a market need basis.

Quote by Hogg111
Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?

I money wasn't an issue, I'd buy high end pedals. Coming from the previously mentioned specialists, I expect a better quality and service. Willing to pay more for that.

Quote by Hogg111
What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?

Unique tones, excellent build quality, maybe some specific tones, custom pedals. Endorsement by some cool musicians.
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#3
1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?


Absolutely. They already have grown. 'boutique' pedals is a more niche market to begin with, but just look at Earthquaker Devices. They're now sold at Guitar Center! So long as there are people chasing tone, there will be people looking for new pedals to try.


2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?


I certainly used to. I now build my own pedals for the most part as I've found that 99% of them are incredibly simple circuits and are easily constructed at home for a fraction of the cost (and plus I get to modify them to my liking!).

That being said, I'll still buy a pedal here and there and I'll generally go higher end. Really, I have no idea how to do something like, say, program a Spin FV-1 chip, so if there's a sound I'm after and a company that's done it via digital means, I'll consider buying it.

3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?


Going off what I said in the second one, it's important to do things other companies can't do. Anyone can build a clone or rearrange circuit blocks to make something they can call 'new'. When I see a company that does something innovative or creative with sound, even if it's spending time nailing the tone of something no one's ever reproduced in pedal format, it's impressive, and those are the pedals that will be remembered.

I guess as an example, I'm always impressed with the stuff CatalinBread do. I really get the vibe that they want to create things that no one else has or if they do something someone else has, they want to do it way better. That's a company that will do well. EQD took a similar approach and they're also doing quite well nowadays. It's also how ElectroHarmonix approached the market years ago and how they continue to approach it. Every year they pump out new pedal designs that are interesting/innovative. They never approached the market trying to make a Fuzz Face clone

Anyway, that's all coming from someone that's gone through far too many pedals and is pretty jaded by the entire stompbox market.
Last edited by mjones1992 at May 18, 2015,
#4
1. Any sort of growth in the pedal market would need to come from innovative and unique ideas. Earthquaker Devices certainly has a fair share of unique and innovative pedals. A secondary, but slower characteristic of a company would be that the company needs to build high-quality pedals at a good price and provide excellent customer service. Abominable Electronics is an example of this kind of company. Their pedals are also quite unique with names and each one is handpainted. While they may not be super innovative, they leave an extremely unique footprint. These types of characteristics build long-term relationships. In the case with Earthquaker Devices, the Rainbow Machine will be cool for only so long.

2. I think buying premium pedals has its perks. I buy mostly used pedals to save some money on those premium pedals. I have 3 boutique pedals on my board; Fulltone Full-Drive 3, OCD and Malekko 616 Ekko Dark. In addition, I have 2 Boss pedals, 2 TC Electronic pedals and an EHX pedal. All spectrums of the pedal market have the possibility of failing in some way. People associate expensive, boutique pedals with high quality. While that makes sense, electronics are electronics and could fail at any moment. You don't need to spend a lot of money on pedals to have good ones. The recent fad of micro pedals by companies like Mooer and ****** represent this quite well.

3. If a premium pedal company wants to stand out, they have to do a few things; be creative and innovative, appeal to the average guitar player and do it better than the competition.
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#5
1. Absolutely, they make interesting, unique pedals that differ from or improve on what's out there. Earthquaker gets a lot of respect from other pedal companies for they way they make things weird, and Eventide packs everything you could want into a single box. I wouldn't call Eventide "boutique" though, they're a huge company who has been around for a long time.

2. I've paid good money for a few that are built well and can't be cloned for anything less. The cheapest I've gone is a shitty Danelectro echo that I like specifically because it's lo-fi, and the highest I've gone (so far...) is a Shoe Pixel, not counting the Eventide Space I use for both studio work and guitar effecting. I'd prefer to pay more for something that's worth it, there's some really interesting shit going on and I wish I had the money to play around with stuff from JHS, Shoe, Devi Ever...

3. Unique tones, good quality. That's it. Everything EHX makes these days is sort of a shitty knockoff of something else... East River Drive = TS808, Soul Food = Klon, etc. It's great for that to exist, but I'd rather that be the small part of the market, and have companies like JHS be the average middle ground. Good quality, great options/tweaks, different things. It's a shame that JHS hasn't been more popular, because some of the designs they had like the Pandamonium were very singular, and in terms of bass pedals, you can't get anything like that new anymore. Even when companies like JHS do clones, they make them better and give you more options. Giving you two handwired 808s in a single box for the price of a new handwired or vintage 808 is pretty cool.
#6
1) there is always room for something good. all companies started as something small and got bigger so certaily that can be replicated. the key is to get some name recognition.

2) i buy pedals that give me the sound i want at prices i can afford. boutique pedals are more often than not a an item that is "perceived to be better". not always the case and at times down right wrong. can't say i go out of my way to get boutique pedals as my budget doesn't really allow that. i do have a LovePedal delay and a T-Rex overdrive. both were made as exclusives for Guitar Center. they were a little pricier than say your average Boss but neither was stupid expensive either. bottom line price matters. i think you'll find that there is a priice barrier asociated with certain fx that once you go past many people won't spend the money/

3) offering something unique is certainly the best way to stand out. doing it at a price that the average guitar player can afford may be the tricky part. good value for the price and of course high quality are essential. being able to deliver product in a timely fashion is another big key to success.
#7
Quote by Hogg111
1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?

2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?

3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?


1. I think that boutique is the new mainstream for a growing number of musicians. Many markets, not just the guitar effect industry, are leaning towards "handmade", "limited run", and "one-off" specialty products. It panders to the idea that consumers yearn for the good old days when everything was made the "old fashioned way". While, the pedal market is indeed saturated, I think many of these mid-level companies that have made a name for themselves in the last 5-10 years are going to do just fine. They managed to beat out multinational corporations and cut themselves a slice of the pie. As long as they maintain the same ingenuity and quality, they will be able to maintain a foothold in the marketplace.

2. I buy high, low, and in between. I've got pedals with plastic casings I bought for $40 (Ibanez LF7) purely due to the fact that that pedal had a sound that I wanted. On the other hand, I've got two $200+ pedals (1990s EHX DMM and Blackout Effectors Whetstone) that I bought, partly because of the name, but also because they have the ideal sound for me. Now the reason I bought because of the name was due to the fact that I associate those names with quality in sound and build. The name drew me in, the sound and build quality sealed the deal.

3. A Premium Pedal Company, in my opinion, requires several things to stand out from the crowd. First, you need a flagship product; one that stands out above not just the rest of your product line, but above the rest of the competition as well. Look an Neunaber. Their WET Reverb is almost constantly backordered, even if they have several other product options. Second, you need to carve out your niche in the market. Are you all handmade, only 7 pedals made a year? Are you mass produced and built like tanks? Does your product offer something no one else has, or something everyone else has at a lower price? Third, you need solid marketing. The online pedal world has seen its fair share of, well, drama, is the best way to put it. One man operations taking orders months in advance and failing to deliver on time, or at all. Re-housing other companies prodcuts and "gooping" them to cover their tracks were also a thing. Just have some freaking integrity and good customer service. Don't bite off more than you can chew.


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#8
1) There is. Collecting pedals has become a hobby, especially for people who run small studios and don’t have room to collect amps. And digital multi-fx units seem to be falling out of favor, leading people to buy pedals. Also, as more and more musicians do fly-in-gigs they’ll need gear they can travel with, and it’s hard to travel with an amp head or a rack FX unit.

2) I mostly buy stuff that ranges from cheap (Joyo) to inexpensive (EHX). Even when I buy boutique stuff it’s coming from developing nations and is half the cost of boutique American gear.

3) Niche products. Earthquaker and Catalinbread are both examples of companies that tweak or combine existing effects into new pedals intended for particular genres, or in some cases, emulating a particular period in a single musician’s career.
#9
Quote by Hogg111
Hey guys, I'm doing a coursework assignment currently and I'd love it if you'd help me out by answering just few basic questions so I can have some "original" market research! It's about pedals, I'd appreciate it a lot!

Ok,

1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?

2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?

3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?


Cheers!


Take your market research and go visit Wampler Pedals. http://www.wamplerpedals.com/company/ Most all of his company has happened within the last 10 years, perhaps within the last 5 or 6.

He started out building and modifying DIY pedals and if you ask him, he'll give you the in-depth timeline on those. He was getting pretty well-known for designing circuits, and eventually there were enough people who wanted the circuits but who had no desire to sling solder, so he'd do short runs for them. The better gear-heads among the celebrity bunch found out about him, and next thing you know his pedals are showing up in the hands of Brent Mason and Brad Paisley and at the feet of a lot of session guitarists. He's been unrelenting in producing new pedals and/or improved versions of his old ones (check out his http://www.wamplerpedals.com/discontinued/ page), and he does this at a pretty prodigious rate. Better yet, he's absolutely open to feedback and fully willing to sit down with a guitarist like Brad and tweak until it's just right. For a while, those of us who were members of the DIY community got a "members" discount, but that's long gone.

While you're at it, there's a Canadian named Scott who runs www.axeandyoushallreceive.com, which is a source for a HUGE number of boutique pedals that you simply don't find at your local GC. His "About" section starts out:

Axe...and you shall receive started out as a hobby of sorts and has grown into one of the world's largest Guitar-related Gear Retailers. We are a fiercely independent, small business selling High Quality, Vintage and Boutique guitar gear. Owned and operated by Scott Hager, We specialize in vintage and boutique guitars, amplifiers and guitar effects pedals.


If you need to know ANYTHING about boutique pedals, or are looking for something specific, check there first, and definitely email him. I've had him email me a month or two after I first contacted him and he'll say, "Hey, weren't you looking for a...?" and he'll have kept it in the back of his mind and hunted it down.

Boutique pedals aren't going to be your larger brand names, for the most part, but I think that Brian Wampler is a great illustration of how you can break into the business simply by having a small internet presence and some really good products, and Scott is a great example of how really creative boutique pedal makers can get their products into the hands of guitar players without having to deal with the likes of Guitar Splinter.
Last edited by dspellman at May 18, 2015,
#10
Quote by Hogg111

1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?


Sure. They can increase market share at the expense of their competition, or grow if the entire market grows.

2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?


It depends on my needs/wants. I tend towards high-end, but if a cheaper pedal does as good a job, I won't spend money just for snob appeal.

3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?

Generally speaking, competition is usually done on the basis of price or quality, occasionally both.

Pedals that can make a company profitable:
1) One that is nearly as good as your competitors for a fraction of the price.
2) Innovative new effects, if they find the right audience.
3) Pedals that are super durable, reliable, and easy to repair or cheap to replace.
4) Pedals that have superior ergonomics, dimensions or control arrays.
5) Pedals that combine 2+ other popular effects.
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#11
While you're at it, there's a Canadian named Scott who runs www.axeandyoushallreceive.com, which is a source for a HUGE number of boutique pedals that you simply don't find at your local GC.

FWIW, and tangentially, I love Axe...and you shall receive. I have gotten stuff from them before, and was satisfied with their selection and friendliness. Good business.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
1. guitarists buy all sorts of funny and possibly useless shit because of marketing, so definitely yes if they create enough hype and/or their marketing is good enough.

Price isn't even much of an issue here.

2. I either build my own pedals or buy very cheap ones (I actually bought only one in my life) or use multi fx processors or stuff that isn't really designed for guitar.

I definitely wouldn't buy expensive pedals that are expensive because of the hype behind them, say for example Keely or JHS.

3. I would definitely pay a premium (still not that much, say nothing over $150) if they made some high quality dynamic processors, or possibly modulation, say a sensibly designed compressor with the controls of a compressor, not two knobs that you have to guess the effect of.
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#13
i buy a pedal based on do i need to achieve a specific sound? Is there a cheaper alternitive? Because you know many musicians are broke, between recording, rehersal space, gigs where you barely break even what have you if your making one of 1billion muff clones doesnt entitle you to some stupid ammount of money .
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#14
Quote by Hogg111

1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?!

There is always room to grow.
Its coming up with new and interesting ideas that is the difficult part.



2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?
Haven't bought much for awhile since I'm fukcing broke.
But I buy what suits my needs.
Or I build it,



3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?
Good customer support is a good thing.
Good build quality, inside and out is important to me.
I don't want the soldering to look like bird droppings.
Be honest about your product. If it's based on a tube screamer, don't claim that you came up with the design after 4 years of intense research.
In the case of a Tube Screamer clone, putting it in a green enclosure is good enough as far as saying what its based on.
Of course, whatever it is, it's gonna have to do what I need it to do, period.
Last edited by CodeMonk at May 19, 2015,
#15
1) Do you think there is room for boutique pedal companies (such as Earthquaker Devices or Eventide) to grow in this saturated pedal market?

Yes but they need to keep their overhead very low and be unique in some way. They won't get their parts at the same discounts as the big dogs and their distribution deals are probably nowhere near what Boss/Line 6 is getting. Not only that but there are starting to be some really good competition at lower prices (Think Joyo for example) so they need to really give you a lot for your money


2) Do you more frequently buy high end pedals with a premium price or more basic pedals with a more affordable price?

A little of both. Usually what I'll do is when I think I want an effect that I've never tried first I mess around with VST, then I'll buy a super cheap version like Joyo and then if I really like it and find a way to work it into my bands songs, I'll buy a very good version of it.

3) What would it take for a premium pedal company to stand out? Unique tones/effects?

Meh... it can be anything, really. I guess it boils down to them filling a niche that is empty
#16
Wow guys! Thanks for the amazing response here! I think I can see a few trends in these replies.
This will really really help me, I truly appreciate your time in your responses!

Thanks so much!