Interview & Exclusive News from Stone Deaf FX

by | Apr 11, 2014 | Gear, Interviews, News | 1 comment

You may not have heard of Stone Deaf FX and Amplification prior to reading this. I stumbled across them by luck, at the suggestion of a guy at a local guitar shop. They only make one product, the PDF-1, which is based on the old Maestro MPF-1.  It’s an amazing pedal.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so – as they’ve gotten a lot of praise from the major guitar publications.  There is a buzz slowly growing about this quirky family business from the UK.  And now, they’re about to push toward becoming much more of a household name.

The thing about the effects market is, guitarists expect manufacturers to continually impress them.  You’ve got to keep feeding our addiction.  Force us to leave a little space on the pedal board for whatever you might come out with next.

To get to that point, you’ve gotta prove that you can follow up your first hit.  Plenty of people have caught lightning in a bottle by reproducing a classic effect, but have never moved onto designing their own circuits or even releasing a second notable pedal.  You need multiple hits to get the fans salivating over your name.

Stone Deaf knows this, and they’re planning to throw some knockout punches very soon.

To get all the details about what’s happening there, we chatted with Luke, the son in the Stone Deaf duo.  Read the interview and the latest news after the jump.

Daft Paragon: I don’t see a ton of family businesses in the effects world, what lead you guys to working together?
Luke Hilton (Stone Deaf): The main reason was that me and my father both love guitars. He has collected them since the 70’s. I, however, after playing in bands collected effects pedals and then it started from collecting to wanting to manufacture them. Working together was a natural progression as my father is very practical and I’m the ideas man, constantly trying new things. Pedals began to get stale for me and the transition from creating music to creating something that people could use themselves to get creative just seemed….well, very exciting and appealing.
DP: Not many people have played or even heard of the Maestro MPF-1 – how did you decide on using that circuit as the inspiration for your PDF-1?
LH: Plain and simply put: because it is one of the best, most musical EQ and overdrive pedals ever! Period! If Josh Homme is playing one then that speaks a thousand words. From a more practical point of view the pedal is a Swiss army knife for tone. You can do everything from cutting to boosting within the tonal range of a guitar or bass speaker. Not many pedals can do that, this thing is amazing for recording because you dial in what tone you want or layer the same distortion clipping over each other at different frequencies in your recordings. With the Stone Deaf PDF-1 we improved upon everything already great about the original.
DP: On a related note, how similar is the circuit?  Is this a recreation of the original or more like a version 2.0?
LH: The circuit is very similar with the difference being the bandwidth filter being opened up for both distortion and EQ. With our expression modification you can also control the frequency knob which can create wah effects and manual tone shifts from bass to treble. The original used a wheel potentiometer function which while being a great idea is impractical.
DP: The case for the PDF-1 reminds me of a Tone Bender or some of the other late 60s Fuzz Pedals.  With so many wild variations in looks from that era, how did you decide on this case?  What’s it like to source the parts?
LH: We wanted an angled case. No way was I going to produce a unique circuit in a generic hammond enclosure. Much more special than that. The case is meant to be more practical with its angled face and is more distinctive. It has to be a certain size to used the right sized control knobs allowing you to fine tune the filter. You can’t do that well with tiny control knobs. The parts can be sometimes a nightmare to source as we have high standards. The lorlin switch is UK made for us and we have a custom one on our new line of pedals too. The quality far exceeds that of any other. The enclosure metal is made in huddersfield England, The traffolyte control panel is made in Cornwall England. We are going to be moving away from traffolyte in favour of custom and full colour options for our customers offering greater flexibility with design. Our circuit boards and over 90% of components are sourced in the UK and 100% Manufactured and assembled here in the UK.
DP: You’re making what appears to be a safe/smart entry into the effects market by releasing a single product, but it’s still a very crowded space.  What do you think the pedal world is missing?
LH: Your right. We dont consider things quickly. We believe that’s the wrong way to making something unique. The best way is to listen to our customers and see what people truly want and need. I believe its a Paracentric circuit, allowing someone to cut/boost a filter with limited volume loss or increase but with automatic volume attenuation with no tonal loss. Where by as you boost a signal the overall volume of the pedal is reduced at the same time and vice versa as you cut it is increased. Limited overall volume loss or excess unless you want to control it via a master.  All that time you’re hearing the selected frequencies of what you want.
So heres an exclusive:
Fig Fumb: 
Fig Fumb Web
Paracentric Fuzz Filter
30hz-10kz Frequency Response
Expression Controlled: Tone, Wah and Phase Shifts.
Paracentric EQ Filter (Precision Tobe Shaping)
Switchable Studio Quality Noise Gate for high gain/active pickups. Ability to hold when gain stacking pedals into the fig fumb.
Trashy Blonde:
Trashy Blonde Above
Trashy Blonde Jack Sockets Low Quality
Paracentric Fuzz Filter
30hz-10kz Frequency Response
Expression Controlled: Tone, Wah and Phase Shifts.
Paracentric EQ Filter (Precision Tobe Shaping)
Switchable Clean/Distorted Channels
Clean Mix Knob for distorted channels.
(DP: Note that both can be modulated with one of these):
EP-1 Expression Pedal
We also have a high quality boutique amp and even more effects pedals coming out within the year.