It all started in the garage – my love of music and electronics. My first band was The Wailer, a garage band of course. This was Los Angeles in the early ‘60’s, when R&B was still the king. Next came surf music and the Wailers became the Fabulous Nomads. We played on the same stage as the Beach Boys and competed in battle of the bands with the Crossfires (future Turtles / Flo and Eddy).
Then The Beatles arrived and everything changed – long hair – Beatle boots and different guitars and amplifiers. I was lucky enough to see the Beatles play at the Hollywood Bowl three performances while I was an usher there. As the ‘60’s music scene was evolving, I was learning electronics and starting to build my own guitars, amplifiers and effect pedals – in the garage. From the very beginning I was fascinated with the connection between music and electronics and the ability of electronics to alter sound as it travelled the electronic path from musician to audience.
When Gibson introduced the Maestro Fuzz Tone and the Rolling Stones used it on Satisfaction, I had to have it – what a revolutionary sound!. Not having much money, my friends and I went to the local music store and, while the sales person was distracted, copied the schematic from the instruction manual. From there my first effects pedal was born. I still have it and it still works!
Other projects from the time were a not so accurate copy of a Gibson Flying V – built from memory after briefly seeing the Kinks play it on the Ed Sullivan show and a fake Fender Bassman with the chassis bent at the wrong angle.
After going to see Cream at the Whiskey a Go Go on the Sunset Strip at the beginning of their first US tour, I couldn’t hear anything for 3 days. Marshal style high power amplifiers were all I could think of. It resulted in designing and building a 80 Watt stack that was taller than me, complete with an Altec Voice-of-the-Theatre horn.
With fledgling building experience under my belt, my best friend Chris and I got a job at the famous Sol Betnum Music Store in Hollywood repairing guitars and amplifiers. It was quite an education. A lot of working rock musicians came to Sol’s (including Neil Young who bought his Tweed Deluxe there) and we repaired, customized, (and played) all kinds of equipment that came through the door with them.
After graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering, my career took me to Silicon Valley where I worked for several high tech companies – from start-ups to large corporations. Even though my daily work wasn’t always related to music and music electronics, I always had a project going on in the background – a modular rack mount synth (it was the ‘80’s after all), a new effects pedal (practice earphone amplifier pictured), a guitar refinish, etc.
Thanks to my old friend Chris, who stayed in the music business, I have kept abreast of the latest trends in the business with trips to the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show where I met some of my heroes.
In 2009, I decided to step away from the pressures of Silicon Valley and get more serious about making guitar effects pedals. I started Golden Path Pedals so I could pursue my fascination with the ability of electronics to make and alter sound. The path from the musician to his audience is almost always an electronic one. I call it the Golden Path – all kinds of feelings and emotions flow through it. New and innovative effects pedals enhance the ability of musicians to communicate what they feel and want to say. Golden Path Pedals is my way to explore and hopefully make a contribution to the art and technology of music performance – enabling musicians to deliver it all.