Hot Cherry Overdrive

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This month we have the new Hot Cherry Overdrive from Dang! Creative Services! This overdrive is the second stomp box in our Funktronic line of effects pedals. A clone of the classic Marshall Bluesbreaker, this pedal is a great example of a somewhat transparent overdrive. I brings a nice, natural sounding distortion with out bringing too much crunch to your tone.

These pedals were also finished in bright red by a friend of mine using a really fantastic automotive-grade two-stage polyurethane finish. Coupled with the cool, retro graphics, brought to you by Dang! Creative, the results, again, are absolutely stunning.

The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur – The Atlantic

Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional—the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it?

Javier Jaén

Pronounce the word artist, to conjure up the image of a solitary genius. A sacred aura still attaches to the word, a sense of one in contact with the numinous. “He’s an artist,” we’ll say in tones of reverence about an actor or musician or director. “A true artist,” we’ll solemnly proclaim our favorite singer or photographer, meaning someone who appears to dwell upon a higher plane. Vision, inspiration, mysterious gifts as from above: such are some of the associations that continue to adorn the word.

Yet the notion of the artist as a solitary genius—so potent a cultural force, so determinative, still, of the way we think of creativity in general—is decades out of date. So out of date, in fact, that the model that replaced it is itself already out of date. A new paradigm is emerging, and has been since about the turn of the millennium, one that’s in the process of reshaping what artists are: how they work, train, trade, collaborate, think of themselves and are thought of—even what art is—just as the solitary-genius model did two centuries ago. The new paradigm may finally destroy the very notion of “art” as such—that sacred spiritual substance—which the older one created.

Read More – The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur – The Atlantic.

 

La Calavera: A Nasty Octave Fuzz

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Fresh off the workbench is this pair of stomp boxes designed here at Dang! Creative Services. These beauties will be marking a couple firsts for us. Firstly, La Calavera is the first in a series of pedals completed under the Funktronic label. Last year, we built the Funktronic Envelope Filter and decided to keep the name as an overall brand.

Secondly, these pedals were finished by by a good friend of mine who owns an auto body shop here in town. He was kind enough to paint these using the same two-stage process used in automotive finishing. The results are absolutely stunning.

This is the first in a series of pedals that I think represent some of the best work I have ever done. The “Calavera” concept art was appropriated from the popular Mexican card game, Loteria. I actually designed and built these with a buddy in mind who plays bass in a local Gothic/Pshycobilly band.

The pedal itself is a clone of the now-defunct Ampeg Scrambler. The Scrambler is a really interesting octave up ring modulator/fuzz pedal that produces a really sick, synthy-sounding fuzz. What makes this pedal really great is the Balance knob that acts as a wet/dry mix – an indispensable feature if you’re using effects with bass guitar. The Texture knob sort of increases the amount of octave-like effect.

3 New Stompbox Designs from Dang! Creative

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Last few weeks I’ve been working on a little stompbox project. I designed three stompbox shells and will be building them out over the next few weeks. Here we have an Octave Divider, an Overdrive and an Octave Fuzz. The Octave Divider will be built from an original circuit designed by The Valve Wizard, while the Overdrive and Octave Fuzz will be clones of vintage pedals.

These will be pedals made almost entirely by scratch. I’ve etched the circuit boards and have been soldering the components in place. I’ll be posting images as the project progresses. I’m in the box-finishing stage now – one thing of note, is that a friend of mine with an auto body shop was kind enough to help me with the finishes. They look really fantastic.  I should be sanding them and applying the decals today.
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Rock Flyers From Dang! Creative Services

 

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I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for band flyers – after all, I got my start as a graphic designer by doing band flyers. I always played in bands as a teenager and young adult, and luck would so have it that I was usually the guy in the band with a visual arts background. Back in the day, we didn’t have Adobe Creative Suite, so I had to make use of things like black construction paper, dry transfer type, old newspapers and magazines to create elaborate collages that would reproduce well on a black and white Xerox machine. I remember my friends and I hitting the streets armed with a staple gun and a stack of 500 fliers the thick, black toner still warm on the paper. We’d plaster all of the telephone poles downtown, only to come back the next day and find them all covered or torn down. Oddly enough, I’ve seem some of these old flyers for sale on Ebay for $10.

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for band flyers these days, largely because I recently started playing music again in a local band. Today, I’m pretty much doing the same thing – using old photos and setting type to create a visually engaging piece that exudes cool and says just enough about the music to make people curious enough to remember the name of the band. Photoshop hasn’t changed flyer design much, however, most of these flyers designed to be posted on Facebook or texted on a smartphone.

 

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Band flyers I have always considered the fun part of my job. If you play in a local band and need poster for the gig or a cover for your upcoming CD, feel free to contacts us here at Dang! Creative Services. We’re always happy to accommodate musicians and work with various budget constraints.

 

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Funktronic Envelope Filter

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I just finished assembling this nifty little effect pedal. What we have here is what started a rehouse job that kind of mutated into it’s own thing. Years ago, I built a clone of an old MXR Envelope Filter from Tonepad. I’d modded it for bass by adding a “Deep” switch that added a couple of larger capacitors to lower the range of the sweep. Additionally, I’d added a couple of other mods recommended by Mark Hammer on DIYStompboxes.com.

Of course as with all bass effects, there was a sort of loss attack and low end which made using the filter onstage in a band situation a little uninspiring. I had decided to add a blend feature which would mix a little of my dry signal with the wet signal. Initially, I’d opted for a B.Blender circuit, but there wasn’t a pre-made PCB available. Looking around at some other options out there, I discovered the Paramix on GuitarPCB.com. The Paramix is a really cool pedal that would allow me not only to blend my dry signal with any effect in the effect loop, but would allow me to blend two separate effects independently of one another. Realizing that the Paramix was indeed a very powerful tool by itself I decided it would be best for me to make a box that would serve both the Paramix and the EF together.

Realizing that this would be a fairly cumbersome set of circuits, I came to the conclusion that I would need a larger enclosure. I found a really nice sloped steel enclosure over at EffectsEnclosures.com. David make these custom enclosures himself and they come in standard sizes. However, he happened to have had this extra large one laying around and he sold it to me at a very reasonable price. I gave it a little design that was my attempt at paying homage to some of the really cool looking old effects pedals of yesteryear such as units produced by Maestro and Mutron.

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The Paramix was a bear of build, mostly due to my ineptitude. Thanks to the guys over at GuitarPCB.com I was able to troubleshoot and get it working. They were a tremendous help. After a really specific round of troubleshooting instructions, I was able to find that one of the pins on the IC socket would not make contact with the circuit board. They advised me to stick a little jumper in there to make the pins make better contact.

In the end, the pedal works and sounds great. I put the two side by side as separate effects, mainly so I could place Envelope Filter anywhere in the effects loop chain. The Paramix does a brilliant job blending the wet and dry signals together and really brings out the low end in my filter. I can pretty much dial in the Isley’s Fight the Power tone instantaneously. Even better, it also unlocks the awesomely funky potential of the otherwise useless reverse sweep mod. Yay!

 

Cycling Jerseys

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Here’s a pair of cycling jerseys I did for a local bike shop here in Ventura, CA. The idea was to do one retro jersey and one that had more of an event vibe going on. The Great Wave jersey was also intended it be kind of “ladies” version, but a lot of the guys liked that one as we. I picked the Hokusai image to sort of represent the seaside feel of Ventura as well as pay homage to one of my artists in the process. A colleague of mine pointed out the the retro jersey had the same colors as the ’55 Bel Air.

Cycling jerseys designed by Dang! Creative Services in Ventura County

This was a project of which I was really excited to be a part. Being an avid cyclist for pretty much my whole life, it was really great to do a job that was rooted in something that I really love. The best part is that the jerseys were a success! The client sold out of them and ended up buying another design which he has yet to have printed. I’ll update as soon as I get one.

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