Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho! Ho! Ho! A Christmas Fuzz Face

 Ho! Ho! Ho! Check out this Holiday Fuzz Face that Greg just built! This was a request from a customer, Mitch, who wanted a custom-built boutique germanium Fuzz Face made into a standard Dunlop housing. Greg etched a new board from scratch, and added (at Mitch's request) an external bias knob, on/off switch on the Fuzz pot, and (in the spirit of the season) a green LED to go with that red housing.
XmasFuzz Xmas Fuzz Guts

Happy Holidays from the FMO Gear Shop!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Memorium: our best pair of wire cutters...

broken wire cuttersGreg informed me recently that our best pair of wire cutters are no longer able to be of service. This great, old-school hand-tool cut miles and miles of wire in its long tour of duty. I'm not sure where they came from, but they're definitely old. I remember them hanging on the tool rack in the basement of the house where I grew up, and they subsequently ended up in my possession. I've used them for cutting guitar strings since I was a teenager, and they were the only ones I ever used when I began my forays into electronics experimentation. I've looked for other wire cutters over the past few years to keep as a backup, but none were quite the same. They definitely don't make 'em like they used to. So long, little buddy...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our Name in Lights

Okay, well it's not really in lights. But we did get a sign in the front entrance of the plaza we're in. I thought it might be nice to take a picture to show everyone what it looks like. It also makes a good follow up to last December's Virtual Tour of the FMO Gear Shop.
FMO Front Entrance

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shop Cat!

Shop CatWell, I finally brought my cat to the shop. After months of being neglected at home, I decided to try bringing her to work with me. She loved it! Not only that, but she was a big hit with the crew - Greg and his wife are cat lovers, and Sara has been begging me to bring the kitty to the shop for months.
So, we have a shop cat. And here she is... This is Delia (better known as Baby Kitty), our new shop cat. I've actually brought her several times over the last couple of weeks. She made herself right at home. Here you can see her putting herself in charge of Quality Control for this order of Black Cat Pedals that's about to be shipped to Japan.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2nd Black Cat ad...

Black Cat ad

BTW - the girl in the ads, Sara, is not a hired model. She works at our shop, and yes, she really does play the guitar.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our First Black Cat Ad

... starring our very own Black Cat Sara with the first four Black Cat pedals...

Black Cat Pedals ad 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Cat is out of the Bag

Hey everybody! Long time between posts, I know. Well, now you can see why. That “secret pedal project” I’ve been alluding to in previous posts is no longer a secret. Black Cat Pedals are BACK!!

Black Cat Pedals

Click the pic for info on the pedals!

It’s taken an insane amount of work to get this done, along with non-stop trials and tribulations, but here we are. Greg has been hard at work over the last few weeks building up a nice little stock. We have taken several early orders from people who were “in the loop” but there are still a good number of pedals left with serial numbers under #50. I suspect Analog Mike will be grabbing those up pretty soon though.

To answer some questions we’ve already received – yes, we will be re-releasing the entire original line. The Ring Mod and Black Cat Vibe are next. Yes, we will have sound clips and videos available as soon as we can. There’s still soooooo much work to be done, so let me get back to it. And I promise more frequent posts from now on.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

VIP Membership to the FMO Preferred Customer List

Wanna be in the loop? Get the inside scoop on what's going on in the shop? How about first dibs on stuff that's not even listed on the website yet? Then you'll definitely want a VIP Membership to the FMO Preferred Customer List. Get all the latest and the greatest news along with access to our exclusive hidden web pages. Sign up below for your membership today and come join the gear party!
FMO Preferred Customer Membership


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FMO Custom Shop Now Open!

Just a follow-up on the post from June 26th - the FMO Custom Shop is now open! Check out our Custom Projects and Repairs page for more details.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Check out Quincy Mumford!

So my cousin Chris sent me this CD of his son Quincy's first album. This happens from time to time, as I'm usually known as "the musician" in most circles I'm in. So people who have (or whose kids have) musical aspirations are often solicitous of my opinion. Now, I have to say, my expectations were not great - after all, Quincy Mumford is just 17. I even put off listening, anticipating the need to make obligatory nice noises at the next family gathering (heh heh). So imagine my surprise when I finally got to check out Quincy's self-titled debut album, Quincy Mumford.
Quincy Mumford Let's put it this way - when it comes to music, I'm fairly jaded and not easily impressed... I was impressed. For me, that's saying a lot! The songs were fluid and coherent, not at all what I was expecting from someone so young. Style-wise, Quincy does proudly wear his influences on his sleeve. He could easily pass as Jack Johnson's long lost little brother, with a little Dave Matthews and John Mayer on the side. The production and arrangements are top-notch, and compliment Quincy's songs perfectly. There's even a good dose of vintage keyboards woven in throughout the album - always a welcome addition in my book. So check out and keep an eye on this kid. Believe me, Quincy Mumford is going places.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting Things Done

The past couple of weeks have been super productive! I'm really pleased to have finally gotten to complete some longstanding repairs that somehow got started and never finished. Lest I misrepresent myself, I should explain that I haven't suddenly transformed into this super high-achieving technical wizard. All credit rightfully goes to our new fulltime tech, Greg Radawich.

 I hired Greg a few weeks ago to work on our secret pedal project, which we'll be introducing in the next month or so (at which point it will no longer be a secret). Greg has been building pedals on his own for the past five years and recently moved back to this area, so it was a great match! We had a little downtime while waiting for some parts, so I dug out all my unfinished projects and repairs for Greg to work on. He whipped through them with ease and got them all working. It worked out so well, we've even started doing repairs for a few other people as well.

As things progressed, we started discussing the idea of launching an official FMO Custom Shop for one-off builds, mods, repairs, rehousing pedals, etc. As soon as I get a chance, I'll be adding a page to the Gear Shop that has a comprehensive list of services we'll be offering. Stay tuned for more...

Monday, June 15, 2009


I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but whatever... I decided to take some time to take care of some personal matters that have been bothering me. I don't mean "issues" or anything like that. I mean getting my house in order (again, in the literal as opposed to figurative sense).

Here's what I mean - I ran this business out of my house for 4 years, right up until we moved into our awesome new shop last November. Now the whole entire time since the move I've had this huge mental adjustment of (re)learning how to actually live and work in two different places. For the first few months, I basically lived in the shop. I'd be here for like 12 to 14 hours a day and just go home to sleep. Now most, but not all, of those hours were actually spent working, but there was definitely an overlap of business and (ahem) personal activities going on at the shop. So it was like I just moved my entire lifestyle from one place to another. Hmm...

Meanwhile, my house still looked like someone had just moved out, even several months later. Over the past few years it had acquired a definite music store vibe. So when I finally moved all those music store elements into an actual shop, my house ended up looking kind of barren, even desolate... definitely not very home-like. So yeah, it's taken me this long to realize I have the opportunity to make my house into a home; reclaim actual living space that had previously been overrun with gear and inventory. So that's what I've been trying to do... well, for the last week or so, anyway. Oh, and I force myself NOT to come into the shop on Sundays. It's weird, I'm still not used to it. Trying to learn balance... that's all for now.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tweet Tweet!

Yeah, so there's this Twitter thing. All the kids are doing it, apparently, so we're giving it a try. Come "tweet" with us here... um, yeah...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some Important Information About Transistors!

Hey, if you're into fuzz pedals and those special parts that make them so special, then you definitely need to check this out -

 Mullard OC44 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will Work For Gear

My friend Dave is a Gear Junkie. It started off innocently enough. I sold him a Silverface Vibro Champ and a couple of pedals, thinking he would just use them recreationally. But then things got out of hand as Dave started buying more and more gear. No matter how much he got, there was always one more piece he had to get to complete his collection. He kept getting more and more and more gear, hiding guitar pedals in the closet, guitars under the bed, amps in the attic. He began spending his entire paycheck on music gear. Finally, his wife just had enough and kicked him out. Now Dave is homeless and destitute. But he will work for gear! Just enough to keep his habit going. And you know what? Dave's never been happier, just look at him!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Customer of the Month - 4/09

You know, most of our customers are great to deal with, which helps make this a great job. Of course, once in a while you get someone who's rude, obnoxious, or unreasonable. Fortunately for us, it seems like for every one of those, we get another really spectacular customer who makes it all worthwhile. Like this...

I recently got an email from Jimmy "Flyin'" Ryan saying, "I just got a copy of Analog Man's Guide To Vintage Effects... I was like an adolescent with a stack of Playboys." He then followed it up with one of the best, most encouraging phone calls I've ever gotten from a customer; saying, among other things, how great the book is and how he really appreciates the effort it must have taken... and THEN he followed that up with an excellent vintage purchase. Now get this - a few days later, I received a couple of CDs in the mail by the Flyin' Ryan Brothers. Thanks, Jim - you rock!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Look what I got in the mail!

I was very excited to get this - State of the Art Electronic Devices by the Electro-Harmonix Work Band. Woo-Hoo! Now I just need to find a working turntable...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

How 'Bout Some Good News?

I caught myself feeling pretty down lately. Sometimes it seems like there's nothing but bad news. I can't even check my email without being bombarded with headlines about it (thanks Yahoo!). I know I'm not alone in feeling like this. It's hard not to get discouraged. So I just had a little talk with myself that I'd like to share with you, if you're interested. It went a little something like this:

Don't be discouraged, Tom. If for no other reason than the fact that it doesn't help. Being discouraged doesn't resolve or improve anything. In fact, it actually makes the situation worse. It clouds clear thinking and good judgment, it impedes action, it robs you of your energy and enthusiasm, and interferes with your ability to find solutions.

I know it's very easy to say "don't worry, don't get discouraged," but feeling it and believing it is a totally different story, especially in the face of bad news and negativity. Just realize that giving in to those negative thoughts and feelings does NOT help make things any better, and that it's actually making things worse.

One thing that may help is to try thinking of all the things that are going right. Even better, why don't you make a list. Let's try it: 1) I have an awesome business where I get to do stuff that I enjoy, 2) Lydia is getting better at her job, 3) we got the Baldwin Harpsichord working, 4) Mike T has been a HUGE help with getting the keyboard studio up and running, 5) oh yeah, Hugo arranged a whopping huge line of credit to help us launch our new pedal project. 6) And after a cold, hard winter marked by gloomy economic forecasting, Spring is finally here...

There, that's better. Feel free to leave a comment with your own good news. The more, the merrier (literally!).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Toobs!

We just got a brand new shipment of tubes in... BIG shipment... lots of tubes. So if you're looking to re-tube your amp, we've got the goods. Check out our newly updated vacuum tube selection at the FMO Gear Shop. In the meantime, you can see the fun time Lydia had getting our shipment unpacked and entered into inventory.
Lydia Counting Tubes


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Links Page!

Another update I've been meaning to do for a while - check out our new Links page. It's a little more plain than the old one, but I think it's much easier to read and navigate. PLUS, I updated the links. Please keep in mind, this is a work in progress - it's not perfect, nor is it complete. But there's a lot more info in there than there was with the old page, and the design is simple enough that we can easily add to it and update it as we go. Things just keep getting better...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wah-Wah Footwear Fashion Photo Gallery!

FINALLY! Yes, we've finally updated our Wah-Wah Footwear Fashion Photo Gallery with new submissions that have been sent over the last couple of years. There's even a new Ladies wah-wah footwear section! And now that we have some in-house web design support, we should be able to keep it updated on a regular basis. So keep those Wah-Wah Footwear Fashion submissions coming, and we'll keep posting them. And in case you've never seen it, don't forget to check out the Wah-Wah Footwear Fashion Show sensation that started it all.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Can Has Video?

Hey everybody! Guess what? We just got a very good deal on a Canon XL-2 video camcorder, so we're officially armed and dangerous. Now all I have to do is figure out how to work the thing. Not only that, but we now have our own YouTube Channel - Check It Out! Our first test video depicts a lovely and thoughtful gift from my assistant, Lydia.
Yeah, I know, the video looks like crap for having been shot on such a high-end camera, but we're still learning. Anyone wanna help us make some movies? Look for lots of luscious gear demos and mayhem in the coming weeks!