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Austin appreciates art and celebrates its eclectic art district once a year during East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.). As a music lover, you may be drawn to E.A.S.T. thinking more along the lines of sound booths and control rooms than still frame photography and oil paints. This year the festivities gave a taste of artfully hand crafted guitar effects pedals. Each pedal is one-of-a-kind and custom built from the circuits up The casings are hand etched to finish them off as artfully as they begin.
Lyon Graulty of Station Audio and has married his love of art and music by creating his own effects pedals for resonant, full-bodied sounds. While on tour with a band and in need of something that sounded a little more classic and a lot less Guitar Center, Graulty realized his calling to effects pedal craftsmanship.
He explains his creative breakthrough, “I had a few of the classic stomp boxes on my board (Tube Screamer, MXR Dyna-Comp), but I wanted something more unique. I first went through the process of molding my pedals, then I moved onto building a few pedals from kits, then I finally graduated to building my own designs from scratch – I wanted to design a pedal that would interact with my amp and drive the tube preamp into overdrive when I wanted, but also offer me headroom for a clean boost. That first pedal eventually turned into the Sparkle Punch, which is a dual channel tube boost. Once I had the circuit figured out, I had to figure out how to decorate the exterior of the pedal. That was when I began learning about the acid etching process that creates the unique graphics for most of my pedals. Because this process a bit, well, unpredictable, I can make 10 boxes and get a different looking etch for each one. Some might see these imperfections as flaws, but I like the way they look.”
The Sparkle Punch is the pedal that started it all, but Lyon Graulty can custom build any pedal to a customer’s specifications. After a little over two years in the business of boutique pedals, he’s confident in his ability to bend your guitar’s sound in any way you desire. “You want a fuzz pedal with a Dolphin on it, I’ll make it happen – no questions asked, but really? A dolphin on a fuzz pedal?”