The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Premium Member
64 Gretsch 6120, 63 SG Standard, 62 Fender Princeton and a 58 Supro 1624T
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm a huge pedal whore, but does it bother anyone else that people toss around the word "boutique" to describe pedals so often the days? It just feels like the word has lost meaning. To me it was meant to describe pedals made by hand but small outfits for niche markets. Every other ad I see now say "boutique pedal purge" or whatever. When the reality is that some of these so called boutique brands are in the top 10 for sales in the world. I'm sorry but when companies like wampler, Rocket, EQD, JHS ect. Are selling 10,000+ units of a pedal, they're not boutique anymore.

End rant!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,179 Posts
Eqd is still a very small operation, as is chase bliss.

People use it to replace "high end".
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,225 Posts
Que the marketing rant from our resident 'marketing expert'. We are all just sheeple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Budda

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,864 Posts
To me “Boutique” has come to mean “Flavour of the moment that has since passed and some guy now wants a rediculous amount of money for from people who do not give a shit”. People just want good stuff and have realized the price paid has little to do with quality. Boss seems to be making a comeback, while Wampler had a melt down online when someone said his pedal’s components didn’t add up to the price of the pedals.
 

·
Premium Member
64 Gretsch 6120, 63 SG Standard, 62 Fender Princeton and a 58 Supro 1624T
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Que the marketing rant from our resident 'marketing expert'. We are all just sheeple.
He has me blocked, won't see the thread!

Eqd is still a very small operation, as is chase bliss.

People use it to replace "high end".
As far as I know EQD is no small operation. I remember reading or watching something recently that said they're one of the top 3 companies for production numbers along with walrus audio and another one I can't remember. The Afterneath alone has sold 10,000+ units.
 

·
Premium Member
64 Gretsch 6120, 63 SG Standard, 62 Fender Princeton and a 58 Supro 1624T
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
These days boutique = anything that isn't Boss. It's all bullshit.
You and I know that but our feedback says we ignore that fact occasionally too :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
I have a "boutique" Op Amp Muff because when I was looking there was no mass produced equivalent really. If I were looking today though, I reckon that the EHX reissue for $100 would suit me fine.

Boutique seems to have evolved to represent a status symbol rather than the size of an operation or an indication of quality. I'm fine with that TBH. If you can afford an analog man KOT or a first run Tim good for you! If you can't it isn't the end of the world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
I have a "boutique" Op Amp Muff because when I was looking there was no mass produced equivalent really. If I were looking today though, I reckon that the EHX reissue for $100 would suit me fine.

Boutique seems to have evolved to represent a status symbol rather than the size of an operation or an indication of quality. I'm fine with that TBH. If you can afford an analog man KOT or a first run Tim good for you! If you can't it isn't the end of the world.
OT --- but one of the last times I was in Cobourg (prob 15 years ago) there was a small old-time music store that had a bunch of old pedals, amps, etc. Iirc, it was almost behind my cousin's funeral home (most of my relatives are from Cobourg).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,876 Posts
I don't really care what you call them. boutique, high end, etc. If I like them and they're worth it to me what they're selling for I'll buy them.
The one I can't understand is the original Klon pedals. They go for $2,000 + and thats just nuts. For that much I'd put an amp behind me before I'd put a pedal on the ground
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,689 Posts
At what point does something that started out "boutique", and eventually became recognized and popular enough that additional staff were required and full-page ads were taken out, turn into "manufacturer"?

I don't know, and I don't think anyone else does either. That's not to say that the truer meaning of "boutique" as something which is custom-tailored and produced by the "person behind the object" is being strictly adhered to.

For instance, once upon a time, ZVex pedals were handmade on veroboard, using selected components, and hand-painted. You can probably find pics of early Super Hard-On and Fuzz Factory pedals like this (actual ones, not pirated copies). These are legitimately considered "boutique". For some 20 years, Zachary Vex stuck with his commitment to putting every single pedal of his in the exact same-sized chassis (Hammond 1590B), no matter how complex. But as time went on, he started to get boards fabricated, and chassis mass produced and legended. The boards started to use surface-mount parts, and he had to hire more staff.

But, truth be told, those days of veroboard circuits are behind us. Anyone in their dorm room can now download PCB layout software, draft a layout for a surface-mount board, ship the file off and get the boards professionally etched, drilled, legended, and stuffed, by companies that specialize in that sort of thing, and have something that compares in professional quality to anything from Boss, all from the comfort of their own college dorm room. It's small production runs, certainly, but if it takes off, results in several thousand units being sold annually, and requires more than one person to be "the business", what do you call it?

About 2 years back, I visited Diamond pedals in Dartmouth. It was Friday on a Labour Day weekend, so I doubt that everyone who could have been there was there. But it was all of three or four people, two of them drilling holes and stuffing boxes for shipping. Not "boutique", but not major manufacturer either.

At NAMM, I met with a number of pedal-makers. Some were small one-man-plus-spouse companies. Others were 3 or 4-person operations. Others were bigger. It was generally impossible to know how many people the "business" consisted of, or how many units were moved, from the production quality of the pedal. That's a testament both to the physical resources available to us nowadays, as well as to the collective knowledge resources available to those who wish to start a pedal business. In some instances, the pedal-makers actually have day-jobs, or the pedals are simply a spin-off of the primary music-gear product-line. For instance, Seymour Duncan makes pedals in addition to pickups. Another guy I chatted with mostly makes guitars, but decided to have a small line of pedals. Many work in I.T.

Could one use the distinctive features of a product as the marker of "boutique"? In 0ther words, if it does something other products don't do or even attempt, or has more knobs and switches than comparable products, would it qualify as "boutique"? Probably not. Plenty of people are producing small runs of reproductions of 2 or 3-knob germanium fuzzes. Because nobody makes those transistors anymore, so the maker is constrained by how many they can find tucked away in parts drawers in South America, Europe, of Southeast Asia, they will NEVER be big production makers. The product itself is not really custom-tailored, and doesn't do more than the original did. Really, it's just a way of making something generally unavailable and pricey a little more available and not quite so pricey. I contrast that with EQD pedals, which often attempt something truly weird, but which sell large quantities, or Catalinbread, which is not quite so weird, but still "different". And these days, EHX - which I doubt anyone would consider "boutique" - makes some VERY exotic niche products.

Then there is the difference between the product and the ad copy. So many pedals are distortions of one form or another. How different are they...really? From the ad copy, you'd think every stinking one of them is truly unique and easily distinguished from all others in existence. The big guys do that. The never-heard-of-it-before Asian guys do that. And the small guys do that.

What about the pricing? Those guys who know a little about how to make pedals will sometimes look at a product and go "But there's just $15 worth of parts there. Why does it cost $249.95?". There are a few aspects to that.

First off, maybe the store is selling it for $249.95, but that's not what the manufacturer sell it to the store for. The store expects to make a profit, so the MSRP is higher than the maker's selling price to the retailer.

Second, if someone is a sensible businessperson, they will work backwards from their overhead costs. So, even if it is a one-person "business", there is rent, car payments, food, website, travel to tradeshows and visiting distributors, health insurance (if American), inventory-supplier costs, etc. How many units can be made and sold each month? Total the overhead/living costs, divide by the number of units sold, and there is your pricepoint. If I don't expect to make and sell more than 50 pedals a month, and my living/overhead costs are $5000/mo, then I am going to have to charge retailers at least $100/pedal to simply get by, and probably [email protected] if I'm trying to get some seed money to expand. And that would be true whether the pedal uses $50 worth of exotic parts, or $5 worth of parts.

Third, price-point talks. Too high and people say "Not for me". But too low and people say "Couldn't be very good. I'll pass." So, even if the product doesn't cost a fortune to make, and enough units get moved that all overhead costs are met, the maker may still have to inflate the price a little to draw attention to it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
555 Posts
People use it to replace "high end".
These days boutique = anything that isn't Boss. It's all bullshit.
Some combination of what these guys said.

My board is mostly EQD, Wilson, Black Arts Toneworks, etc. but I also have a couple basic bitch Boss pedals that I love. My LS-2 is by far the MVP of my bass board... they're not hip, but they're legit. I think for 90% of the effects community, the boutique moniker is pretty far removed from the "guy in his basement making 100 pedals a year" idea.

Maybe we got over the hype? And I don't mean that to sound backhanded to the guys who really search out the truly boutique (old definition) pedal makers. That's still really cool and I get a halfer from those 1 in a million pedalboards that makes me scratch my head and say "what the hell is that pedal??" But almost everybody has boutique (new definition) pedals now. The novelty is sorta gone.

I just woke up. Hopefully that makes sense.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,084 Posts
The real debate is,... how is it pronounced. Is it ... BOW-TEEK or BOO-TEEK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,327 Posts
OT --- but one of the last times I was in Cobourg (prob 15 years ago) there was a small old-time music store that had a bunch of old pedals, amps, etc. Iirc, it was almost behind my cousin's funeral home (most of my relatives are from Cobourg).

That was George's Guitars. He has since retired and sold the business to Long and McQuade. Long and McQuade stayed in that location for awhile before moving out to highway 2 between Cobourg and Port Hope (the old Honda dealership).

TG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
George's Guitars and you do remember the location correctly! They were bought by L and M a few years back. George definitely had a ton of cool stuff and his vintage amps were always quite sensibly priced. He also didn't careuch about pedals. If a used pedal came in and he hadn't geard of it he wouldn't give the trader much more than $20 and then sold it on for not much more. Bringing us back to the OP's topic: I onve bought a Blackout Musket there for $50. I then traded it to Hamish from Southampton Pedals for a custom Tonebender. It was boo-teak for sure.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top