Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Like every guitar player, I started off learning blues - as it's pretty quick and easy to sound sort of OK doing it, and it's the starting point of most kinds of modern music. But after a while I got bored with it. I dunno -something to do with the 'english pub lunchtime' feeling about it, old white blokes crucifying it decade after decade. In fact if you ever hang around where guitar players hang around, it's pretty hard to get away from, but I ended up running...

I'm at the stage now where - through some sort of weird filtering process - I like a lot of electro-type music; anything from traditional Kraftwerk-y stuff, to more 'dance' based things, to a whole load of chart-topping studio-based pop. Music that actually doesn't have much guitar in it usually - which I find slightly worrying.

However I can't help thinking that what I do on guitar fits right in with all that - and I'm always into getting new sounds that fit the occasion. Which was the starting point for Rainger FX guitar pedals; make these sounds available to other people. For lots of acts, whenever they play live they always like to make things more exciting, rough things up a bit... And they get a guitarist into their live band. And you see them on TV playing together (often miming) the guitarist gamely strumming away... to a track that has no guitar on it! Get the guy a Compactotron! ( )

So meanwhile, the rest of the guitar world is down the pub at lunchtime - stylistically speaking (though the pub may sometimes be a classic-rock-of-the-future kind).
How does Rainger FX fit in with that?
Well, to varying degrees. I do a few distortion-type of boxes that'd definitely make the lunchtime more fun, but I'm aiming to be the place to go for cutting edge sounds - and not taking for granted the usual (previous) ways of doing things.
Let's see.

And now, here are some pictures of nice fake food...

Friday, 25 March 2011

I've got this fantasy image...

... of how I'll be making pedals in the (hopefully) near future. To my right is a large cardboard box full of finished enclosures, painted and ready to be used. On my left is another large box full of printed circuit boards - stuffed with components, ready to be used.
I pick one from one side, one from the other, and push them together with a satisfyingly gentle 'snick!', the parts meshing perfectly with each other...

Of course this is the penultimate step in manufacturing development, the final stage being when they're made in their millions for almost nothing by happy smiling children in some far off country.

But sadly, neither situation is quite happening yet; I just got a quote for the pcb part for £17 per box for just the labour in sticking the components on. I can do one in about an hour, and this quote is for a batch of only 20... So it's back to the soldering for me.

Which is OK!
It's weird, but - when it's your own thing - you don't mind the process of 'board stuffing', which is pretty handy. Yes, I could've been one of those smiling happy kids.

In the meantime, here's a picture of a pedal someone else made; simple and funny, it's pretty inspiring...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Possibly Changing The Course Of Modern Popular Music

I had a brief moment of calm recently when I could actually have a think about some new ideas. Tried to think of some relatively simple pedals... Small, cheap, strange things, that people just might be compelled to buy. And that may possibly change the course of modern popular music.  That sort of thing.

I thought of using a key part of something I'd made already; the triggering system from the Compactotron, but instead of my distortion and lo-pass filter inside, plug in - externally - any other effects the user owns... It's a triggered panner, panning quickly from one effect to the other - left to right if you want (or mono).

Called the Short Attention Spanner, it would sort of look like this...

The Red LED flashes with each trigger, and the heel switch trigger bit permanently attached via the black cable out of the bottom panel. The user changes its use to suit the situation, ie two modulation pedals, going at different speeds? Or distortion and echo? Whatever.

Green seemed weirdly intense. And with a green knob and green LED - even more so. And with black fittings and a red flashing light... I think when I'd made it, I would carry this pedal around with me from room to room for several days, just so I could always look at it.

Anyway. I also had an idea for a compilation CD; 'Music To Solder By'. Stuff that made you feel you were in a film, working solo deep into the night on a tough project that would eventually set the world reeling with its magnificence... Hmmm. Possibly not changing the course of modern popular music.

BTW have a listen (in the background) for a day or two to - a marvellous music player of electronic ambient music with a live feed of New York emergency radio frequencies over the top.

If that doesn't sound totally brilliant to you, try it with Los Angeles, or maybe Chicago.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Extreme Metal

I've been preparing blank store-bought boxes for effects pedals, and I've got to say, doing metalwork is JUST HORRIBLE.

Drilling holes in it involves brute force from a dangerous machine, throwing nasty metal splinters everywhere. Then you have to file the holes by hand to position them precisely - especially if you've gone and opted for any rectangular ones (you fool!). Filing in itself is hard work; muscles aching, you knock your fingers on jagged edges... It's awful. Blood, sweat and 3-in-1 oil everywhere...

I've had enough of all this. So I'm trying to get some boxes made specially by someone else - holes and everything, painted, ready to go, and - to be fair - it is slowly moving ahead. But this isn't easy either - finding the right companies to contact, emailing with all the spec, trying to coax them into actually replying. When you've found one, then starts the process of communicating exactly (that's exactly) what you want. And that's after you've put the work in designing the thing.

In fact, I've got a theory that it takes exactly the same amount of energy to push this through as drilling/filing pre-made boxes yourself, only a different kind of energy - spread out over weeks instead of one savage burst.

Plus of course a whole stack of money.

But in the end - hopefully - I'll get a really cool unique box! Here's a picture of a cardboard cut-out of what I've got in mind. Check out that overhang on the right!

Department Of Connections


I'm David Rainger - a guitar player, interested in guitar playing, music, guitar effects pedals, drawing and painting, electronics, cosmology, London, and US cop TV shows. I'm trying to get Rainger FX going, my guitar effects pedal company. At the moment - other than a few key companies that help out - it's pretty much me, making a mess on the dining room table, but this blog will (no doubt) be about the journey from dining room table to internationally-renowned mega-brand; gripping stuff, I'm sure.

Of course it'll also be about inventing stuff, making beautiful things, art generally, chocolate, girls, and the highs and lows of modern day-to-day life. Not necessarily in that order.

I was told it's good to have links in things, so here's one; . And pictures too - here's a drawing from my life drawing class that I've just finished. It's OK, but doesn't actually look like the model.

Next, I'm doing 'Portraits 1', so maybe there'll be more of a similarity in future.