The Purpose of a Pedal

Thought it might be good to describe the design philosophy behind the Gizmoaudio Sawmill. Our philosophy here is to create a pedal that augments your tube amp tone. We believe pedals should behave like the amp in terms of playing dynamics. Pedals should have a gentler coloration and allow the guitar and amp to shine through. An illustration of this is one of my all time favorite songs, “Lights” by Journey.

Alot of pedals tend to squash your dynamics. This is due to the clipping that happens with diode type distortion. When the waveform goes above the threshold voltage of the diodes, the wave is clipped to only go to this threshold. Any voltage above this is limited to the threshold. Since the dynamics of your playing are contained in the amplitude variations, this limiting action strips the dynamics and makes the sound seem compressed. There have been various ways to get away from this by adding a blended clean channel to the distorted channel. This is what the Klon and the Sparkle Drive do. This restores the dynamics somewhat although the distorted path is still compressed.

At Gizmoaudio we have taken an approach where the transition between clean and distorted is gradual and changes with your playing dynamics. This allows the pedal to respond like the tube amp it is connected to so that it augments the sound of the amp instead of covering it up with fizzy hissiness. A lot of people in the pedal world believe there is nothing new under the sun but this is a new design and a patent has been applied for to protect the technology. This first pedal in our lineup, the Sawmill, is targeted for the worship, country, and blues venues. This gradual transition between clean and distorted is what most people like. You can go from clean to distorted with just how hard you pluck your strings. We will be producing new pedals in the future with more extreme distortion but they will all still have this extreme touch sensitivity.

If you want to hear examples of this on our website listen to the Jimmy Wooten sound samples. You can also hear this in Brett Kingman’s video at about -4:05 where he emphasizes his playing dynamics to show the pedal breaking up.

Charles Luke for Gizmoaudio 3/31/2012


  1. Jonathan says:

    I have now spent some time quality time with Ripsaw. This is a great sounding pedal. I am surprised how versatile it is. It is clean but still has character. It sounds great as a boost and it is superbly musical at all levels of distortion. I am really enjoying the low to middle range of drive control. I love the very tweakable and gradual nature of its control. Controls interact perfectly with no brainer intuition. All positions sound good and are useable with humbucks or singles. I love the sound of ripsaw.

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