WE DON’T DO CLONES! – Patent Awarded for Sawmill Design

A patent was awarded by the US Patent Office in 2013 for the Sawmill design. With the rise of the internet and the free flow of information, it has been increasingly difficult to protect original designs. While the result of all this is cheaper pedals for the masses, it also creates a reluctance for talented designers to continue in the marketplace. Long term this hurts the whole industry.

The patent approval process is a difficult process with a Patent Examiner trying to find reason to disapprove the application. Of course every challenge from the examiner has to go through a lawyer which always costs more dollars. In the end we were able to defend the challenges from the examiner and a patent was awarded. If you want to see innovative designs, please support our effort. Pedal designers, if you are interested in licensing the design or if you want to know more about the patent process for a pedal design, please contact us.


  1. Jonathan says:

    Background Thoughts

    I’ll bet most people reading a post like this own or have direct experience with a lot of boost / overdrive / distortion pedals. I count a current stable of 6 overdrive / distortion pedals and 3 clean or clean with character “boost” pedals. Most of these pedals have been put out to pasture and it is unlikely they will be saddled up again. They are all “good” pedals that work as intended. So, is that kind of sad or at least silly? After all, if I had all that pedal cash in my fist right now I could buy a neat guitar that would be way more fun than plugging into another dirtbox. But we are guitar players and have been chasing tone since we got our first real set up, and for most of us pedals have been a big part of the evolution of our tone and taste.

    Tone wise, is there anything that sounds better than a great guitar plugged into a great amp? For me, no. Like many of you (I’ll bet) I have guitars and amps that cover the main food groups of tone – from the Fender side of the tracks to the main streets of Gibson with some Gretch detours – with amps in the 5 – 50 watt range I can find a rig that is really fun to play. But for me right now its mostly Fendery amps and Gibson / Tele guitars. Pedals are first and foremost about feeling organically right with my signal chain and not messing up my basic tone. With drive pedals in particular my goal is to get a great driven sound at lower volumes and to add a flavor that sounds right with the guitar amp combo. Very subjective I know but isn’t everything? Not that it matters but most of my playing currently is through a old tv front Deluxe or a Tungsten Cream Wheat and a 335 or Tele – on the cleaner side of the spectrum.

    Sawmill and Ripsaw

    “Get to know the new sound of clean distortion.” Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it. These pedals do have a sound (everything does) but they don’t take over and dictate to the amp and guitar. They just let you play. You can dig in, back off, work with your volume and enjoy the dynamics like there is no pedal, but actually your dynamics are enhanced and you have more options with the pedal. That works for me. They don’t squash my tone.

    As you would hope, the voicing and gain staging of the two pedals makes sense. I have lived with Ripsaw for about a year, which is actually kind of funny because I probably should have Sawmilled first (given the material I most frequently play) but even in my cleaner gigs Ripsaw was a friend. Now with Sawmill in place I think I have two really useable tools that cover anything I am likely to want to do drive wise. Essentially, Ripsaw = higher gain – more rocky, Sawmill = lower gain – cleaner – bluesier. Because of the clean – high headroom – dynamic capabilities of the pedals you can also stack them to good effect should you want to gas the livin heck out of your rig without it sounding like a bee trying to get out of a hot car.

    So, I’m really happy. Charles has designed a couple of pedals that I can use that don’t take me to the same clone tone field as everything else I have bought in my pedal life. These are not clones of previous famous drive/distortion circuits that provide small but eventually meaningless tonal variation. These are new tools for serious players who thoughtfully assemble gear that lets them grow and be who they are. Way to go Gizmo!

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