Lawrence Scaduto makes a lot of things. He is mostly known as the man behind Ohnoho
, a Brooklyn-based guitar effect pedal store. In addition to making things to make music, he is also a musician himself, as well working in video production. And he cuts his own hair.
What made you decide to hand-craft guitar effects pedals?
There’s a certain affliction common to many musicians called GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome. The most common symptom? Creating eBay saved searches for rare audio equipment.... So much so that eBay will restrict your saved searches. This actually happened to me.
Let me explain my love, for these are magical little boxes full of so much potential. They trigger my synapses to fire off in so many directions--there’s exploration, adventure, and intrigue in trying to find a small metal box that makes the sound you hear in your head.
grew out of this. I spent untold hours Googling sound clips and reviews for gear I would most likely never get my hands on. Naturally, I would come across schematics, layouts, and plans to build clones of these rare devices. Eventually, I decided to take the jump and build something myself.
Fast forward to a few years later, and I’m making original designs for myself and my friends. Shortly after that I was running a small business from my apartment, making things.
There’s more than just fancy paint jobs going on here. You build the pedals from scratch?
Yep, I’m like a chef buying homegrown, butchered, raw ingredients to make complex meals. I’m not making switches and knobs and die casting aluminum enclosures in my apartment. I’ve looked into it. My lease has a “no molten metals” clause. Bummer.
Basically, I’m combining paint, aluminum enclosures, knobs, switches, jacks, LEDs, capacitors, resistors and transistors to create musical tools to shift, alter, sweeten and often, dirty sound; most often a raw guitar signal.
What kinds of sounds/effects do your pedals make?
Most of my pedals take my forefathers’ esoteric concepts of sound manipulation and attempt to make their application musical.
Take my “Blowing Up” for example: I was wondering what would happen if I connected my guitar amp to another amp. WOW! That’s a new form of distortion I haven’t heard before! Then I thought, “What if I connect it VCRs, tape decks, phones, and every pedal I own--and see what happens when they distort?” Let me tell you, I was deep into gooey, delicious, unexplored input distortion. So I put that in a box and made it controllable. Now I can hear what nearly anything with an audio connector sounds like when I’m Blowing Up the input.
Have you ever customized anything else?
I’m a guy that likes to learn how to make the things he loves. I make a killer empanada, a juicy burger, deeply rich chili, and a decent pork soup dumpling (still working on my aspic). I cut my own hair, built most of the furniture in my apartment and have ruined several guitars over the years with modifications and experiments. But don’t feel bad, they had it coming.
I used to do my own taxes. I don’t care for the customization part of that anymore. Taxes, like folding clothes, are just no fun at all.
The prints and colors on your pedals are often nostalgic. What is it about these old images and patterns that inspires you?
I’m not entirely sure. I try to walk through life listening to those synapses in my brain and find what makes them glow and vibrate. If they start firing off, I try to take notice and ask why I like a certain sound, image or idea.
As you say on your website, Ohnoho is just one dude. Does it get overwhelming running a handmade business out of your apartment?
No, not at all. I’m a pretty well thought out and often obsessive fella. From the second I considered doing this as more than a hobby I had clear ideas of how I would manage everything. However, If you asked my wife what it’s like having essentially a recording studio and a manufacturing facility in our 430 sq/ft apartment, I’m certain she would answer this question in a completely different way.
Do you have a favorite pedal creation?
It’s always the next one that’s my favorite because what I hear/see in my head is mysteriously glorious and intangible. If a pedal is currently in production, I’ve wrung out every possible use/flaw/sound/option/whatever. There’s no exploration left. What’s here and now is too mortal to deify anymore.
Do you play guitar? In a band? Any other creative outlets?
Yes, I also make music. Fourth Grade Gladiator's newest album is called Shopping.
Warning: it’s LOUD.
I also do sound design/music/mixing for hire. I've directed a few videos for bands.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in creating customized items?
DO IT. It’s so much fun. But don’t give yourself the option to fail. Pick one project and see it though, even if it turns out so embarrassingly bad that you never ever show anyone what you made. The point is to focus on the work and be proud that you tried something and finished it. You’ll always get better at making stuff. But you’ll never know that if you don’t try.
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5 years 302 days ago
We think it is sweet too :)
I think that was my dad that left the previous comment. Thanks Dad. If it wasn't then who ever "Larry" is sounds like a Dad leaving Dad-like compliments in an effort to slyly promote his kids work. Except it isn't sly at all. But still kind of sweet.
5 years 309 days ago
Wow, this guy really sounds like a together dude. I wish I had his creative spirit and mind. I think anyone who thinks like him would love to own one his pedals.