After thrilling audiences globally in his band Last Dinosaurs (you may have heard of them), and displaying not only powerful songwriting chops but a masterful use of effects in his instantly recognisable guitar sounds, Sean Caskey of Ryusuke Effects decided to gift the world with creations of his own. From warm delay blankets to funk-master compression, Ryusuke Effects is a local force with global quality.
Effects pedals are integral to almost every iconic guitar sound. Here, we take a look into the world of Sean Caskey, the man making the magic.
HAPPY: How long has your love affair with effects been going on? And how did it lead to you deciding to create your own brand?
SEAN: I guess it all began after high school, I hadn’t been playing guitar for very long and I bought the worst multi distortion pedal. It was some sort of Line 6 thing, which at the time I thought was the bee’s knees. Eventually, after some time discovering various types of new pedals and sounds on YouTube, I stumbled upon the most attractive overdrive – the [Lovepedal] Les Lius. It had the perfect sound and look, so simple and clean. The Les Lius became the heart of my guitar sound but after a few years I thought it actually broke. I contacted the company only to find out they weren’t making the pedal anymore. So I set upon learning the electrical theory behind guitar pedals so I could build my own version of this pedal.
HAPPY: What do you think separates your brand from the big boys out there? (i.e. Boss, EHX, TC etc.)
SEAN: The biggest difference is the amount of pedals that I can push out! I guess another difference is that, because all the electronics are handmade, they can easily be repaired. Whereas most modern pedals these days are made by robots with tiny ant size pieces which sometimes can’t be fixed.
HAPPY: Your website includes an offer for custom builds and even low budget remakes of pricey industry favourites. How does this work in regards to the low cost and accuracy of the recreation?
SEAN: The thing with electronics, which still seems strange to me, is that you can’t patent an electronic circuit. So crazy people out there dissect the inner-workings of various pedals and outlay the design in multiple formats, like a schematic or a vero board layout for recreation. The depth people go into with effect circuits is just mental! There are so many geniuses out there. The greatest thing is that they are all helping each other to troubleshoot, learn, design, and improve guitar effects. I love it.
HAPPY: Where and how did you learn the skills necessary to create pedals?
SEAN: I can’t remember exactly how I started but basically I just spent a month deeply researching electronics from the very basics to the workings of overdrive circuits. Eventually I had enough knowledge to start buying the thousands of components required and putting together different designs and making modifications.
HAPPY: If you could have one guitarist alive or dead try your pedals, who would be the lucky contender and why?
Ohhh man, that’s a tough one but I’d have to say Johnny Marr from The Smiths! I think the sounds I’ve created might please him and would suit his detailed style of playing.
Sean’s amazing pedals are available here.
You can read the whole interview with a copy of Happy Mag Issue #2