Custom Mods & Fine Line Tweaking
The Voodoo Custom Shop™ was created for players who’s needs and tonal desires go beyond the scope of our Standardized Modifications. Since 1998 we have designed Custom Modifications for some of the most discerning as well as legendary players in the business and our passion for endless pursuit of tone has only grown stronger. As a musician there is nothing better in this world than when you plug into an amp and it sounds & feels so good that you are inspired to play. This is why I created Voodoo Amps and this is why we do what we do here.
Designing an amp to sound and feel just right is truly an art form.
All components and parts have tolerances and all those tolerances add up in the form of caps, resistors, transformers, tubes, wire, pots and more to give us what we hear and feel as 'tone.' The truth (or fact) is that all the best test gear in the world will not tell you how an amp is supposed to feel. This is where the science leaves off and the art form comes into play."
What goes into designing a Custom Mod? - I draw from a life time of knowledge, experience and playing as well as a deep passion for music. For me 'Tone is the sum of the whole.' It takes everything working together to create what we hear and feel as tone. Being an amp tech is one part of the tonal puzzle and being intimately familiar with a wide variety of gear is another critical part of the puzzle. IE: knowing how it influences the tone and feel of an amp is paramount. This includes knowing what the most sought after speakers sound like and how they feel effect the tone as well as speaker cabinets, wire, pickups, the electronics in a guitar, connectors, instrument / speaker cables, effect pedals & rack mount gear, various power supplies and much more. This is all part of the tonal puzzle and is important as each piece of gear colors or adds its own frequency curves and gain structure.
The Process - I prefer to talk with the player on the phone before they send their amp in to be Modded. This tells me volumes about what they are looking for, how they want the amp to sound/feel, gain structure, frequency response, etc.
From there I play on the amp to get a sense of how it feels when bending / vibrato’ing, transitioning from string to string as well as how it reacts to pick attack, how the frequencies come across, how it sustains, etc. My first experience playing & listening to the amp greatly influences the Modification I will do.
I immediately I get a sense of what I would like to hear differently & how I would want the amp to respond as well as react when I'm playing on it. I then go through the Mod Form and find the common threads between what I hear and feel when playing on the amp and what you have listed on the Mod Form.
Mod Form - The list of gear you include on the Mod Form as well as any notes you include in the 'Notes' section of the Mod Form gives me a clearer tonal picture of what the tone will sound like in the end. IE: the tonal puzzle if you will.
From there I get a much more defined sense of what I need to change/alter. I begin designing the Mod, make those changes and play on the amp again. If in the first 5-10 seconds it does't strike as “It’s where it needs to be” then I continue tweaking. Granted sometimes this is what many would call “fine line tweaking” or “splitting hairs” but that's what we do here.
After a while I will take a day or two away from the amp. I come back with fresh ears and repeat the process until the day I plug in and within the first 5-10 seconds I say to myself “that’s it!” I then place the amp on our proprietary break-in rig as all things with new metals factually have a break-in period. This allows everything to settle in so that it will sound/feel as intended and I then play on it again. If it’s still spot-on then I place the amp in shipping/receiving to be properly packed/packaged and shipped out to the customer/you. If not, I repeat the process again until I am happy with the results.
As you can probably begin to see, this process can take a fair amount of time and when you weigh out what we charge for the Mods you can easily see we are by no means getting rich doing this. It truly is a labor of love. I also love working with great players who know tone when they hear/feel it. Players like yourself are every bit as important to me as the larger/well known players we do work for. Nothing makes me happier than when someone is in love with the results of what I have done. When it is inspiring to play on an amp and you loose track of time, that is very special. It’s inspiration – you cannot see it, bottle it or touch it but you know when it hits you. That is what I strive for, to provide inspiration through tone. - Trace Davis, President / Founder
Pricing - Custom Modifications & fine line tweaking is $150.00 an hour.