Update 2017 – It appears that Seth has taken down his website, TryaPedal.net. It has been down for over a year now and I am not sure when or if he will ever put the website back up. If you are looking to rent guitar pedals, check out Pedal Genie. I have used them before and offer a very similar service, but with a monthly payment plan. In the mean-time, feel free to read the interview with Seth and hear how he started his pedal rental business. You never know what you might learn!
I love music. Even more so I love guitar… And I have an obsession with guitar pedals. Guilty! I bet some of you are too. When I ran across TryAPedal.net I knew I had to give it a try. Not only that I was so curious as to who runs it and the story behind it.
Enter Seth White. Just a regular guy with a passion for guitar pedals and wanting to try them all. He took that passion and decided to start a rental and rent-to-own service for guitar pedals and make that a reality not only for himself, but for all guitarists. A journey that is not any easy one. He has just started and is still working hard.
I am glad to share my interview with him on the blog and hope that you can support him and his mission.
—– Interview —–
First off, what is TryAPedal.Net? What is it all about? How did it become a reality?
TryAPedal.net was an idea born out of my desire to try all the amazing pedals out there without having to front tons of money. I’m a gigging musician and so I’m all about helping the gigging musician. I just want to make it as easy as possible for players to experiment with gear. I started putting my ideas on paper during the Fall of 2011. Secured a small business loan in April of 2012 and launched that July.
What’s your story? How did you get started playing music?
I’ve been playing music my whole life. I started playing piano, when I was 7 years old, played trumpet in band, all that kinda stuff. I got in my first garage band in high school. It was a cover band and I played drums. I played bass in the band Shudder. Played bass and was the lead singer for the band Jailbird Paul. I began leading worship for churches in college and still do that to this day. In fact, its my “day job”. I fill orders for TryAPedal.net late at night every night and drop shipments at the PO every morning on my way to work. The most recent music ventures I’ve been a part of are the band Thank God For Payday for which I play guitar and a collaborative project called Hold Out Hope that has an album, “Bright Lights, Dark Places” releasing this Fall. I play guitar and sing some of the songs.
Your logo for TryAPedal.net is awesome! Is there a story behind the gorilla? Any meaning to it?
Haha! My buddy Dustin designed my branding and logo. He’s a designer and photographer. He came up with the idea of a “bigfoot” type of creature since you stomp on pedals. So I guess technically he’s a Sasquatch. He doesn’t really have a name yet, but I call him TAP. (Try-A-Pedal: get it?)
Do you have any favorite guitar pedals of your own?
It’s funny. My journey of exploring guitar pedals over the last 6 or 7 years has brought me to a couple of realizations. The one I’ll mention here concerns overdrives. I can get very, very close to the tone I want with pretty much any overdrive. Haha. I know. Not a good thing to say for a guy hocking pedals right? But the truth is, there are only so many ways to clip a circuit and your average listener is not going to hear a difference. But let’s be honest, the tone we all seek isn’t about the listener is it? It’s about what we the players want. That’s why, even coming to that realization, I still try every OD that comes through the stockroom because even minute variations make a huge difference to me. All that being said, the only actual overdrive I have on my personal board is an Emerson Custom EM-Drive. It’s transparent and acts more as a dirty boost. I love aesthetically pleasing pedals. So I am partial to pedals designed by companies like Walrus Audio and Earthquaker Devices. I also love the creativity behind Tortuga Effects designs. Not only are the circuits unique, but the artwork and layout is so fun. I’m currently into fuzz pedals and my favorite right now is the Wren and Cuff Box of War.
Is there a guitar pedal that seems to be getting the most attention through your store?
Is there a guitar pedal brand you’re admiring lately?
I’ve already mentioned him a few times, but I have become friends with Mitch from Emerson Custom and I really admire their brand and think they have a huge future. Also, I gotta throw out props to Jack Deville of Mr. Black. He spent hours on the phone with me both before I launched and since. I always enjoy a good chat with him. Good dude.
You seem to have limited brands that you can rent from. Are you hoping to expand the selection?
Yeah, the store can only grow so fast. I just passed the 2-year mark for my company and I’m still not technically making money. I think this year will be a big year. I’m working on some big ways to lower overhead (including a full site redesign). In any case, I took out the loan initially but decided at the beginning that I would not go into any more debt. So, I can only add pedals as I have the expendable cash. And that’s not often. Most cash goes to restocking and I stay behind in the stock room on about 30% of the inventory at all times.
Do you have any hopes for the future with TryAPedal?
Well, obviously the big hope for me is that the company will make big money and succeed. Many folks have suggested adding “rent a guitar or amp” but that seems like a logistical nightmare. I’d like to be able to move the business out of my house and into a fulfillment warehouse and add employees, but you’ve gotta be doing bigger business for that to happen. But, yeah, that about sums it up.
—– End Interview —–
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Thanks for the awesome interview Seth. It was awesome to hear your story.