Music | Guitars | Effects | Recording

Music | guitars | FX Pedals

  • JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 341
Thursday, 11 December 2014 13:37

RJM Effects builds and handmade, custom guitar effects pedals, pedal mods, pedal repairs

Written by
RJM Effects Green Vodka RJM Effects Green Vodka RJM Effects
RJM Effects started as a hobby of Ryan and has grown from there. He started doing guitar repairs about seven years ago and last year decided to take a stab at effects pedals to take his mind off his "real job".  At first just modding and repairing but as knowledge grew (and there's always more to learn) he thought he'd take a stab at building a pedal for his own use. "So, I figured since I was pleased with my builds than maybe other guitar players might be as well." And so it starts...

rjm effects logoInterview:
Name: Ryan McCaffrey
Company Name: McCaffrey Audio, LLC

A quick introduction please, name, company, location: 
Hello my name is Ryan I own McCaffrey Audio formally known as RJM Effects. We are located in central Wisconsin.

What got you started making gear? 
Been playing guitar since I was 6 years old. Always been a gear junkie. Been doing guitar and amp work for 9 years. Upon hearing the price of a used Klon over 3 years ago, I decided to see if I could make a pedal.

What gear do you make?
We will be offering 3 of our 6 pedals as of 1/2015. The Green Vodka Muff, "E" Overdrive and Tite Line Compressor. We also have the '46 Tremolo, Cherub Wings Fuzz and MH/CS Variant Fuzz.

Where do you operate from?
Central WI. All manufacturing and assembly is done in Kansas City, MO after initial development and R&D of pedals.

RJM Effects Tight Line CompressorWhat about making gear do you like the most?
I love hearing and seeing musicians use and be inspired to play guitar with our pedals. That is the "cherry on top"!

Is this a hobby or full time operation?

Who inspires you/who do you look up to musically, IE what gear do you admire?
I really admire Josh from JHS, Brian from Wampler pedals and Rob Keeley. I am honored to call them friends.

What pisses you off/what do you like; about the boutique audio gear building industry?
I love the way our industry is. It is so laid back. Everyone is super friendly with the mentality of helping one another.

Are you still in a band or play music and do you use your own gear?
I wish! lol... I do try and play guitar with my line pedals or pedals in the R&D stage at least an 1/2 to 1 hour a day.

Quick Fire
Favourite Guitar Maker? DeTemple
Favourite Guitar Effect? Fuzz
Favourite Amp Maker? Fender or Toneville
Favourite Music Genre? Rock
Favourite Band / Artist? The Beatles
Favourite Guitarist?: SRV
Favourite Instrument? My 2001 Gibson LP Custom '57 CS RI
Favourite Drink? Coffee
Favourite Place? Home
Favourite Food? Cereal
Website Address:
Social Media Channels:

Ryan McCaffreyFrom Ryan McCaffrey!
"Many of us have never experienced the sound of the diamond needle hitting the lead-in grooves on a vinyl LP, or listened to the tracks on that album through floor-standing, ported, 3-way, 12" speakers, the small scratches on the vinyl surface adding soft, comforting cracks which always seemed to support the music being played.

When one really wanted to get into the music you donned a pair of over ear headphones and lost yourself in what seemed like surround sound, where instruments and voices often seemed to come from inside your head. While the playback equipment is now, long, outdated the tones on those albums are still as relevant today as they were back then. And, until now, many of those vintage effects used to create those tones were as unobtainable, and as scarce as Pioneer's 12-inch, 3-way, floor standing speakers, or those huge, ugly, green KOSS headphones from the 80's.

Ryan McCaffrey, CEO and founder of RJM Effects and now McCaffrey Audio, grew up in an environment surrounded by music and professional musicians. His father played guitar and hung in musical circles frequented by guitarist who owned all of the classic effects that we've all grown to know, and love - those tones that stick in our heads.

A guitar player himself for nearly 30 years, Ryan's grown to appreciate not only the mainstream classic tones emanating from the likes of the FuzzFace, Crybaby or the Arbiter, but also the more obscure pedals that created the tones that are often in our head but impossible, with today’s gear, to reproduce.

Fueled by his passion for the guitar and his love for the classic tones of the 60's and 70's, Ryan has sought to recreate and rejuvenate the lost vintage tones from the golden era of guitar, as well as many of the mainstream classics that have become part of popular music culture.

Early effects pedals were works of art. Early transistors, resistors, capacitors and potentiometers (all engineer speak for the parts that make your pedal work) weren't built to the quality standards we have today. Part values varied, in many cases, by as much as +/- 20% from the manufacturers advertised value. A 100 ohm resistor could range anywhere from 80 ohms to 120 ohms, as an example. These variances in components is the entire reason why, say, two seemingly identical Fender amps, made the same day, in the same factory, can sound so similar but, decidedly, different. Their tone is, decidedly "Fender" and instantly identifiable.

Ryan has sought, with all the pedals created by RJM, to create a sonic signature that is immediately recognizable and identifiable, first and foremost, as an exact recreation of the original, vintage effect. To that end, like the originals, McCaffrey Audio is using components with large tolerances, so that the key tonal signature is maintained but, also, so that each pedal has its own elements of tone unique to it.

After all, when we pick up a vintage Stratocaster, Les Paul or Telecaster, it’s not the perfection that we’re attracted to, it’s all those little nuances and "inconveniences" that modern technology has removed, that we’re attracted to - the warmth of the tone, a bit of 60Hz hum, tone controls that don’t taper perfectly, imperfections here and there; think about it, a perfectly crafted vintage instrument that sounded exactly like every other vintage instrument would be, well... boring.

McCaffrey Audio knows that modern guitarists need more from their pedals than just vintage tone. While many bands perform covers and require vintage tones to do that, a band needs something to differentiate itself from the mainstream, and like a good vintage pedal, they need a sonic signature all their own. In their default settings, all RJM pedals reproduce the original sonic signature of the vintage pedal they’re designed to reproduce.

For McCaffrey Audio, simply reproducing a vintage sonic signature was not enough. Allowing the guitarist to retain the basic characteristics of the vintage sonic signature, while adding more modern elements -more low-end to deal with detuned, or 7/8 string guitars, changing the output filtering (high / low pass), and other modifications (which vary by pedal) allow the guitarist to adapt a vintage tone to a more modern instrument, musical genre and playing style. It’s all about customizing and adapting an immediately identifiable sonic signature to your specific playing style.

Like the original artists and craftsman that created these sonic marvels, McCaffrey Audio has paid attention to every detail of the finished product - from enclosures, switches and controls designed to withstand years of abuse and millions of changes, to PCB manufacturing processes that ensure every component is securely and firmly attached to every other component to withstand vibration and drops. Like the tones in your head that get passed down from mentor to apprentice, these pedals are designed to be passed down from generation to generation of tone loving instrumentalists.

McCaffrey Audio is dedicated to bringing musicians the classic tones with a modern twist; core, elemental, sonic signatures that we’ve grown to know, and love, with the ability to adapt to modern genres, equipment and playing styles. We’re dedicated to delivering pure, organic, tone for everyone."
Last modified on Thursday, 11 December 2014 13:56

Latest Blog & News