How To Start Your Own Boutique Amp or Effects Company

1. The most important thing is just coming up with a cool name. Alternatively, if your personal name is already cool sounding you can run with some version of that.

2.  Next you'll need a website. I suggest you go lo-fi and have a bare bones page that invites mystery and projects the aura of mad scientist or something like that, besides, you'll only need it for a few months and you don't want to blow any more funds on this than necessary. Use as much 'puffery' in your ad copy as you can and steer clear of analytically precise terms. You could will end up in small claims court later so you want to have promised nothing substantial. Use a lot of terms like "handwired" and "mojo" and "vibe" and "vintage" and related herbs and spices.

3. Either buy some pedal/amp kits or download many of the freely available schematics online and whip together a 'prototype.' The crucial element is not the quality of your generic product but, again, a cool name and a pretty good paint job. If this is too much trouble, and it is, buy some Chinese clones and then simply repaint them. Hell, why knock yourself out?

4a. You'll need to pimp a 'prototype' so you'll need to (1) create a lot of forum user names/accounts at the various fetish sites so you can create the illusion of mass enjoyment; (2) you'll need to round up a few idiots at these same fetish forums that, with the right linguistic magical formulas, can be sold on the musical and mystic virtues of any old hunk of crap. Don't worry, probably 25% of the folks hanging out online at these sites are full on bat shit crazy and will like anything that they think other people like. Stroke their egos by having them 'beta test' your kit or import, they'll provide a bunch of idiotic feedback, you'll change the color of the knobs, and then these fools will do all the free sales work for you and rabidly defend whatever it is you're selling because they have 'invested' not only some $ in this but their egos as well.

4b. In addition to the above (4a) you could get some semi-famous or well-known guitarist to go in on a "signature" item. Don't worry, they're as stupid if not more so than the herd members you'll be dealing with online. Just pick somebody who has been left out of the endorsement racket (some used-to-be wash up or never-will-be YouTube sensation) so they'll be easily manipulated by the temporary ego inflation. Don't pick anybody you actually like because, in a few months, they're going to hate your guts. If you cannot find some nobody to create a 'signature' box for you can always fall back on the old standbys, Robben Ford or Johnny Hiland, those guys will endorse anything -- hell, if you later go into dealing in hair tonic, shoe laces, or salsa, Hiland will probably endorse those for you as well.

5. Round up some local kids to solder together a few kits or paint your Chinese pedal and send them out. The hype machine will soon kick in and mass hysteria will spread across the interwebz.

Important! Make sure you fill your pedals with as much mystery goop as you can. The circuit tracer guys will soon be all over your shit and the goop may slow down the process whereby you are exposed as a hack and a fraud. Every day counts!

6. Here's the tricky part: you'll soon have far too many orders to fill so what you need to do is announce a new custom tweaked model, a special run featuring unicorn tears, whatever, that costs twice ten times as much and take as many preorders as you can. You'll be swamped with orders and money.

7. Place a notice on your website that you're having some kind of bullshitty problem and you're running a couple of weeks behind. I'd go with "growing pains" such that you're building so many pedals/amps that you cannot keep up. You could also run with an "unobtainium" excuse such that the wonderful and amazing 'proprietary' 'mojo' part that is 'exclusive' to 'your' 'design' is difficult to locate right now, at least in our solar system -- but you are feverishly working with NASA to secure new materials.

8. Go on vacation with your fresh influx of money and spend about half of it.

9. In a few weeks the crazed herd will be wondering where their products are and the 'Big Controversy' will begin to spread across all the fetish forums. Update your website and claim to be in the hospital, going through a divorce, digging out from a tornado, under water from a massive flood, etc., or all the above simultaneously, and that you'll be back to making amps/pedals in a few weeks.

10. By now your pedals will have been exposed as total bullshit by the tracer guys who will have posted photos of your misdeeds all over the internet.

11. Once you are universally denounced as a subhuman slime ball crash your website and lay low for a while using the remainder of your proceeds to fund your exile in some third world hellhole like Kansas or Ohio.

12. Cook up a new, super cool name for a pedal/amp company and start all over.

I can't be that easy, can it? I present: Fauxtique Pedals.