Ben Carlin is far from the first guitarist to make their own delay, fuzz and overdrive pedals, and he certainly won't be the last. Most boutique pedal-makers, however, are hobbyists who turned their passion for tinkering into a career.
For Carlin though, making pedals was a necessity – a creative outlet during a time of incredible adversity for his family. Now, Carlin wants to use that creative outlet to help others.
Under the banner of Electric Love Pedals, Carlin has created a set of overdrive, delay and fuzz stompboxes in the workshop of his Ballston Lake, New York home to raise money for Play for P.I.N.K., an organization that supports volunteers who organize sporting and lifestyle events to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The cause of Play for P.I.N.K. is a deeply personal one for Carlin.
In 2015, Carlin's wife, Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. Thanks to a top-notch medical team and and treatment, though, she was able to make a full recovery.
Just two years later though, Carlin's daughter Charlotte – only four years old at the time – was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Luckily, with surgery and treatment, her condition has improved (though, according to Carlin, she isn't crazy about her dad's guitar playing.)
"We are incredibly grateful to the doctors, nurses and cancer researchers for all they do every day," Carlin tells Guitar World. "Cancer research is the key to saving more lives and ultimately to a cure for cancer."
During his wife's illness, Carlin began making his own guitars, amps, and pedals. He turned to it once again during his daughter's treatment, finding the hobby therapeutic during such a difficult time.
"I wanted to blend my love of music and creating pedals with a campaign to raise money for cancer research," Carlin says. "I’ve seen firsthand the power of research and the importance of it. Because of changes in the tax laws, I couldn't do my original idea of selling them on my personal Reverb page – I had to create a company to sell them, so Electric Love was born."
The three Electric Love Play for P.I.N.K. pedals are sold as a set. Each boasts a simple, triangular three-control layout and runs on 9V power (though the 'drive pedal can be run on 18V power, should users want more headroom.) You can see the trio in action in the demo above.
The full, three-pedal set rings up at $450, with all profits going to Play for P.I.N.K.
For more info on Electric Love's Play for P.I.N.K. pedals, visit the company's Reverb page.