A band of DIY pedal builders have teamed up to produce a collection of one-off effects pedals, which will be auctioned off in an effort to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.
Operating under the Pedals For Ukraine banner, the cohort of casual pedal builders is raising money for a handful of charities – including Doctors Without Borders (opens in new tab), World Central Kitchen (opens in new tab) and USA for UNHCR (opens in new tab) – that are working to provide food, medicine and other crucial supplies to Ukrainian refugees, who have been forced to leave their homes following the Russian invasion of their country.
As for how the auctions operate, those interested in scooping the pedal place their bids in the Pedals For Ukraine Instagram comment section. The highest bidder will then be asked to donate their winning bid to one of the chosen charities.
To date, five auctions have been completed – a sixth one is set to end imminently – with each one-of-a-kind stompbox sporting unique artwork and custom, hand-wired electronics.
One of the first pedals to go up for auction was a clone of a “famous green fuzz pedal with transistors” – the Big Muff – sporting the Ukrainian Trident emblem, which was built by a DIY pedal maker who had once lived in Ukraine.
Assembled using four Kyiv-sourced BC549c transistors, the unnamed clone is the group’s most expensive pedal to date, and eventually sold for $400.
Other pedals to have been auctioned off include the two-control Singularity reverb pedal from DIY builder Schu-Tone Effects, a silicon reimagining of the Tone Bender dubbed The Freedom Fuzz – which sold for $110 – and the hand-painted Fill Your Pockets with Fuzz.
The fifth auction saw the sale of The Aurum Drive modified Tube Screamer emulation, which came loaded with selectable clipping diodes, for $130. A sixth pedal, the Chamomile Fuzz, is currently under the hammer and set to sell for $75.
All the pedals can be found on the Pedals For Ukraine Instagram page, which also features profiles on each of its associated builders, including “Matmosphere”, “benny_profane”, Paul Haggard of Haggtronix and Eric K., who built the Fuzz Face-inspired Chamomile Fuzz.
Of the fuzz, which will be sold later today (April 4), Eric K. explained, “I built this pedal while feeling generally anxious about the pandemic and other events. The cheerful yellow enclosure with hand-painted chamomile blossoms reflect the calmness I was seeking at the time.”
He continued, “I build what moves me in the moment. Sometimes it's about sound, sometimes it's about visuals, and sometimes it is about expanding the realm of possibility. DIY allows me to be creatively free.”
According to Pedals For Ukraine’s Aaron Kearns, this is just the start for the burgeoning community of pedal builders, with “a dozen” pedals in the pipeline and even more currently on the way.
To keep up to date with Pedals For Ukraine, head over to the group’s Instagram page (opens in new tab).
It’s not the first time effects pedals have been used as a medium to raise funds and awareness for those who have been directly affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Caroline Guitar Company unveiled a limited run of the FCK PTIN fuzz pedal, which raised $9,500 in 10 minutes.