Dr. Scientist represents everything we love about the new pedal makers in the industry. They challenge everything – from the outer layers and finish to the true guts of what goes inside the pedals you slam your foot down on to engage your guitar. Innovation is at the heart of the circuits that burn the signal path to your amp and with every new model, it seems they have created just what you never knew you needed, but really just do!
Built in the Valley of the Sun
Canada has a plethora of pedal makers that most general guitarists and/or musicians probably have never heard of. Empress, Solid Gold FX, 6 Degrees, Union and a few others come to mind. They all make some really amazing stuff. But when we were starting out and putting together a list of possible brands we would go after, I came across this website – a site different than pretty much every other website I have seen on the internet. All websites read like a sheet of paper. You start at the top and go down. Dr. Scientist went another route. You start at the bottom…and go up!…in a rocket ship! It was ingenious and it was a clue into what we should expect from his pedals. They are not like your standard pedals you see other brands put out. They are original. They are purposely wild. They are well thought out pieces of engineering designed to get the most you can out of a pedal.
So we contacted Dr. Scientist and got probably one of the nicest replies we could expect from Mr. Ryan Clarke, owner and designer of Dr. Scientist. As a fellow Canadian, we exchanged a few pleasantries and realized we come from the same place, which was really cool! He told me he moved out to the Okanagan region, which is the valley in the middle of the Rockies and runs his business from there. I thought, “this can’t be much better!” Anywho, we ended up getting our first small batch of DS pedals, which included the Bitquest, the Frazz Dazzler and the BoostBot.
Pushing the limits on what a single pedal can do seems to be in Dr. Scientist’s DNA. Maybe a description of these pedals, and our newer additions – the Elements and the Atmosphere – will help shed some light on this:
The Bitquest, in short, is a multi effect pedal. It features all analog signal sent through 8 separate custom designed digital patches. All of these patches can be played with or without digital fuzz added on. The patches include flanger, bitcrusher, octave pitch shifter, ring modulator, a few filters, infinite reverb, and what he calls a wild glitch delay. All in all, you are looking at 16 different sounds from a box the size of standard Boss pedal. And just think – for the price of two of them, you get at LEAST 10 times the functionality out of that single box…not to mention the quality of being handmade. Take a look at his site at drscientist.ca, where he has shots of the insides of each pedal showing the circuit artistry.
Its a very nice name for a demon pedal. Our web designer, Marek, plays in a very heavy band. Call it post-core, hc punk or whatever. They are loud! This was the first pedal he looked at and the one pedal he wanted. The Frazz is a dual channel fuzz/distortion that drives the signal very hard, even on the low gain channel. The high gain channel clips harder than Edward Scissorhands but has a noise gate to make sure the mega noise you are making is only the noise you want. It also has an equalizer so you can customize the sound to bring out the tone you are looking for. In all honesty, this one impressed me the most too with its monstrous sound!
Dr. Scientist packs a lot of pedal into a small package. The Bitquest is an example. However, when designing pedals with somewhat simpler functionalities, he does not waste space at all. I am tired right now so the only shape and size I can compare this to is a ring box from your local jewelers’…but sufficed to say it is small. Inside you find two main functionalities – a buffer and, most importantly, a boost. Outside, you might notice there is no switch…meaning this is an “always-on” kind of pedal. Obviously, though, you can adjust the level to your purpose with a small knob on the side. On zero, it acts just as a buffer. Turn it up all the way to get 20 dBs of help. And if the “always-on” aspect of it does not suit your needs, you can certainly loop it through a switching system to gain the on-off functionality. Another cool feature is the LED graph that lights up based on the signal being passed through it. Is it gimmicky? Sure. Is it totally awesome? Damn right!
A dual channel overdrive/distortion pedal. Why is it called the Elements? Still to be confirmed, but here is my theory. This pedal has the ability to bring focus to any possible element of your overdriven sound that you want out of it. You have a choice of two switchable gain channels, symmetrical and asymmetrical clipping modes, bass cut, and mid frequency focus, all based on switches. With the various knobs, you can control gain, volume/boost and mix (amount of dry vs wet signal coming through), the last of which can be controlled with an expression pedal. It also has 3 band equalizer knobs, which, if you have the mix on zero, makes this pedal a standalone EQ pedal. Playing with this thing, we have found so many cool sounds. A pedal that truly inspires.
I have never seen a pedal like this. Dr. Scientist describes it as a compact experimental reverb computer. Decent enough. With a TFT colour screen to help you navigate the settings, it certainly looks like a computer. There are 16 preset reverb options on this pedal with classics like spring, hall and plate, as well as not so traditional ones – pitched reverb, reverse, endless, gated, etc. You have full control on screen over the drip, decay, length and tempo to customize each patch to your taste. This thing kind of took the pedal world by storm last year, and turned Dr. Scientist into something of a star. And for good reason. He has pushed the bar forward and its never coming back now.
What’s to come?
Dr. Scientist is certainly going to be a mainstay in our catalog, as we value everything that Dr. Scientist embodies – A small business that creates original designs using top quality parts and assembles by hand… and damn if he and his crew aren’t just great people! We know that, although there is nothing exactly like Dr. Scientist, there are many other pedal makers that embody the same qualities and we will be searching them out to bring more pedal goodness to this part of the world.
In FP World, we are starting up a Youtube channel in the very near future, so look for Dr. Scientist, and many other brands to be featured in videos so you can learn more about them. If you have any questions about Dr. Scientist, or any brands or pedals we carry, or if you want to suggest a brand we don’t carry, don’t be afraid to drop an email in our inbox! We love getting mail!