The Stacks Story
We are Miguel Vasquez and Brian Frederick, the duo behind Stacks FX from Long Beach, California.
Our story began in 2011, when Miguel — a multi-instrumentalist and self-taught pedal designer — conceived and built his first prototypes of what would become our signature Lil Guy boost pedal. One pedal led to two, two to five, five to a dozen. At the behest of some close friends, including musicians Avi Buffalo and the late Ikey Owens, he began experimenting and building one-off pedals as personal favors.
Brian, who at the time was recording and engineering an album for Miguel’s band Wild Pack of Canaries in his studio, took an immediate interest in Miguel’s technical expertise and creative DIY ethos. After those tracking sessions, we picked each other’s brains and explored ideas on pedal modifications and gear we hadn’t yet seen on the market. Thus began our creative partnership and friendship.
Three years later — after much R&D, experimentation, and feed back from peers and clients— Stacks FX was born.
Every pedal we make is hand-assembled, wired, screen-painted and tested to ensure the highest return for your creative experience. Stacks FX prides itself in the fact that our pedals are made and tested by musicians, for musicians. Why? Because we know you can hear the difference between mass produced toys that break a week after the warranty and tools that will remain in your sonic palette for years to come.
Our prototypes are regularly tested by our friends as well as a variety of musicians who swing through Hybrid Studios in Orange County, where Brian works as a free lance engineer. We find that testing them and gathering feedback in real time from players of different backgrounds keeps us honest and open-minded in the lab.
For visuals, we teamed up with our good friend Dave Van Patten, a prolific Long Beach-based illustrator whose surrealist style of art embodies the idiosyncratic sounds and functions of our pedals. Dave's work has also been published in Juxtapoz, Vice, NPR, L.A. Weekly and L.A. Record Magazine, and he’s done album cover work for bands such as The Grateful Dead. (Stay tuned for a full interview with DVP).
Since our inception in 2014, our clientele has quickly expanded beyond our circle of friends here in Long Beach. Our Fuzz Gazer was featured in the Foo Fighter’s recent single “Run" off their new album Concrete and Gold, and our Crazy 8 Tremolo was used on Avenged Sevenfold's recent album The Stage. Some of our favorite musicians, including Matt McJunkins (A Perfect Circle, Beta Machine), Kelsey Gonzales (The Free Nationals), Kemble Walters (Æges) and members of Chicano Batman, proudly use Stacks FX pedals on tour or in the studio.
We are excited to soon release a new signature delay pedal we’ve been developing and testing over the past year called, Thsee Anomaly. Later this year we have plans for a Chorus / Vibrato, an analog delay and even a few eurorack ideas that are getting thrown around the shop.
When we’re not building pedals, we are making music. Miguel currently plays guitar in his psych/prog band Asi Fui, and Brian works as a free lance engineer out of Hybrid Studios and produces under the name Broken2th.
- Brian and Miguel