How did I get here anyway?

September 5th, 2018
Passive Crossover

Passive Crossover #1

What I really wanted was to buy a bass-appropriate blend pedal. Or two.  Maybe even three. “If you want a thing done right, buy the pro model and a good road case.” Those are words to live by. And I would have, but there wasn’t one to buy! I found a lot of good pedals that were almost right: A really nice bass crossover pedal with an obvious frequency hole right in the middle of the bass range. Several traditional blend pedals that only do full-range, and one huge blender with tone controls. Like my pedalboard isn’t already huge enough.

So I thought: I’ll keep this simple. I made simple passive crossovers, and  hacked together pedalboards out of hand-made passive crossovers and buffered blend pedals and lots of patch cables. My pedalboard became large. It worked acceptably, right up until the point where I realized I also needed a phase switch.

As it turns out, making a phase inverter is a bit more work than a simple passive crossover.

If you want a thing done right, be prepared for it to consume all of your free time forever

At which point I sort of snapped. “I’m an engineer! I’ll just make one!” I thought. And that though quickly combined with “Why stop at just one?” and “Surely there are other bassists out there who have the same problem!” And then I spent all of my New Years break running spice simulations.

I could be finished by summer! Within a year at worst.

19 months is a year, right?

Early Prototypes

Early Prototypes

Design of the crossover and blend circuits went smoothly. “Wow, this is going to be easier than I thought!” I thought to myself in a textbook example of foreshadowing. As it turns out, the actual audio circuit is the easy part. There’s power supply, headroom considerations, and protection circuitry to consider. After two prototypes I gave up on capacitor-coupled designs. By fall, Sugar Britches had a switching power supply, was DC coupled, and prototypes were on my pedalboard going to shows.

This is the reason that the first production model is GB-5…there were 4 prototype designs before this one.

Road case sold separately

There was no need for additional development at this point. I could just quit! But what the heck, I came this far. So I spent the next 7 months getting the packaging and production together, to the point where I’m reasonably happy with the result.

Sure, there’s room for improvement. Sugar Britches may not be perfect, but it’s the best damn bass blender available.

Web site update: SB is here for real!

August 12th, 2018

Sugar Britches now has a web page! Hooray!

We deleted your reviews because

August 7th, 2018

I recently had  ~225 amazon reviews pulled and my review privileges taken away. After inquiring, they were (eventually) reinstated with an explanation that basically boils down to “sorry, we sometimes do that to people”.

I now have received another followup email; I think it serves as a demonstration of the dystopian future that awaits us all. Note the use of the word “Communities” in the title, as if a group of friends agonized over how to respond. What follows is my response, inline with the quoted original message:

Re: Your Inquiry Communities

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but your message is a bit cold and I think my reactions to it are a good example of how anyone receiving this email would react. I’ve spent a lot of time writing reviews of things I bought at Amazon, and I think you deserve a thorough, well-considered response. wrote:
> Hello,


Extracting information from your response is like reading redacted FOI request documents. I’ll attempt to translate. Correct me if I’m wrong.

We couldn’t accept a review for <a cheap Arduino relay hat> because we detected unusual review behavior on this product.  We place limits on reviews to preserve trust in customer reviews.  This can include limiting submission of all reviews or limiting reviews to Amazon Verified Purchase reviews.

Translation: a script automatically flagged all authors who reviewed <some technical thing>, and the low-paid reviewers who go through the flagged reviews didn’t understand a technical product, so they just deleted everybody who reviewed it. (Also, we’re not sorry.)

Wait. Did I just learn that the ~225 reviews in my review account were removed because I chose to review something that also received other, fake reviews? Yes I did.

I will now take a moment to calm down and drink some water before continuing. This is why we can’t have nice things.

I’m pretty sure my review included links to the project and web site where I’m actually using it. Did I include a picture too? I doubt it, probably just talked about it. For reference:

I mean, I know you don’t care, but let’s pretend you do, and continue.

For more details, please see our Community Guidelines:

Translation: We think you’re a fake reviewer. And we don’t care if we’re wrong. It’s your problem.

For more information about Verified Purchase reviews:

Translation: Really. It’s not us; it’s you.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

I’m a hustler, you a customer.”  –Ice Cube, Holla @ Cha Boy

I get your point. Where else would I go?

– Brunella Z

Translation: here is the name of someone we hired to deal with your whining. Or maybe we made it up. If it is a real name, it’s the only personalized thing in this mailing. Enjoy the human, personal touch!

Message received! If I should, in the future, decide to review anything at Amazon, I will stick to products that already have many reviews from verified purchasers who are definitely native English speakers.

Best regards,

Brunella will never know how I feel about her

My reply email bounced. Because of course it did.