Back in the 90's Australia had a vibrant and wonderful alternative music scene. Several factors had collided to bring alternative and "indie" music to the masses and bands most people would not have ever heard of started appearing in peoples view and ears. One of these bands was a band from Melbourne called Sandpit.
While the band only existed from 1994 to ;98 I distinctly remember being mesmerized the first time I heard them through one of their early EPs. It was however their debut 12" LP, On Second Thought, that absolutely captivated me. The band were influenced by a lot of bands I loved at the time (some of whom I work with now) but On Second Thought was a masterpiece of melody, arrangement, incredible guitar tones and Brendan's angelic voice. To this day it still gives me chills and I would personally say it's in my top 10 Australian records of all time, for all time.
When Brendan contacted me about the possibility of building a Sandpit signature pedal I was ...... a little shocked. Not because he was, compared to some of my other signature pedals, a "little Johnny No-Name" (his words) but because the whole time I'd obsessed over this record I'd never even considered what pedals he'd used? His clean tone is all class and the "heavy" parts of the record are, well, all class but I'd never really thought about what bought them about. They were just .... THERE.
I knew what guitar and amp Brendan used as I was a little curious and, and I've never told him this, one of my bands supported Sandpit in Brisbane for their tour of that record and I remember staring at his weird, modded Fender Maverick (he also used a Jag) but never really took notice of his pedals.
So when he told me he used a big box RAT and a DOD250 I was pretty excited. I love, and make both of these pedals and it all started to make sense. That big, beautiful clean tone turned to drive and distortion into an old Orange now sounded like a RAT to me.
I've been making RAT clones for many years now originally as the Toecutter and more recently as the Savage Toecutter so the circuit was VERY familiar to me. My Toecutter is based on my white face 80's RAT which is VERY similar to a "big box" so we started the process of working on a Sandpit pedal.
Tony was contacted about artwork and had always wanted to do a RAT clone with the original "Bud Box" artwork from the very first edition of this wonderful distortion pedal. We went through several different designs and ideas while I worked on the circuit.
The original big box has only a couple of very small component differences to the white face so I built one with true big box specs and, couldn't hear the difference? Keeping in with Brendan using a big box I figured if I couldn't hear a difference, I should just make a "proper" big box version for his pedal. Brendan no longer has his original RAT, otherwise I would have asked to get it off him to reverse engineer but really, RATs are very consistent unlike Big Muffs so it's easier to work the same, or similar version once you know the details.
My Toecutters use my custom designed and made PCBs with high quality components and old LM308 ICs, not because they're "better" but because I have a lot of them and the Toecutter is the only pedal I use them in. They're all hand built by me in my custom made stainless steel enclosures and have a standard BOSS style 9V adaptor with no battery access.
With the artwork and the circuit finalized I made Brendan a special one-off PIT PLUS which was the 'Pit circuit and my ODP in one enclosure and sent it to him for approval. He loved it and has started recording with it which is amazing to me.
So, with all that's going on in the world and the fact that everything I do takes way too long, here's the official Sandpit signature pedal for Brendan Webb. I know I say it a lot but it's true. It's truly an honour to work on stuff like this for people like this. I get to make stuff for people who changed my life with their music and that's a VERY special thing to do.
These, like all my pedals are completely hand made by me here in Brisbane so supply is limited. I make ALL my pedals constantly as I get time and they are available on the site when ready. If you don't know Brendan's work in Sandpit, or solo I seriously urge you to go and listen to it. Sandpit were a very special band and stood out in mid nineties Australian music for their pure melodies and ability to strip a song back to almost nothing without losing the listener. Amazingly, Brendan is now offering tab books of all the Sandpit releases on his Bandcamp which, if I wasn't such a ham fisted guitarist from the school of Ramones (and had some spare time) I would be all over it. I'll just go and put the records on for the millionth time instead......