FAQ

You know how this works. Click a question below and you’ll magically jump to the answer. Hitting your browser’s “BACK” button will jump you back to the list of questions at the top of the page once you’re done. If you have a question that is not answered here and you think that it should be – let us know!

| GENERAL QUESTIONS |

| TECHNICAL QUESTIONS |

| GENERAL QUESTIONS |

Q. How do I order a pedal?
A. Use the PayPal “Buy Now” buttons on the pedal pages or send a message via the contact form and let us know what you’re looking for and where you live. We’ll get back to you ASAP. Or you can order from one of our dealers.
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Q. What is your Return Policy?
A. Our policy is basically this: if you want the option of returning a perfectly functional pedal please order from one of our dealers instead. We run a skeleton crew of builders and our primary focus is on building pedals. Product returns add a lot of administrative work to our day and in the end takes someone away from concentrating on what we do best. We do offer the option to buy direct from us, but it is more for your convenience and not ours. If the sales process becomes inconvenient or too time consuming for us administratively, it quickly becomes very unprofitable for us.

On the other hand, our dealers’ primary focus is on the sales aspect. They employ people to do exactly the things that need to happen to facilitate more complex sales transactions, including product returns, refunds, exchanges, etc. Most of them have very flexible policies, because they have the manpower to do all of that.
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Q. I need repairs made to my pedal. How does that work?
A. The first step is to contact us. There may be simple fixes that we can suggest or that you may have overlooked. If we agree that the pedal definitely needs servicing, we’ll arrange for you to send the pedal to us for repairs. The package must be marked as a “warranty repair” on the box and especially on the customs declaration if it is an international shipment. Warranty Repairs are exempt from the taxes/duties that would otherwise be incurred, proportionate to the value you declare. As far as declaring a value we would advise you to be realistic in your assessment – it is a broken pedal after all. Do not overvalue it or excessively undervalue it. Also, be sure to include a little reminder note with the pedal explaining the issue you’re having – it helps speed up the process.

PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT send the pedal via UPS if it has to go across an international border. UPS manages to get away with charging criminally excessive brokerage fees (even on warranty repair items) almost 25% of the declared value. We will have to refuse to accept such packages and the package will have to be resent using USPS or another non-UPS carrier.
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Q. Do you ever use crappy parts?
A. We do not. Though, production processes being what they are these days we would actually have to go out of our way to find crappy parts.
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Q. Do the Blackout pedals really sound like they do in the clips/videos?
A. Somewhat, but not really. Unfortunately, any recording process is going to colour the sound of a pedal to some degree; from the amp itself to the speaker/cabinet to the microphone used to the recording interface to the mp3 conversion process and the list goes on. There simply isn’t a surefire way to demo the true-to-life sound of the pedal, except for playing it in person with your own rig.
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Q. Why haven’t you answered my email?
A. I’m an obsessive email checker, but I’m also the only one in the Blackout shop who will answer emails ~ so please be patient. There’s also a chance that your email was sent to our spam folder or we’re on vacation (check to see if I posted a vacation date in a news post on the site). If you think that your email may have been flagged as junk mail, you can resend it (we don’t mind) or send us a message via the site’s contact form.
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Q. Can I come over and check out the pedals in person?
A. If you live in or are visiting the Asheville, NC area, sure. Send us an email and we’ll arrange a date and time. If you’re not too far away we may even bring pedals over to your recording session to try out. Maybe.
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Q. Where are you located?
A. Downtown Asheville, NC – above Forever Tattoo. If you don’t know where that is you should definitely contact us first. In fact, you should contact us first even if you do. We happily accept visitors BY APPT ONLY.
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Q. How many people work at the Blackout shop?
A. 3 full-time humans plus occasional part-time elves.
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Q. Are you interested in doing some sort of sponsorship for our band?
A. Perhaps. Give us a shout and we’ll see what happens. We’re not in the “give shit away” business though, so keep that in mind. We much prefer to create symbiotic relationships with our artists, so put some thought into what you’ll be willing to do for us and I think you’ll find us much more willing to talk turkey.
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Q. I see that you sometimes do alternate colors of certain pedals. Can I have one?
A. Perhaps if you’re lucky with your timing or just patient enough. We’ve been doing one alternate color run every few months. We’re no longer keeping a waiting list going for alternate colors. Our preference these days is to do small batches of alt colors and then list them for sale on the website on a first come, first serve basis. That keeps our admin costs down for us, which helps keep the pedal costs down for you.
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Q. I thought you guys were Canadian?
A. Yes and no. Blackout was started in Vancouver, BC, in the beginning of 2008, but has been based out of Asheville, NC, USA, since April of 2009.
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Q. I just opened my pedal and noticed there was a cool little drawing/painting inside. Who did this?
A. Except for the very, very early pedals, we have done a unique serial number design inside of each pedal we build. Depending on our time constraints at the time, the design may be really simple or it may be a full-blown painted masterpiece. All of the designs will somehow incorporate the model name, serial number, build date (mo/yr), etc. Your design could have been done by any one of us, but usually it’s one of these four: Kyle, Joe, Marianne or Ross (from a certain period). We all have different styles, skill levels and patience. We keep an internal database of photos of all of the lid designs, which is available for all the world to see, here: http://www.blackouteffectors.com/?page_id=65.

| TECHNICAL QUESTIONS |

Q. Are all of the Blackout pedals true-bypass?
A. Yes, they are. There are many reasons why this is so and none of them have to do with magic.
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Q. What kind of power supply should I use for my pedal?
A.One the cheaper end of the spectrum, we almost always recommend picking up a Visual Sound “1Spot”. They’re cheap, will power lots of pedals in a chain, will run those pedals quietly, AND that’s what we use to test every pedal before it leaves the shop. If you have a bit more to spend, you really can’t do better than the Pedal Power 2 Plus.
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Q. Does a power supply come with my purchase?
A. No. At this time we know that we can bring you a better product at a lower cost without including a power supply. Most of our customers already own an adequate power supply. See above.
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Q. Can I use a battery with this thing?
A. No, not unless you have a battery connector adapter for your power supply. Blackout pedals are designed to be as compact as possible (while maintaining ergonomic functionality) and environmentally friendly as possible, so battery usage was phased out. They come with an industry standard 9V power jack for use with most 9V wallwarts, 1spots, or your favourite fancypants isolated power supply.
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Q. Is the Musket the absolute best muff-type pedal EVER?
A. It depends who you ask, but since you’re asking us: YES.
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Q. Is my Musket a version 1 or version 2?
A. Errrr….both? In all seriousness, as usual there are a lot of transitional units in existence – those that look like V1 but with V2 innards. We started implementing the V2 circuit changes and the corresponding updated PCBs around serial # 170-175, but we didn’t implement the newly updated exterior graphics until serial #213.
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Q. Why does my bloom (fix’d) or pre (musket) knob crackle when I turn it? Is it broken?
A. Nope. It’s the result of passing DC across a pot from the emitter of a bipolar transistor to ground. In short, its behaving exactly as it was designed to. It is an integral part of the circuit design, don’t sweat it. V2 Muskets and beyond do not share this quirk.
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Q. Why do my knob feels so tight?
A. The knobs that we use are a recreation of the classic (and now out-of-production) Davies 1900H. The bottom skirt of the knob will sometimes rub against the pot nut, causing the pot to feel tight. The simple solution is to use a small flat-head screwdriver, loosen the knob enough to pull it away from the nut and re-tighten. Likewise, if you have certain pot settings that you don’t change very often, you can do the reverse to make the pot travel tighter (loosen knob, push down, re-tighten) and now it will be easier to keep your settings from getting accidentally changed.
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Q. I’m confused about which jack is the input and which is the output. Can you explain?
A. Signal chain is right to left. If the pedal is OFF, clean signal will pass through the pedal in either direction. If the pedal is ON and you’re not getting any sound you either have the input/output reversed or you need to turn up the volume knob.
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Q. Does the Fix’d Fuzz or the Musket Fuzz need to be first in my chain of pedals?
A. Nope, but on certain settings the Fix’d Fuzz may sound a little different depending on whether it is proceeded by a buffered signal or not. In our opinion it does not affect the usage of the pedal – as the Fix’d itself gives you the option of buffering the signal by engaging the Bloom switch. Both ways sound good and the pedal was designed to give you that option anyway.

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Q. Is the Musket equally rad when used with a bass guitar?
A. Oh god yes! It’s devastating. We have sold many, many Muskets for use on the bass and even sponsor a few loyal bass/musket players.
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Q. Does the Fix’d Fuzz sound like any other pedals out there, for comparison?
A. Uh, yes & no really. Sorry. The very nature of the Fix’d Fuzz and its wide palette of tones make general comparisons futile. Fuz:1 has occasionally been described by others as somewhere between a Fuzz Face and a Big Muff, but it is not related to either and that comparison is really only relevant when the boost & tone stages are added. Without the boost & tone stage, Fuz:1 is a lovely med-gain dirt. Fuz:2 WAS originally loosely based on the Fuzz Face circuit, yet sounds NOTHING like one. Go figure. Fuz:2 is nuts and can get glitchy or thick & velcro-y.
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Q. What is your favourite setting on the Fix’d Fuzz?
A. All toggles on, of course. Bloom around 9 and Shade around 10-11.
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