Colt Westbrook lets us in on company’s product approach
NEW PRODUCT launch day is always an exciting time around the shop for a pedal builder. Everyone is smiling, nodding, maybe a bit of high-fiving — generally a good time all around. That was the mood we found permeating through the Walrus Audio bunker in Oklahoma City a few months back. On the day of our visit, the crew was prepping for the demo video of their new 385 overdrive — a unique dirt pedal inspired by the amplifier section of a vintage Bell and Howell film projector. It has been a practice of the tone obsessed over the years to look at the amplifier section of just about any piece of electronics equipped with one to see if their was any mojo available that could translate well to voicing electric guitar.
Indeed various vintage radio kits as well as public address systems have been modified with aims of providing something new out of something old for the six-string faithful. The Bell and Howell projectors have been converted into guitar amps with great success after changing a few values and other small modifications. The Walrus crew became obsessed with the 385. They worked away at it until it was just right, and debuted the Projector overdrive at NAMM. There was just one, small problem.
“A friend of ours, Austin Hooks, in Los Angeles emailed us after the show and let us know he had that name trademarked,” reveals Walrus top man Colt Westbrook. “So we renamed it the 385 after the specific Bell & Howell projector model. We had guitarist Mason Stoops stop by with his projector amp set-up. I’m not a hype guy, but those amps sounded unreal. It was like having noiseless headphones on listening to pure guitar. Then he played this Fender Twin, one of my favorite amps… and it just sounded awful after hearing those projectors. Then, we put the 385 on the Twin and what it does is gives the guitar a beautiful, full frequency range.”