Built-out basement is HQ for pedal up-and-comer
McCAFFREY AUDIO started much like many other pedal companies across the US. First, there was nothing but some remedial knowledge of how musical instruments operate, mixed with a little passion. The passion pushed just hard enough to pursue self-education, which in turn afforded enough know-how to pour into a product that others were interested in buying. In the early days it was just Ryan McCaffrey and RJM Effects. Then came the push. The push is what makes a builder take the leap from hobbyist to businessman.
“I worked 24 hours on at the fire department and 24 hours off,” explained McCaffrey. “I’d been playing guitar for a long while. I learned how to do some guitar work and some amp work way back when and it got to a point where, there were a lot of cool pedals out there, like the Klon, take that. And I thought to myself, humbly, ‘Ok I can do electronics on a guitar and some stuff with an amplifier. How hard it is to build a pedal?’ It was pretty tough… it was like boy this is like night and day, but then you get to a point, you build a simple fuzz circuit and then you build this and you build that so it was really just kind of hobby on my in between days. But then you build one for a friend type deal, or you do this and then slowly but surely a little income comes with it. If you would have told me two years ago, you are not going to be in the fire service anymore, you are going to work in your basement and you are going to have a pedal company, this type deal… I would have said you’re bat shit insane.”
Insanity nonwithstanding, McCaffrey made the transition to self-employed pedal maker and looked to build a small team of like-minded, musically-inclined folks around him. The first member of which, before any of this could fly, would need to be his wife, Jessica.