The Man Behind The Tone Magnet

Christopher Ferguson has a PhD, 23 years of gigging experience and a Strat. He’s proudest of the Strat.

Having worked in music instrument shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh over the years, he became convinced that guitarists were unsatisfied with the products on the market because they were all about being like someone else. If you go for Jimi’s tone, Eric’s tone or Stevie Ray’s tone, you’re going to end up disappointed, simply because you’re not these people.

a picture showing Christopher's guitar pedals
Dr F’s Pedal Board as of Oct 2016

Chris believes firmly that everyone deserves a tone that suits them and that feeling satisfied with how you sound is essential to playing music that is authentic to you.

“It’s about creativity,” he says, “creativity and the virtuous circle that comes from sounding good, feeling good, playing better, then sounding better, feeling better and playing better again. So much of how we feel in the moment is transferred to our playing: that’s what’s really great about the electric guitar”

In terms of the Tone Magnet, Chris is pleased with how things are coming together. “It is really important to me that we put out something that is high quality but not inaccessible to people. We’re aiming to be around about the price of a good effect pedal. When we were looking around for prototyping, there were manufacturers asking us for around £200 a piece, even with a bulk discount. Someone even quoted £3,000! But the results of testing convinced us that a whole lot of weight was not necessary, so we moved from stainless steel to high-grade aluminium and that’s got us down to a reasonable price.” Will there be a wooden version? “Guitarists love their tonewoods. We’ve not been able to show that the wood would make a difference to the tone, but it’s certainly a very different aesthetic. Any wood pieces will have to be handmade, so they’ll be a more expensive item. We’re going to build prototypes out of bubinga to start with, but we’re open to suggestions as to what wood we’ll use in production.”

As for prototyping, the Tone Magnet sustainer team want to give a shout out to MAKlab in Glasgow, who have been very helpful in getting ideas into reality. Please consider becoming a member if you’re in Scotland and want to make things: http://maklab.co.uk