Cathy Lauer is not only the goddess of signal chain but also a genuinely nice person. Anybody who's had the misfortune of spending a few minutes at Guitar Center knows that niceness, honesty, and generosity, are not not to be taken for granted in this business.
When I asked my local luthier if he knew someone who could put a pedalboard together for me, his expression became very serious, like he was about to share the meaning of life. "Cathy at ToneZoneLA," he said, "that is all."
I was nervous about contacting her. I'm passionate about guitar, but I've only been playing for five years. I figured she might not be willing to work her magic or even take time to talk to a bedroom jammer like myself...Boy was I wrong! My first phone conversation with her lasted almost an hour! She was extraordinarily generous with her time and knowledge. What's amazing about her is that she is the roadie/guitar tech you wish you had and also a freaking electrician! She may not have a card with the Electrical Workers Union (though I wouldn't be surprised if she does) but she is an electrician for all intents and purposes, which it goes without saying is enormously valuable when you're putting a pedal board together.
Cathy reviewed all my pedals and guitars very carefully. She also asked me a lot of questions about the kind of music I like to play. Her attentiveness came as quite a pleasant surprise. What I realize now is that she was creating a sonic-tonal profile for me. And she nailed it!
When the board was finished and I got it home, all the sounds and tonal nuances I'd always wanted but couldn't get with consistency were suddenly available to me instantaneously. What's more, most of the grounding issues that were affecting my playing seem to have gone away. Like I said, having an electrician work your board is an incredible extra bit of value you with Cathy.
I am completely satisfied and delighted with what Cathy put together for me. You will be, too! If you love playing as much as I do, you owe it to yourself to give her a ring. It's a phone call that might just change your life!
Thank you, Cathy!!
I was tired of just stringing pedals out in front of my amp and have wanted a professionally built pedal board for years. I started looking at various pedal board builders and called a couple. I mostly got the "I'm too busy to talk to you right now" attitude and, "Pffft... Why would you want THAT pedal on your board?..." type of responses...
Then I found an ad for Tone Zone LA on Craigslist. I figured I'd call and just have to deal with more of the same, "too cool to talk to you attitude" but got exactly the opposite. I spoke to Cathy and she explained in great detail the various options I might want to try and was also very eager to listen to what I wanted while figuring out how we could make it work. After our very first conversation, Cathy took it upon herself to look up the specs of each of my pedals and created a paper cutout of the footprint of each pedal to see how they could most efficiently be arranged on a board and emailed me pictures. I had some suggestions, she had some suggestions and together we worked out a very well laid out board for me.
I had to put the project on hold for a couple of months but when I eventually called her back, she remembered me and jumped right back into the process. Her place is up in Glendale and I am in Orange county so Cathy offered to meet me half way to exchange the pedals and amp head so that she could get started.
Cathy again reached out while building to let me know of any concerns she had and we were able to make some last minute adjustments that solved some problems. My pedal board is large because I wanted something that I could use in all different playing styles so I have many options.
Cathy called me to let me know that the board was all done as well as sent progress pictures throughout the build process. I met her at a studio in Glendale so that she could walk me through how to program the looper pedal and explain all of the ins and outs of the board.
There were various musicians walking in and out of the studio when I brought the board in and all of them commented on how good it looked. After spending an hour at the studio going through the various settings, I loaded up and headed home with my new board. Cathy also let me know that she was always available to make changes or diagnose any issues that may pop up in the future.
It's very rare that I come across someone with such good customer service and who knows the detailed minutiae of her craft. My board is expertly wired and the cable routing is great. I couldn't be happier.
Thanks to Tone Zone LA and especially Cathy for all of her hard work and attention to detail and to me as a customer! I will certainly recommend them to anyone wanting a professionally built pedal board or rack!