While hanging out at the Electroswitch spaces, we ran into Ed Heisler, the Mad Hatter from Mad Hatter Guitar Products. Ed creates aftermarket switch and pickup kits for different guitars to increase their functionality, improve their sound, and overall make the experience of playing guitars better. As engineers, we tend to focus on the specs of parts, their durability, and their cost - all of which are important. But the less tangibles, like the sound or click of a button when used, the feel of actuation, the colors, textures, all add to the overall user experience. Here's what Ed had to say about the importance of switches:
Laren: You put together kits for making your own guitars?
Ed Heisler: Yes, I build guitar electronics. I have my own proprietary potentiometer that I use Electroswitch's switches with and I build, basically, it's called a terminator system. And I put terminals on all the components, and then people that use my product, they just set the wires and wire up the terminals and that makes it a little bit easier for them. The main part of the terminal system is ease - they can rewire it if they want to, you know, interchange components and things like that.
Laren: So we're here at the Electroswitch booth and I'm here with Electric Ed and he doesn't work for Electroswitch but can you tell us how you use their components?
Ed Heisler: Yeah, we use their five way, three way, four way, and six way switches, as well as a five way super switch. We also use the three way toggles, Hilary was wonderful enough, last year, we requested black and gold and she went out and got it done for us. We're so excited. A lot of our customers are upgrading their Charvels, and they're super shredder type guitars where they have the black three way toggle. Now the other manufacturer that makes these, I'm not as satisfied with the quality they have. But I know Electroswtich always has the best quality there is.
What I like about these switches mainly is unlike other suppliers, one, they're sealed, so you're not going to get dust and dirt in there. Second of all there's gold contacts in there. So you're going to get the best conductivity there is. So that's why I love these and I'm so happy to know they're now available and gold and black but obviously we use the nickel as well. Now, like this one here, this five way, Electroswitch makes it and makes the best switches there is. This goes back, I believe to the 70s. Originally, when Fender started, it was a three way and this was the switch they bought, that Fender bought from Electroswitch then and then it got better. Their plant, it's amazing. The machines there are the same machines that they were using in the 1950s that they still use today. So you know it's the same quality, it's going to be just as heavy duty, and it's going to be reliable 100%. The five way, I believe goes back to the 70s, believe it not, I think it was Hendrix and Billy Gibson talking about removing the spring and trying to set it at that two and four position. That's when Electroswitch came out with a five way. So now you get those two and four. This is what my customers and I love about Electroswitch, their reliability and quality.
Laren: And how do people find out about what you guys do?
Ed Heisler: They can visit madhatterguitarproducts.com - check out our website. Got all our products there and learn all about us there.