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Tools of Rock 

Three local entrepreneurs are hoping to give musicians an edge

click to enlargeKit Ehrgood shows off a prototype for a new guitar pedal he’s developing. - KRISTEN BLACK
  • Kristen Black
  • Kit Ehrgood shows off a prototype for a new guitar pedal he’s developing.

Rock stars make it all look so easy. That's because they have the right tools. Three local innovators, in varying stages of business success, make music sound just a little brighter.

GUMBO OVERDRIVE PEDALS

A Chinese company wanted to help sell his pedal design.

"Do you understand what I'm doing here?" Kit Ehrgood asked. "This isn't mass-produced."

It was back in 2011, and the company had watched a YouTube demo video breaking down just how many sound-enhancing options the Gumbo Overdrive Pedal offered. He turned them down.

After that video hit, Ehrgood says the Spokane Music Institute, which he owns, couldn't keep up with demand for the guitar effects pedal. The device was modeled after the tones of Marshall and Dumble amps, the latter of which are quite rare. A used Dumble amp can cost as much as $50,000. The Gumbo Overdrive Pedal is just $150.

"When Dumble shows up, people's ears perk up. These amps have a voodoo power," says Ehrgood in his SMI office on Garland Avenue. "I've had the opportunity to play a couple, so I knew that was the sound I wanted."

The other interesting aspect is that students hand-craft each pedal. About five years ago, the whole idea started as an effort to teach kids from all backgrounds about the technical side of music.

"I've always had the idea for the pedal," says Ehrgood, whose first guitar teacher was Allen Collins of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Local technician Kalman Hevessy helped him make the design easier for all hands to grasp, solidifying a circuit board that could uniformly be placed inside a casing by students, who are paid for their efforts.

"Bottom line: this isn't about the money," Ehrgood says. "Helping people — that's where my riches are."

See more at spokanemusicinstitute.com