Our Upstate has such a diverse group of artists, creators, DIY’ers, and all around awesome people using their talents and skills to create new art, new builds, and new music. Cody Fields of Westminster Effects is no exception when it comes to all three. With an eye for art and equally matched build skills to boot, he has taken his love for all things guitar and funneled all that passion into something nearly every serious guitarist has labored intensely over since they fell in love with their craft, effects pedals and tone.
Boutique effects pedals have been around for years and recently have become an increasingly sought after product satisfying musicians’ growing need for better tone, better sound, and top-notch effects to complement their skills in their craft. Being a musician myself, I was more than excited to find a local builder of these custom pedals and see what this fairly new company was producing from their home office.
I had the pleasure of visiting Westminster Effects in Lyman one weekend for a tour of their production process and to hear these things in action. I admit I had some preconceived notion as to how Westminster Effects built their boutique pedals, possibly outsourcing most of their production, as well as assumptions on their sound quality. But when I arrived to take the tour of their home office, I was blown away to find that nearly all of the production process was in house. From powder coating every box, to screen printing the art, to soldering circuits and assembly, all of it was painstakingly crafted by Cody himself. The whole process was incredible to see as he walked me through the different stages of each pedal.
After viewing the construction build and artwork process, I was eager to hear these custom pedals in action. His personal board is almost entirely his own Westminster pedals ranging from swelling reverb to amazing deep distortion, the sound quality from each effect is superb and definitely worthy of the boutique status in the effects pedal market. There were so many different styles with unique qualities all their own, it really was hard to pick just one real favorite, but there were two that really stood out to me, the O$teen and the Piper. The “O$teen Di$tortion”, one of his personal favorites (and mine), is a very crisp, full-stack style, high-gain distortion that really packs that quality punch I’m always looking for in my own rig. And the “Piper Drive”, his first built pedal, is what he calls the “just enough” pedal producing a very classy tone that is literally just enough drive.
His love for studying theology shines through in his craft by endowing each pedal with an homage to one of the many different theologians in Christian history. Every pedal is unique with its play on words or subtle details either poking fun or honoring each figure’s strong or weak characteristics. The most obvious being the “health” or “wealth” knobs on the O$teen. With parameter names mirroring its respective theologian’s good or bad attribute, or simply the type of effect pedal itself closely resembling their actions or attitude, Cody has his knowledge and love for history candidly displayed on each model which occasionally brings out the subtle chuckle.
Building these pedals for over two years, and founding Westminster effects over a year ago, Cody has brought a truly unique craft to the upstate. Aside from being one of our only boutique effect pedal builders, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for their future builds also. With plans in the works for even more variations and flavors of drive and distortion pedals that I’m sure will not disappoint, there is also an ambiance machine on the drawing board that will certainly extend the limitations on conventional thoughts of reverb and decay. I’m definitely looking forward to what comes out of their shop next.
If you would like to see their full lineup as well as all ordering information, or just to drop them a line to tell them where you heard about their amazing art, visit their website at www.westminstereffects.com
David Porter, Contributor
David is an avid motorcycle rider and [musical genius] solo artist and sound technician. His hobbies include 3D design and graphic design. David will be covering the arts with a focus on Greenville for Upstate Exposures. You may reach him directly at DavidPorterSR@Gmail.com.