Rochester Series Effects Pedals

“ I first brought these effects pedals to guitarists almost 40 years ago. They were the ones that started a revolution and no one has made them quite the same since … hand-wired, American made, built to last forever and with the exact same circuits and quality components”. Michael Laiacona, President/Owner

Here’s the Story…

By Will Young

Back in 1961, Michael Laiacona was an ambitious 12 year old bass player/guitar player with boundless energy, playing in an Albany band that would eventually cover the likes of Herman’s Hermits, Dave Clark Five and of course, the Beatles. Being a kid entailed having no money, but with youth came an imagination that had no limitations. Michael would spend countless hours tinkering with an old soldering gun and whatever electronic parts he could dig up, trying to create cool new sounds while teaching himself what would later become a calling. By 15, out of necessity he hand built his first PA system complete with a mixing console, monitors, power amps and handmade speaker enclosures. It didn’t take long to go from soldering homemade gear in his garage to beginning what would later become an undeniable staple in every up and coming guitar player’s rig. A few years later he graduated from the garage to a small factory on Goodman Street, in Rochester NY, where Michael cofounded MXR®. This would be be the birth place of the world’s first roadworthy line of guitar effects pedals.

By 1972 it was clear to him that he had stumbled on to something monumental, but the big question was how to spread the word. Traditional advertising was available but at a staggering cost and even then its reach was unable to accurately target the people that needed to know… guitar players. The answer was priceless, Michael literally spent his evenings going from nightclub to nightclub, plugging his handwired effects boxes into the rigs of any guitar player that would let him. Needless to say, every single player ended up buying one at the end of the night. Michael knew he wasn’t going to get rich this way but how else could he spread the word? Then the “Magic” moment happened on a rainy night in 1973 at “The Red Creek”, a little club in Rochester NY. Jessie Ed Davis, the guitar player from the famed band Taj Mahal and session player for the Beatles and Eric Clapton was the featured act and he and Michael hit it off to the tune of staying up until 4:oo am playing guitar in a dark and dingy green room. Jessie fell in love with the pedals and insisted that he get two more for his “buddies”. After a few months, Jessie invited Michael to his home in Marina Del Ray to meet some of his “buddies”. To Michael’s surprise and absolute astonishment, he found himself standing in Jessie’s living room, face-to-face with one of his first customers, none other than John Lennon. Within a few short years these pedals became the most sought after effects of the 1970s.

In May of 1975 Michael left MXR® and went on to establish Whirlwind®, the indisputable world leader in audio interface… the rest is history.

Well, almost 40 years into it, Michael has decided to recreate the pedals that got him started in the business in the first place by launching his “Rochester Series Pedals” which are handwired, American made replicas of the original pedals that still work night after night in the rigs of the greats like Keith, Eric, and Eddie. When asked if he would do anything differently? Michael simply replied,“Yes, I’d add an LED, direct bypass, and a 9 -Volt power input”, so we did. Whirlwind is proud to re-introduce the three coolest pedals on the planet. Now plug ‘em in, and make a little history of your own.