How Music Saved My Life AKA End of Cheaperpedals

So this little business has run its course. Margins have been shrinking, costs rising, and what was once a mighty little ship against the hype of the modern supertanker of the music industry must sail to another harbour.

But before that day, let me tell you how music saved my life.

On a cold winter's morning two weeks before Christmas in 1991 my stepfather inexplicably shot and killed my mother, another person staying with us at the time, and then himself in our home in Alhambra California. At that exact moment, I was in school, in 1st period chemistry class before the police came and asked for me by name, as thirty curious faces turned to face me who at 16 years old into D&D and bands like the Cure and Trash Can Sinatras, was probably the last person to get in trouble with the police.

After all the carnage and wreckage, I was basically left to fend for myself. (My relatives all were in Hong Kong where my mother is from). I rented a room from strangers for $250 a month and basically laid low from social services which I knew would stick me in foster care which would ruin what life I had. I was an angry bitter ball of spite. I hated the world and it hated me which seemed like a fair bargain considering the stuff that happened. Then one crappy Friday I went to the worst party in Los Angeles, and there sitting on a couch was a dude strumming unplugged a sunburst rosewood Fender Stratocaster. That guitar was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and I saddled up to him like the virgin I was. He started plucking the notes to Under the Bridge by the RHCP and well for a moment I no longer felt that alone.

I went out and bought a cheap Korean Squier the next day at Johnny Thompson's Music. I had maybe $2500 to my name. Every dollar was blood money. I handed $400 dollars or so over for the Squier and a tinny 10 watt Roland amp that hissed and growled like a honey badger. I handed it over like I was paying for drugs. Just give it to me. Whatever you need.

That guitar saved my life. It gave me something to focus on. Something to talk to. Something to hope for. It played the sound I was feeling inside. Bruised self-destructive, a fireball from hell, whatever I was when it was in my hands. I bought my first pedal a Boss DD-3 delay which I still have and love. Playing guitar helped me get girlfriends over the years, which is what a true best friend does. I went to college. Got a job. Kept it all together like a good soldier along with the army of other commuters stuck on the 10 freeway as my car stereo looped Radiohead's OK Computer's songs of modern futility. I felt empty, sad, hated the flesh I was born into. Something was wrong with me because everyone else around me seemed as happy as a pig in a cage on antibiotics.

After getting laid off from my job in 2007, I moved to China on a whim. I wanted, in a way, find out what trauma lay there in my family line to cause my stepfather to do what he did. In China, I went off the rails. Drinking, girls, rock n' roll. I started a rock band. We played shows, got a little hype, almost got to do a tour before the drinking and sex and egos brought us down. Typical! Visa ran out as did endrance for hangovers. Back to America.

With little job prospects and less ambition I came back in 2012 to the States. Big culture shock. Decided to start a business of the one thing I did know pretty well which was guitar pedals after getting really upset at buying a $200 boutique fuzz pedal built by New York hipsters that sounded like ass. 

This pedal business has sustained me as I have spent the last 10 years writing a book of my life and the strange course I was set on. It's a story about a family coming to America, a family going broke, a family that destroyed itself, a story of the American Nightmare because where there are dreams there are also nightmares. It's the story of a teenager with not much to live for but music, which I'm sure many a musician can relate to. John Lennon's and Paul McCartney and Bono all lost their mothers as teens. That we know their songs is no random coincidence.

I'm hopefully finishing the book sometime in 2024. Not sure if it ever gets any traction in this country obsessed with useless politics and celebrity memoirs, but I'm going to try and get it out, because all we really have is our stories, our songs to sing.

So for anyone that has bought a pedal in the past or now, thank you! Thank you for supporting this venture that is all heart because we are all musicians, a family of sorts. I've talked to many of you over the phone over the years and heard your own stories, and know that music is to you what it is to me, medicine.

I'm going to slowly be selling off the store inventory and closing shop probably by spring of 2024. As a parting gift I wish to share my song with you, my book to anyone who has purchased a pedal. I'll promise to send you a copy of my book (probably electronic) to read if you like. All you have to do is shoot an email to me at with your name and email address and I'l put you on a list and when the time comes I'll share it with you.

I'd love to also hear your stories about how guitar and music saved your life. 





Written by Elliott Chen

- September 01, 2023

Caline New G Series and Low Prices on DCP Series!

Caline's new series of small super durable enclosures and fine effects in G-series is in stock!


Caline's DCP series of dual pedals 2-1 are now all at $49 from $59.99!

Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- November 10, 2022

New Pedals for 2022

Just added some new pedals including:


R-14 Dark Flame Distortion

R-20 King of Kings (King of Tone clone)

Moist Reverb

Oxford Sound

Splinter (RAT clone)



 Simon Super Delay

Santa Clara Boost

Written by Elliott Chen

- February 10, 2022

Some thoughts and new Caline DCP series is available

Before the pandemic began we were honestly thinking about shutting the business down as costs have gone up a lot in recent years and Amazon's squeeze has made it really hard to make any profit in online retail.

But luckily customers have been supportive and kind, and people have been reaching for music and guitars in this difficult time. More music is a good thing, a net plus in the universe. So thank you for all of you playing your song. That's all we're really here to do anyways.

P.S. Got the new DCP line from Caline in the store. 2 pedals in 1, in natural pedal combos to save space on pedalboards, wiring headaches, and money.

Written by Elliott Chen

- February 06, 2021

Coronavirus Supply Chain and New Realities

We've run out of stock on increasingly more of our pedals due to supply issues from China due to the quarantine issues there which have basically shut down factories across the board. Never thought something like this (and Trump tariffs which have killed our bottom line) would effect a small business like us, but we all live in a fragile interconnected world now. It's important to remember we are all humans trying to get through life, and something like the Coronavirus impacts every single one of us. There is no escape. There is no excuses. We are all one planet. One people.

Stay safe everyone! Stay away from crowds. Stay indoors. Play some guitar. Reflect on life. Pray for team human. It's gonna be a bumpy ride, but we got this.

Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- February 27, 2020

NEW Mooer Tone Capture GTR Pedal

Just got in a really insane pedal. The new Mooer Tone Capture pedal allows you to capture any guitar you have and save it's tone DNA into a pedal so you can change guitars without switching guitars! Live applications are obviously where this will be really valued. Just bring one guitar instead o 10. I never imagined such an insane day we guitars themselves can be modeled.

Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- November 27, 2019

6 Pedal Myths



I really recommend Joshua from JHS pedal's YouTube channel. He's a man that simply loves pedals and he isn't about hyping his own brand but educating and having fun. This particular video is one that is near and dear to my heart as I think there's a lot of BS that start in some internet forum then over years becomes sort of sacred pedal laws that simply are untrue. Many guitarists and bassists then start demanding these features and so it gets used as marketing material, and it becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy of idiocy.

My general view is that with sound it's not like something visual where you're like "oh that's blue" and "oh that's a darker shade of blue with some orange thrown in" cut and dry. With sound, it's hard to be objective and many times we hear things that aren't there, our opinions or what we've read (the opinions of other people) color or perception, or our feelings and moods get in the way. This is good for some pedal manufacturer that's trying to sell you his $3000 exclusive edition Klon centaur but not so good for your wallet.

Watch the video below but here's the breakdown in short:

  1. True Bypass is better than buffered (It's not!)
  2. Boutique is better (definitely not)
  3. You can't copy that pedal (you can copy anything)
  4. Germanium is better (no it's not. It's just what they had lying around back then.)
  5. Through-hole is better than Surface Mount (NO!  Actually surface mount is often more reliable)
  6. Magic op-amps in ODs (It's really not that important)

Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- July 31, 2019

New Caline Pedals

Just added to the store some new pedals from Caline. Hand tested them this week and really liked their tones. Analog sounds and flexible controls. 

Wine Cellar Driver and DI Bass Drive pedal and DI for Bass

T-Drive Phase Phaser with fine grain controls not just a speed knob like the old MXR style

Reflector Tremolo Variable wave shape controls

So What Flanger BBD old style flanger

P5 Power true isolated power with no wall warts!

Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- July 11, 2019

New Joyo R series and D-seed

Just in for 2019, we have the new Joyo D-Seed II, a multi-delay with 3.5 min looper that's bound to be sold out soon. Get yours while we still have em'


We also have the new Joyo R-series which is Joyo's high end series of pedals including a Klon clone as well as cool high tech IR Loader, multi-modulation, delay and reverb. Check em' out. They're selling like hotcakes!




Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- February 20, 2019

Christmas and Shipping Times

We're well into the Christmas shopping crush and Santa and his elves here at Cheaperpedals wanted to let you know the various shipping times we offer (in the US). Generally the closer you are to California the faster the shipping times:

  • First Class (3-5 days) 
  • Priority Mail (2-3 days)
  • Priority International (Overnight if ordered by 1pm PST)

We do our best to ship immediately on the day of, and offer our best customer service so you and yours will be satisfied with your purchase. Please email us at with any questions!

Happy Holidays!


Written by Cheaperpedals .com

- December 12, 2018