In Defense of Mojo

An old harpsichord with a ton of mojo.

Mojo is a hot topic (at least in my world). The internet has long spawned debates over the question of whether or not a musical instrument’s appearance has any effect on its sound, or mojo. Debates over whether the type of wood you use to make an electric guitar matters, brass hardware versus aluminum, even the type of finish (I hear that it’s safer to snort drugs off of polyurethane, but that’s a separate discussion.)

For the uninitiated, mojo is defined as “a magic charm, talisman, or spell.” In music gear culture it typically refers to some component, usually one that is visually appealing and often new old stock (NOS), that doesn’t alter the sound of a piece of gear. Instead, these “mojo bits” add to the gear’s mojo. Circling back around to the Oxford definition, that means that using old resistors in a fuzz pedal adds to the magic of the fuzz pedal.

This of course implies that there is “magic” in the aforementioned fuzz pedal, and I believe that there is a type of magic in all music gear despite being a staunch materialist atheist.

Dozens of examples exist of people proving or disproving things like tonewood, magic op amps, and whether NOS parts are any better than their brand-new counterparts. The debates are still thriving in online forums despite there being “scientific” proof that mojo doesn’t exist.

But remember: music is a creative process. Aesthetics are at the forefront of our minds while we’re playing because art is aesthetic. While you plink away on your ebony fretboard you might feel like it plays better. If so, it does play better. Art is dependent on feeling, and if your feelings make you attached to the Tube Screamer that you’ve played with since the 80s, that Tube Screamer is magic!

What I’m saying is that despite the “proof” given one way or another, how you feel about the instrument you play has an effect on how you play the instrument. Ornate musical instruments have existed for millenia. The desire to make sonic art on something that is visually pleasing must have some benefit to it or it surely would have faded away, right?

So take your classic Telecasters (or your sick B.C. Riches), your germanium Tonebenders, your “broken in” cables and your tube amps and go make beautiful, magic, mojo-filled music.

Published by Lucky (the monster)

Pedal builder. Educator. Writer.

4 thoughts on “In Defense of Mojo

  1. I saw your $50.00 Fuzz demoed on 60 Cycle Hum. I thought it was just what I was looking for. But I have spent a lot of money on a lot of shit the last couple of weeks. So I was not planning on buying the $50.00 Fuzz. Thankfully, I live alone and their is no one to yell at me or tell me I have to return it. And take away my debit card. But I was tempting fate by looking at your site. Then I read the blog, and thought “these two are way to fucking cool to not buy something that is as cool as they seem. So I pulled the trigger on the pedal. And a coffee mug. And a tshirt. I cannot wait to fire up my new fuzz. And show off my “Demonic Machines kill fascists” coffee mug at work. And explain the back story behind the phrase. And piss of a few uptight co-workers. Thank you!

    1. You are so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and comment. We hope you are enjoying your new Fuzz and merch!

    1. Glad you are enjoying your $50 Fuzz! You should try the Draganaut. It has a wide variety of sounds from overdrive all the way to a knarly doom fuzz, and it has a very responsive EQ. It’s been used by folks in heavy metal bands and worship bands. Very versitile.

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