Shin Suzuki is the most celebrated amp and pedal designer in Japan, renowned by tonechasers the world over for his ability to faithfully recreate some of the most elusive sounds in music history. As proprietor of Shin’s Music in Tokyo, he has cultivated an unfailing ear for incredible tones. In 2016, Shin collaborated with the MXR Custom Shop to create the Shin-Juku™ Drive, a pedal widely praised for the way it captured the raw sonic complexity of a rare amplifier with a legendary reputation.
Shin and the MXR Custom Shop have come together once again to create the MXR Raijin Drive, a pedal that reinvents two iconic Japanese stompboxes—an overdrive and a distortion—with greater tonal range and usability so that those beloved sounds can keep up with the modern tone chase.
We sat down with Shin to talk about this new creation, what inspired him to design pedals, and more.
What inspired the creation of the Raijin Drive?
Shin: Many guitarists have separate overdrive and distortion pedals on their boards that they don’t use in combination with each other. Lately, a lot of them have been telling me that they would love to have both in a single pedal in order to free up some space. The problem with most pedals like that on the market today is that only one of the modes is good, and the other is an afterthought, unusable. I wanted to create a pedal that sounds great no matter which mode you select—a pedal that makes you want to incorporate both into your sound.