Rock icon SUGIZO collaborates with audio effects manufacturer FREE THE TONE to offer a custom version of its FLIGHT TIME digital delay pedal. The limited 100-unit run in homage to the illustrious lead guitarist for LUNA SEA and X JAPAN sold out within days of the July 1 preorder date via sole distributor, Kurosawa Gakki in Ochanomizu, Tokyo. FLIGHT TIME SUGIZO MODEL features a unique Solid Black enclosure, a special edition logo, and SUGIZO’s own delay parameters programmed into the factory presets. For lucky fans who were quick enough to snag an order, a numbered certificate of authenticity personally signed by the man himself will accompany each pedal, set to ship July 21.


A de facto pioneer of the 1980s visual kei movement, SUGIZO stamped his mark on the Japanese music subculture composing numerous chart-toppers with LUNA SEA, including BELIEVE, END OF SORROW, and I FOR YOU. His flamboyant stage persona brandishes sonic wizardry that brilliantly blends prog rock, jazz fusion, funk, and new wave. Years after the passing of X JAPAN guitar hero hide, SUGIZO arose as the clear successor to his legacy, a role that not only became permanent but helped breathe life back into the power metal forefathers of Jrock.

Backstage, engineer Yukihiro Hayashi cultivated SUGIZO’s sound throughout his storied career, providing novel designs for distortion pedals and signal processors. In 2002, Hayashi founded his own boutique company FREE THE TONE, which builds both production model guitar and bass effects as well as bespoke audio systems for Japan’s biggest top-billing acts on tour.

Yukihiro Hayashi poses with SUGIZO in front of his custom touring guitar rig in 2013. Source: FREE THE TONE blog

FLIGHT TIME is FREE THE TONE’s flagship pedal for delay, a type of guitar effect that generates cascading echoes to emphasize a musical passage. Since the early days of LUNA SEA, SUGIZO had embraced delay to stir up his otherworldly tones. He generously injects the effect into the intra-verse wails in the band’s rock anthem ROSIER, the guitar solo in the bittersweet breakup lullaby LOVE SONG, and the dizzying intro in the 30th anniversary single Sora no Uta ~Higher and Higher~.

A numbered certificate of authenticity signed by SUGIZO will ship with every FLIGHT TIME SUGIZO MODEL unit.

Aspiring future SUGIZOs around the world can still unlock a universe of his delays—from syncopated staccatos to cavernous swoops—with the standard production model of FLIGHT TIME. Aside from the default Moss Green finish, both models share the same hardware, algorithms, and charming DeLorean-esque analog-meets-digital user interface. Discerning ears itching to reproduce SUGIZO’s unmistakable and downright outlandish soundscapes can drown themselves tweaking every nuance from the volume levels to the beat subdivisions to the liquid warbles that decorate the trailing repeats all using this one magical box.

Additionally, FREE THE TONE plans to release details on a second pedal for SUGIZO, the RING MODULATOR II, a reissue of the 2018 limited signature model. The psychedelic lo-fi oscillation effect has been an essential ingredient in nearly all of LUNA SEA’s guitar solos.

The special collaboration features the official logos for FREE THE TONE and SUGIZO. Source: FREE THE TONE Instagram

SUGIZO will return on stage with LUNA SEA for two headlining concerts at Nippon Budokan on August 26 and 27. The event titled Fukkatsusai -A NEW VOICE- celebrates the recovery of vocalist Ryuichi following the successful surgical removal of microvascular lesions in his vocal cords.

Promotional image for LUNA SEA’s upcoming concerts at Nippon Budokan

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  1. LUCA
  3. Closer
  5. You’re knocking at my door
    You’re knocking at my door
  6. Soranouta 〜Higher and Higher〜
    宇宙の詩 ~Higher and Higher~
  7. anagram
  8. Hisoubi
  9. Pulse
  10. Seijaku
  11. so tender..
    so tender..