[interview] Bleeding Cowboys: Heinz Rebellius

Here's FXDB's interview with Heinz Rebellius of Bleeding Cowboys.

Bleeding Cowboys is run by Heinz Rebellius near Osnabrueck, Germany.

How did Bleeding Cowboys start?

I do not build the pedals by myself, but work together with a technician here in Germany. He is able to translate my ideas into his pedals. We started our business about 3 years ago.

The mentioned technician is very experienced, and I know that he is part of the wordwide DIY internet gang...

Bleeding CowboysWhere do the name and logo come from?

Actually, I wanted to use a different name, but used the font named "Bleeding Cowboys" to write this other name. Then all of a sudden there came the inspiration to use Bleeding Cowboys as my brand name, because it sounds cool for a pedal. Of course I use a different font now :-)

Second, I like good country music - not the polished stuff, but the real down-to-earth music.

There's no story behind the logo

What sets Bleeding Cowboys apart from other builders?

Our DI boxes sound like real amps, and their sound feels like a real amp.

Our other pedals like the PE Plexi Energy are great pedals of their own, but we know that there is a lot of good stuff out there.

How do you start on a new pedal?

Actually, all these pedals start in my brain. I am a working musician and an editor of a Guitar magazine, so I think I know what the market is missing. When I have an idea, I contact my technician. Usually it takes 2 weeks from idea to product...

How do you name your pedals?

I name my pedals always with two capital letters, which are abbreviations for their real names. We have:

In my imagination I always saw guitarists buying our pedals, because they want to build words with them - like TOCOPE or PEOD or ODAA .... kinda looks good on your pedal board...Bleeding Cowboys PE Plexi Energy

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We build everything in house:

  • circuits are completely handwired
  • enclosures are bought in black, like we need them
  • stickers with name etc. is printed with a home printer and finished with clear laquer

How important is the look of your pedals?

It is important, but we are less boutique-ish than most of the other small companies. We could do better in this case

Is parts selection important?

We build our pedals in the German tradition - very solid, very reliable. for this reason we use the better parts, but we donĀ“t care about this NOS things...

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Personally I like our FF Fonk Filter most - it's a wonderful touch wah, but it does not sell :-).

I am proud of our AA-F and AA-M DI boxes, because they do a great job. And even when you prefer to play with an amp, you still can carry one AA with you around, just in case your amp blows up. The AA is the perfect spare.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

We once build a distortion unit called Stellar Overdrive - it should do everything from a slight TS crunch to a widely overdriven California sound. This was demanding, technically wise - and we stopped production, because it was just too much work to build it.

Bleeding Cowboys AA Anonymous AmpWhich of your pedals is the most popular?

The AA-F and AA-M DI boxes. They sound good, and there are many purposes for using them.

There was a gasp in the market for good sounding, passive DI boxes. The ones who can work like an amp, the ones which you can feed with the signal from your pedal board and go directly to the mixing desk, to your in-ear or to your recording system at home.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

There are some famous German players using our pedals, but you might not know them:
  • Rick McPhail (Tocotronic) - SO, OD
  • Schrader (Guildo Horn u.a.) - AA-F
  • Hillbilly Deluxe - AA-F
  • Jan van Triest (North and About) - AA-F
  • Franz Leeb (Wicked Wildcats) - AA-M
  • Thomas Berg (Gitarre & Bass) - AA-M
  • Chris Adam (Tools 4 Music) - AA-M
  • Heinz Rebellius (Artland Country Club, Rebellius) - AA-F, FF, PE, TO
  • Uli Opfergelt (Still Collins) - NG
  • Michael Witte - AA-F
  • Martin Off - Martin Off Guitardesign - NG, TO
  • Niki Altmann - My Name is Music - AA-M
  • Bernd Paul - Paul Simpson Project - AA-M
  • Norman Gordon (UK) - FF

What does the future of Bleeding Cowboys look like?

We found out that the market for usual pedal types like overdrives, distortions etc. is full; there are not many chances to gather attraction, when you don't have the marketing power like many other competitors.

So we reduced our program to just 5 pedals in the moment, among them three DI boxes alone

Are you working on any new products?

No, not at the moment. But you never know...

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