[interview] DenTone Electronics: Dennis Menard

Here's FXDB's interview with Dennis Menard of DenTone Electronics:

How did DenTone Electronics start?

I was inspired by Craig Anderton's book that came out back when I was a teenager and my brother built the "Tube Sound Fuzz" out of it. I forgot all about it for a couple of decades and then found my brother's old build in a box of childhood stuff. I said to myself, this looks like fun and started looking into building my own pedals. By then, the internet had exploded and there was exponentially more info available than there was in the late 70's.

I've been building pedals for about 10 years, selling them for about 5 or 6 years.

Where does the name come from?

DenTone is just a mishmash of my first name.

What sets DenTone Electronics apart from other builders?

When you email with a question or concern, you get an answer directly from the owner, CEO of the company.

How do you start on a new pedal?

It's really not that formal. I always have something on the breadboard that I'm messing with. When it stops sounding ordinary and starts making me grin, I know I'm getting close.

How do you name your pedals?

I think the term 900 Pound Violin refers to some mythical tone sought by Eric Johnson. Seems like it was in a Guitar Player interview or something similar.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

It's just me.

Circuits are all hand wired on veroboard, point to point or occasionally PCB.

Enclosures are Hammond, painted and decalled one at a time.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Look is important, but pedals should always be evaluated with your ears, not your eyes.

Is parts selection important?

Old parts whenever possible, new parts when old doesn't make sense.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The 900 Pound Violin has become a bit of a cult classic and I feel it's the best of the muff derivatives ever!

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

Three Anna Nicole Smith fuzz pedals produced for Billy Gibbons. I knew at least one would end up in his stage rig and I wanted everything to be double naught spy bulletproof.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

900 Pound Violin, everyone who has ever owned one has loved it.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

They're built for people who appreciate vintage tones, vintage parts and bulletproof builds.

Billy Gibbons uses pedals I built. I know there are other well known artists using them, but as far as I know they all acquired them by purchasing off the web, not by direct communication with me. For instance, I know the guitar player for Paramore uses a 900 Pound Violin, but I had never heard of Paramore until my teenaged daughters set me straight!

What does the future of DenTone Electronics look like?

Stay small, focus on holy grail fuzz tones.

Are you working on any new products?

Right now, I'm just struggling to keep up with orders for existing pedals.

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