[interview] HomeBrew Electronics (H.B.E.): Joel Weaver

Here's FXDB's interview with Joel Weaver of HomeBrew Electronics (H.B.E.):

How did HomeBrew Electronics (H.B.E.) start?

I started building pedals for customers at a music store that I was working at as an amp tech. I started getting more and more requests and it was getting hard to keep up with them. A sales rep saw one of my pedals in the store one day and asked if he could try and sell them. A week later I had an order from him for 50 pedals. I had to quit my job and start building pedals full time.

When HBE started 11 years ago it was just my wife and I. We did just about everything ourselves. Most of our supplies were bought, and still are from CE Distribution. Another Arizona company.

Where do the name and logo come from?

We used to brew beer. We got pretty good at it and even won some awards. I say "used to" because we rarely have time anymore. Anyhow, HomeBrew seemed like a great name since we started building the pedals at home and did everything ourselves.

Our Logo is some pedals in a boiling pot. Seems to be pretty self explanitory.

What sets HomeBrew Electronics (H.B.E.) apart from other builders?

I think our manufacturing process. So many companies are having at least part of the manufacturing process done offshore. We are doing everything right here.

How do you start on a new pedal?

I usually just start soldering components to a bread board and go from there.

The time to go into production really depends on the pedal.

How do you name your pedals?

The THC chorus pedal stands for Three Hound Chorus. We have two basset hounds and a bloodhound and they all like to howl when the guitar is being played. I am sure there are other stories but can't recall right off.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All in house, three builders.

All double sided circuit boards with Teflon wire and chassis mount pots and jacks. All hand soldered and wired, no automation or wave machine.

All enclosures are powder coated and screen printed in house.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Very important!

Is parts selection important?

Yes. We try to use only the best available parts, NOS and domestic when possible for every part of the circuit. Our pedals are also RoHS compliant.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The Power Screamer. It was our first pedal and has been a staple for us for over ten years.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The Frost Bite Flanger. Very complex analog circuit.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

Right now the most popular pedals are the Frost Bite Flanger and the Detox EQ which is Paul Gilbert's signature pedal.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

No specific genres, we try and offer something for everyone.

We have several famous users: Paul Gilbert, Billy Gibbons, Gary Holt, Gary Hoey,... all kinds of guys. Too many to list.

What does the future of HomeBrew Electronics (H.B.E.) look like?

Just keep doing what we are doing. It is very difficult to keep everything here in the USA. So many companies eventually job their products out to China because it is so much cheaper. I just do not want to do that. As long as we can keep the price reasonable and keep making the pedals here, that is what we are going to do.

Are you working on any new products?

Yes. A signature wah for Michael Amott. Hope to have it out in the next month. We also just finished the Cremolo, an analog tremolo.

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