[interview] Janglebox: Stephen Lasko

Here's FXDB's interview with Stephen Lasko of Janglebox:

How did Janglebox start?

Unlike some boutique pedal builders, I wasn't an electronics enthusiast with technical skills. I'm a design/communications professional and an amateur guitarist who simply couldn't find a stompbox compressor I liked, so I was determined to create one.

We were impressed by the sound (if not the humming) of the onboard compressor that was used on a Roger McGuinn signature guitar, but we wanted greater tonal flexibility and performance capability.

Starting in 2001, I began pursuing the JangleBox project, first as a hobbyist then as a serous developer. I consulted and learned from a range of electronic engineers and DIYers. By 2004 we had a unique product that I loved, so we launched our website and brought the original JangleBox to market.

Where do the name and logo come from?

"JangleBox" came from the sound made popular by the '60s rock group The Byrds, specifically their guitarist, Roger McGuinn. The Byrds' first hit song, Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", contained the lyric "in the jingle jangle morning..." and the term "jangle" came to identify The Byrds sound.

We use the name in the somewhat broader sense of all the great '60s bands, including the Beatles, who incorporated that bright, chiming sustain.

The icon "J" in the JangleBox logo was designed to suggest a treble clef. We wanted to emphasize the musical quality of the pedal more than the technical aspects.

What sets Janglebox apart from other builders?

We want to create original, simple, intuitive pedals built on a foundation of sound innovation, customer expectation and common sense. The greatest praise we received after introducing the original JangleBox was from customers who said "This is the sound I've been waiting for! Why didn't someone think of this before?"

How do you start on a new pedal?

We start out with the concept for a sound or a sound enhancement, and create from there.

It takes us at least 16 months — even for what may seem like relatively simple updates — to bring a pedal to market from the when we get the initial idea.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We've used contractors in three different locations.

Our boxes are hand assembled. We use standard Hammond and Deltron enclosures that we have a local machine shop powder coat and screen print.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Maybe because I'm a designer, the look and entire branding approach is very important. We want the pedals to be aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly we want them to be durable pieces of equipment with industrial strength and outstanding fit and finish.

How important is parts selection?

We always try to use the best components, RoHS compatible.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

I'm proud of all our pedals. The original JangleBox, which Roger McGuinn and other highly-regarded musicians quickly endorsed after its release, is obviously our centerpiece pedal.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The JangleBox JB2 is now our most popular pedal, no doubt due to its enhanced features. Actually, I'm amazed it's done so well in this bad economy.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

We have scores of quotes from notable artists on our website.

What does the future of Janglebox look like?

We currently have several new pedals in development. We want to continue to build our small dealer network and improve USA inventory levels.

Are you working on any new products?

Yes. We won't divulge everything, but look for a new booster pedal from us in late 2011.

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