[interview] Kendrick: Kendrick

Here's FXDB's interview with Kendrick of Kendrick.

Kendrick Amplifiers is owned and operated by Gerald Weber. The company is located near Austin, Texas, and has been in business since 1990 building guitar amplifiers, guitars, speakers, effects pedals and other guitar related musical products.

How did Kendrick start?

Our first pedal was the Kendrick ABC Box, which was built as a one-off for the company president so that he could use a three-amp setup without impedance loading and switch amps off and on during performances. Some of Kendrick's 17 employees and their friends wanted one for themselves, so we made a run of 100 of them which quickly sold out. They were so popular that we continued to make them and still do to this day. Besides switching amps on or off, they can be used for a variety of other purposes in live performances, such as "ping pong" echo, multiple sends for recording, dedicated send for tuners, etc. We later developed a 6-way buffered switcher called the Kendrick ABCDEF Box.

Our former Vice-President and guitar virtuoso, Terry Oubre, had been collecting guitar pedals since the mid 60's and had quite an impressive collection of vintage collectible pedals. Over lunch, one day in 1995, he remarked that his best sounding guitar pedal of all was a "Hawk Fuzz" that had been modified in 1968 by Chip Todd (designer for Peavey, designer for Fender and the originator of the Fender custom shop). Although the pedal was noisy from layout and grounding issues and didn't have a true bypass, it was very organic sounding, with both a "Clean Boost" and "Overdrive" function and had the touch sensitivity of a tube amp. Kendrick president and designer, Gerald Weber decided to re-think the layout, straighten out the grounding and add a true bypass and the Kendrick Buffalo Pfuz pedal was born.Kendrick Buffalo Pfuz

The original Buffalo Pfuz pedals sold for $169 and have been out of production for 13 years. They are selling on eBay now in the $600-$800 price range. We listened to what our customers had to say about it. They loved the pedal but the three complaints that came up were: the batteries were hard to change, there was no status indicator LEDs and there was only one set of controls. If the controls were adjusted for the best "Clean Boost" setting, when the pedal was switched to "Overdrive" mode, the controls were not optimum for that modeand vice-versa.

So in 2002 we created a new pedal which was basically two Buffalo Pfuzes in one case so that both the "Clean Boost" mode and the "Overdrive" mode had its own set of control knobs. We added battery drawers so that the batteries could be changed easily in a few seconds. And we added color coded status indicator LEDs. Thus the Kendrick Cactus Juice pedal was born and is in production today.

KendrickWhere do the name and logo come from?

The company was named in honor of Gerald Weber's wife, whose middle name is Kendrick. He also has a daughter named Helen Kendrick Weber

When Kendrick began doing business, emails were not in widespread use and we wanted a logo that didn't require special art or graphics to be duplicated. We decided on the word "Kendrick" in all bold italicized caps "KENDRICK" with Times New Roman font and the first "K" with a slighter larger font "KENDRICK".

What sets Kendrick apart from other builders?

Kendrick Amplifiers is known for top quality musical products and excellent build quality. At Kendrick, the president answers the phone and cares about the customers. We have been in business over 20 years designing and building musical products that allow our customers to experience their own musicality as pure inspiration.

How do you name your pedals?

When developing the Cactus Juice pedal, we did a blast email to customers asking them for their suggestions naming our new "Clean Boost/Overdrive Pedal". The Kendrick factory is located on a ranch in Texas where Prickly Pear cactus is prevalent. The prickly pears were ripe and many had been picked earlier that day and squeezed to make a nice evening drink mixed with Crown Royal whisky. Gerald Weber, his wife and his three daughters were all sitting at a table that night as Gerald would read the customer's suggestions. When a suggestion sounded good, each listener would write down what she thought sounded good. After all 400+ name suggestions were read, each person's paper was compared and although everyone had many different names they liked, the one name that appeared on everyone's page was "Cactus Juice". Gerald Weber reached for his drink and knew at that moment that the pedal would have to be called the "Cactus Juice".

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All Kendrick products are made in house by our experienced builders. Some of our builders have been with us for 20 years.

All Kendrick Products are hand-wired. The pedals use a printed circuit board, however the leads are bent to the pads and hand-soldered. Some of the innards are point-to-point. Our enclosures are custom made.

The ABC Box and the ABCDEF box are Stainless steel housings with decal lettering, while the Cactus Juice has a custom made steel housing with epoxy powder coat finish. The artwork is 3 color with each color screened with epoxy ink and baked before the next color is applied. Kendrick Cactus Juice

How important is the look of your pedals?

We feel that the look of a pedal is very important. We spent a lot of money for a professional artist to design the 3 color artwork for the Cactus Juice pedal. The epoxy powdercoat and epoxy lettering will keep the unit looking brand new for many years to come.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

At Kendrick almost all of the employees are guitar players. We build products that we would want to own ourselves.

What does the future of Kendrick look like?

We are only making the Cactus Juice, the ABC Box and the ABCDEF box now and do not intend to design any new pedals in the future. We feel the Cactus Juice is the pinnacle of what an Overdrive / Clean Boost pedal could be and cannot see how there could be any improvement.

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