[interview] Lehle: Burkhard Lehle

Here's FXDB's interview with Burkhard Lehle of Lehle:

How did Lehle start?

1996 I started a repair shop for amps, guitars and pedals. I was looking for something that I could put all my engineering knowledge into and that would have a chance on the market. At that time there was a gap in the market for signal routing solutions, specially the issue of running more than one amp at a time without humming and without losing your tone or signal.

One of my customers asked for a custom-made ABY switcher so I made one. This guy - Jens - started to work for one of the largest MI retailers in Germany and the word began to spread...

Today Jens Olbrich is the sales&support manager at Lehle Gitarrentechnik.

Where do the name and logo come from?

It is my family's name.

The Logo consists of the name Lehle and a simplified switch button.

What sets Lehle apart from other builders?

The switching technology in combination with the "mushroom" shaped switch buttons.

How do you start on a new pedal?

The ideas come from conversations with musicians and producers.

We start thinking about new pedals, we have a collection pool of ideas and requests from which we will take the next product, it can easily take 2 years before a new product hits the shelves.

We like to use names that point towards the function of the unit.

How do you name your pedals?

Most names come from the functions, in some cases like the "Sunday Driver" the name is inspired by a mix of the technical aspect since the unit is a line-driver and the warm sound which reminded us of a sunny Sunday afternoon. And who doesn't like Sundays?

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We assemble all pedals in-house. Depending on the order situation we have at least 3 people busy with the assembly of products.

PCBs and enclosures are made here in Germany according to our specifications, we assemble and test the switchers on the premises ourselves.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Very important! To stand out in the crowd of square metal boxes we involved a design company (Studio Dipol), they did not only come up with a great look but also got the practical features right like recessed knobs and sockets to protect the switchers from heavy stomping or other on-stage accidents.

You can spot Lehle products on pedal boards from a big distance!

How important is parts selection?

We mainly use branded components like Neutrik jack sockets or microswitches from Cherry, in the Sunday Driver and Basswitch we use Wima caps for example, this gives our products a higher reliability compared to no name parts.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Thinking about it that would be the P-Split, due to it's simplicity and inner value which is the LTHZ transformer, that took years to make it work.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The Basswitch IQ DI has been the most complex unit so far and it has been a very time consuming and exhausting process to go thru all the prototypes.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The Little Lehle and the P-Split because they offer a lot of signal routing solutions in a lower price range.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Our switchers appeal to every musical genre, not only guitarists but all kind of musicians who care about signal routing for their live- or studio gear. 

We have often been asked to make a distortion pedal or other effects, but this is not our philosophy, we believe that there are plenty of great guitars , amps and effects available on the market. 

We would like to invite you to the artist section on the Lehle website  and read some professional users' quotes about Lehle.

What does the future of Lehle look like?

Our short term, medium and long term goal is to produce the ultimate Signal Routing Solutions.

Are you working on any new products?

We are expecting to have a new product out in 2012.

Due to big success of the current Basswitch IQ DI we will offer a unit called Acouswitch that has quite similar features including a notch filter.

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