[interview] McNeece: John McNeece

Here's FXDB's interview with John McNeece of McNeece.

McNeece pedals are built by John McNeece in Athens, Georgia, USA.

How did McNeece start?

Inherited the trait of tinkering. Had the Radio Shack project kit with all of the springs and wires. Inactive for a few years then began in earnest working on amps and pedals as a way of working through the rubble of a failed relationship in 1999.

Great help and inspiration from circuit-bender, repairman, and all-around great guy James Gramling at Diabolical Devices/Class A electronics. Props as well to great guitarists who I wanted to sound like at one point or another: Ron Asheton, Greg Ginn, Tony Iommi, Mick Ronson, KK Null, Robert Fripp.

McNeeceWhere do the name and logo come from?

The company name is my family name, which is a corruption of McNess, from MacNess, "son of Ness".

The logo on the pedals is made using Letraset!

What sets McNeece apart from other builders?

  1. Philosophy: shit should work and stay working.
  2. One-at-a-time. Sometimes I get a wild hair and make two at a time.
  3. See previous question.
Can you tell us something about the production process?

I work alone.

The circuits are built using hand made eyelet boards.

The enclosures are mostly Hammond variants. Lately I have been bolting random crap onto them, steampunk-style. They're finished with individually applied Letraset. 100% eye-balled, I'm getting pretty good at this technique. Then a purty clear coat.

How important is the look of your pedals?

They look the way they do because of my defeatist attitude. No matter how much work I put in to make it look fancy, somebody else has got me topped. On the inside no so much.

McNeece MayhemIs parts selection important?

I use what I can afford, what sounds good, and what will fit into the tiny box.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

They are all pretty sweet. Some I made years ago I will look at and throw up in my mouth a little, then plug them in and all is well.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

I made this ridiculous thing that I think ended up getting sold to someone in Canada maybe. It was an Oscillatrix MkIV and had solid state and tube oscillators plus maybe an LFO to boot, a selector switch allowed you to choose which oscillator went to two or three different 1/4" outs. I hope it still works but that is doubtful.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The Matter Disorganizer and the Fuzz Burglar pedals I made for Class A Electronics (Diabolical Devices). I managed to repeat myself about 25 times each.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Anyone interested is welcome, however the doom/stoner crowd seems to be most interested.

Famous users? Only their hairdresser knows for sure.

What does the future of McNeece look like?

Making pedals is a business filled with cliche and skullduggery. I see myself as the Bruce Campbell of this business: Keeping it real, plugging along, having a sense of humor about it- but at the same time feeling a little jaded and too-old-for-this. When something sells I will build another to pay the bills but came to the realization that there is nothing new under the sun and if someone tells you they have something new they are only referring to the decal they printed out for the top of the box.

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