[interview] Onerr: Gesner DeSouza

Here's FXDB's interview with Gesner DeSouza of Onerr.

Onerr Brasil Musical is run by Gesner DeSouza since 1986. The company is located in Osasco, São Paulo, Brazil.

How did Onerr start?

I play guitar since I was 14. Never played as a professional, but I always loved this instrument. I used to buy several effect pedals from Boss and other well known brands in the past, and manufacturing pedals was kind of a dream. When I founded Onerr in 1986, we started manufacturing power supplies for use with effect pedals and keyboards. After that, we launched volume and foot switch pedals. After hiring an engineering team, we finally started the effect pedals manufacturing in 1994-95. Our mission was to produce a good quality pedal, in tone and very tough, like a tank, and we did it.

Before we started, we gathered several guitar players in Brazil to help us to find good tone references. Some prototypes were built and used at stage and jams to be sure we were creating a great pedal. After 1 year in developing process and tests, we started the design and tooling manufacturing.

OnerrWhere do the name and logo come from?

Onerr is a fictitious name that has no meaning. We tried to find a short name, easy to pronounce and also easy to learn by heart.

The Onerr logo is formed by 3 forward slashes giving a sensation of movement. For the last 20 years, some subtle curves and fonts were changed, but nothing that could cause the lost of identity.

How do you start on a new pedal?

We nowadays have a full range of effect pedals and there is no plan to new projects of new effects. There is some possibility of a new design coming soon, which the goal is to keep the same features of the current line, but with a even better cost for money proposal.

How do you name your pedals?

The Onerr pedals were connected to chemical elements as Carbon, Titanium, Nitrogen, and so on.

Onerr Carbon-X OverdriveCan you tell us something about the production process?

All pedals are built in-house.

We use both PCBs and SMD processes in Onerr products. It depends on the technology and complexity of the circuit to use the best method. All pedals enclosures are manufactured with our exclusive tooling by third party companies. The pedals enclosure is manufactured in (diecast) Zamak (alloys with a base metal of zinc) and finished by powder coating.

How important is the look of your pedals?

The look is very important to show somebody you can build something cool. Of course, some professionals aren't worried about shaping, color and weight. But, we believe that everybody can be happier if they buy something very cool that also looks good, right? In the past, the slogan "Looks Good, Sounds Better" was used by Onerr.

Is parts selection important?

Onerr only uses parts from trusted companies. 100% of electronics parts are manufactured by major companies in the industry: Motorola, Philips, AD, Texas and so on. The mechanics are manufactured in Brazil by trusted companies that we have a long term relationship with.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

We are proud of several pedals in our line, as the first reverb and digital delay manufactured in Brazil, but I think that we are most-proud of our Fat Boy wah wah pedal. The Fat Boy was the first effect pedal manufactured in Brazil and exported to US in OEM to a very famous company.

Onerr Fat BoyWhich of your pedals was your toughest build?

The wah wah pedal was our toughest build pedal. First reason, it was the first model, and the "first" is always tough... Second reason, and the main one is that a wah wah pedal is not only an electronic circuitry delivering an effect to an amplifier. There are mechanical issues involved to produce the effect. To build a good wah wah pedal, we had to spend days and nights looking for good mechanics parts and good mechanics solutions. That was really tough ate that time.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The DST-1 Distortion and CX-1 Carbon-X Overdrive are the most popular and best sellers pedals. The reason? Hard to say. I figure that Overdrive and Distortion are the most popular effects of any other builder, as these effects are the most popular amongst musicians.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Onerr pedals are made to be tough, deliver good tone with a great price. Musicians are moved by instinct and influence of famous brands and artists, but we also found that the most part of musicians worldwide don't have or don't want to spend big amounts of money on products just because they're famous. They are looking for "honest" products. If we can say that we have a focus, I think that the focus is "Who are looking for a great tone and great value-for money pedals, built to last".

There is a long list of Brazilian artists using Onerr pedals. Onerr does not have endorsement relationships anymore.

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