• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!

No More Barber Pedals????

RJLII

Member
Messages
10,264
I have had the same experience in my day job with manufacturing. We make millions of items also. Metal containers that had a lead time of 3 or 4 weeks at the beginning of the year, jumped to 12 then 16 weeks just a month ago. Last Friday I got an email from a supplier who said that lead times are now 19 to 20 weeks. That is 5+ months! This means we have to anticipate what the market is going to need 6 or 7 months from now and produce millions of products to maintain the supply. Walmart expects that you are able to fill their purchase order when they send it over, and they keep a scorecard on you that reflects your delivery of the orders OTIF (on time, in full).

Plastic bottles are in similar short supply caused by the demand for sanitizers and disinfectant cleaners, and companies making masses of them to take advantage of the market. Same goes for chemicals, especially certain solvents. It is crazy.

regards, Jack
Yup, you get it. It really gets fun when you source globally and normal lead time is 12 weeks after you spend 6 months getting a supplier qualified. Good times.
 

dB

Member
Messages
3,991
When I first joined TGP and became more aware of gear beyond Boss, MXR, Fender and Gibson, I began putting together a boutique-y pedalboard. I had a Colorsound Power Boost, an AM Sunface, an LTD and a Direct Drive. It was awesome, I could have stopped there. Of course I sold everything, but went on to re-purchase the LTD (and variants) a few more times. Had a 1/2 Gainer at one point too. Fond memories of Barber being a big part of those early and enlightening years of my gear journey.
 

fitzo

Greybeard
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,833
This thread led me to digging out my Trifecta. I don't rotate it in as much as others in my fuzz collection because I tend to futz with the gritty, zippery fuglier tones.
This orange beauty yields as singing a lead tone as one could wish for. Beautiful tone. Playing along with a Gilmour-style backing track, my wife interrupted me twice to tell me how "really great" the tone was. She mentioned the great tone twice, then remembered she should also say, "And your playing was great, too." ;)

Good luck, David B. Hopefully the contacts this thread created can pan out for you. Your products are too good to simply disappear. Damn CoVid 19 and the mess it's made of the world.
 

zekmoe

Member
Messages
10,937
The original tone press has been on my board since forever. I use it as an always on compressor. Sorry to see them go, though I have to admit I never bought another offering from them. Not sure why.
 

GtrGeorge!

Member
Messages
2,034
COVID is the straw that is breaking many small-business's backs. From the farms to electronics. And lets be honest here...the larger business are taking advantage of this situation. The shift of power from small to big..cannot be ignored. Support small business as much as you can//but their very livelihood depends on it.
 

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,744
I'll try to address this, if I choose the wrong words, so be it, I was doing my best.

Plain aluminum diecast boxes are not unobtanium, they are also not as well stocked by vendors as they were just a year ago, they are also higher priced than they were a year ago. You can look at your favorite news source (drunk uncle knows) and see what decisions and world events could impact aluminum prices, and electronic components while you are at it. It cost vendors a good bit more now to stock parts than it did 1-2 years ago, so they stock less. That part is pretty simple.

I had a trivial machine shop up until 10 years ago, I purchased those larger boxes (1590BB) from Newsensor ($3.55) or Hammond ($5), no big deal. We had a few different drilling fixtures made by Terry at Innovative machine at the Westminster MD airport that covered the different drilling patterns you have seen on our older pedals. One guy in our shop (Chris or Rick) got paid 75 cents a box to load them in the fixture, turn on the 6 tabletop Delta drill presses (99 bucks each baby!), lube the bits with Anchorlube , then walk down the line drilling each size hole, give the box a wipe, and drop it into a box (paid about 45 bucks an hour). That box of raw drilled units (and lids) was then taken to A&A Global in Hunt Valley MD, powder coating division with a note on the box for Lawrence to reference the correct powder color for each drilling pattern. After about 2-3 weeks, we would pick those boxes up, drive 25 minutes north on RT 83 to Precision Engraving, and drop them off to Frank or Rob for silk screening ($1 per hit. hit=a side), again there would be a conversation about which colors got which graphics, and after a few laughs, we would be on our way. 3-6 weeks later, we would get a call from the office at Precision Engraving, and we would pick up the finished boxes for evaluation at Barber electronics, and we could build everything that was excellent quality. This was a great process without much problem from 1999-2010-ish. I like me some freakin boxes...

Around 2010, I got a call from a biz called 4Site Electronics, they wanted to sell us pedal boxes turnkey, turn around of 4 weeks, and match our current prices. I like my people, I liked by shop running they way it did, I like my conversations with Lawrence at A&A, and Rob and Frank at Precision Engraving, it took longer, but I said "no thanks, but I really do appreciate the offer Jacob". Jacob stayed in touch, I appreciated this because he was capable at conversation too, and was nice about hearing "no thanks". The drum beat grew louder and louder on forums like TGP, "Your boxes are enormous, they are unusable in their current size, why Barber guy, why?" . This got me thinking, "while I like the idea of seeing my buddy Terry at Innovative Machine to make a new drilling fixture, maybe I can see what that guy Jacob at 4 site can offer?" Well as luck had it, Jacob called up to check on me, and I said, "I need a compact box, like a 1590B, with holes, paint and printed", Jacob was right on it, nailed a nice proof from drawings I sent within a few weeks, and the Gain Changer compact was born. For a while production was solid, the Gain Changer was selling, and that cry for "smaller boxes for our shrinking feet" kept ringing. Since I had a new drilling pattern with the guys at 4Site, I went ahead about made compact Direct Drive (CDD) and later a Compact Tone Press. Jacob left, and many other guys took over my orders at 4 Site, who eventually started going by the Name Mammoth Electronics. I'll leave out the bloody gory stuff, but after a time, there was no telling what would show up and when with Mammoth, my life was now stressful, and my product line shrunk from 14 products to 3-4. I'll back up and say, this is where I blew it. With the demand for compact pedals, I closed my trivial machine shop and paint/printing process, the plan once the GC started selling well was to convert as many pedals as possible to the 3 knob, 2 toggle compact format, then establish a new 2-footswitch 4 knob format for the BU, 1/2G, T-Pump, DD DC and bring them back with updated features, controls and sounds, and there was daily email demand for it. It never happened because it became a struggle just to keep those bread and butter GC, CDD and Tone Presses rolling out, so yeah, freakin boxes...

I begged myself to quit Mammoth a million times in those 9 years I worked with them, it was always the same. Mistakes on the paint, drilling, print (after delivering weeks late), then a bunch more weeks to get a corrected batch. A constant flow of new sales guys, new guy running things at Mammoth, excited and motivated with new systems when they are hired, then beaten and drained only months later, then out the door again, and "introducing the new guy, he will fix everything!",. Sometimes they would say "A new piece of equipment we purchased will fix these issues) It was ugly, I stayed way too long because they had my drilling patterns, paint choices, print, and if the shiny new change was going to fix everything, why leave when it's about to get good?. A year ago, they finally packed it in, so I went looking for a new happier life with a new vendor for turnkey boxes (magic word here is turnkey, because I don't have a place to keep a machine shop, paint, or print). Long story shortened, I have been to three different turnkey pedal box vendors in the last year, I have put in orders with each, none have delivered a single production unit, they also do not communicate (sounds familiar huh? It's not just fly by night fuzz-pedal scammers, the whole industry is rife with this), seriously, months without a response. I'll check in every 4-6 weeks that go by, since that's always the estimate I am given as to delivery, then that blows by ad nauseam. I still have orders in with 2 vendors, who knows, maybe I'll get a Christmas surprise. I started a new process about a month ago with another vendor, I don't know how it will turn out, but communication is slow there too, and he seemed low on boxes. So, um, Freakin boxes...

I don't have a location for a machine shop, a powder coating setup, a print machine (or silk screen and oven), people to run that stuff. I can get the raw boxes, they will be higher priced, so yeah, all decent pedals are going up in price, but it's the holes, paint and print, the market for Barber pedals that look like I made them in the back yard is finite, and I appreciate that a bunch of you guys would buy slowly hand-drilled, rattle-can painted, sharpie-marker graphics pedals from me. Freakin boxes...

And hey, if you are a sane and responsible pedal box vendor, and you read this and it sounds like we have not already been talking over the last year, then email me and lets do some business, I'm easy.

I'll also mention the super obvious, covid 19 did not make this easier for anyone involved, some vendors were locked, some handled that better than others, but covid 19 did not break email, and there was no rule that you could not take your emails contacts home and keep your customers informed so they could make good decisions.
I faced the exact same dilemma. Mammoth/4Site nearly put Keeley (and us, and others) out of the pedal business, for all the same reasons cited. Submit a sample, approve a drawing, get an incorrect box. Time losses, order losses, endless frustrations. Jacob and the crew were apologetic and such, but we gave up. We ended up finding other vendors and am actually starting to evolve to naked aluminum or an anodize with silk screening on some new builds. They had an awesome stock of pots, switches, jacks, the ability to drill, paint, label, but they blew it big time. They could have owned the business.

FWIW: Keeley offered to do some boxes for me (while we were sharing Mammoth war stories at NAMM), but he's so busy with his own stuff, he decided to not accept the outside work.
 

David B

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,837
I faced the exact same dilemma. Mammoth/4Site nearly put Keeley (and us, and others) out of the pedal business, for all the same reasons cited. Submit a sample, approve a drawing, get an incorrect box. Time losses, order losses, endless frustrations. Jacob and the crew were apologetic and such, but we gave up. We ended up finding other vendors and am actually starting to evolve to naked aluminum or an anodize with silk screening on some new builds. They had an awesome stock of pots, switches, jacks, the ability to drill, paint, label, but they blew it big time. They could have owned the business.

FWIW: Keeley offered to do some boxes for me (while we were sharing Mammoth war stories at NAMM), but he's so busy with his own stuff, he decided to not accept the outside work.
Thank you for commenting Andy, makes me wish I had been at that NAMM show to share my war stories with you guys! Jacob actually has a new startup (F5), and I am going to see how things go. I always got the feeling many problems were out of his hands, and were top-down issues, he just seems too sharp for that stuff to be on him. There were so many people at Mammoth who ended up looking bad, I can't imagine all those people in a much better situation could not have shined. Jacob's new work looks really good on his Facebook page. The immediate future of Barber is in his hands at the moment, so fingers crossed. Trying to keep a positive view of most of the people at Mammoth, while knowing the actual biz was a dumpster fire with napalm on top. :)

I have been thinking about putting my trival machine shop back in place lately, just for backup, and your thoughts about raw boxes with a silk screen is on track with where my head is. Maybe this market moves back to being more "under one roof" like the old days, who knows ‽
 

Kurt Leege

Member
Messages
132
So sorry to hear this. The Burn Unit has been my go to overdrive for 13 years now. I was actually just thinking about picking up an Exacta Fuzz. I wish you the best David and hope you will be able to get through this all.

Have you looked into an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the SBA? They are still taking applications. I got a number of my accounting clients $150k with low interest rates payable at 30 years and deferred payments for the first 12 months. I’d be happy to help you through the application process free of charge if you are interested. PM me if you want. Best of luck.
 

urQuill

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,587
I think a lot of players like raw aluminum boxes, even with hand-stamped labels, and as a back-up plan ... they might even be a hit with some collectors.

I also know my hands would hurt for days after drilling and stamping by hand even 100 boxes

Anyway. Just wishing for the best for everyone at Barber Electronics.
 

Millo 4.0

Member
Messages
34
Two nights ago I went to the Barber website going: "what the heck, been listening to drive pedal demos for hours and every time I hear Barber's they're great--l'll get either the BUSS or Direct Drive V4". Sorry to read about this. The demos I've heard of your drive pedals have a 'dynamic' sound, like a bark/growl that to me sounds like an amp, alive. Years ago I used to play an old version of the Direct Drive every once in a while at the concerts at one of the academies where I teach, and liked the sound, but I think the newer stuff sounds super neat. I might also look for a used Burn Unit EQ. I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, DAVID.
 
Last edited:

Cornholio

Member
Messages
1,131
I can certainly relate to supply chain issues. 70% of my customer base is shut down due to covid (colleges and universities). Some of things I can still offer - my suppliers keep moving the delivery dates causing me to lose the sales to a competitor. Find a new supplier who says they can deliver faster - they run behind once I give them the orders. New products that were supposed to be released are not coming until 2021. The 10K I spent on catalogs might as well have just been thrown into to the wind (covid hit right when they were running them). Running a small business during covid has been the most frustrating thing I have experienced.

Anyways - Support small business....the big boys will survive.
 

A_F

Member
Messages
138
This is a shame. The LTD is one of my favorite ODs, the Trifecta is absolutely my favorite fuzz pedal of all time, and the Tone Press is one of my favorite compressors. The LTD was my first small-builder pedal - probably 15 or so years ago.

A friend's primary OD is a Burn Unit, which sounds amazing.

Dave makes great stuff.
 

GuitarNorton

Member
Messages
1,766
I sincerely hope something works out for you David.
I've got a bunch of your bigger box pedals, (never got into those tiny toy ones sorry), Echelon's and speaker cabs. They are all excellent!
Your old original black burn unit was the first pedal I ever bought! Love it.
Your designs would be a great loss to the world of pedals.
Best of luck Norm
 

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,205
The black box Barber DD was the first drive pedal I really bonded with 2011.
Have 3 versions of the same pedal, pretty much used it for every distortion/OD sound.
Prefer the DD sound with slight amp breakup to most amp drive channels


IMO, the Direct Drive will go down as a legendary pedal akin to the TS.

Nice to hear the support from pedal community, hopefully a solution can be worked out


 
Last edited:




Trending Topics

Top