|Oral History, Jim Dunlop talks about developing his business by finding out what people like and trying to produce it. Interview date January 16, 2009, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc. is a manufacturer of musical accessories, especially effects units, based in Benicia, California, United States. Founded in 1965 by Jim Dunlop, Sr., the company grew from a small home operation to a large manufacturer of music gear. Dunlop has acquired several well-known effects pedal brands, including Cry Baby, MXR and Way Huge.
Background and early history
Scottish immigrant Jim Dunlop founded the Jim Dunlop Company in 1965 as a part-time business while working as a processing and chemical engineer. His first product was the Vibra-Tuner, a small device that attached to a guitar with a suction cup and displayed whether the guitar was in tune with the vibration of a small reed. While visiting music stores to sell his new product, someone told him that musicians needed a good capo—remarking that anyone who made a good capo that could handle a 12-string guitar would make a lot of money.
Using his engineering background, Dunlop created the toggle capo, and then worked with a local machine shop to build his first capo dies—eventually manufacturing what is now the 1100 series capo. Starting from his living room, Dunlop later moved construction to his garage, and then to a location outside the house.
On March 19, 1972, he moved into the pick market, after reading every issue of Guitar Player magazine and noting musicians’ comments concerning what they liked and didn't like about picks. He made his first picks from nylon, and continues to produce those. Also in 1972, Dunlop left Dymo Industries to focus on his new company full-time. He moved his family to Benicia, California and set up shop in Benicia Industrial Park. A few years later, he outgrew that building and moved to Industrial Way.
Dunlop products now range from capos and picks to slides, strings, fret wire, strap retainers—and a variety of electronic effects, including the original Crybaby wah-wah pedal, the Univibe, Heil Talkbox, and the MXR and Way Huge lines of stompboxes.
Way Huge Electronics
Jeorge Tripps launched Way Huge in 1992. In late 1999 the company closed its doors when Tripps went to work for Line 6. In 2008, Tripps and the company moved to Dunlop Manufacturing and resurrected the Way Huge line, including the Swollen Pickle (a fuzz), Pork Loin (an overdrive), Fat Sandwich (a distortion), and Green Rhino (another overdrive). They have also recently reissued the much sought-after and often cloned Red Llama overdrive, notable for its massive volume boost and copious amounts of gain past 2 o'clock and at full gain, a fuzz-like texture.[clarification needed]
- Childs, Zac (May 2009). "Stompbox Flashback: MXR '76 Dyna Comp, Three by Way Huge". Vintage Guitar. pp. 143–44.
- Riario, Paul (27 December 2011). "Guitar World Staff Picks: Paul Riario’s Top 10 Effect Pedals of 2011". Guitar Player. Retrieved 20 January 2012.