The man behind the brand Lehle is me, Burkhard Georg Lehle. I live with my family in Voerde, in Germany's Lower Rhine district (the "Niederrhein"). Do I need to mention that I also play guitar? My goal is to create and build rational, robust, technically sophisticated products.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Blending music and technology has always fascinated me - by the age of 13 I was playing electric guitar which I had also modified. Later, while at university studying music and physics, I started repairing electric guitars and amps, which became my main job after finishing college, setting up my own servicing workshop in the nearby town of Duisburg for local musicians.
THE IDEA BEHIND THE LEHLE-SWITCHER
Talking to musicians in the workshop meant that I always knew first hand what problems they had, what they would like to see in the way of equipment, and where things could be improved. A good many mentioned switchers that would work dependably without loss of sound and without generating noise. Soon enough, I realised that there was no product on the market that would do that, which, of course, was the starting point for development of the first A/B- and A/B/C switchers
THE DEVELOPMENT ROAD
The first generation of switchers I mainly soldered and assembled by hand in the course of 1999. Even these early models incorporated relays for the switching function, activated by a discrete logic control. The following year I developed an innovative housing style with an integrated button mechanism that set new standards for robustness and reliability and made it possible to produce larger numbers whilst maintaining high quality. Following the official market launch in 2001, this new generation of switchers became available internationally from a selected range of importers and specialist outlets. Soon after, several well-known guitarists started using my switchers.
THE LEHLE TRANSFORMER HZ
Since December 2004, we have been building our own transformers. This component is crucial for the faithful reproduction of guitar sounds by splitters and ABY-switchers. The Lehle LTHZ is thus ideally suited to electrical isolation of the high impedance signals from electric guitars.
These days, we are also building audio transformers for applications like microphones or DI outputs.
Simon Busse and Kostas Medugorac of Stuttgart´s design company Studio DIPOL www.dipolprojects.com, both active guitar players, created the unique and elaborate design of the Second Generation of Switching, SGOS. The success of this 2nd switcher generation, carried by the high recognition value, went on to influence the design of all future products. The design follows the function which is of eminent importance for the Lehle brand.
Jacques Ruppert from Luxembourg www.rmi.lu was searching for a company to realise his vision of an all-in-one bass preamp. We found in him a consummate specialist, and the development of the Basswitch IQ DI began. The result is the combination of independent design, coupled with Lehle True Sound Technology and the innovative concept from RMI.
2013 ALL WILL BE NEW
New facility - new name - new opportunities! In the beginning the workshop and office where Lehle products were developed, manufactured and distributed were located right next to my home. The old workshop soon became too small and did not offer enough storage and office space. In early 2013 we switched to our new building, on the outskirts of the Voerde business park amongst forest and pastures. The company name has now officially been changed from Lehle Gitarrentechnik to Lehle GmbH.
Since autumn 2015 a new dimension of signal routing is at work – namely the stepless control of volume – now precise, wear-free and without sound loss. All Lehle volume pedals work with a very accurately calibrated hall-sensor instead of a normal potentiometer. The pedal moves only the magnet, the distance is measured by the Hall sensor, which then controls a premium Blackmer® VCA. There is no mechanical transmission from the pedal to the the components in the signal path and thus no disruptive sounds like hissing or humming of potentiometers. The sound always stays the same over the entire control range.
Over and over again, we have been asked by our costumers if we could built a robust and at the same time smooth-running footswitch in typical Lehle-design as a component to upgrade other devices. This switch with the familiar mushroom-shaped button, together with our transformers and other signal-routing components, is now available at www.lehle-components.com.