Back in 1996 Zvonko Suhodolcan (Zvonch) started to build amplifiers, guitar pedals and effects for himself, for his friends and for people who wanted small custom designs.
Zvonch says: “Since I was a boy, I have had a huge interest in mechanics and electrical engineering. When I started to play the guitar in high school, I immediately found a great joy in exploring the inner workings of guitar effects and amplifiers. I played the guitar in a rock n’ blues cover band, and got a degree in electrical engineering. One of my first jobs was working in an R&D department for a small company in Zagreb, there was all sorts of interesting work there, it was a great learning curve. After that I worked for 6 years in a very big company „Končar“, designing PCBs for trains, power plants, protection systems and more! This was an extremely important and often amusing stage in my life, it was here that I absorbed as much of my older colleague’s experience and knowledge as possible. I was then able to use all that experience as a springboard to starting my own company, this is how DryBell began. DryBell now has a great team of people armed with a wealth of experience and a ton of enthusiasm. Many thanks go to my family and all those that have supported me over the years and still do, and of course, a massive thanks to all you DryBell customers!”
A little about the DryBell team!
As with all successful or potentially successful companies, the people are the key to success. DryBell has gathered a small but effective team of experienced professionals who are ultimately responsible for the satisfaction you experience every time you play a DryBell pedal. We have 6 members and several supporting members, we all are close friends from before DryBell began. We are also all musicians, all with varied gigging experience, some with a little, others with great professional rock careers since 1995!
Our workshop is located in Krapina, Croatia (Krapina is best known for its finds of Neanderthal man remains, one of the world’s most significant sites of this kind) and all your shipments start from Krapina. Zvonch started development of the V-1 back in 2009, and when the V-1 was released in 2011 he was producing the V-1 pedals in a very small room at his family home. Then in 2014 we were able to expand DryBell and move in to our current workshop, which we are very proud of! In 2020 we rented more space in the same building and moved into our new extended workshop. We have everything we need here for our small business.
If you want to know more about DryBell’s rich history, with Zvonch revealing the never-before-told tale of our journey that stretches far into DryBell’s past, you can read it in this extensive interview by ToneQuest Report magazine.
As a co-owner of the company, Martina works on the legal and financial side of the business. She also works in correspondence and marketing. She has grown up side by side with music as the daughter of a musician, so DryBell has given her the opportunity to combine her skills as a qualified economist with her love of music. Martina has been part of the DryBell team since 2011, right from the release of the V-1. She is also a family member. In her free time she is a keen singer. Martina acts as a sounding board for Zvonch’s (sometimes) crazy ideas and he knows this very well. 🙂
Zvonch is the owner of the company and the creator of the DryBell brand. Besides development, he also works on marketing. His close friends and fellows musicians often describe him as an electronics wizard! Zvonch is a strong perfectionist and sometimes hard to work with ( Some say 🙂 ) but without his drive and attention to detail DryBell could never have become what it is now. He has worked extremely hard to put DryBell on the map as a brand associated with one of the world’s finest guitar pedals.
When Zvonch moved the business from a small room in his house to the bigger workshop back in 2014, he recruited Marko to join the DryBell team. Marko and Zvonch have been friends since 1999, they met gigging various bands. Today, Marko works as a complete production manager but also on pedal assembling and shipping procedures. He was the first team member to join Zvonch working in the new workshop. All pedals from 2014 and almost all from 2015 were made by Marko and Zvonch! As a keen metalhead he is still puzzling over how to incorporate the Vibe-Machine in to his sound! But he makes a mean coffee!
Luka is a guitar player and our main test guy – His job title is ”Test Analyst”, but only because “Freakin’ Miracle Worker” wasn’t available! Luka joined us in 2015. With Luka onboard Zvonch has had more time to focus on other key aspects of the business. Luka works on matching photocells as well as on pedal assembly. He has been a big part in helping push DryBell to the next level! Besides assembling tasks along with Marko, Luka sonically tests every pedal produced in our workshop.
Ex supporting member, and now an official DryBell employee since 2016. Back in 2009 he asked Zvonch to make him a good vibe pedal. And so the journey began! Kruno is a professional Croatian guitarist who loves exploring the tonal possibilities of any guitar kit he’s using. Each DryBell pedal while still in R&D goes through his hands. He works on audio testing, recording of audio samples, makes various visual designs and assist our customers through various social media accounts. He is the lead guitar player for DryBell official demos. Also, Kruno plays in one of the most famous Croatian rock bands, ‘Majke’, which has been active on the music scene since 1984. In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Kruno won the ‘Status’ award from the Croatian Music Union in the category of best rock guitarist.
Kristijan Golub – Kiki
Kiki joined us at the end of 2020. With years of experience in electronics, embedded system engineering and professional audio systems as a live sound engineer, his joining the team was a perfect addition to our existing product development forces. Besides being a guitar enthusiast in love with music, he also enjoys spending time in nature, reading a good book and exploring sound with a well crafted Pale Ale. Kiki also actively plays in a band (he started playing the guitar in 1999), so apart from his outstanding engineering skills and experience, he is a strong reinforcement to our team for testing pedals live on stage.
Tom Cundall has been our friend since 2012, when his lovely wife Maddy bought him a Vibe Machine V-1 as an engagement present. Delighted with the pedal, he got in touch with us and this is when we connected. True friendship and love was born between us, as if we had known each other from another life. Besides working for us at the NAMM shows as a presenter, Tom has become an important member of our team as a beta tester of our new pedals, creative advisor and editor for our web content, and he has also appeared in our latest demos. He is obsessed with guitars, pedals and tone, and has a business offering guitar services, set ups, builds and finishes of all kinds from his workshop in South East London.
Marijan is Zvonch’s father. He has been involved with DryBell from the very beginning. He’s engaged in the process of preparing pedal housings before they get their powder coating. He periodically works in a small workshop in Zvonch’s family home. Besides that, he gets involved in all sorts of transportation related work, taking care of deliveries of materials between our workshop and our suppliers or cooperators. Marijan is always here for us, even in the middle of the night! As a boy and student, Zvonch worked in his car repair shop for almost 10 years.
External supporting friends:
These people are not employees of DryBell, they are our external collaborators, partners and friends and they have played an important role throughout our company’s history.
A supporting member, from 2016 Mario started working for DryBell each summer while he was still in university. He’s a genius who has graduated as a software engineer. As an external associate, Mario assists in development of testing software procedures for all DryBell pedals. When he’s not programming, he most likely rides his motorcycle or plays a guitar. Today, Mario works for another company but he continues to help us every time we need his skills!
A supporting member, Gordan is also a musician, a guitar player since 1985, as well as a web designer. He works on maintaining the DryBell website and manages small labels, packaging and more. He’s never recovered from selling his old Strat to Zvonch in a moment of blind madness, but there is nothing but love between Gordan and Team DryBell! 🙂
Jasmin, our local screen-printing guy has been working with us from the very first Vibe Machine V-1 enclosure. When Zvonch started DryBell, Jasmin provided endless help with the silkscreen process, packaging, product labels and more. Jasmin is an incredible mechanical engineer and developer of automatic screen printing systems. When Zvonch runs out of ideas for a solution to a mechanical challenge, he can always call Jasmin for any advice.
Boris’s very creative company from Zagreb has been doing SMD assembly for us since 2010. He and his lovely wife Ana provide a complete services with production of various electronic products. When DryBell started, Boris and Zvonch perfected all of the initial challenges with the pedal electronics manufacturing. In 2012, Boris also helped Zvonch with the final pedal assembly, when Zvonch could no longer produce a sufficient amount of pedals on his own due to an increase in market demand at that time. We have had an excellent and extremely respectful cooperation from the very beginning.
Zlatko Horvat, Zvonch’s former colleague from Končar has been doing all of the THT soldering of DryBell pedals for the last few years. Zvonch says that in his entire life he has never met a person who is as skilled at hand soldering electronic modules as Zlatko. While they worked together at Končar, Zlatko was one of those experienced people who were always happy to give any advice regarding the improvement of any production documentation. Today, Zlatko is retired, but he is still a master with a soldering iron!