Bill Berko - the first EH designer

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I'm writing this after just finding out that Bill Berko passed away on Jan. 19, 2010.  Bill was an early collaborator with Mike Matthews and was asked to be a partner in the fledgling EH company.

 

Bill Berko was the designer of the early Foxey Lady pedal built by Aul Instruments for EH in 1967 and was also the designer of the legenday Axis fuzz, the first pedal to bear the EH name as well as a Guild-branded version again called the Foxey Lady.  I had the pleasure of speaking to Bill a few years ago by phone and unfortunately, was never able to find time to record his stories of life in the early days of EH.  One story I do remember he told me was that his repair shop was in the same building with Dan Armstrong.  Bill would play a guitar through amplifiers he repaired to test them out but unfortunately, his guitar skills weren't very good.  Dan Armstrong finally got tired of listening to him and offered to teach him how to play guitar so he wouldn't be driven crazy.

 

William Berko, 70, also known as "Bill," "Billy B," or simply "Berko," died on Jan. 19, 2010, after suffering complications from surgery.  Bill had a rich, full and colorful life. He counted Rahway, N.J., Hollywood, Fla., and lastly, Las Vegas, Nev., as home. After serving in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne, Bill came home to Rahway, where he met his first love, Mickie, at Roma's Pizza. During their life together, they had five sons, four who survive. During this time, Bill learned electronics and soon would open his own business, ABCO Sound, in New York City, repairing audio equipment for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Bill attended and photographed the Woodstock Music Festival, and many of his photos of Woodstock can be found online.

 

berko
Bill Berko
 

 

 Bill Berko, gone now but never forgotten.  Thanks for everything, Bill!