History 21

I am really happy that our re-issue Overdrive is now available again. We have worked very hard to give you, the musician exactly what you wanted – the Original ODR-1 that has developed its own almost cult following since we originally designed and engineered it way back in 1985. In those days there seemed to be countless overdrives on the market that had what we describe as the ‘nasal’ tone but we worked hard on creating a very ‘open’ sounding pedal that worked with you and your amplifier. The result was the ODR-1, the pedal that responds to your dynamics and adds texture to your tone in a very natural, musical way.

Gary Moore, Bryan Adams, T.M. Stevens, Jerry Donahue, Guthrie Trapp and seemingly countless other amazing players have made Nobels products part of their sonic arsenal over the years and let me tell you it isn’t very often that you get to design something that people treat as a trusted companion for over two decades.

I would like to thank the distribution partners that we have worked with all over the world some of whom were dealing with musicians back when drum machines still had 2 arms and 2 legs (Yes that long ago!) and all of the players, dealers and journalists that have constantly supported and raved about our product.

When I started I had a mission statement that still holds true over twenty years later – “NO FASHION, Just straight, high standards with that little extra for the musician!”

Bernhard Kurzke – Founder & Owner



Das Konzept von NOBELS war sehr innovativ und genial einfach: Tolle Sounds mit cleveren Ideen und zu einem günstigen Kurs anbieten. Bernhard Kurzke stampfte mit dem Elektroniker Kai Tachibana eine Palette an nützlichen Tools aus dem Boden. Es gab eine Effektpedalserie, dazu programmierbare Multieffekte, MIDI-Footcontroller, gutklingende Übungsamps und die „Little Helpers“. Dies waren kleine Kästchen fürs Pedalboard: Mixer, Splitter, A/B-Schalter, Einschleifwege, MIDI-Switcher, DI-Boxen … so klein und günstig waren die Helferlein eine echte Revolution. Wer damals billig produzieren wollte, musste nach Taiwan, Korea und China. Bernhard Kurzke flog dorthin: Die Abenteuer, in den damals unterentwickelten Ländern die Produktion zu starten, können ein ganzes Buch füllen. Nebenher baute Bernhard ein weltweites Vertriebsnetz für Nobels-Effekte auf und stellte die Geräte auf über 90 internationalen Messen vor.

1985 1

Bernhard und Kai 1995


Sound Studio 1

The Nobels Sound Studio 1 is a portable stereo headphone amp with a selection of different sounds and effects.

DAs Nobels Sound Studio 1 ist ein portabler Stereo Kopfhörerverstärker mit einer Auswahl an verschiedenen Sounds und Effekten.

1985 2

Development of the Sound Studio (English) click here

Entwicklungsgeschichte des Sound Studio (Deutsch) hier klicken



Nobels SST 19 PROG

The programmable multieffects processor for guitar in a single 19 rack-mountable unit.

1987 3


Nobels ALEX-1 Analog Loop Expander

The ALEX is an analog loop expander box. The internal
relay will loop a connected device in or out! This is
especially for effect units which have no bypass or if you
don’t want to feed the signal through it. The strong relay
will also switch other functions as well.
By pressing a button the ALEX-1 can loop an Effect pedal unit into a system.

1987 4




Nobels MINI PAK – Sound Studio Kopfhörerverstärker

Das Nobels MINI PAK ist ein portabler Pocket Amp für E-Gitarre mit 3 Soundeinstellungen und Batteriebetrieb.
Alles verpackt in einer originellen “Zigarettenschachtel”. Mit im Lieferumfang waren passende Kopfhörer  mit einem Kinken Adapter. Durch einen Clip konnte das MINI PAK bequem am Gürtel getragen werden.

The Nobels MINI PAK is a portable pocket amp for electric guitar with 3 sound settings and battery operation. Everything packed in an original “cigarette box”. Included in the delivery were matching headphones with an adapter. With a clip, the MINI PAK could be worn comfortably on the belt.

Video Clip

1989 5


Kramer endorsed Nobels devices

1990 6


Fender vertreibt in den USA die Nobels-Produkte unter dem Fender-Label.

Fender distributes the Nobels products in the US under the Fender label.


1990 7



Nobels MS-8 Midi Switcher

1991 8




THE SWITCHSWITCHER – No TAPDANCE anymore! The MS8 switches up to 17 units at the same time, conventional amps, effectunits, etc., whether if they understand MIDI or not.

DER SCHALTERSCHALTER  – Nie mehr Steptanz! Das MS-8 kann bis zu 17 Geräte gleichzeitig schalten, egal ob Midi fähig oder nicht Verstärker oder Effekte etc. – einfach alles was das Herz begehrt.

Das Gerät wurde ursprünglich für die Firma Fender konzipiert. Das MS-8 wurde unter Nobels, Fender und JHs angeboten und war seiner Zeit weit voraus. Der kleinere Bruder ist das MS-4.


Early prototype of the new Nobels pedal series.

OD-1 – without SPECTRUM EQ

1992 9



ODR-1 Natural Overdrive

Nobels bietet mehr!

Das ODR-1 Pedal in 370° Ansicht!

Das Nobels ODR-1 Green “Natural Overdrive” ist ein echter Neo-Klassiker. Vom ewigen Geheimtipp zum Volks-Overdrive mit unschlagbarem Preis-Leistungsverhältnis. Bereits 1993 kam der erste ODR-1 auf den Markt. In den 90er Jahren avancierte er in der Studioszene Nashvilles aufgrund seines breiten Klangspektrums und des sehr natürlichen, warmen Sounds schnell zum Geheimtipp und ist auf zahlreichen Aufnahmen zu hören. Overdrive, Distortion – ob angezerrter, schmutziger Blues oder volles Brett – der ODR-1 hat alles drauf. Selbst mit Single Coils ist satte Verzerrung möglich. Der sehr effektive Spectrum-Regler, hebt, in die eine Richtung gedreht, Bässe und Höhen an und senkt zugleich Mitten ab. Dreht man ihn in die andere Richtung, werden die Mitten angehoben, während Bässe und Höhen abgesenkt werden. Hierdurch ist es möglich, Single Coils fetter klingen zu lassen, ähnlich einem Humbucker.

Nobels offers more!

The ODR-1 Pedal in 370° view! Video Clip

History of development of the ODR-1 – click here

Die Geschichte von der Entwicklung des ODR-1 – hier klicken

1993 10

1993 – 1995

Nobels Effect Pedals

The concept – excellent sounds, brilliant engineering, solid metal housing and extra features – like the remote control jack. Any switch or switching system (even wireless) can control Nobels stompboxes from remote – no modification necessary.

  • Convenient (top loading!) battery compartment
  • Protected controls
  • Efficient equalization
  • Remote control jack
  • Bright LED statusindicators
  • Low impedance output signal; resustant against hum, noise and treble loss
  • Buffered bypass
  • Solid metal housing
  • Low power consumption
  • 12 Volts DC compatibility (for increased headroom and clarity)

1993 - 1995 11


Mit Nobels genialer Detaillösung, den MOUNTY-P’s, ist es ein Leichtes, Effektpedale beliebiger Hersteller auf Pedal Boards zu schrauben. Zur Zeit der Erfindung war Klettband bei weitem noch nicht so stark wie heute. Aber auch heute im rauhen Touralltag können die Pedale schon bei kurzen Erschütterungen vom Bord fallen und nehmen ggf. Schaden. Da sind die Mounty-P’s einfach viel sicherer und eleganter. Zur Befestigung muss keinerlei Modifikation am Pedal vorgenommen werden. Die kleinen, genialen Helferchen sind aus Metall gefertigt und im1993 12 4er-Set inkl. Schrauben erhältlich.

If you play live and are serious about your set up then screw your effects down with Nobels Mounty-Ps. Velcro is great if you are bedroom player or constantly swap your stuff around but is a liability for gigging and gathering hair. The Mounty-Ps cost next to nothing and are cleverly designed. No chance of you opening up your pedal case to find your carefully arranged pedals in a heap all scratched up. Mounty-Ps work with big heavy multi units all the way down to mini pedals.Nobels Mounty P’s mounting plates for FX pedals. Of course these little helpers are made out of metal. Package of 4.

Video clip

1993 13


Compact Series

These units solve many typical problems that occur during mixing, switching, looping, splitting, controlling MIDI devices etc.

The concept behind the Nobels Compact Series is to allow musicians to upgrade their personal setup to a professional level without spending a fortune.


1994 14


Nobels MF-2 Midi Controller


1994 15


Nobels MF-1 Midicontroller

1996 16


STREETMAN 10 Portable Amplifier

You can practice on the beach, in your bedroom, backstage or at about any place you can think of! This little amp delivers clean sounds for acoustic guitars or vocals and is also capable to produce the right sound for your electric guitar. 10W with 9V battery operation – 15W when using a 12V power supply!

Ob am Strand, im Schlafzimmer, hinter der Bühne oder an jedem denkbaren Ort portabel üben! Dieser kleine Amp liefert cleane Sounds für akustische Gitarren oder Gesang und ist auch in der Lage, den richtigen Sound für die E-Gitarre zu erzeugen. 10W mit 9V Batteriebetrieb – 15W bei Verwendung mit einer 12V Spannungsversorgung!

Video Clip

1998 17


Nobels PA-460R

The „compact“ PA:
4-Channel Power Mixer with internal Reverb

60/120 Watt RMS on 8W
2x 2-Way Speakercabinets
2x Stands (Aluminium)

1999 18





Release of the new ODR-mini pedal

The same “Natural Overdrive” DNA as the Nobels ODR-1, but with a slightly firmer sound – lightweight and compact.


2018 19




ODR-1 with Bass-Cut Switch

Nobels has revealed an update to its classic 1980s overdrive, the ODR-1BC.

Nobel’s new version of the straightforward overdrive adds an internal bass-cut switch, as well as the option to run the pedal at anything between nine and 18 volts – with higher voltages offering more headroom. These added features, Nobels says, “haven’t altered the fundamental tone and vibe of the original, but have increased the versatility of the pedal massively for modern rigs.”

The other controls – the Drive, Spectrum and Level knobs – remain, controlling the amount of gain, tonal characteristics and output of the pedal respectively. In any case, we can expect the same overdrive voice as the original ODR-1, which Nobels describe as more “open” in comparison to the “nasal” trend for overdrives on the market when the pedal debuted.


2020 20

About B. K.

Bernhard Kurzke – Nobels and No1  – History and Philosophy

I played in a band for 8 years during high school and university.

After attaining the diploma MBA from the University of Hamburg I lived in New York and travelled the USA by Greyhound Bus collecting all available information on instruments and music industry channels.

1977  I took over a 1-man-operation in Hamburg, Germany, developing it to “No1 in American Guitars” with customers like the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson Band, Scorpions, etc.. 1979 appointed by CBS-USA as exclusive Fender, Rogers, Rhodes parts distributor to 1800 German retailers.

( When buying spare parts I was the only one allowed behind the counters of the world’s most famous retail store, MANNY’s, NY. Henry Goldrich: “Bernhard, please always leave one part in each draw!”). Renaming to No1 Music Park, expanding to 11,000 square feet sales area, 18 permanent employees.

1983  Founding import company MS Music Service introducing into the European countries and exclusively distributing high-class brands: CHARVEL, JACKSON, POWER POTS, STEINBERGER, EMG, SPECTOR, Z-Bass, ESP, WASP, GUILD (re-introduction), SWR, Hipshot, Starlicks Educational Videos and No1-Stretch-Strap (my own brand, Inventor Bernd Gärtig, production in Germany)

1984  With the No1 retail I made a contract with Europe’s biggest music company Hohner, being the sole responsible product manager for guitars, designing 33 models of electric guitars, setting up and controlling production in Korea, setting prices, deciding marketing worldwide. Sales: 43,000 guitars in the first year, 260,000 guitars in 5 years. Training all sales forces and executive officers internationally.

1985  Expanding MS Music Service with engineers trained in the repair departments of No1 retail. Renaming to NOBELS. 8 permanent employees. Designing 45 Nobels models of sound modifiers, switching computers and ampli­fiers. Setting up and supervising production in Taiwan, Korea and China. Distribution into 18 territories. Exhibiting at more than 90 international exhibitions.

In the following years Nobels also made technical designs and consulting for Fender-USA, Hohner Professional, ESP-Japan, Washburn-UK, JHS, Guild, Fender/Sanrio “Hello Kitty“.

Over two decades Nobels products have earned top class awards along the way from magazines in several countries. For Hohner Professional Guitar Designs, the “Musician’s Little Helper” series, the “Red Box” Nobels Sound Studio 1, the first fully programmable guitar preamp SST-19Prog, the green Nobels overdrive ODR-1, the accessory Mounty-P, the MYCRO headphone amps and the

No1-Stretch-Strap (accolades from Leo Fender, Hartley Peavey, Frank Zappa, and others).

1994 I franchised the “No1 Guitar Center” to my partner who had been my employee for 17 years.

When the red “Sound Studio 1” became more successful in the USA than the competition, Tom Scholz Rockman sued Nobels for patent infringement with long fights in several states of the USA.

2004 – I sold the retail operation “No1 Music Park” to employees and business partners.

Since then selling NOBELS product and the original No1-Stretch-Strap, consulting selected customers.

2013 – introducing “TRIAD-ORBIT” into the European markets. NAMM-2014: voted “BEST-in-SHOW”.

2016 – restructuring European markets for world pioneer in active pickups – Rob Turner of EMG-USA.

Philosophy: unchanged

–  Soundwise no compromise

–  one feature more than the others

–  musicians design for musicians

–  innovation – but no fashion

–  solid and affordable