About Axess Electronics

In 1998, with his first product, the PMFSI, a MIDI Control Function Switcher in one hand, and a 14.4k dial up modem in the other, Mario Marino created a "homepage", and came up with the name Axess Electronics, which was a play on (the) words “axe" and “accessories”. The goal for Axess Electronics was very simple; "provide guitarists with high-quality guitar audio and MIDI switching products at a reasonable price and the best customer service possible".

Mario started playing the guitar at 13yo and his early musical influences were (drummer) Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson, Randy Rhoads and Edward Van Halen. He quickly became obsessed with amps, pedals, guitars, and tone, but obsession instantly turned to frustration after running into the tap dance and tone loss issues of plugging into a long chain of Boss pedals. Fast forward to the early 1990s and just having earned a College Diploma in Electronics Engineering Technology, he began providing custom guitar audio and MIDI switching products to local (Toronto) guitarists, on the side, while working full time for a data communications company.

After launching that "homepage" in 1998, he received an email from Dave Friedman at Rack Systems Limited (and now also Friedman Amplification) in North Hollywood, saying he could really use some of Axess' products, and that's when things really got going.

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Mario & Dave Friedman [NAMM 2019] and Alex Lifeson [Rush 2008 FX1 Promo Photo]

The decade of hard work, long nights, and perseverance leading up to the early 2000s finally paid off! Mario (and Axess) became extremely busy, designing and manufacturing custom products, while also manufacturing off-the-shelf [now legacy] products. While his wife was literally having their first child, Mario got a call to build several custom buffered splitters for Alex Lifeson, in support of Rush’s Vapor Trails tour. This would lead to numerous years (up to the end at R40) of providing Alex with products (eventually including two FX1's, and even a buffered splitter for Geddy Lee) and tour support. During this time [in 2002], Mario pushed the limits of what was being provided with the release of the Axess Electronics RX1 Router/Switcher (in a 1U rack) - which featured a total combination of 24 switchable audio loops, amp outputs and amp control functions. The RX1 was also the first ever guitar switcher to offer quasi click-free relay based audio switching. Development on the Axess Electronics FX1 MIDI Footcontroller was also underway, and it would be released in 2004, with many at the time claiming it to be the best MIDI foot-controller available, resulting in its early adoption by; Alex Lifeson, Peter Frampton, Richie Sambora, John Petrucci and Dweezil Zappa. And just when things really could not get any better or busier, the opportunity for Mario to meet another of his childhood heroes, Edward Van Halen, who was using an Axess Electronics BS2 Buffer/Splitter in his 2004 reunion tour rig at the time, presented itself, and left Mario with his own version of MTV's “Lost Weekend With Van Halen”.

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Van Helen’s [2004] The Best of Both Worlds album artwork featuring a photograph of Eddie Van Halen’s pedalboard with an Axess Electronics BS2 Buffer/Splitter.

 eddie van halen 2004 touring pedalboard axess electronics bs2

Between 2009 and 2010, the pressure of trying to grow his business conservatively, while keeping up with every aspect of it from; product design to manufacturing, shipping, receiving, customer support and accounting, just became too much. Working 7 days a week and 18 - 20 hours per day didn’t allow him to spend any time with his young family, so Mario made the difficult decision to stop taking new orders, fulfilled all existing orders, made sure customers were taken care of, and stepped away from the shop for a well deserved and extended break, while still producing limited custom products, and providing support to anyone who needed it.

After re-charging his batteries for a couple of years, Mario joined Mesa/Boogie as a contract Product Design Lead for their new line of Signal Management products; Mesa/Boogie’s Buffers and Switchers & Routers, and was also responsible for driving the modernization of Mesa/Boogie's next generation of guitar amplifiers and foot-switches with MIDI.

In March 2020, the world as we knew it changed overnight. Mario had recently finished his design for the Mesa/Boogie MIDI Matrix Amp Controller and when reflecting back on his first product from 1998, it felt like his career had come full circle. So after 23 years - it is back to basics with Axess Electronics Version 2.0 | AXSGTR. The same great service, with new products and collaborations coming soon.