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business Hal Leonard, the world’s biggest sheet music publisher, reveals why it is also the best SCHIMMEL BRITISH PIANO FAIR YAMAHA LIGHTING THE SOUND POST SHURE

The Haze has a killer low end bark.That’s some tone!

- Doug Aldrich Whitesnake

ClassicTone, Contemporary Control

Portable, pure valve, studio quality tone is what the brand new Haze Series is all about. Loaded with natural valve tone, integrated effects and intuitive footswitching technology, the UK developed and engineered Haze Series takes your studio sound out on the road. Comprising the two channel Haze40 and Haze15, the series offers a rugged, gig-ready 40 Watt combo and a peerless 15 Watt head respectively. Combined with MHZ112A and MHZ112B speaker cabs, the Haze15 becomes the epitome of guitar amplification – a valve-driven Marshall stack, but one that fits easily into either the lounge or boot of the car. To find out more about the Haze Series contact: Marshall Amplification plc Denbigh Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK1 1DQ or visit the official Marshall website:



SECTOR SPOTLIGHT • PIANOS 21 The British Piano Fair returns to Lords at the end of September and while times are tough, the industry is still very confident



Hal Leonard is the biggest print music publisher in the world and it got there by making the most of every folio that comes its way. Mark Mumford and Larry Morton explain how to stay at the top

SECTOR SPOTLIGHT • LIGHTING 31 With LED technology becoming cheaper and brighter, an entire entry-level market is beginning to open up – can MI take advantage? NEWS 6 Schimmel credit protection, Music Manifesto partners, Les Paul, Yamaha dealer meet, Roland finance director


RETAIL MI Pro’s unique collection of news and interviews concerning the business and work being done on MI’s front line

Roland Main Event, Steve White joins Mapex R&D

PLASA 16 More interest than ever for MI

MARSHALL 18 The new Class 5 and how to raise Britishmade expectations






New products, new endorsers and an excellent business model

Rocktronic unifies brand, Intermusic Shines, Biggars celebrates

My balalaika gently weeps





16 After decades provding the best in microphones, now comes headphones

I WOKE UP 45 Matt Esau of SCV London walks us through his day



What’s the reading of Reading?

The Guitar Store explains why it is a champ




The Irish question


It was not any sort of attempt to upset anybody in Ireland or of Irish descent. It was a mistake.

LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE Bookmark us in your phone:


hile I haven’t exactly been inundated with complaints following the publication of the August issue of MI Pro (issue 111), it was very quickly brought to my attention on the website that I had managed to commit something of a faux pas. In attempting to represent a general article (splendidly compiled by Gary Cooper) about the state of manufacturing in Britain. “How about a flag of the British Isles, with the British flag and a collage of some of the products underneath it?” I suggested to the design team, which then came up with the cover as it was published. I thought it looked great – until the complaints started to come in. “Was this picture taken from a pre-1921 archive?” was the first. It took a moment to dawn on me what I had done. Of course, the larger part of the island of Ireland has a flag of its own, has had it since well before independence from British rule was gained in 1921 and, not least, experienced no little pain in the attempt to win the right to fly its very own flag from its rooftops. Thus, I apologise unreservedly for any offence that might have been caused by the last cover. There is no mitigation involved, other than, in thinking about the MI industry as much as I do, it is possible to forget about some of the major concerns and issues that flow through the world. It was not, I hope everybody realises, any sort of attempt to signal any thoughts of British supremacy and even less an intent to upset anybody in Ireland or of Irish descent. It was a mistake. To make up for it, I have given everybody respite from my gnarly fizzog gazing out from this page, and instead reconstructed the cover image from last month’s magazine. The idea is that anybody who wants to can scan this image at a high resolution, print it out in full colour and then glue this image over the top of the offending Union-Jack-emblazoned islands. The fact that I received so few complaints is probably an indication of what a laid back and thoroughly warmhearted people the Irish are, but I hope this gesture will confirm that I, my team and MI Pro magazine generally, has nothing but the utmost regard and respect for Ireland, the Irish and (of course) for the splendid work that is carried out in the MI business on that island. Slan agus beannacht.














Andy Barrett

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Schimmel moves to secure its future Germany’s largest piano manufacturer files for short-term protection from creditors, but remains confident of success SCHIMMEL HAS filed for shortterm protection from its creditors under the German equivalent of the American ‘chapter 11’. The aim is to fulfil creditors by ensuring continuation of business. In recent years, Schimmel, established in 1885 and Germany’s largest piano manufacturer, has expanded its ranges to include all sectors of the market, from beginners to concert pianists. In common with piano manufacturers worldwide, Schimmel has suffered from the restricting effects of the global economic downturn. A swift reaction to the crisis, which included restructuring and adjusting production levels, could not be realised due to the lengthy production times necessary for such instruments – it can take between six to nine months to build a piano of the highest standard. The programme of instrument development coupled with the recent restructuring has been costly in the short term.

“The firm has completely restructured its facility with no expense spared in order to produce a better standard.” Dr Robin Loat, Forsyth Bros This, combined with the traditionally quiet summer trading period, has lead to a shortfall in cash flow, despite a

Music Manifesto partners revealed Five projects split £1 million for education THE MUSIC Manifesto has announced the five winning ‘partnership’ projects for the 2009/10 season, each benefiting from £200,000. . The winning bids came from Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Birmingham and East London (led by the Barbican). The Music Manifesto was established to promote collaboration across music sectors and the music industry. Through its signatories, the organisation represents nearly 400,000 people working in music. The Manifesto was originally set up by the Government in 2004 and is chaired by Darren Henley, the managing director of Classic


GOODALL: Manifesto board FM and includes high profile names on its board, such as Howard Goodall. The Manifesto has produced two reports on music education in England. The second report sets out over 50 recommendations for teaching music. MM: 020 7902 1081

strong current order book, but Schimmel has recently reported a surge in orders, demonstrating goodwill towards the company.

Asked why he believed the company could survive these trying times, Dr Robin Loat, managing director of Forsyth

Brothers, which represents Schimmel in the UK, commented: “I’ve known Schimmel for 20 years now and I remember when it decided to upgrade and compete with the likes of Steinway. “It took ten years to produce a piano of this standard, but once it did, pianists of the highest calibre were astonished and have since compared the instruments with those made by Steinway. “The economic crisis has certainly affected the piano industry and I visited the Schimmel factory to find out how it was dealing with it. “I discovered that the firm had completely restructured the facility, with no expense spared, in order to produce a smaller number of pianos, to an even better standard, yet much more efficiently and economically. “It has probably spent more than anyone else in this respect, but the result is that it is fully prepared for the future and will emerge from this successfully.” FORSYTH BROS: 0161 834 3281

Steinway six-month report Over one quarter reduction in production and sales to end of June STEINWAY’S SIX month financial report makes for some fairly depressing reading. The report was made on August 6th and referred to Steinway Musical Instruments’ (NYSE: LVB) results for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2009, showing sales down over 25 per cent. “We continue to navigate well through a very uncertain market,” commented Dana Messina, CEO of Steinway, in the official statement. “By executing on areas under our control, we have succeeded in dramatically reducing our cost structure. As expected, difficult sales trends carried through the second quarter as global consumer spending remained weak. We continue to operate our factories at significantly reduced production levels to reflect the weak demand.”

Anticipating better news in the future, Messina added: “The softness in our band business has been more dramatic than we anticipated. Dealers are reducing inventories, purchasing clearance product from other manufacturers and pushing on the supply chain to carry larger inventories. “That said, we do not believe that industry sales will

decline further. Our superior products, including our new woodwind models, will help us maintain our competitive position as we move through this cycle for the remainder of the year. “While we remain cautious with our outlook, our products are highly desired and we believe we will increase market share,” Messina concluded.



Les Paul –1915-2009 LES PAUL, the guitar player and inventor, died on August 13th at the age of 94 in New York of complications from severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. One of the major influences on 20th century sound and responsible for the iconic guitar, the Les Paul, his career in music and invention spanned from the 1930s to the present. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson’s best-selling electric, introduced in 1952. Among his other enduring contributions to music are those in the technological realm, including developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects and the mechanics of sound in general. Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 9th, 1915, Les Paul began performing at the age of 13. He dropped out of high school at 17 to play in a radio band in St Louis, under the pseudonym Rhubarb Red. Tinkering with electronics and guitar amplification since his youth, Paul began constructing his own electric guitar in the late 30s. Unhappy with the first generation of commercially available hollowbodies, he opted to build a new structure. With the help of Epi Stathopoulo, the president of Epiphone at the time, Paul used the plant and machinery in 1941 to create the guitar he dubbed ‘The Log’. In the 1940s, Paul began experimenting with dubbing live tracks over recorded tracks and altering the playback speed. This resulted in Lover (When You’re

Yamaha combines its piano retailers Dealers of all three Yamaha piano brands invited to special meeting at piano fair YAMAHA MUSIC UK and Yamaha Music Europe have announced that they will be hosting an important dealer meeting for Yamaha, Kemble and Bösendorfer dealerships to take place on the evening of Sunday September 20th during the forthcoming British Piano Fair (BPF), which will be held at Lords Cricket Ground on September 19th and 20th. Central to the event will be

Near Me), his 1947 predecessor to multi-track recording. The hit instrumental featured Les Paul on eight different overlaid electric guitar parts. In 1948, Paul nearly lost his life to a devastating car crash that shattered his right arm and

number one hit How High the Moon, performed with his wife, Mary Ford. Paul continued to pine for improvements in his guitar and in the early 1950s, Gibson Guitar cultivated a partnership with Paul that would lead to the

His guitar and studio techniques, makes him one of the most influential musicians of all time. elbow, but he convinced the doctors to set his broken arm in the guitar-picking and cradling position. It was then that he began his most important multitracking work, adding a fourth head to an Ampex recorder to create sound-on-sound recordings and came up with tape delay. These tricks, along with another innovation – close miking vocals – were integrated for the first time on the 1950

creation of the eponymous instrument we all know today. Paul is the only person to be in the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He is survived by his three sons Lester, Gene, and Robert and his daughter Colleen, as well as five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

marketing initiatives aimed at increasing awareness and sales of the Kemble brand. “This is the first time that these three brands have been presented together as a combined force for the future in the piano industry, supported by integrated promotional, advertising and marketing activities,” Yamaha’s senior director, Mike Ketley, told MI Pro.

“We urge dealers to make a really special effort to attend.” Mike Ketley, Yamaha the presentation of business plans, trading terms and marketing support initiatives for the Kemble brand, which will officially become Yamaha's responsibility from November 1st. Yamaha sees the meeting as a great opportunity for all existing Yamaha, Kemble and Bösendorfer dealers to evaluate the benefits of the new distribution arrangements, while meeting the Yamaha and Kemble sales and marketing teams. Brian Kemble will make a keynote speech covering the new production, as well as future instrument developments and new

“Directed at each brand’s respective target audience, this is a very important event for all the Kemble, Yamaha and Bösendorfer dealers. “We urge them to make a really special effort to attend and be part of the bigger picture for the future, so that we can prosper in the coming years together.” A full run-down of the expected goings on at the BPF, as well as an overview of the piano market in the UK can be seen on page 21 of this issue of the magazine, with a full report coming in the October 2009 issue, relating to news and new products. YAMAHA: 01908 366700

Intermusic announces Hoffman New range of uprights and grands to be launched at British Piano Fair INTERMUSIC, THE exclusive distributor for C Bechstein in the UK and Ireland, has launched an affordable, high-quality range of pianos branded W Hoffmann and manufactured in Europe. Included in the range will be the WH V158-sp grand (pictured) and the WH V112-sp upright. The pianos will be exhibited at the British Piano Fair to be held at Lords Cricket Ground in September. Dealers wishing to view the new pianos before the

event are welcome to visit the new Intermusic trade showroom in Poole. On top of this announcement, Richard Webb, Intermusic’s chairman, has taken the opportunity to point out that, in the wake of several closures of EU factories in recent times, there has never been a better time for C Bechstein pianos to gain market share. INTERMUSIC: 01202 696963




Gremlin hires Moore Systems Workshop Folk specialist gains accomplished musician as representative GREMLIN MUSIC has appointed sales representative Kieran Moore to cover the whole of England for the Sussex-based traditional instrument supplier. An experienced musician, on fiddle, guitar and piano, Moore was a member of the popular south coast band Maximum High and later moved to classic blues and rock with The Mulberries, before turning his hand to traditional jigs and reels in the folk band Tin Fiddle. “Despite the backdrop of poor economic conditions, the boom in interest in folk music is reflected in Gremlin’s continued growth. My role in the company is designed to meet this demand, to support our new and existing dealers across the UK and Ireland and to build, as well as maintain, the high standards of customer service we have already set,” Moore commented. “With over 20 years’ experience in customer service and key account management, a superb portfolio of

Former Carlsbro, Exclusive and BAD man joins fast expanding sales team of audio and technology supplier

MOORE: Folk is booming products and the help of an excellent team, I can promise that any investment retailers make with Gremlin will be a sound one.” GREMLIN: 01903 203044

National Drum Specialist for Sonor Applications are invited for the position of National Drum Specialist for Sonor and other drum related brands in the Sutherland catalogue. You will call on specialist drum shops throughout the UK and Ireland. Primary objectives are to sell the Sonor brand and care for Sonor dealers, in conjunction with an office-based team. You should be a drummer and have a positive attitude to customer service. It would be an advantage to be able to demonstrate a successful sales record, but not necessarily within the MI industry. If you wish to represent the prestigious Sonor brand, please contact: Andrew Russell, International Sales Manager Sutherland Trading Co Ltd Bedwas House Industrial Estate Caerphilly CF83 8XQ

Telephone: 029 2088 7333


turns to Preston SHROPSHIRE-BASED distribution company Systems Workshop has added Steve Preston to its sales team. Preston’s varied career has included stints with Rosetti, Gibson, CBS Fender, Barnes and Mullins, Arbiter (Fender), Exclusive and Carlsbro, as well as cofounding the British American Distribution company. Systems Workshop is the UK distributor of Fohhn PA systems, TubeTech professional outboard equipment, Vicoustic acoustic solutions, Schertler transducers, amplifiers and accessories and Pearl microphones. Preston’s portfolio will include a range of items from the various brands, aimed at both the MI and pro audio markets. For Preston and Systems Workshop MD Phil Beaumont, it's a chance to work together again after nearly 30 years. “I’m delighted to be working with Steve again, as we go back a long way in the industry,” said Beaumont. “He has a proven track record in sales and is one of the most knowledgeable and personable guys on the road. He’ll be a great ambassador for our brands.” Preston added: “Having worked with Phil almost 30 years ago, it is a pleasure to be working with him again. The brands that Systems Workshop distributes complete my portfolio perfectly. I now represent a wealth of quality products that will take me in to all areas of the music business.”

PRESTON: A pleasure to be back Systems Workshop was established by Beaumont in the mid-1980s in Oswestry, specialising in pro audio sales and distribution. The company’s converted 18th century forge offices are also home to its extensive touring and promotions business, which handles several international artists. Beaumont also has extensive experience in studio and tour management, as well as past work as a professional musician. SYSTEMS WORKSHOP: 01691 658550

New Yamaha board announced Corporation sees withdrawal of chairman and induction of US and European businesses’ representatives SHUJI ITO, the chairman and director of the Yamaha Corporation in Japan, has stood down from his post having completed his term at the head of the board of directors. While no longer on the board, Ito will continue his work with the MI giant in the role of ‘corporate special adviser’ and will retain his post as president of the Yamaha Music Foundation. The Yamaha central board has seen no fewer than nine new directorial

appointments, including Hirofumi Osawa, the president of the Yamaha Corporation of America, and Masato Oike, the president of Yamaha Music Europe. Along with Ito, Hirokazu Kato and Tsuneo Kuroe also completed their terms on the board (Japanese law limits the amount of time members can remain on a board of directors )and were appointed as advisers. YAMAHA MUSIC UK: 01908 366700



Griffiths joins Roland UK Casio’s latest rep Former retailer joins Japanese giant’s MI division to cover Midlands region of England

Mobile man replaces long-standing finance directorPaul Stephens ROLAND UK has announced the appointment of Simon Griffiths to the Board of Directors, replacing Paul Stephens who left the company in July. Griffiths joins Roland from Communications Direct, one of the UK’s leading independent mobile phone contact centres, which has won several awards including best HSBC Start Up in 2006 and Welsh Company of the Year 2007. Before that he was a senior investment manager for 3i, a major European venture capitalist. He has also worked for Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants. Griffiths is a chartered accountant with ACA and FSA professional qualifications and a graduate with a first-class BSc (Hons) in accountancy from the University of Wales, Cardiff. He lives in Penarth with his wife and son. He’s also quite likely to be one of the few financial directors, Roland tells us, who is into The Prodigy. Paul Stephens, who had been with Roland UK for 23 years, left the company seeking new challenges and is now working outside the MI industry. John Booth, managing director of Roland UK, welcomed Simon to his new role on the board. “We met

GRIFFITHS: A few of his favourite things

many high-calibre people during the recruitment process for this role, but knew we’d found our man when we met Simon. We’ve waited a long time for Simon to start, as his previous employer insisted on hanging on to him for his full three-month contractual notice period – an indication of what a good guy he is, I’m sure.” “I’m very happy indeed to be joining Roland. I’ve been aware of the company from back in

my university days, so to be able to combine two of my favourite things – that’s music and finance, by the way – is perfect,” commented Griffiths on his appointment. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the music industry and meeting our dealer partners to better understand the challenges they face. I hear the various industry parties are pretty good, too, which is a bonus”. ROLAND UK: 01792 702701

MARK DICKINSON has joined Casio’s EMI Division as sales executive for the Midlands of England, joining the long standing Casio sales executive team members John Henderson (North) and Paul Barnes (South). Dickinson brings many years of sales and marketing experience to his new position, having worked in retail as a manager at the former Williams store (now JG Windows) in the Metro Centre, Gateshead. He has also worked for Korg in a sales and marketing role and more recently for Loud Technologies. Despite this variety, his heart, he explained, has always been in the home keyboard and digital piano markets. “This is the ideal position for me. The Casio product range has always been strong and the company has a great reputation for offering high quality and value-for-money instruments. I am really looking forward to working with the Casio dealers across the Midlands and making a contribution to developing their Casio business.” Casio’s newly appointed EMI divisional manager, Andy Carvill, commented: “Mark brings the

range of skills we are looking for to support the Casio dealer network. He has the background experience of the industry, is a great keyboard player – so he can contribute to any promotional activity – and he is committed to building the profile of the Casio range. We are delighted that Mark has come on board.” Casio, by and large, invented the concept of a home keyboard nearly 30 years ago and has since developed into a leading name in the digital piano market. Over the last few years Casio has developed two separate product ranges, Privia and Celviano, to satisfy the demands of the marketplace. CASIO: 020 8208 7829

Avid unifies branding

New factory for Crafter

All wholly-owned companies to be united under single banner, offering single worldwide strategy and operational model

Manufacturer’s second major move in less than a decade as Sutherland receives award

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY giant, Avid, has now re-branded all of its wholly owned companies under the single branded banner of the parent company. Now all the Avid brands, Digidesign, M-Audio, Sibelius, Pinnacle Systems and, of course, Avid, will be unified under the Avid name. Details of how the rebranding will work are unclear as MI Pro goes to press, with journalists being called to question Avid’s COO, Kirk Arnold, at a webcast arranged for the end of August. Historically, Avid has been a family of separate businesses – all of them considered

CRAFTER HAS opened a brand new, custom designed factory in the city of Yang Ju in the heartland of South Korea. The Mayor of the city and guests from around the world cut the ribbon at a grand opening ceremony near Seoul on May 14th. The move, which came about as the result of five years of planning and construction, makes this the seventh location for the company and was made in spite of the fact that Crafter had relocated to a new 7,000 square metre purposebuilt factory as recently as nine years ago. Shortly after the 2000 move, the Korean government expressed an interest in using Crafter’s land


among the industry leaders in the fields of hi-tech audio and video – all functioning more or less independently of one another. These five businesses have now become one company, with, a brief company statement said, ‘new offering, a new strategy and a new operating model’. The first presentation of the new company will be at the IBC show in Amsterdam from September 10th to 15th. It will announce multiple major product updates to some of its key products in line with Avid’s strategy in terms of its video, broadcast and post solutions (stand 7.J20).

As Avid’s chief operating officer, Arnold heads up the company’s engineering, sales, marketing and services functions and is responsible for developing and maintaining the company’s customer relationships. She previously served as Avid’s executive vice president of customer operations before taking over as COO. AVID: 01753 655999

for a housing development and entered into negotiations, which enabled the company to purchase new land just five kilometres from the factory. “Under normal circumstances, a company would expect to stay in a new factory for at least 20 years so that the cost could be written off over a long period,” commented Crafter’s president, In Jae Park. “The deal that Crafter did with the government, combined with the realistic cost of the land, gave us the unique opportunity to be able to build a new and even more modern factory in the same area, so that we could retain all of our loyal and highly trained staff.” SUTHERLAND: 029 2088 7333



Trinty Xtras is still something of a new kid on the block, but its team has utilised its acumen to survive and thrive. MI Pro takes the overview... Year Established: November 2001 Number of employees: Four Is business up or down compared to last year? It’s definitely up. How has the current economic climate affected business? There is no doubt that business is challenging and some retailers are experiencing difficulties. We have many customers who are doing very good business with our products, though, despite the recession. This is because our focus is on accessories, which sell whatever the climate. What are your best-selling lines, and why do you think they perform so well? Mighty Bright is a very important range for us. We have an exclusive distribution arrangement for the Book and Craft ‘Light and Sight’ products in the UK and Europe. We stock the complete range of Pick Boy plectrums, guitar accessories and batons as well as the very tastefully designed range of music giftware. We have recently been appointed the exclusive distributor for Aroma. This is a relatively new company that has developed a brilliant range of tuners and metronomes. It is focused and very proactive and determined to make an impact in that market. Accessories are not price sensitive, so it is relatively easy to cross-sell and up-sell and larger sales can very often be increased by offering additional items at the

point of sale. They might be low cost items, but the increase in profit on the overall sale is welcome. What are your criteria for selecting new products? They must be high quality, value for money products that will sellthrough relatively quickly. We want items that are able to generate high profits for us and for our customers, as well as enhance and enrich the life of the end user. What distinguishes you from the competition? We add a personal touch and have no sales agents involved. This means our operating costs are lower and we can offer better pricing and terms. Modern communication lets us quickly and cheaply inform our customers of new products, special offers and news updates. We offer samples of almost everything at a greatly discounted price. To introduce new products or products that are new to a particular customer, we offer samples at a heavily discounted price. This gives the buyer and staff the opportunity to evaluate it in their own time, removing the pressure of making hasty decisions. They can show it to customers for

further feedback. We give a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee. How do you maintain a good relationship with retailers? We aim to be the best, most flexible company to work with by offering customers a fully personalised experience. Orders are despatched quickly and any problems that may arise are solved quickly and professionally. What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the industry today? To overcome today’s challenges I believe we need to keep looking for new opportunities and develop a positive attitude. We need a plan and vision, to know what we are building and go for it. Be focused, proactive and flexible, not afraid of trying new things, but test carefully before making a commitment. Be prepared to pull out quickly if things don’t work out. What are your aims for the next 12 months? We are planning to produce a wellillustrated catalogue and will be moving to a new warehouse and offices later in the year in order to facilitate our growth.

CONTACT DETAILS Address: Weddington House, 30 Weddington Terrace, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 0AG Phone: 024 7634 4676 Email: Fax: 024 7638 4602 Contacts: Bryn Evans (director), Hilary Griffiths (accounts manager)




Drumroll for the Roland Main Event Steve White to play at Roland’s V-Drum expo at the Birmingham Conservatoire, along with Johnny Rabb and Craig Blundell ROLAND IS putting on The Main Event 3 at the Birmingham Conservatoire on September 27th, offering drummers a day in the company of some of the finest drummers around, playing the V-Drums range. The show will include a runthrough of how V-Drums are being used in all corners of the industry – from gigging, to studio and session work, practise and education, as well as offering insight from the drummers on the bill and plenty of opportunities for Q&A sessions. Steve White, who is perhaps best known for occupying the drum stool with Paul Weller, has also played in The Who, Oasis and The Players and is currently on the road with Trio Valore. On top of that, he is also working with Jon Lord of Deep Purple/Hammond organ fame. A firm-favourite in the UK drumming scene, White’s tireless

Craig Blundell (left) and Johnny Rabb (right) are two of the drummers showing off their talents at the Roland expo passion and enthusiasm for drumming will make his Roland debut one to watch. Johnny Rabb has covered a lot of ground in his drumming career, performing with a wide range of artists such as Maynard Ferguson, Frank Gambale, Tanya Tucker, Hank Williams III, Deana Carter and Mindy McCready.

Based in Nashville, Rabb currently plays drums in BioDiesel, is the author of several books and CDs and has worked with Roland for some time, working with R&D to develop new sounds. Craig Blundell is one of Roland’s foremost clinicians, with a clinic style and level of

entertainment that have put him out there with some of the best clinicians, educators and session drummers in the world. He is currently in the studio with Rebel MC/Congo Natty and is in the drum seat with former King Crimson violinist David Cross. This event is free to attend, but entry is strictly ticket-only.

The Birmingham Conservatoire is a 500-seat venue and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis, so don’t delay if you want to be there. Reservations can be made at and Roland will send out tickets nearer to the time of the event. ROLAND: 01792 702701

Korg UK distributed brand to benefit from R&D of drummer

Pearl launches new website for Europe

KORG UK has announced that drummer Steve White has joined the Mapex family of drummers, where he will be involved with future R&D projects and work closely on Mapex’s educational programme. “I'm proud to announce that I will be joining the Mapex family,” commented White. “I'm very excited to be joining this fantastic company and I'm looking forward to a great future working together. More news and details to come very soon.” Further information about what White is up to can be found at his website, In addition, White has also joined the ‘rock n roll college’ BIMM in Brighton, where he will be teaching technical

PEARL HAS launched an improved website with the aim of giving visitors a virtual tour around the Pearl products, artists, news, events, clinics and more. The completely restyled site can be found at The website is divided in five top sections: products, artists, what’s up, support and about Pearl. There is also a comprehensive dealer locator.

Steve White joins Mapex

development at the college’s Brighton campus. He will also take special masterclasses at the new sister college, called BIMM too, in Bristol. “It’s a great honour for me to be asked to take part in this year’s course,” said White. “BIMM’s reputation is

second-to-none. I totally understand the values and ethos of what is taught in the class room and importantly, the emphasis on what it takes to succeed in the fast and furious world of music.” KORG UK: 01908 857100 BIMM: 08442 646666

The product pages are divided in four subsections, emphasising the main product groups and all product pages are featured with extra ‘tabs’. The design and interface have also been dramatically improved. In the coming months, the company will introduce new features, including a webshop for Pearl wearables like t-shirts, caps and jackets.



12, 14, 20, 22, 24, 28 & 36 CHANNEL MIXERS

12, 20 & 28 CHANNEL MIXERS

Come and see us on

Stand 1 – E51 13 – 16 September 2009 at London Earls Court.



From tiny acorns The One Yamaha scheme is harmonising a lot more than dealer agreements, as the UK's pro music division tells Andy Barrett. Turns out there are some mighty oaks being grown...


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or those of us on the outside, the One Yamaha scheme, which sees a rationalisation (Yamaha prefers the word ‘harmonisation’) of pricing and dealer agreements across Europe, is a pretty new thing that concerns itself with the wholesale of Yamaha products. It is certainly that, but to those on the inside it is neither new nor exclusively a business driven thing. The process of developing the framework goes back some four years from when the European president of Yamaha Music, Masato Oike, first took up his position and created a committee to develop a particular vision. The fruits of this was the One Yamaha scheme and right away the pro music division saw a vehicle to drive its drum products into new markets. The pro music division’s director in the UK, Richard Hodgson, and the drum product manager, Gavin Thomas (to whom Hodgson defers on this particular subject), immediately began assessing where Yamaha stood in this area. “We looked at our strengths and weaknesses quite frankly and we saw a clear brand recognition in the jazz and education markets, but saw a definite shortfall in the more aggressive (and hugely popular) metal and rock market,” explains Thomas. “We saw we needed to reposition ourselves, but while we wanted to tailor a product for this market, we didn’t want to lose anything of our heritage.” “It’s easy to feel comfortable with this now,” says Hodgson, “but at the outset, each European country had its own considerations, such as different sizes and different colours. Gavin was the first to point out that we needed to look at the market first and then the product. The Oak Custom X was born from this.” And not without its teething difficulties. Having seen what the rock drummers wanted and applying that to the Oak Custom kit, it was then necessary to get Yamaha in Japan to come on board and this required a complete upgrade in tooling for the manufacturing. Fortunately, Japan sees Europe as something of a creative force and within three months the tooling was in place. The result is a dramatic collection of shells for a multitude of possible configurations that appeal directly to

the more aggressive rock player. All made from oak ply, the bass drum is 20 inches deep and seven-ply, the toms are sixply, shallow shells and the snare is an eight-ply, Loud series drum with nine vent holes for huge attack and short decay. Further to that, Yamaha’s ‘air seal’ system of shell construction, the 45-degree bearing edge, the single-bolt, oval lugs and the Yamaha Enhanced Sustain system mountings are all engineered to maintain the maximum of tone. Top that off with the dark chrome hardware and the black or white sparkle finish and you have one of the tastiest looking kits around. It delivers the sort of projection and cut that rock drummers live for, while simultaneously rationalising the Oak Custom offering for the European market and beyond.

“We’re still growing the artist roster. This is just the start.” Gavin Thomas The drums have been released as a 2009 limited edition for now, with some 500 kits making their way to the Old Continent, but the push for the mid to high-end market through artist endorsements has been pretty full on. Of note among these is Justin Foley, the rhythm man with Killswitch Engage, who got involved with a Yamaha and Rhythm and Metal Hammer magazines competition, where the winner was to walk away with Foley’s Oak Custom X kit after he played the Download festival. Some 20,000 metal fans entered the competition. “We are still growing the artist roster,” says Thomas. “This is really just the start. On the back of this there will be some exciting new products next year.” From here, Yamaha is looking to the dealers to recognise the sort of R&D and effort it is making to support the industry and at the same time pre-empting any issues as to interest in what is produced. The market now awaits Yamaha’s next move. YAMAHA MUSIC UK: 01908 366700

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Meet me on the PLASA PLASA 09 gears up for action with over 40 new exhibitors, a pavilion for small businesses, PLASA Connect unveiled and strong reported pre-registration. MI Pro investigates the gear that’s going to be on display at the show...


he new-look PLASA show continues to develop, with 2009’s offering promising to be an unmissable event for the pro audio and lighting fraternities. As ever, of course, there will be a lot of interest for the world of MI, too. PLASA Events has confirmed over 40 new and returning exhibitors to this year's event (including Adam Hall, Avid Technology, Klotz Audio Interface Nexo, and Prism Media Products, among many others), as pre-registrations look set to match 2008 levels and two major new features join the PLASA 09 line up, heralding another strong year for product launches. Pre-registration is still open, with a 50 per cent discount for online bookings. Many of the new companies will be based in the new Small Business Pavilion, located in Earls Court 2, an area which focuses on the smaller innovative businesses in the industry. Also new to Earls Court 2 (where preregistered visitors can enjoy fast-track


entry to the show), is the PLASA Lounge, where visitors can learn more about a range of industry-wide initiatives. Visitors can take advantage of the free wi-fi zone and central PLASA bar and business lounge in Earls Court 1 (open on the first three days until 8pm), as areas to talk, do business and socialise in, with the PLASA Awards for Innovation ceremony taking place at the centre of the show at 6pm on September 14th. Another initiative unveiled recently is PLASA Connect, which is a focus on developing business opportunities for the industry's service providers and consultants. An idea developed in conjunction with RH Consulting and sponsored by PLASA’s own Lighting & Sound International magazine, PLASA Connect will provide service-based operators, including consultants, installers and rental companies, with an opportunity to find new and potential clients from a wide range of vertical markets.

People involved in large projects in many different walks of life often have very little idea of who to go to for the supply of sound and lighting equipment. The idea behind PLASA Connect is to help those people gain information and make an informed choice. The result will be a targeted business development opportunity that will bring genuine business benefits to all concerned. In addition, InfoComm will be running its EVS212 Staging and Event Management three-day course across Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The course teaches how to manage technical departments, the client and the venue, ensuring the client sees a return on the investment, while you maintain budgets, weigh profitability and explore opportunities to provide additional services and products. In the meantime, here’s a quick roundup of the sort of MI relevant products that companies will be putting before the great

and the good in West London between September 13th and 16th. ADAM HALL Southend’s finest will be back at the show after a brief hiatus, strongly touting its LD Systems ranges – particularly the new LD Premium range of high end live sound speakers. This, of course, falls a bit outside the remit for the average MI store, but rest assured that the smaller scale LD PAs, mixers, Palmer’s DI-style products and Boschma cases (to name but three) will all be up for discussion with worthy potential customers. HK AUDIO In a similar vein, PLASA 09 marks the international debut of HK Audio’s newest innovation, the Icon stack system, further evidence of the inventive German company’s continuously-evolving campaign of top-line active sound reinforcement systems.


Meanwhile, the versatile ConTour high performance near-field speaker systems and the ConTour Array line array system for smaller budget productions will be placed alongside Cohedra and Cohedra Compact line arrays to give a full overview of HK’s concert sound range. Cadis, the recentlyintroduced IP 44 rated Compact Adaptive installation system, will also be shown at PLASA for the first time at a trade show in the UK. Needless to say, the JHS/HK stand will welcome all HK-oriented enquiries. SENNHEISER Sennheiser UK will this year be demonstrating its third generation of evolution wireless microphones – G3 – offering a variety of sets and accessories for secure wireless sound transmission.

Other new additions to the portfolio being featured include WiCOS, Sennheiser’s new stand alone wireless conference system, as well as the new 2000 series, a versatile pro wireless system. On the DJ side of things, Rane has been manufacturing some nifty performance mixers for years and 2007 saw the launch of the Serato Scratch Live (a collaboration between Rane and Serato, which developed the software). In 2009 the introduction of SL3 brings new features and higher spec components. SHURE Shure Distribution UK will have three world premieres at this year’s show, the SRH 750DJ headphones, the KSM 313 dual voice and the KSM 353 premier bi-directional ribbon mics. The SRH 750DJ has 50mm neodymium dynamic drivers tuned to deliver high levels of bass with extended highs, with high impedance and maximised power handling tailored specifically for DJs. The ear cups swivel 90 degrees, the headband collapses and a spare set of ear pads is included – making this a must try for DJs.

Shure’s recent return to the ribbon mic market has resulted in mics that are crafted for pristine audio in studio and concert hall applications. Proprietary Roswellite technology provides ribbon resilience and durability under extreme conditions and these units are handassembled in the USA from state-of-the art transducers, transformers and metals. There will also be a European debut for the new Phonic Digital Summit, a 16-input digital mixing console featuring a colour touch screen and built-in full effects and delays. Yup, digital mixing is making its way towards more accessible markets. There are 12 mono inputs, low-noise balanced XLR microphone inputs, quarter-inch phone jack inputs for line-level signals and four balanced quarter-inch phone jack inputs – and a lot more besides. TRANTEC Trantec will be previewing its brand new S6 wireless system, building on the success of the S6000 range. A comprehensive user interface on the front panel allows the user to configure and

monitor all channels, with or without an external PC. The S6 system will also operate from 590MHz to 865MHz to cope with the imminent regulation changes within the industry. Packed with a powerful set of features, the S5.3 system is 16 channels of pure value for money, and adding even more flexibility is the 24 channel S5.5 system, which is also now available ‘Racked ’n’ Ready’. Alternatively, the S4.4 is an ideal entry level system featuring four licence-free channels and there’s also the S4.16, a 16-channel version incorporating many additional features, including its availability in ‘Racked ’n’ Ready’ versions. PLASA SHOW: 020 7370 8661



In a Class of its own Marshall’s fifth major launch of this year puts the company on a very strong footing in the guitar amp market – a market where it was the runaway leader anyway. Andy Barrett was at the launch to see the most spectacular offering so far…


009 has been a pretty special year for Marshall Amplification, kicking off in January with the loudest (and some might say strangest) NAMM breakfast ever seen, as Kerry King from Slayer appeared on stage after the bacon and eggs had been suitably washed down with a gallon or so of coffee to run some of his band’s heaviest riffs through the new MG4 series amp. The new MGs (a head and five combos) took Marshall’s solid state offerings to a new level, with all the popular features one would expect from a digital amp, but with a very workable analog tone built in. Four user-assignable channels with specially voiced effects, a new footswitching system and Marshall’s first portable, multi-voiced, battery-powered amp rounded the extensive series off. At the Anaheim breakfast, King was ably followed onto the stage by Whitesnake’s Doug Aldrich, who then re-appeared in April at the Frankfurt Musikmesse for the (dinner time) launch of the new Haze


series of guitar amps. These mid-priced amps for the gigging semi-pro (comprising a 40-Watt combo and 15-Watt head) again combine Marshall tone with an extensive effects bank, with setting automatically stored into the current channel, for a pure valve tone and studio

and is made with custom 12-inch Celestion speakers, a ‘Kevlar-inspired’ covering and an industrial kick grille – this is Marshall’s most metal of cabinets. Following on from the 2008 one-off replica of Jim Marshall’s original DSL amp, presented to the good doctor on the

“This amp has really impressed me and I’m using it regularly now at home, in the studio and for rehearsing. It’s a great little box.” Joe Bonamassa quality processing, controllable from a single footswitch. Frankfurt also saw the launch of the Dave Mustaine signature cab (another first for Marshall). Described as ‘monstrous and sinister’ the 1960 DM cab was built with Mustaine closely involved in the design

occasion of his 85th birthday, the amp was put into limited edition production in 2009 under the moniker of the 1923 range. The 50-Watt combo and the first ever DSL 50Watt head are already going a long way to making the best-selling Marshall amp ever that much better.

And that, for most companies, would probably have been more than enough for the year – but do not underestimate the keenness of Marshall’s R&D team. July 28th saw the company inviting a broad selection of press, special guests and Marshall dignitaries and employees alike to Ronnie Scott’s club in the West End of London for the launch of a brand new amp: the Class 5. As well as a fine scoff and quaff for the assembled, everyone there was also treated to the new amp being put through its paces by the young (just 17 years old) and unbelievably talented Krissy Matthews and his eponymous band, and a full set from Joe Bonamassa and his band. It was an impressive work out. This is a special little unit and will go a long way to underlining Marshall’s position as the world’s number one amp maker, not least with retailers. It’s valve, it’s handwired, it’s made in England and it retails at less than £350. One will be hard-


Krissy Matthews (left) and Joe Bonamassa and his band (right) wowed the audience as they belted out tunes through the new Marshall Class 5 amp pressed to find anything matching it on the market anywhere. The Class 5 is a five-Watt, ten-inch speaker-loaded combo with Class A circuitry from input to output and is the result of research into the needs and wants of bedroom, studio, club and stadium players alike, which would appear to boil down to something simple that can, at the turn of any one of four knobs, create a multitude of valve-based tones. The low Wattage, of course, making it easier to bring about degrees of crunch – from subtle to excessive – at very manageable volumes. The combo is based on the classic Marshall Bluesbreaker and, accordingly, is a back-to-basics unit with a top-loaded, ‘plexiesque’ panel with volume, treble, middle and bass controls – and this is the USP of the amp. There is nothing complex in getting hold of or altering the settings in even the most pressured of live environments and with the circuitry valvedriven from beginning to end, this is an amp for the purists out there – of which there are a considerable number. All of this is powered through a specially designed G10F-15, ten-inch Celestion speaker, which (as one would expect) gives some lovely mids and highs, but (surprisingly, perhaps) maintains very constant and clear range of bass tones, too.

The back panel has a headphone output and a 16-Ohm extension cab output, capable of driving a 4x12 unit. The jewel in the crown, as it were, is that this is a British-made amp, handwired at the Marshall HQ in Bletchley, making this a real flag-waver from design right through to construction. “This amp is designed and built by some of the most experienced hands in the business,” comments Paul Marshall. “We have deliberately gone for the best components and put our very best craftsmanship into it. I think it is Marshall sound at its best – pure and inspiring and not a little audacious.” With that £349 price tag, it is going to turn a lot of heads, Marshall thinks. “I usually play through something about 345 Watts more powerful than this,” admits Bonamassa during his set at Ronnie Scott’s, where he played through (what looked like) four Class 5s daisy-chained. “But this amp has really impressed me and I’m using it regularly now at home, in the studio and for rehearsing. It’s a great little box.” If the queues outside Ronnie Scott’s were impressive for the launch of this little powerhouse, one suspects the waiting lists for ownership of the Class 5 might well be remarkable. MARSHALL: 01908 375411

Enthusiastic crowds were prepared to queue for a look at the new Marshall combo



Showtime This year’s British Piano Fair looks sure to be the best yet as the piano industry gets together for the show it has always deserved. With more exhibitors than ever before, Rob Power tinkles the ivories and finds out more…


world away from the noise and bluster of your typical rock n roll trade show, the British Piano Fair has grown in a very short time to become an important date in the calendar of the UK’s MI industry. Now in its third year, the show represents what can be achieved when a particular section of the industry comes together to put on the show it wants and deserves. It’s been far from a smooth ride for the piano industry recently. Feeling underwhelmed by what was on offer at the BMF and resolute in the pursuit of a show that it could call its own, 2007 saw the first British Piano Fair take place at Olympia and the event has grown from strength to strength ever since. Finding a new home in the genteel surroundings of Lord’s Cricket Club’s Nursery End, this year’s event looks to build on the success of the previous two years and consolidate the reputation of what has swiftly become a popular and well-attended show. Preparations for the 2009 event have been moving along at pace, and with organiser CPH Exhibitions pulling all the right strings, the show looks sure to continue improving. “Everything’s going great,” says CPH’s Colin Holdsworth. “We have more exhibition space sold than last year and have the likes of Roland

exhibiting, which we didn’t have at previous events. We’ve also opened up the attendance to music teachers and everything is set for a good fair.” The appeal of the show is obvious: a dedicated piano event that allows the focus to remain on that area of the business in a setting that keeps things low key (and a million miles away from the sort of racket you get at the average rock

greed. We have had a recurrence of the same comments from previous years. The first show was held at the Pillar Hall in Olympia and we had plenty of retailers telling us that it was fantastic to be reminded that the UK has a vibrant piano industry. People were saying exactly the same thing to me last year. There is no other option, forum or gathering for the piano community. There isn’t a trade fair

The appeal of the show is obvious: a dedicated piano event that allows the focus to remain on that area of the business alone . n roll gathering) is surely bound for popularity among its target audience. “It is a very niche show and there is no doubt that is of huge benefit to it,” continues Holdsworth. “If you think about it, in terms of dealers and retailers, everyone who comes in the door is a potential customer. It’s very neat and compact, and as a show it does exactly what it says on the tin, and exhibitors seem to like that an awful lot. “It is also very low cost. It’s done for the industry as opposed to strictly on a commercial basis. It’s not a matter of

that fits the bill for them to go to and as September is the peak buying time, everything falls into place for the fair. “I would say it’s an important point in the calendar. If you speak to Kemble, Reid Sohn, Piano Warehouse or Forsyth Brothers, they will all tell you that last year exceeded any number of expectations and many experienced record orders.” The growth of the show since those early days in a rented room at Olympia has been remarkable, a fact that has only been confirmed with the further addition

Lords offers the ideal environment

Bentley will sit beside Hoffman this year miPRO SEPTEMBER 2009 21


of big names to the roster for the 2009 event. “We have more exhibitors than last year, although there were a few that were unable to attend for various reasons – including a wedding – but we’re very pleased,” says Holdsworth. “As I mentioned, the addition of Roland can do nothing but good for the show.” Additional changes to the structure of the fair include the invitation of music teachers from across the country, something that many dealers felt would be a hugely positive addition to the proceedings. “By popular demand, we added music teachers to the guest list,” explains Holdsworth. “It makes absolute sense – they influence heads of department and are an important part of the industry, so we’ve widened the net in that respect.” The reaction from exhibitors to the event has been highly enthusiastic, with many keen to emphasise the difference between the BPF and previous events. “It’s very good, and I think it works particularly for a standalone show and it’s worked very well for the last two years,” says Piano Warehouse’s Howard Martyn. “We’re very happy with the results we’ve been getting. The surroundings are good, the ambience is good and not being where rock n roll is going on is good as it allows people to hear the pianos properly, which is helpful. We’re very happy with the way it’s gone. “We’ve been in attendance since the show started at Olympia two years ago and again last year at Lords. The results are far, far better than the last few years we had at the BMF. The BMF, for pianos, was dying a death.


By popular demand we have added music teachers to the guest list. They influence heads of department and are important. Colin Holdsworth “There were a number of reasons: one was the location was bad and people didn’t like travelling to Birmingham. Second, the time of year – inevitably midsummer – a completely dead time for piano sales. People didn’t want to attend simply to look, they want to be going when things are vibrant and buying things. September is the perfect time, as it is when the season really starts for pianos. We were delighted when the BPF started.” As is always crucial with events such as these, getting attendance figures up to a decent level has been a pressing priority and it would seem that the piano industry has an excellent handle on what its people want to see.

“We’ve certainly experienced an improved response in terms of dealers coming, without a doubt,” continues Martyn. “The last year at BMF we saw virtually no response at all, while the first year at Olympia was excellent and last year was far in excess of anything we’d seen at the BMF. People are happy to go down to London for a day out, they can come to the capital and make a day of it, maybe go to the theatre or out for something to eat in the evening, so it works out very well. “The venue is excellent. There was a cricket match on the nursery ground last year, which was a lovely spectacle for a lot of people and added greatly to the fun.”

With any show of this nature, so much comes down to careful and considerate planning that takes in the requirements of the industry. In this respect, the BPF has come into its own, with many exhibitors pleased to see that their key event was kept out of the summer heat. The simple recognition that mid summer is no time to sell pianos has certainly put the BPF in good stead throughout the industry, with the consensus view agreeing that by putting the show in September, not only does everyone attend with a view to buying, but the whole show feels a lot more alive. The timing is not the only positive to be garnered from the event though. “This suits the trade and rather than having something in June or July, September suits everyone much better, especially with this year being such a bad year so far,” comments John Gregory of Reid-Sohn Pianos. “On top of that, it’s reasonably priced, it’s centrally located, it’s pianos only and it is trade only, so there is no public to get in the way. “I hope it’s a good show, and I hope the dealers make the effort to come along – the last thing we want to do is spend money and all sit there looking at each other. Our core of shops around the country are quietly optimistic and aiming to get through the quiet months in the hope that it will pick up in the autumn. “We don’t deal with any of the multioutlet shops and if there are any that are going to go under, I think it will be those. The customers we tend to deal with are the family-owned businesses and most of them own their own premises, so they’re all fairly secure.

at the heart of the British piano industry

Visit us at The British Piano Fair 20 & 21 September 2009 Nursery Pavilion, Lord's Cricket Ground, London NW8


“We’re showing plenty of product, including some German pianos plus some other Chinese bits and bobs. This is our third year in attendance.” Multiple new pianos will be on show from Reid-Sohn, The Piano Warehouse and Intermusic, while many others will be using the event as the perfect opportunity not only to meet and greet the retailers, but also to dazzle them with new and improved instruments. “This year we’ve got six brand new models to show and it’s the only opportunity a lot of the dealers will get to see these products,” confirms Howard Martyn. “We’ve got two models that we brought out earlier in the year and then another four brand new models that we’re excited about showing to everybody. We’ve got lots of new stuff, as well as a few prototypes to demonstrate.” Intermusic’s Richard Webb adds: “We did extremely well last year and this year we have a number of new pianos. We have a budget high-quality range of Chinesemade pianos, which we will be unveiling at the show, as it’s a good place to do


that. We’ve got the new Petrof models, the W Hoffmann range of pianos – we plan to dominate the mid-range European-made pianos, especially after the closure of all the other factories. People will be looking for replacement European pianos and we can step in there, so we’re very excited about that.” Yamaha, of course, will have plenty on show – and as a last hoorah before the UK factory closes, Kemble & Co will also be exhibiting. Brian Kemble, the man responsible for the BPF taking place in the first place, will be giving a keynote speech at the Yamaha piano dealer meeting on the evening of the opening day (Sunday). He will be outlining the nature of the new Indonesian-made Kemble pianos alongsiode Yamaha’s introduction of new models and a run-through of the new One Yamaha dealer agreements and the European-led initiatives in piano R&D. Although the show itself is in fine form, the same cannot be said of the economy, and while recession is biting all around, the piano industry remains bullish in the

face of adversity. “Things are pretty good at the moment for us,” continues Webb. “People are still buying. Bechstein is very strong and mainly bought by people with money, who don’t seem to be affected in the same way as us mere mortals. We also have Pearl River, which manufactures a range for Steinway and with Petrof and Hoffmann we’ve got medium-priced European pianos as well, so we’re in a very strong position. “Smaller, specialist piano dealers become so disillusioned with the small margins on Japanese pianos that we get the business. They can make a higher margin with us, as we’re not into printing recommended retail prices. Our dealers tend to be owner-managed and for the most part they’re the wealthier dealers and don’t need credit.” While those with a slice of the highend market can feel safe, the rest of the market is feeling the pinch, although it would seem perhaps not as badly as one might imagine. “In this trade, you’ve got to be optimistic or you’d slit your wrists,” adds

John Gregory. “We can chug along on a small amount of business as we don’t owe any money, but it’s very, very quiet – probably the worst period I can recall. The recession in 91 was quite buoyant compared to this and in the early 80s we hardly noticed it. This one has been bad though – much more severe. We’ve cut back on ordering so that stock has been reduced and our staff is cut to the bone so we didn’t have to lay anybody off. We’re well positioned to see out the bad times and hopefully come out the other side.” While the economic storm needs weathering, the piano industry seems to be holding out well and the British Piano Fair indicates an area of the market with a strong sense of both what it needs and what it wants. “We now have an established event – it wasn’t just a one-off event at Lord’s cricket ground last year,” concludes Holdsworth. “It’s a wonderful venue for it and it has a gentle atmosphere, with free tea and coffee for everybody. It’s a nice, comfortable way to have a trade fair.” WWW.BRITISHPIANOFAIR.CO.UK


Right notes Sheet music publishing is a difficult subject to get one’s head around, so to become the world’s biggest must entail getting a lot of things very right. Gary Cooper discovers how Hal Leonard handles its rights…


idely recognised by music retailers as one of the most profitable lines in the shop, printed music can seem a straightforward enough proposition. You stock as wide a selection of titles as you think might appeal to your customer base, put them in a rack somewhere out the way and leave them to work their magic… There is, of course, more to maximising the profits from printed music than that and a great deal more that goes into the producing and marketing of it. Take the biggest in the business, Milwaukee-based Hal Leonard, where the complex business of producing a gigantic catalogue of material is planned. And complex is indeed the word, as music publishing suffers (though some might say it benefits) from a bewildering array of rights issues. A song may be with publisher A in one territory, but publisher B in another – so how do you produce a globally useful songbook with it included? This is just one of the battles that has to be fought by Hal Leonard’s Mark

Mumford in the UK. Life would be easy if all Hal Leonard UK had to do was take titles from the US parent company and distribute them to UK shops, but it isn’t quite as simple as that, and that is what gives rise to some of the complications retailers can experience when trying to track down a particular item.

significantly. That sounds complex too, with each of us owning 50 per cent of the business, but it isn’t really, because it allows us to create publications that are specific to Europe and it also enables us to distribute all of the catalogue we own outright, such as educational publications, through that business.”

“We can create publications that are specific to Europe and distribute all of the catalogue we own outright, such as educational publications.” Mark Mumford, Hal Leonard UK “My role is to grow and manage our business in Europe and our business here has always been fairly complex, because it’s based around what rights we have in a certain territory,” Mark Mumford says. “To get around that, in 1996 we set up a joint venture with Music Sales called Hal Leonard Europe and that has grown

To give you some idea of how big a task that can be, in the US Hal Leonard releases over 3,500 new publications every year (that’s almost ten per day, if you want a more detailed perspective). And that gets awkward, for example, when one of the company’s hugely successful series, like Jazz Play-Along, has a couple of songs

included in the US version that are not copyrighted for either Hal Leonard or Music Sales in Europe. “Because of that we may not be able to use it as it is, so we bring the book into the Hal Leonard Europe editorial camp and replace the songs we don’t control with two that we do and we’ll create a Hal Leonard Europe edition. Music stores can spot this because on the back of the book, the code number, which is usually HL becomes HLE. That’s a good sign for them, because it means the book has already been out there in the marketplace, selling well and because music stores have been asking for it, we’ve created it specifically for the European market, on the back of selling thousands of copies in the US.” Mumford says that music retailers play a big part in this process, often badgering the company for an edition, which they have seen for sale in the US, but that hasn’t previously been offered here. He also agrees that, in the age of Amazon, other internet sellers and



downloadable online sources, the fine detail of which publisher controls which rights is starting to seem a little unnecessarily arcane. “I’m sure things like this are going to be addressed as we go forward,” he says. “We have good relationships with Music Sales and Faber in terms of licensing, so there is lot of product that does get cleared and it’s not

that common a problem, but obviously it’s a big thing for the individual retailer and the customer who wants a particular title.” A major part of the publisher’s skill is capitalising on events that happen in other media areas – the songbook for a hit musical or film, for example. A recent case in point was Twilight, which has been a huge success.

“We shadow success in other market environments and then we look at our customer base, from children learning to play, to professionals and teachers, a lot of whom may want to buy something to do with Twilight. Then we can exploit the whole range of formats we have, from easy piano to arrangements for concert bands, choirs, play-alongs and CDs and they all benefit. When you have something as successful and high profile as Twilight, then exploiting it is what a publisher like Hal Leonard excels at. “Because of the market in the US – because there’s a good commercial market for whatever we create – the rest of Europe benefits from a wide range of formats and editions being made available. So sometimes there can be a massive variety of different publications coming out, based around just one film. “This has really been where the major successes have been for us over the past few years – films like Disney’s High School Musical, which had a massive impact, or Mamma Mia! from last year. These are things that if you put a copy in your window, they are going to bring people into the shop.” FILMS BRING IN FANS Mumford makes an important point here. Whatever publicity the music industry might generate for a cultural blockbuster like Mamma Mia!, it is absolutely dwarfed by the fact that the film industry, television, radio, newspapers and magazines are all likely to be generating a mass of free publicity on top of that, which the High Street can hitch a ride on, almost for nothing, by placing a Mamma Mia! songbook in its window. “Sometimes there’s a problem in that we end up with these books a month or two after the initial impact, because we have to wait for the music to come out before we can start working on the different arrangements, but sometimes it works the other way. For example, there’s a new Disney animated film that came out in the States in May, called Up. It doesn’t open here until October 9th, but we will already have the book in stock because it was out in the States beforehand. It’s a great opportunity to have the book out just as the film is screening.” As you would expect, Hal Leonard has been exploring digital delivery methods and even online tuition programmes for some time now, but Mumford makes a strong case for the intrinsic value of a book in a music shop. “Most of our publications are based around ‘I’d like to try this’ – where we’ve created something so that a musician who is learning to play the piano at Grade 3, for example, sees that he can also try


to play other things, as well. That relies on people going into shops, opening books and seeing what is there. So we really do rely on the point of sale experience in a music store, because although people can do this to some extent on the internet, to make online work, customers really need to know what they want. THE VALUE OF KNOWLEDGE “The other thing to consider is that people who work in print become very knowledgeable about what’s available and there are some great retailers in the UK who are walking encyclopaedias. So if you are a teacher or a professional, being able to go to a music store to talk to one of these people cannot be taken for granted. In choral, orchestral and classical music in particular, it takes a while to build up that knowledge and you’re not going to get it on the web. “There are retailers out there who have fantastic print departments, but there is a feeling among some that if you don’t have everything, you can’t really have a print business. I’m not sure I go along with that. To me it’s about looking at print as not being an accessory, but something that can bring you profit, in part because you don't have to discount and it will turn over quickly. “If you want to spend £1,000 and you are trying to decide whether to buy 200 books or an amplifier for your music store, I know which I would choose. I know you have to have amplifiers, but people are afraid of print because they think you need loads of it to sell it. But I think if you hire somebody and give them responsibility for that part of your business, you’ll soon start to build it up – it’ll turn over regularly and bring you a regular, determined profit margin. “You’ve also got an opportunity to attract so many different customers to your shop. If you’re only selling guitars you might be ‘just a guitar shop’ but if you bring print into your guitar shop, you’re still a guitar shop, but you’ve also got Rock Band or Guitar Hero books in your window, which are on everybody's lips. If I walk past your window and I see Guitar Hero, I might be very tempted to come in, even if I don't actually play the guitar.” Another trick up the retailer’s sleeve is getting customers into Hal Leonard’s extensive series and drawing them back to the store as that series expands and grows. Used with an active database of customers’ email addresses, it can be a very valuable tool. “And another thing that I think can help is not to regard books as just belonging in a dedicated print section. We do a lot of technology books and reference books which, to be honest, wouldn’t sell very well in a print department – they need


to be near the software section, or the guitar section.” A case in point is the Backbeat reference book catalogue of over 250 titles, which Hal Leonard purchased a few years ago and which is about to move this month to availability from Music Sales/ Hal Leonard Europe – just in time for the Christmas period. “One of the big problems retailers have with Hal Leonard is that they don't know where to get a specific book from. They could go to Music Sales, or Studio Music, or Faber, who distribute the EMI titles – so

we realise it can get very confusing. Our longer term strategy is about trying to find a way of simplifying that, but we are so tied by who controls which rights, though we have done things to simplify it over the time – Hal Leonard Europe being a case in point, as is bringing Backbeat under Music Sales distribution. I always say that if you want to buy a Hal Leonard publication you go to Music Sales. There may be the odd occasion when it won’t have it – but we’re getting there.” HAL LEONARD: 01494 730143 MUSIC SALES: 01284 702600

“If you hire someone and give them responsibility for print, you’ll soon build it up – it’ll turn over regularly and bring you a regular profit margin.” Mark Mumford, Hal Leonard UK

SHEET MUSIC HAS LONG, VIABLE FUTURE A few words from Larry Morton, Hal Leonard president... “The unique thing about Hal Leonard is that we are exclusively focused on the print music market,” says company president Larry Morton. “In fact, we keep redefining what that means, by expanding all the different formats and our advice to retailers is to encourage them to stock in all the different formats of music. “For example, when a new West End musical comes out, most traditional publishers would put out just one music edition – a piano vocal book – but at Hal Leonard we might do anything from three to five piano editions alone, from piano solo to standard piano vocal, to big note, to five finger. We’ll do editions with playalong CDs and the instrumental and guitar editions and band editions and choral – all to reach more music makers. “If we put out just that one book we limit our sales. Retailers can distinguish themselves by having the breadth of selection and the hard-to-find formats that customers might not be able to get elsewhere. “We look at the internet in two ways. The first is how to market our products online, in co-operation with online retailers, and the second part of that is the digital delivery of sheet music. On the former, we have a very robust dealer website, so dealers can come in and get graphic images and pre-designed advertisements and we try to make it as easy as possible for our products to be featured on their websites. “We’ve been urging our retailer friends to work hard on their sites, too. This gives them a great advantage, because people can see products online and then phone or go to the store.

“On the digital side, we partnered with Music Sales in 1997 for Sheet Music Direct, which was the world’s first authorised digital sheet music website. In the ensuing years, we’ve developed dealer programmes where stores can sign-up for instore digital delivery, we have online affiliate programmes and our newest programme is called Digital Retailer, where we serve up the content behind the scenes and the dealer sells the content off their website. “We think the sheet music market has a long, viable future and we believe that because there is a personal relationship between someone who plays music and their piece of music. In terms of emphasis, we are strongly focusing on the educational and classical parts of our business. Last year we acquired the Dutch-based company De Haske, so now we have six locations throughout Europe for educational and classical business and we see a great potential for growth in that area.”



Got a light, Mac? ‘No, but I have a dark brown overcoat’ is the wrong answer. With LED technology becoming both better and cheaper, the last bastion of exclusively professional performance science is now in the hands of the end user. Andy Barrett wonders whether MI stores could (or should) cash in on the lighting market…


et’s face it, lighting equipment for the majority of bands and performers that frequent our stores has never been high on the priority list. As a result, it hasn’t been high on yours, either. Of the handful of MI shops I phoned while preparing this article, just one sold any sort of lighting on a regular basis. It simply hasn’t been an issue – what’s more, it’s something else to worry about having some sort of handle on so that one can give the right sort of service. The main reason (other than cost) for the rather underwhelming interest from the punter is a simple one. Power. Lighting simply uses so much juice, most bands doing the rounds of the local pub circuit simply cannot risk not only losing power on their own PA, but also the pumps and

fridges and whatever else the venue has in use to aid customer satisfaction. A single, pro lamp can use up to 1,000 Watts, which can be a third of what the venue is capable of providing. You do the maths.

when the time comes to move up to larger gigs, the venue will have a rig. Okay, let’s assume they aren’t living in Lala land and they really are very good. The bad news for them is that a smaller, newer,

An inferior band could be creating more of a buzz simply because they are making more of an atmosphere – and it’s all thanks to light emitting diodes. Coupled to that, lights have been historically expensive and bulky and most bands are of the mind that their music is good enough to not need lighting and

inferior band is playing the same circuit, but is taking advantage of the latest technology in small gig lighting. Could be the inferior musicians are making more of

a party and creating more of a buzz, simply because they are succeeding in creating an atmosphere. How are they able to do this? Light emitting diodes, of course. LEDs have revolutionised the lighting market over the past ten years and the technology – as technology does – is trickling down to the entry level and making it possible for the most modest of acts to create a pretty attractive show. It has become a genuine revenue stream for MI dealers and I would be surprised if more and more don’t take it on over the next year or so. The lighting market has seen a steady growth over the last 18 months with the introduction of LED technology, which has replaced the original dichroic lamp effects. The production of LED lighting has been



refined over this period with the light output increasing with each new generation of products. They are long lasting, making them a cost effective purchase to mobile DJs, small bands and venues alike. LEDs have enabled low-power lamps, known as Par cans, to be used in significant numbers (each as little as a couple of hundred Watts) on a 13 amp, 240-Volt circuit – or about the same as the small gig PA system. Obviously, as with PAs, the sky is the limit, but a couple of Kam Par Bars (giving the user eight lamps) will create an enormous blend of colours, relatively bright lighting for little outlay (in terms of cash) and universally acceptable power consumption. On top of this, there is the world of smokers and hazers, lasers, good old fashioned sound-to-light units and mirror balls and columns – and that’s before we start talking about the accessory market with T-bars, columns, stands and cabling. Many of these latest light effects are lightweight and compact, making it viable to add them to a performer’s kit, as well


as (for venues) making it easier for installers to position the units. At such affordable prices lighting shows can be updated more regularly, creating a new atmosphere every time. On top of this, a great deal of the latest product operates as stand-alone – dispensing with the need for controllers and an operator – or via DMX, opening usage to a wider range of applications for the more adventurous. It would probably be a bit much to hope that the small gigging band would want to get involved with having a lighting man and a controller/mixer (let’s face it, most don’t even have a sound man), but it would certainly be an idea to be aware that someone might have. With PLASA just around the corner (September 13th to 16th) this might be a good opportunity to pop down, spend 20 quid on an entrance ticket and have a look around to see what sorts of opportunities might be available to you. What follows is a brief and whirlwind rush through some of the products available from companies that are already working in and around the MI market.


KAM The LED-based systems on the market are typified by Kam’s LED range and dispense with all the complex paraphernalia and replace it with simple, cool-running, LED lighting, which is cheap to buy and easy to run. The Parbar mkII takes that userfriendliness even further – right into the ‘every band should have one’ market. The Parbar system is based around four standard LED Par cans made into a complete kit using an on-board DMX controller, sound to light function, on a stand, with a foot controller and coming in its own padded carry case. It means that someone playing a gig can have the whole Parbar set up within a minute. This opens up some very interesting sales territory for MI retailers. Instead of trying to coax customers to open their wallets for yet another guitar or backline amplifier (particularly during a recession where ‘luxury’ spending might feel inappropriate) lighting offers the customer something completely new – and a way to make a significant impact on their performances and prospects as artists.

With the Parbar it isn’t only easy to understand and use, it is also very affordable. The complete Parbar mkII kit is selling at a street price of around £299. Beyond the market-changing Parbar, Kam has a lot else going on in lighting – and all of it very accessible – provided the right sort of rigging is at hand. A good example is the LED Mushroom, an eight-lens RGBW beam effect that creates moving, circular patterns in an almost limitless range of colour tones. A seven-channel DMX unit, this Dr Whoesque machine also functions as standalone and has built-in programs for sound-to-light operation, as well as strobe effects. A whisker under £175 will buy your punters one of these. In similar vein come the Superflower 1, the Swingfire DMX and the Quadflower 1, all single, hanging units with a mass of effects and colours that function as standalone or part of a system. Speaking of which, the Kam EZ-1 controller is available for all of the above. This is a simple and efficient lighting controller that offers one-touch blackout

control of your lights and their built-in programs, including the strobe and the effect speed. QTX LIGHT The major lighting brand of the AVSL Group (formerly Skytronic) is QTX, which has an impressive array of lighting opportunities for the beginner performer –

sound activated, auto or DMX controlled (13-channels) and is suitable for installation in bars, clubs, exhibitions and the like, although for bands with a bit more room to play with, it can be a fun toy, too. With control over X, Y and Z axis for rotation, rolling and drawing speed, this is an attractive addition to the set up.

or retailer. The first up is the Super Laser 1 mkII, a 60-mega-Watt green laser that creates impressive effects and graphics, text or numbers, particularly when used with fog or haze machines. It can be

A step above that, QTX offers the LS-X PRO, an effects laser that combines the technology of the Angel laser with that of a cluster to produce stunning effects. The laser can be operated in pattern, cluster or



a combination of both modes with the options of automatic and sound activated modes. Adding smoke or haze to this light effect will take it to the next level, making it a must have item for any nightclub or mobile DJ. A ten-channel DMX model, when in pattern mode, the two colours combine to product a yellow beam adding to the effect and there are three sound activated modes of operation (cluster, pattern and combined). Topping off the range – and showing exactly what is possible from LEDs these days, QTX’s LED Orbiter is not for the faint hearted, but it is an amazing bit of kit to aspire to. This ultimate LED light effect combines five LED colours with a unique optical system producing a spectacular light show. The effect covers a large area and can be used on its own or further enhanced with the use of a smoke machine. It also features a power linking system allowing more than one LED unit to be daisy-chained from the same power source. The unit can be sound activated or auto-sequenced. Moving a bit outside the realms of what MI stores are likely to get involved in, QTX also has moving heads in its catalogue, such as the LUX LD01 mini moving head. This compact and lightweight 13 channel RGB LED moving head scanner creates multiple effects and has a very impressive light output due to the 14-Watt diode. It is a free standing unit that can be wall or ceiling mounted via the supplied mounting bracket and is ideal for use in bars and nightclubs. With its 13 DMX channels users can control pan and tilt at controllable speeds speed, as well as the dimmer and strobe effects – all in mixtures of red, green and blue (also controllable). The head has room for nine gobos. ELECTROVISION A name unfamiliar to most in the world of MI, but not all and very much the onestop shop for all of the odds and ends your average DJ store does well from, Electrovision is a large supplier that includes extensive lighting and effects products in its enormous catalogue. The company has LED light boxes (reminiscent of the disco light boxes of the 70s), as well as four LED par can bars (although not packaged with stands, as is the Kam Parbar), more laser units than you can shake a stick at, mirror balls and columns (and the motors to drive them) and what the company calls ‘party packs’. It is this last, somewhat (it has to be said) tacky collection of items that has caused something of a buzz among more liberal stores. These packs contain nothing more than a blue, revolving police car light, a light ball and a mirror ball – all about the same


size – they cost the punter somewhere between ten to 15 quid and, most importantly, fly out of the door like warm bread. Obviously, if you are pinning your USP upon being the classiest store in town, you won’t touch these with a barge pole, but with kids buying them for their own amusement, as well as being a handy add-on for a small gigging band, these little plastic sets can earn a nice bonus. LASER UK This company specialises in supplying a full range of professional DPSS (Diode Pumped Solid State) laser devices and builds machines ranging from 25 megaWatts to 2.5 Watts in single green, single blue, RGY and full RGB colour. The manufacturer has its own R&D team that produces colourful, dynamic interesting shows and effects that keep, we are told, ‘audiences thrilled and amazed’. The company prides itself on its production techniques and sourcing quality components and has made itself an impressive little niche in UK manufacturing. Items of note from Laser UK include the Burst II, a one-colour (green) laser unit that delivers all of the classic, high-powered wash, strobe and conical effects people of a certain age know and love. OPTIKINETICS This is a company that has been around for donkeys’ years and very much at the forefront of what it does – primarily professional lighting supplies. That said, the adventurous would want to take a look at the odds and ends around Opti’s core products, such as the bubble machines or the strobes. Of the latter, the Opti Club Strobeflower is a unique, high visual impact strobe system that delivers high colour, multiple light beams, which can cut through any light show. The unit is controllable by two channels of DMX, one to control the flash rate of the lamp and the other the movement of the beams. Beyond that, for the customers moving towards lamps and moving heads with brackets for gobos, Optikinetics has (possibly) the most impressive selection of patterned and moving gobos on the market, From seasonal or themed ‘scenes’ to almost laser-like kaleidoscope effects, there is some entertainment to be had just by looking on the website, let alone fitting your lights with them. This is also an area worth considering for the dealer that wants to vamp up its shop displays.

CONTACTS LAMBA (KAM) .......................................................................01582 690600 AVSL (QTX) ............................................................................0845 270 2411 ELECTROVISION ....................................................................01744 745000 LASER-UK ...............................................................................01923 291543 OPTIKINETICS .........................................................................01582 411413


Stomp for cool We all know that being British these days means quality – and in the MI trade even more so. Gary Cooper chats to Rothwell Audio’s Andrew Rothwell and discovers the firm is well on its way to turning this quality into success…


ne of the great ironies of MI is the way British guitarists (and, it has to be said, many of us in the industry) feel a quickening of the pulse when we learn that a new product is made in the USA. There’s nothing essentially wrong with that – it’s where both rock n roll and jazz began and many of the best things about the guitar continue to come from America. But it must be galling for British manufacturers to see the automatic cool awarded to US products, which our own never quite seem to have – at least not automatically from birth. Perhaps it’s a case of familiarity breeding contempt? Whatever the reason, it’s ironic because the reverse tends to be true ‘over there’. Fortunately for UK manufacturers, in the USA the legend ‘Made in England’ is regarded as a badge of rank – particularly when applied to speakers, mixers and electronics. This reputation – forged by companies from Vox through Marshall to Neve and SSL, has assisted numerous


smaller UK businesses down the years and it has recently come to the aid of a relative newcomer, Rothwell Audio, whose range of highly praised effects pedals and tone improvers has begun to gain serious attention stateside. And now the corner is beginning to be turned for Rothwell in the UK, as steady

his equipment in the home market. A guitarist, he studied physics at university and ended-up an electronics engineer with British Aerospace, but he always felt the tugging of MI electronics pulling at him. “I wasn't really suited to the BAe environment, though, and eventually wanted to move on,” he says. “I've worked

“Our pedals aren’t cheap, but they’re still very affordable and they’re built to last.” Andrew Rothwell, Rothwell Audio persistence has recouped a series of excellent reviews and a steady growth in the number of major guitar shops stocking its products. Andrew Rothwell himself is phlegmatic about the time it has taken to establish

in recording studios and I've done stage and technical work on stages ranging from local pub level to Glastonbury. I've also run an electronics business making domestic hi-fi equipment since 1990, but in recent years the market for hi-fi has

seen a steady decline. At the same time, the market for ‘boutique’ effects pedals has been growing steadily and in 2007 Rothwell Audio Products launched its first guitar effects pedals – the Atomic Booster and the Hellbender. Both designs are original and both pedals were very well received. Since then we've concentrated more and more on the guitar side of the business and added more pedals and built up a dealer network in the UK and abroad.” Unusually, Rothwell insists that ‘made in the UK’ means exactly what it says. He feels his dealers are keen to support a genuinely British product, which is exactly what the are getting, with UK-made, polished and painted boxes, UK-made circuit boards – even the packaging is sourced at home. “Of course, it isn't cheap to manufacture products here and although our pedals are expensive compared to the cheapest on the market, they're still very affordable and they're built to last. The


customer has the benefit of UK after-sales service and they can even speak to the person who made the pedal if they really want to. “Our range of pedals is growing and we've just introduced a new compressor – the Love Squeeze. Again, this an original design (we don't do copies or clones or mods) and it has been very well received. I'm not aware of any other UK-made compressors and not aware of anything that sounds better. We have other designs on the drawing board and will be introducing more new pedals when the time is right. We're currently working on raising brand awareness and getting more dealers here and abroad. “What we’re offering retailers is something they can sell that’s a bit different – a high quality, British-made ‘boutique’ product that means they won’t be in a price war with every other dealer in their area. These things are available on the internet but as far as I’m aware they’re not heavily discounted, so retailers can preserve their margins and offer something that’s comparable, or better, than the American boutique stuff.” ALIENS ABROAD Andrew Rothwell admits that it is slightly irritating to see the special attention lavished on US-made pedals but he says he gets the benefit of the alien factor when the pedal is on the other foot. One of his top US retailers, for example, has shown tremendous interest in the pedals and is getting over 1,000 hits a day on its YouTube video of Rothwell’s gear, with sales there starting to follow that huge growth in interest. Of course, with the internet being what it is, some percentage of that 1,000 hits is likely to be coming from UK users. “The problem here is that people tend to see ‘home grown’ as being one step away from ‘home made’, so even though the UK has a fantastic pedigree in electronics, there’s always that slight wariness,” he says, ruefully. Had Rothwell considered getting a distributor so as to reach more retailers here? Rothwell says he has, but the extra cost burden that would impose on the product certainly doesn’t appeal. And when you look at Rothwell’s prices, you can see why. As things stand, the pedals are very competitive for fully UK-made and supported products. The Atomic Booster is £99, the F1 Booster is £119 and the Hellbender and the Switchblade sell for £139. Beyond these, you can retail a professionally made unit like the wonderfully named Major Bypass for a mere £69 and even Rothwell’s brand new dedicated guitar compressor, the Love Squeeze, retails for just £129. Adding another expensive element to the

distribution chain would simply rob the products of the attractive prices from which they currently benefit. “I have dabbled with sharing a rep, but that didn’t work out too well,” he says. “So what I’m doing instead is trying to get as many reviews as possible, put my own videos on YouTube and generally try to raise brand awareness in the UK.” There is more to the Rothwell brand than just its effects pedals, though. Also on offer is a series of tone boosters, like The Hot Little Knob – a passive booster for Strats. Rothwell says it’s a push-pull control that replaces one of the tone controls and gives an increase in volume and fattens the tone by placing the bridge and middle pickups in series. With the switch in the down position, it acts as a normal tone control and everything is as stock. Also in the range is The Cool Little Knob – an advanced coil tap for humbuckers. Rothwell says: “It will add clarity and sparkle to the top end without the volume drop and thin bottom end which conventional coil taps suffer from.” Then there’s the Neck Adder, which allows you to blend the neck pickup on a Strat with any other pickup combination, giving you the option of all three pickups together and bridge plus neck pickups. Again, these are not expensive items – ideal, you would think, for recessionary times when a guitarist wants to improve his rig and wants to spend money, just not enough to buy himself a new guitar or amp. The HLK, for example, sells at £35, which you would think could tempt almost anyone. The good news is that for retailers who do get on board, not only is Rothwell a growing brand that is likely to bring its own customers through the door (or at least have some customer recognition when mentioned), but there are also new products on the drawing board to encourage repeat business. NEW GEAR ON THE HORIZON “There's a tremolo due to be available later this year. The difference with this one is that there's a spectrum control on it. The spectrum knob controls the frequencies which will be modulated by the tremolo. When it's set to full range, the full range is modulated, i.e. the volume goes up and down. When the spectrum knob is set to HF (high frequency), just the high frequencies are modulated, so the tone modulates between bright and dark. The spectrum knob can be set anywhere between the two extremes,” he explains. Could it be that Rothwell is poised to make the break into the big time? On this evidence it looks like a strong possiblity, and with such excellent products it would certainly be well-deserved. ROTHWELL AUDIO: 01204 366133


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From pillar to

Post The Sound Post Ltd has arguably done more than anyone to both make orchestral strings more appealing and accessible by developing a contemporary image and maintaining standards while squeezing prices. Gary Cooper finds out where its wonder stuff originates…


he rock n roll side of MI may have most of the glamour, but it’s the market for traditional instruments that has been growing healthily during the past few years – particularly the educational sector, which has benefited from increased government spending. And it is the bowed string sector of that which has produced one of the UK’s most dynamic and interesting small-tomedium companies, The Sound Post Ltd. The name might seem a little cumbersome (and it is apparently important that we get it right as there is more than one ‘Sound Post’ but only one ‘The Sound Post Ltd’), but that is the only thing awkward about this forward-looking business, which has pulled-off the impressive feat of winning three MIA awards in recent years, including the coveted ‘Best Medium Supplier’ accolade in 2007 and 2008. That’s a big achievement for a relative newcomer to a longestablished market sector, so MI Pro asked the company’s commercial director, Justin Wagstaff, what it is that he thinks TSP is doing differently and what that can mean for retailers. But first, what is The Sound Post Ltd and where has it come from? It turns out that the now 13-strong business was established in 1993 by the late Stephen Jocelyn, a professional cellist who wanted to improve the quality of student instruments available in the UK. The Primavera range was introduced in 1995 and, TSP says, revolutionised the student violin market by introducing, for the first time, styrofoam cases and tailpieces with integral adjusters as part of the outfit: “ well as a much improved quality of workmanship in the student violin”. Unlike many in these recessionary times, The Sound Post Ltd is currently recruiting and is doing so from a position of strength,


Justin Wagstaff reveals: “We’ve basically doubled the size of the business in the past four years. As to why – primarily, you can’t get away from the fact that there has been money in education and we are in the student violin business so we’ve obviously benefited massively from that. That said, though, if you look at the other parts of our business, they too have grown by the 30 or 40 per cent that we grew last year. The fact that we’ve gone into one or two new areas, more on the accessory side, have helped to balance the business.” DRIVING UP THE STANDARD Though Chinese manufacturing has done much to make instruments affordable for beginners throughout music, it can’t be denied that there have also been some pretty nasty products arriving on these shores at times and one of The Sound Post’s achievements has been to help drive up standards, so that children are not struggling with instruments which will do nothing but hinder their progress. “That was Stephen Jocelyn’s primary motivation – he thought teachers and pupils deserved better,” Wagstaff says. “And that’s something we follow. Every day we’re striving to make sure our instruments are as good as possible and the best value for money we can find. Achieving that comes down to me. I’ve been in the violin business for coming up to 20 years. I did my grounding working in a specialist violin shop handling real violins, including some of the old Italian masters’ work and my expertise is to make sure that, whatever price point we’re looking at, the instrument still has to be correctly proportioned – bridges and string heights have to be right, for example. The violin is a difficult instrument to play and if these


things are right it’s that little bit easier. That means me going out there, talking to the makers in the language they understand, but also talking to our customers in the language they talk.” STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE Is it not the case that most distributors source most instruments from the same makers? If so, how does TSP differentiate its products? “There are two ways you can do it. You can take all your instruments from one source and, by and large, that tends to be what most people do. The other way is to work with violin makers, which is what we do, and tell them what we want and work with them to produce something that’s a little bit different. That’s what I’ve always tried to do. Fundamentally, we’re working with a 400 year old design and there’s not much you can do to change it, though there are certain things – if you look at varnish and lacquers, for example, you can do things a little differently. But also, I don’t buy from one place. We currently use three workshops for our instruments. The factory that makes the Primavera violins is very good at making student violins but it doesn’t have the expertise to be making instruments for the next step up, so for that level, we use someone else and for the very top, the instruments under our Heritage label, we are sourcing proper violins made in a very small workshop by very skilled makers.” Getting the instruments right is, of course, only one part of the equation. However good they may be, if the service and backup is lacking you

certainly won’t be winning MIA awards from UK retailers, so how does TSP approach that? “It is our daily battle. Our competitors are large companies with super brands and they’ve been around for a lot longer than we have. So our marketing has to be very strong – our website is constantly updated, keeping it as fresh as possible and that’s increasingly important, as is going and talking with teachers. That is vital, because it can be a little prescriptive at schools –

fortunate that our customers recognised us for that. It’s unbelievable how often someone will phone up on a Thursday and say they have a customer who has a gig at the weekend and who wants a certain brand of strings that they don’t have. If they do, we will get the strings to them and they remember it.” MI veterans will know only too well that the taps of educational funding can be turned off, as well as on, and with cutbacks more or less guaranteed whoever wins the

“We work very hard, every day with our service. That’s something that has always been very important to us. In order to make sure that you are remembered, you have to do things properly.” Justin Wagstaff, The Sound Post Ltd often the teacher writes a name down on a piece of paper, which mum and dad take to a music shop – and that is our daily challenge. “More and more authorities are now choosing Primavera and it takes a lot of time and attention talking to people to achieve that.” No doubt the company offers fine instruments and good service. No doubt all TSP’s competitors would say they do, too, so what does Wagstaff believe to be the essential extra? “We work very hard, every day with our service. That’s something that has always been very important to us. In order to make sure that you are remembered, you have to do things properly – and when it was suggested that we put ourselves forward for the MIA award, we were

next election, how has Wagstaff and the TSP team sought to ensure continued growth? “This is something that I’ve been conscious of almost since the money became available. It is going to run out at the end of next year and we are just at the start of a new marketing campaign featuring Erica Nockalls, who is a very talented violinist with the The Wonder Stuff, which have been touring extensively and are backing the Proclaimers. She has also just brought out an album. She uses an electric violin which we distribute and one of our Heritage violins. “We want to use Erica to give the message that, yes, we are very strong in education, but there are also instruments for young musicians going to university, or professionals looking for a second

instrument, so they don't have to do Proms in the Park with their pension. We’ve got instruments that are perfectly suited to this and around the country we have instruments in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Ulster Symphony and we’ve actually got a whole quartet of instruments in the Liverpool Philharmonic. “We are making our profile a little more adult orientated and have started making moves into the Continent, as well. Beyond that, we have developed strings and accessories which are now between a quarter and a third of our business. We’ve also moved into all the parts that violin makers need and we've supported the British Violin Makers’ Association for a number of years. We’ve reached a point now where those people who were buying one or two brands of strings from us can continue to get all their strings, but can also get all the chin rests and mutes that they need. That makes each order substantially bigger and it adds up. TALK TO THE EXPERTS “Ultimately, I think what we have to offer is expertise. We only do the violin family – some of our suppliers have offered us other things, but we made a decision that our core business is our knowledge. People understand that and they like to use our expertise – we get dealers phoning with a customer in front of them who doesn’t know what kind of strings he wants, but can we make a recommendation? You can’t quantify how important a service like that is. “I suppose if I had to put it in a nutshell, I’d say that if your problem is violin related, then the solution is The Sound Post.” And a lot of MIA members would seem to agree. THE SOUND POST LTD: 01985 851122



Revolution in the Head A new line of headphones from Shure UK demonstrates a confident step into a busy market for a distributor more traditionally associated with the trappings of the live stage. Rob Power cups his ear to find out more…


hanks to decades producing some of the most famous microphones in the world, Shure is a brand that is familiar to pretty much every musician who has ever sung in front of a crowd. The latest products to be unveiled under the famed Shure banner, however, are a step away from the traditional fare of the company as it lifts the curtain on a new line of headphones for the market. The new headphones, the SRH 240, 440, 840 and 750, all carry on the Shure traditions of rugged build quality and excellent sound quality and look set to make quite an impression on what is without question a competitive and busy part of the market. “There are four headphones in the new range, all with different features,” says Shure’s Paul Crognale. “There is an entry level headphone with consumers in mind, the SRH 240, two pairs of headphones aimed at the studio professional – the SRH 440 and SRH 840 and another super pair due at the end of October for DJs in the form of the SRH 750. In terms of features (excluding the entry model) they all come with a bayonet clip to securely lock the detachable cable and have a strong focus on comfort.”


So while the headphones themselves have a clear appeal to various customer profiles, with so much competition vying for attention, how can Shure make its presence felt beyond more established headphone manufacturers? “The headphone marketplace is an extremely competitive one” explains Crognale. “We have our SM58 in the wired microphone category and obviously there

question is whether Shure plans to make inroads into the headphone market. “That would be telling,” says Crognale. “Our efforts in the high-end earphone market have been rewarded and there are no doubt going to be additions to both our earphone and headphone offerings in the future.” In the meantime however, Shure has put in the legwork to help retail with a fine line of support.

“The headphone market is an extremely competitive one, but we have a lot of experience in earphones for professionals.” Paul Crognale, Shure Distribution UK are equivalents or industry standards in the headphone category. We have been producing top-end in-ear earphones for stage professionals and ‘prosumers’ for some time and taking this experience across to a related market seems to be a perfect line extension. Initial reactions from press and customers have been very positive and it is great to take on new customers such as HMV.” An increased high street presence will no doubt help boost the brand’s broader appeal and, with that in mind, the

“We have great POS available to all customers who commit to the new offering,” continues Crognale. “POS is really important for us, especially when it comes to new products. The POS ships with three sets of interchangeable graphics so the dealer can decide which to use and features a selection of tracks across different genres.” Looking at the broader picture and with the market tentatively recovering from what has been a very tough few months, the confidence implied in this step into

the headphone market suggests Shure is coping admirably well with the current economic situation. “Everyone is finding it tough,” says Crognale. “We have some strong brands in our portfolio and are confident we will get through anything thrown at us. We will be receiving shipments of our new PG42 and PG27 USB mics at the end of September and the DJ phones in October. I can’t say anything just yet about new releases for 2010, but be sure there are some great things in development.” With new products and a confident launch in a new market, things certainly seem to be looking strong and steady with Shure these days. If the company’s pedigree is anything to go by we can expect smooth runnings from the microphone maestro for some time yet. SHURE: 01992 703058


Just a few of our Leading Brands...

Blueridge have taken America by storm with their authentic vintage style guitars, and now we have made them available in the UK. This range, renowned for spectacular value for money, continues to receive excellent reviews in all the best known guitar press, including Guitar & Bass, Guitarist, Guitar Buyer, Acoustic Magazine... For the Gypsy in your soul! These beautiful guitars pay homage to the Selmer and Maccaferri guitars of the early 20th century. They have solid tops, are a joy to play, and look and sound like the real thing, right down to the excellent reproduction of the original tailpiece. More to the point, they are very affordably priced.

The best selling aluminium whistles in the UK. Renowned for their clear sound, they appeal to whistle players of all standards. Though ideal for beginners, they are professional instruments and are used on stage by many leading players.

The Kentucky mandolins are the pinnacle of affordable bluegrass instruments, and offer exceptional quality at excellent prices. These mandolins are a very welcome addition to our growing section of great quality bluegrass instruments, which includes mandolins, banjos, dobros, guitars and more.

News: SK120 Rated ‘Exceptional’ in Acoustic Magazine. “A wonderful little amp designed by people who understand what musicians need”. Also Guitar & Bass have just awarded the SK60 a massive 82%. We distribute these ShireKing Acoustic Amps along with Headway’s very popular pickups for acoustic instruments, including the Snake 3 and SA1 pickups, and the ‘Band’ violin and cello pickups.

A competitively priced range of student squeezeboxes, including Piano Accordions from 12 to 120 Bass, B/C, D/G and Cajun one-row melodeons, and Anglo and English concertinas, all ideal for beginners.

The leading brand of resonator guitars, with a long US heritage, available in the UK exclusively from Gremlin Music. Saga Music, have applied the same dedication to quality to these guitars as they have to the Gitane and Blueridge guitars, and the results are spectacular.

A professional quality range of Acoustic Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos & Fiddles, Basses, cases, electrics and more. This is the largest range of mandolin family instruments, banjos and ukuleles in the UK, and the Ashbury name is associated with high quality and excellent value.

As well as being the first point of call for all the hard to find traditional musical instruments your customers are asking you for, Gremlin Music is a one stop shop for any musical instrument retailer. We can supply a massive range of acoustic musical instruments, spares, accessories, strings, books and DVDs. Become a Gremlin Dealer and give your customers a better choice! We pride ourselves on the personal touch - you can always reach us by phone during working hours, and we’ll always send your order as fast as possible, no matter what the size. If you’re a dealer, you can browse our website for prices (retail and wholesale), contact us by email, and place orders online! We’ve been in the business for over 25 years, and can offer you an experienced, friendly and professional service.

Tel: +44 (0) 1903 203044 (9.30 - 5.30 Mon - Fri) | Unit A, Easting Close, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 8HQ



MI Pro finds out that Matt Esau has to read and respond to four email accounts every day, logs all of SCV’s PR and adverts, and even sorts out stock problems...


start at nine o’clock. I make a cup of tea first thing and listen out for the sandwich van in order to buy some fruit to get me going. In terms of work, the first thing I do is print out invoices – it would normally be an administrative thing, but we’ve switched to a system where we are emailing all our invoices out, so I have to check that every morning and make sure it’s working. TIME FOR EMAIL TIMES FOUR After that I check through my emails. I’ve got four inboxes to check every morning: there’s my own email, a PR inbox, a marketing inbox and we also have a general email address, which I check for different people. I’ll then distribute that around, making sure nothing gets missed. In terms of the emails themselves, they could be anything from new product releases to requests for images or magazine reviews. I often have to chase magazines to get kit back, which can take a while. All this can take a couple of hours if there’s a lot in there, so it keeps me busy. Then I’ll move on to anything else that needs sorting out, like sending out loan stock or sourcing pictures. Once I’ve worked through all that, there are normally a few magazines that have come in through the post, so I’ll go through and read any reviews and PR that may have been


published and check all of the adverts in order to make sure they are where we wanted them and look as we wanted them. I log all of that material, which keeps me in touch with what’s going on, so we can try and improve our relationships with publishers. I also scan in all the PR and any news or editorial that’s relevant, and then email that round all the sales reps and staff, as well as sending it on to the manufacturers (whether it’s good

check and they’ll come back to me with any errors. I have to sort those out and then make adjustments if needs be. I started here in 2002, so I’ve been here a while now and I pretty much know how everything works. It’s a very friendly company to work for, and it’s almost family oriented. It’s not particularly corporate, and in that sense the people who work here find it an easy-going atmosphere that’s quite relaxed, even though we all

I scan in all the PR and any news or editorial that’s relevant and then email that around all the sales reps and staff, as well as the manufacturers, so they can get some accurate feedback. or bad) so that they can get some accurate feedback and so they can see we’re working for them. It’s not really part of my communications manager job but I look after stock movements as well. We have several warehouses and once stock comes in brand new it goes into our new UK warehouse, but we have warehousing for loan stock, goods that need fixing, and B-stock. I make sure all of that is in place, and the warehouses do a daily stock

work hard. It’s nice to be selfmanaged and to be able to get on with things. It’s also close to home, and my commute is very easy – we’re in Essex, and I live in East London, so it only takes me 15 minutes to get into work in the mornings. I started here doing telesales, then I was the sales office manager looking after the sales office, which I still do to a degree, and now I work with PR and marketing.





The Music Sales Group



NEWS Intermusic at Shine Week, SAE Online, Biggars back a year

Faith in humankind is a balalaika

INDIE PROFILE The Guitar Store, Southampton

LOCATION REPORT What’s the reading in Reading

Welcome Rocktronic Buying group changes name to consolidate image to both trade and public, looks to grow consortium in specific areas


he Firm buying group has re-branded as Rocktronic Music Stores. The name change was agreed at this year’s conference hosted by the buying group back in April. The Rocktronic name was already in use as the ‘public facing’ name used by members of the consortium at consumer shows, for combined advertising campaigns and is also used for the group’s warehousing operation, but of course the trade knew the group as The Firm. Now the two ‘identities’ and the two companies, Rocktronic Music Stores and Rocktronic Warehousing, are consolidated under the same name. John Hulke, one of the the directors of Rocktronic Music Stores, explained the reason for the change. “We are presently expanding into new areas, including the expansion of our membership and warehousing facilities. We needed a brand that represented all our activities and our existing ‘Rocktronic’ brand fitted the bill.” The delay in the announcement has been the simple matter of registering the name with all of the relevant authorities. The Firm (originally an acronym for Federation of Independent Retail Music stores) was established in the late 1980s by about half a dozen stores, which faded somewhat during the recession of the 1990s. In 2000, with Fret Music’s Eddie Hailwood at the helm, the group returned with considerable fanfare and immediately grew to around 30 stores, with a structure based on the Euronics buying consortium of white goods retailers. The obvious major purpose of such a group is that combined buying means member stores can benefit from maximum purchasing numbers and thus the best discounts on orders. As a major buyer, the group also enjoys exclusive

Rocktronic chairman, Tony White and the office team (l to r) Ian Barnes and John Hulke deals with various manufacturers and suppliers from time to time. Now, with Bonner’s boss, Tony White in the chair, Rocktronic is looking to further consolidate its position as an even stronger purchasing force in MI retail. Hulke explained that the consortium is now putting out an offer to other independent MI retailers to take advantage of the benefits Rocktronic can provide them. “The current trading conditions mean that it is more important than ever for retailers to be part of a buying group such as ours. The changes we are now implementing will make it far easier for retailers to join us. To help this along, we

will be holding a presentation in the area where we feel Rocktronic is underrepresented.” The presentation will be held at the Birch Hotel, Manchester Road, Birch, Heywood, Manchester OL10 2QD on September 7th at 7pm and all general MI dealers in the area are welcome to attend. Seating is limted, which means that dealers wishing to attend should call Hulke at the Rocktronic office. “Rocktronic has members from Inverness to Devon, but, if you’ll forgive the mixed imagery, we are top heavy in the South and we really want to encourage new members in the Liverpool and Manchester regions,” explained Hulke.

“There is a limit to how many members we can take on before we end up competing with ourselves, but at the moment we are looking to find 25 to 30 new members.” Criteria for joining involves a membership fee and the ability to show good trading for two to three years. Each individual application is appraised and although the vast majority of Rocktronic members are general MI stores, this is not a hard and fast prerequisite. ROCKTRONIC: 01903 744872



SAE brings courses online Festival ups footfall Audio educator offers web-based film, game and music production courses THE SCHOOL of Audio Engineering (SAE) is now offering 22 courses online, expected to rise to 25 and beyond soon, bringing the school’s production and programming education to homes around the world and to people too busy to take on a full time educational course. The courses on the website cover every aspect of creative technology, including camera tracking, 3D character design, writing music for visuals, mic placement and recording techniques. There are 16 learning advisors on hand to offer help and advice and students are encouraged to use the site to interact with these advisors and other students.

The SAE has more than 50 campuses around the world, which means the courses are available in English, Spanish, Italian and German and the International Graduate College is planning to integrate with the SAE Online courses to offer a masters degree in conjunction

with Middlesex University. Additional post-grad development is also in the pipeline. The games programming has been developed with SAE’s sister company Qantm, which specialises in such courses. SAE: 01865 787150

Biggars’ big celebration Glasgow retailer weathers the storm to celebrate a year back in business BIGGARS, THE Glasgow MI retailer, is celebrating a year back in business, having survived a brief period in administration in 2008, after which David and Gill Hutchison re-opened the Sauchiehall Street store. The pair made a further personal investment in the business, as well as receiving a significant additional financial injection from a private backer. The shop has lowered its cost base and refocused on its traditional strengths in orchestral retailing.

Before the administration, the Hutchisons had recognised more difficult trading conditions ahead and took steps to strengthen the business. These included merging the sheet music and instrumental departments, which has allowed better access to Biggars’ staff, who are now focused on one area of the shop. The owners are also currently working on a revamped Biggars website, which will allow it to compete more evenly with online retailers.

David Hutchison said: “The entire retail market is suffering at the moment, but we were never in any doubt that Biggars would remain an integral part of Glasgow’s music scene. “Unfortunately change takes time and we simply ran out of it. One year on we are leaner and fitter and well-placed to move forwards. Our customers are the most important thing and we want them to think of Biggars as the number one shop in Glasgow.” BIGGARS: 0141 332 8676

Intermusic’s work with Shine Week festival encourages youngsters to go to MI stores

INTERMUSIC, IN partnership with Shine Week, a national festival that celebrates youth talent, has driven youngsters to 35 independent music retailers across England throughout July. Thousands of schools and organisations registered for this year’s event, in turn promoting a Shine guitar giveaway, reaching 2,000,000 people. They were encouraged to enter a prize draw at their local participating MI retailer, each one of whom was asked to run a Shine Week event in store or in the community. The point was to drive children to their local retailer and help them connect with the local music community through that retailer. Every participating retailer received a Shine guitar to give away. David Cooper of One Man Band in Banbury was one of the retailers to take part. His store held a talent competition in its community, which

received a lot of support. “It’s brilliant that a distributor is actually doing something proactive to create some interest,” he said. “Intermusic gave us a reason to go out and market ourselves in the quiet summer months, one with the clout of a national event behind it and I think we made the most of it.” “We negotiated a privileged position as Shine Week only partnered with three other corporate brands,” explained David Rushworth, director of MI at Intermusic. “The organisers were convinced by our values and our promise to encourage retailers to events.” Shine Week itself ran from July 6th to 10th. Retailers had access to a media pack to help promote their events and regional and national publicity experts who were on hand to promote events or young talent on the shop’s behalf. INTERMUSIC: 0151 342 5760

A Lifetime of Satisfaction In 2007, we introduced a unique Lifetime Warranty* across our 40 Series studio microphones and in 2009 we are going a step further and extending this offer to include both our Artist Elite and Artist Series ranges of wired microphones. Unsurpassed in the market, our Lifetime Warranty offers genuine added value to every sale and reinforces our commitment to unbeatable customer service. Call us today on 0113 277 1441 – and experience more. *Terms and conditions apply. Visit for full details.




Is business up or down compared to this time last year? We moved to a much nicer location and if you’ve seen our shop front (see below) – it looks like a Fender Superchamp – we’ve had a lot of exposure because of that and we’ve stepped up our game quite a lot. Business has definitely been up – it’s been better than we expected. How do you market the shop? Our shop front has been a big factor and we’ve got a new website that will be ready to go soon. We’ve also got a full e-commerce shop going for the first time. The whole reason we did the shop front was to generate more publicity, although we didn’t appreciate just how much publicity we would get. I was answering phone calls from America, Japan and Australia and for a couple of weeks we were everywhere. When it comes to traditional advertising we stick to the magazines we like – Guitarist, Guitar Buyer and Total Guitar. How do you compete with the online competition? It seems to have got better since the Gibson deal, which has worked out very well for us. More

distributors are coming round to the fact that if they police their prices and prevent internet muggers getting hold of stock and getting rid of it, then shops will stock their gear. We’ve always done Gibson and two or three years ago we had maybe ten Gibsons in the shop. Now, we’ve probably got 40 on the wall and I definitely wouldn’t be doing that under the old arrangements. There’s no escaping online competition, but if prices are the same on a product and you can confidently say there are no cheaper prices, then that can work out well. Brands like Tanglewood and other brands that we do a lot of business with all look after their prices properly. What do you consider to be your main strengths and weaknesses? The location of our store is great, and the size of it is very nice. The only weakness at this point is that we could do with extra space, as we’d like to stock more lines, especially of Martin, Gibson and Fender. It’s tricky to know when it’s right to expand in the current economic climate. Also, we appreciate the fact that most people think that staff in guitar shops will give customers attitude. So we always make sure we recruit

friendly, helpful people and I really do think that we give outstanding customer service. We’re all passionate gear heads. How do you ensure a good level of customer service? It comes down to picking the right guys for the job, so that they know they are here to help people in what is probably one of the last true customer service industries left. What would be the one product you could not do without? Gibson as a line. It’s been really good for us, it’s a great company to work with and the people there are doing everything right. It’s got great quality control and the UK staff are second to none. It’s one of the few brands that we feel we would sell a lot more if only we could get more stock. How can the industry do more to support retail? Follow the Gibson model. I would say protecting the retailer and setting prices, doing more to protect them. We’ve had enough of putting up with distributors and manufacturers that don’t care about anyone beyond the three big retailers.

FACTS & FIGURES Address: 62 Commercial Road, Southampton, Hampshire Phone: 023 8033 9668 Owner: Jamie Goatley Established: 1987 Employees: Five Best selling lines: Gibson, Fender, Martin




Reading Sitting happily just off the M4, Reading has less to offer its musical inhabitants these days than it had in the past. Rob Power investigates…

DAWSONS After plenty of research and an awful lot of driving around, in the end Reading town centre offered up only three options for its musicians and part of that, one suspects, is due to the presence of a simply massive Dawsons admirably placed on a bustling main road a mere hop skip and a jump away from the train station. As you might expect from somewhere so big, pretty much every box is ticked in terms of product: bundles of Fender and Gibson electrics and acoustics, Roland electronic kits aplenty, Yamaha in abundance, more sheet music that you could eat in a lifetime and a well stocked pro audio section. Sparklingly clean, with plenty of helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff of hand, you can’t help but be impressed. The prices, as you would expect from such a big chain, are kept low, and these is basically very little that can be said against Dawsons. Except, well, there’s something not quite right, especially to those of us who like our music shops to be homely and comfortable. It’s simply a problem many of us have with shops of this size. There is absolutely no questioning the quality of the stock choices – pretty much everything I’d like to have seen from any number of ranges (including instruments I haven’t seen anywhere else for some time) were on display and there are enough bits


and pieces around the place to keep locals returning time and time again. Dealing in facts for a second though, this is a store that is well presented, busy, full of pleasant staff and excellent kit and one that seems to be doing very well, regardless how old sods like me might feel about its slightly impersonal size. HICKIES As the only general MI alternative to Dawsons in the town centre, Hickies is very much at the other end of the MI store scale. A small, two-storey shop with a piano repair and showroom upstairs and a

doubt a strong area for Hickies, with Yamaha, Buffet and Stentor all on display in well-maintained cabinets and the staff appear relaxed, easy to get on with and full of information. It is situated in an excellent location right on the main drag in the centre, within spitting distance of a number of bus stops and right around the corner from a large shopping centre. The window displays are nicely put together and eye-catching, whilst the interior as a whole is inviting and friendly. Whilst it noticeably lacks any of the high end gear that Dawsons is able to stock, it makes up for it with buckets of charm and

After plenty of research and an awful lot of driving around, Reading town centre offered up only three options for its musicians. Pretty good options, though. mainly guitar and sheet music section downstairs, it’s a pleasant enough place to while away a half an hour or so. A nice selection of suitably esoteric guitars, no doubt designed to provide an alternative to the almost entirely Fender and Gibson-based stocking choices of Dawsons, gives the place a nice air of quirkiness. Brass and woodwind are no

plenty of character, as well as an excellent printed music section that outstrips even its hefty near-neighbour’s offering. GUITARWORKS At first glance, the Guitarworks looks a little tucked away in its Market Place location. Stand back for a minute, though, and you realise that this is something of a

busy thoroughfare between the busy centre and the even busier Oracle shopping centre. There is constant traffic past (and through) the shop. Once inside, you see a clean, tidy, well stocked guitar specialist that caters to pretty much everybody from the beginner to the occasional collector. Big sellers are Tanglewood and Fender and on the amp side of things, Blackstar, and the store has a good collection of all of these. It has also recently taken on the exclusive (for reading, of course) dealership for Hughes & Kettner amps. Guitarworks is very much a guitarists store. The guys working there all know their stuff, all play and all have a marrowdeep love of planks of wood with wires stretched across them – and the machines that make them go really loud. The store has two private demo rooms – one stocked with various amps and the other stocked with high-end acoustic and electric guitars. In addition to this, there is also a range of luthier-type services from guitar set-ups to repairs. There is also a pretty efficient (if not hi tech) website. Things get interesting here. Most online stores ship you a guitar as it comes in from the manufacturer – which usually means paying to get it set up before it is really useable. Guitarworks sets up guitars to the customers’ specification before it is sent out. This is an impressive little shop and worth a visit. miPRO SEPTEMBER 2009 51


A relationship that lasts forever Treat your customers right and one day they might come into your shop bearing an armful of balalaikas...


ometimes, when the wind is blowing in the right direction and the gods are smiling, customers can really reinvigorate your faith in humanity. As anyone who has to deal with the great unwashed on a daily basis will know, it can be a thankless task, a relentless grind of familiar questions that can turn your brain to mush, so when someone actually manages to brighten up your day, it’s a cause for celebration. Take, for example, the rather middle class mother of two who wandered into our establishment recently, looking nothing short of utterly bewildered. Clearly unfamiliar with the devilish world of rock n roll, she marched up to the counter and proceeded to tell us that, should we want it, she has an instrument for us. She didn’t know what it was, only that it had belonged to her recently deceased uncle and


was triangular. Our suspicions duly aroused, she tootled off to the car, returning as promised with an odd triangle shaped case. A brief inspection revealed a beautiful, Russian-made balalaika that, while clearly a few years old, was in excellent condition and made a simply stunning noise when given a cursory pluck. Love at first strum, without a doubt. And so, oft overlooked three stringer in hand, we proceeded to ask our favourite local mother what she would like for this particular piece of musical miscellany – her reply? “Stick a tenner in a charity box, love. It’s yours if you want it.” An epic win, I think you’ll agree. What all this goes to illustrate is that music shops the country over are places where Good Things Happen. Customers begin or continue musical relationships that will last the rest of their lives under these roofs and for all the hard

work and pricing problems and the bloody internet, it is, at the end of the day, all well worth the effort. Problems this month have piled up thick and fast, but the selfless gesture of our balalaika-rich customer kept us all going. The internet remains our primary battleground as we attempt to raise the shop’s profile. Things are moving along, and while we’ve yet to achieve the sort of online sales that will have GAK shitting its pants, customers are definitely using the site and word is spreading, so it’s slow but steady all the way there. Internet dabblings aside, we’ve had a rush of left handers in recently, and you

can’t help but feel sorry for them. While we do our best to stock as many lefties as we can – and it’s a damn sight more than many of our competitors, let me tell you – there’s never enough choice, enough variation, enough shiny new guitars for eager (if back to front) hands to fondle and cherish. Which is an almighty shame, because at the moment it feels as if about 40 per cent of our customer base is made up of left hookers – who all want new guitars. Not a bad situation to be in, granted, but it is when the amount of time it takes to get some models is long enough to learn to play the thing the other way round. Still, mustn’t grumble, eh...

NEXT MONTH... A plague of schoolkids descends as the schools re-open.


MIA NEWS an update from your industry trade association

Call for live music concessions The MIA is central to the lobbying collective aiming to redress the difficulties for smaller venues hosting music THE MIA’S Paul McManus is soon to meet with Lord Clement-Jones to see how the industry can lend its full support for the Bill described below. A simultaneous lobbying campaign is also being waged with the Department for Culture over similar concessions involving UK Music, the Musician’s Union, the MIA and others. Speaking in the House of Lords recently, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones announced his intention to introduce a Private Members’ Bill that will provide a conditional exemption for live music in small venues licensed under the Licensing Act 2003. Lord Clement-Jones argued that, so far, the Licensing Act 2003 had done little to promote live music performance and it was clear that amendments to allow concessions for certain live music venues had been futile. “There is no doubt that the current minor variations order is inadequate and will not deliver what we on these benches, the Select Committee or UK Music want

Where would Steve Vai (centre) have been without a small venue to spark his career? to see,� he said. “Minor variations to an existing licence are no substitute for the introduction of a new small-venues exemption under the Act.�

The intended solution of a Private Members’ Bill will consist of three main proposals, listed here.  To provide a total exemption for

hospitals, schools and colleges from the requirement to obtain a licence for live music when providing entertainment where alcohol is not sold and involves no more than 200 people  To exempt live music in small venues from the Licensing Act, conditional on Section 177, which will be triggered so that a licence for live music can be reviewed and if complaints by local residents are made, then there can be a full, proper hearing.  To reintroduce the two-in-a-bar rule so that any performance of unamplified live music by up to two people will be exempt from the need for a licence. A transcript of the debate can be found at This campaign is of major importance if we are to ensure that smaller venues are not ‘put off’ by bureaucracy from staging live music. Please contact for any ideas or suggestions you might have as to how you could support a campaign for the Member’s Bill.

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PEAVEY TNT BASS AMP £???? They say: Peavey engineers push the boundaries of technology on this new model, setting a new standard in bass amplification. For: Bassists Range: Peavey bass combos Spec: 600-Watt, footswitchable optical compressor and crunch (distorts only HF), seven-band graphic eq with hi/low shelving control, bright/contour switches, effects loop, headphone out, 15” custom speaker. From: Peavey 01536 461234

VOX VT SERIES AMPS £???? They say: The latest expansion of its line of Valvetronix tube-powered modeling amplifiers. For: Guitarists Range: Vox Valvetronics Spec: Four combos in range: five-Watt VT15, 30-Watt VT30, 50-Watt VT50 and 100-Watt VT100. 22 amp models, 12 FX models, 66 presets, eight footswitchable user programs, speakeremulated headphone/line-out. From: Korg 01908 857100




They say: A true plug-and-play solution for monophonic MIDI guitar. For: Guitarists Range: Sonuus music products Spec: No special pickup or modifications needed, universal guitar input, pitch-bend determination, low latency, note detection, built-in tuner, battery powered. From: Et Cetera 01706 285650

They say: Gives players nearly infinite control over eq and gain structure. For: Bassists Range: Peavey bass amps Spec: Dual-channel 300-Watt tube amp, three 12AX7, two 12AT7 preamp valves, eight matched EL34 valves, universal power supply, three-band active/mid-cut eq, nine-band graphic eq, ‘feed forward’ compressor. From: Peavey 01536 461234

STAGG 500 BA115 UK BASS COMBO £425 They say: As much power as you could ever need and offering the best value for money on the market. For: Bassists Range: Stagg bass amps Spec: 500-Watt, 16 Ohm solid state bass combo with 15-inch speaker, passive/active impedance switch, three-band eq, Speakon out for external speaker, steel pull-out handles, casters. From: EMD 01293 862612

STAGG 500 BAH UK BASS HEAD £250 They say: High-powered gigging bass head for the precocious beginner. For: Bassists Range: Stagg bass amps Spec: 500-Watt, eight-Ohm solid state bass head, passive/active impedance switch, three-band eq, ompression, FX send/return, dual Speakon out for external speakers. From: EMD 01293 862612

STAGG 150 GC412A ANGLED CAB £289 They say: The coolest cab for any backline – at a remarkable price. For: Guitarists Range: Stagg cabs Spec: 4x12-inch angled, semi open-back speaker cabinet, 150-Watts, eight-Ohm, steel pull-out handles, casters. From: EMD 01293 862612


BASS AND GUITAR • NEW PRODUCTS ARIA ELECORD FET ELITE ELECTRO £199 They say: Maintained longevity within the company catalogue for over 40 years. For: Guitarists Range: Elecord Fet series Spec: Now available in five colours and as left handed option, spruce top, mahogany back, sides & neck, rosewood fingerboard & bridge, 1/4-inch and balanced XLR outs, ET-3 preamp, four-band eq. From: Aria UK 01483 238720

ARIA IGB-56 BASS GUITAR £419 They say: A modern, ergonomic body design with generous cutaways. For: Bassists Range: Aria IGB series Spec: Figured maple capping over alder body, maple set-neck, rosewood fretboard, two Seymour Duncan SB102 soap bar pickups, pickup blend control, chrome satin hardware, active bass & treble control. From: Aria UK 01483 238720



They say: Some things are just too good to mess with. For: Guitarists Range: Dano electrics Spec: Dano swivel rosewood bridge & vibrato, alnico single coil Lipstick pickups, satin finish bodies, 'zero gloss' nickel hardware. Available in black, butterscotch, cobalt blue, limey green, agent orange & red finishes. Also baritone version (£319). From: JHS 0113 286 5381

They say: Probably the most popular guitar in the amazingly popular pre-distressed Icon series. For: Left-handed guitarists Range: Vintage Icon Spec: Flame maple-capped mahogany body and set neck, Wilkinson humbuckers & hardware, distressed finish. From: JHS 0113 286 5381

FRAMUS IDEAL CLASSICAL GUITAR FROM £79.90 They say: Framus’ first ever purely acoustic instrument ever. For: Guitarist Range: New Framus product Spec: Nylon string Spanich style classical guitar, spruce-ply top, ply-basswood back & sides, available as 1/2, 3/4 & full size. Ships with Rockbag. Also available as pack with guitar tuner and polishing cloth. From: Warwick +49 3742 2555 3110

VINTAGE V52 & V62 ICONS £299 They say: Vintage has added four interesting takes on the stalwart design to its catalogue. For: Guitarists Range: Vintage Icon Spec: Alder body, maple neck (V62 with rosewood fingerboard), alnico pickups, T-type horizontal three-way pickup selector, butterscotch & ashblonde distressed finishes. Also available as non-distressed (£239). From: JHS 0113 286 5381 WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK

WARWICK THUMB BOLT ON SPECIAL EDITION £1,499 They say: A low mid growl and creamy trebles deliver a solid base for every band situation. For: Bassists Range: Warwick Thumb bass Spec: French flamed ash body, maple bolt-on neck with ekanga veneer stripes, wenger fingerboard, active MEC J/J pickups and MEC two-band electronics, black hardware. From: Warwick +49 3742 2555 3110 miPRO SEPTEMBER 2009 55


ALESIS E-PRACTICE PAD £79.99 They say: It feels great, it sounds great and it gives you a full range of dynamics. For: Drummers Range: Alesis e-drums Spec: 65 drum sounds, metronome, adjustable time signatures, 50 practice games & exercises, headphone jack, recording & playback, battery or mains powered, fits standard snare stand. From: Numark Alesis 01252 341400

REMO KANJIRA £140 They say: The look, feel and sound of the original drum from South India. For: Percussionists Range: Remo percussion Spec: Tunable Skyndeep synthetic drumhead, Acousticon drum shell with 30 degree radius bearing edge, one inch flat jingle set, dark stain veneer, monitor lizard graphic. From: EMD 01293 862612

PROTECTION RACKET PR6027 & PR6029 STICK BAGS £16.99 & £23.99 They say: On the back of receiving requests for a smaller size stick case. For: Drummers, percussionists Range: Protection Racket bags Spec: : PR6027 for three pairs of sticks in clear window, inner netting accessory pocket, quick release metal trigger lug hooks, carrying handle, detachable shoulder strap. PR6029 as above with outer zipped pocket and zip tape pop rivets. From: Protection Racket 01208 815055

SPONGEBOB DRUM STICKS £7.99 They say: Following on from the success of the Spongebob Squarepants musical instrument range. For: Beginner drummers Range: Spongebob Squarepants Spec: Spongebob graphic drum sticks, three different graphics available: Spongebob faces, Spongebob characters and jellyfish. Full and junior sizes available. From: JHS 0113 286 5381



They say: There has never been a Yamaha drumkit quite like this one. For: Drummers Range: Yamaha Oak Custom Spec: : Oak shells, eight-ply 14”x 7” snare, seven-ply 20” & 22” bass, sixply toms, 45 degree bearing edge. Shallow toms, undrilled bass, dark chrome hardware, single-bolt lugs. Black or white sparkle finishes. From: Yamaha 01908 366700

They say: With new materials that provide optimal drum performance. For: Drummers Range: Yamaha PHX Spec: 11-ply shells of hybrid construction (jatoba, kapur & maple), Yamaha YESS II shell mount system, hook lug system vent holes, 30-degree bearing edge, maple or burled ash finish in various colours, gold or chrome parts. From: Yamaha 01908 366700

ZILDJIAN TRAVIS BARKER & RONALD BRUNNER ARTIST SERIES STICKS £11.50 PER PAIR They say: Two new additions to the popular Artist series drumstick line. For: Drummers Range: Artist series sticks Spec: Travis Barker Black: hickory, thick neck, round bead, ransom note logo, black finish with reflective silver-metallic foil. Ronald Bruner: 15” length/0.55” width, US hickory, short taper (for extra weight up front), ‘stubby’ tear-drop tip, natural finish with signature in gold. From: Yamaha 01908 366700




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They say: Carefully reconstructs the unmatched sound of vintage hardware on your computer. For: Computer musicians Range: FXpansion virtual instruments Spec: Three modeled synthesizers: Strobe, Amber and Cypher. Fusor semi-modular layering and performance environment, FX suite, advanced step-sequencer/ arpeggiator, modulation, overloadable amp stages. From: Sonic 8 08701 657456

They say: Designed to give seamless, hands-free control for Apple’s Logic Studio and GarageBand 09. For: Logic & Garageband users Range: Apogee interfaces Spec: USB powered, aluminium case, ten transport control & stompbox buttons, 44/24 ADA conversion, two ‘previous/next’ preset selection buttons. From: Sonic Distribution 1582 470260

KENTON USB SOLO CONVERTER £146.80 They say: MIDI to CV conversion just couldn’t get any easier or more reliable. For: Studios, musicians Range: Kenton Solo Spec: Non-MIDI synth to MIDI conversion, four output types, USB connection, brushed aluminium casing. From: Kenton 020 8544 9200


AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-ANC7B QUIET POINT HEADPHONES £184 They say: A number of improvements from the previous model to offer better sound, comfort and convenience. For: General Range: AT noise-cancelling headphones Spec: Quiet Point noisecancellation technology (85% noise reduction), mic noise sensor and cancellation signal, 40mm neodymium drivers, 10Hz to 25kHz freq response, ships with two 1.6m & 1.0m detachable cables. From: Audio Technica 0113 277 1441

They say: Outstanding quality and versatile capabilities at an affordable price. For: Studios Range: AKG Perception series Spec: Dual one-inch true condenser large diaphragm capsule 20dB attenuation pad, low cut filter, ECC 83 dual-triode tube circuitry, remote control unit for nine pickup patterns, brush-finished, anodized aluminum finish. From: Sound Technology 01462 480000

ILIO SAGE XPANDER BUNDLE £99.95 They say: Enhance the variety of choices for your Stylus RMX virtual groove instrument. For: Computer musicians, producers Range: T+S libraries Spec: Sage Xpander DVD-ROM, compiled by Bashiri Johnson, combination drums, percussion, textures & grooves. From: Time+Space 01837 55200


ROLAND PRELUDE HOME ENTERTAINMENT KEYBOARD £895 They say: Ideal for entry-level hobbyists who want a portable solution without skimping on sound. For: Keyboard players Range: Roland keyboards Spec: 61 velocity-sensitive keys, 16-track sequencer, 128-voice polyphony, four style variations per song, 128-voice polyphony, DBeam, pitch & modulation control, built-in speaker system, USB memory player, Centre Cancel function. From: Roland 01792 702701



FOSTEX FM-3 FIELD MIXER £1,399 They say: Established as a professional portable recorder brand over the last 18 years. For: Film, broadcast Range: Fostex mixers Spec: Three balanced ins, two balanced outs, individual signal transformers, variety of sub outs, aluminum body, ‘organic’ EL display, metal axis fader pots, master, trim and HPF knobs. From: SCV 020 8418 0778

BOSS BA-CS10 MIC £65 They say: Compact, highperformance, one-point stereo mic. For: Digital recording Range: Boss recording accessories Spec: Back-electret condenser mic, uni-directional, plugin powered only, 70Hz to 15kHz, 100dB max output, mini-jack connection. From: Roland 01792 702701

FOSTEX LR-16 £1,499 They say: Allows the user to separate the recorder from the mixing controller, connected via a single CAT5 cable. For: Live and studio Range: Fostex recorders/mixers Spec: Connector box (recorder + I/O) and Controller (mixer section), mixer can be placed 50m away from recording unit, 16 input faders, four bus faders, master fader, 80GB HD, standalone or rack mount. From: SCV 020 8418 0778

SHURE SRH SERIES HEADPHONES FROM £69.99 They say: Represent Shure's first foray into the headphone market from entry level to professional. For: Studios, general Range: New Shure products Spec: Three models in range: SRH240 entry level, SRH440 (£130) pro & home recording, SRH840 (£139.99) high-end pro. All with closed-back, circumaural design, adjustable headband, SRH840 with five-Hz to 25kHz frequency response. From: Shure 01992 703026

ROLAND RK-300 RECREATIONAL KEYBOARD £4,999 They say: Brings a new dimension of musical enjoyment and entertainment to the mainstream market. For: Keyboard players Range: Roland VIMA keyboards Spec: 88-key PHA II keyboard with escapement, onboard VIMA tunes & SMF files, Centre Cancel function, real-time playalong with slideshows, graphic anime feature, instrument & mic connections, auto-harmony. From: Roland 01792 702701


ESI SW10K EXPERIENCE SUBWOOFER £259 They say: Helps provide a better picture of the low frequencies in the mix. For: Studios Range: ESI speakers Spec: 10" bass reflex powered, 100W, 4 Ohm, 50Hz to 250Hz separate satellite output crossover frequency, phase control, balanced XLR & unbalanced 1/4" inputs, balanced XLR out, foot switch input as mute control. From: Time+Space 01837 55200

ROLAND ARX-03 BRASS EXPANSION CARD £389 They say: Enables the musician to customise every sound and nuance of the performance. For: Fantom G users Range: Roland expansion cards Spec: Super Natural sound engine, trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone saxophone and other samples, customisable sound, optimised effects and custom graphic interface. From: Roland 01792 702701



BOOK OF THE MONTH Author: George Case Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man Target: General Comment: This book has a second subtitle: ‘An unofficial biography’, but it is the surprising fact that this is the first attempt to document the life of one of the most influential guitarists in rock and pop that makes this a must-read. Case, an American who clearly has done his research into the quirky life of the British in the post-war period and through the 1960s, which moulded Page into the

GENERAL Artist: Moses Avalon Confessions of a Record Producer

man he is, has pieced together an interesting book through source material and biographies of Led Zeppelin, newspapers, websites and so on. This means it is not an authoritative document, but it is pretty comprehensive. While this could leave the reader distanced from the goings on related, Case maintains a careful blend of flowing prose (sometimes bordering on the flowery) and a matter-of-fact journalism that is convincing.

With the nature of this highly private man still something of a mystery, this book takes a significant first step in outlining the inspirations and motivations of Jimmy Page, while simultaneously taking in a good helping of the raucousness and decadence of Led Zep in their heyday and how Page calmed his demons to become the elder statesman of rock n roll he is today. BACKBEAT: 020 7720 3581

Author: Mike Longworth (Johnston & Boak) Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference Target: Specialist, guitar Comment: If ever there were a book for the luthier nerd, this could quite possibly be The One. Working from Mike Longworth’s original, Richard Johnstone and Dick Boak have updated this authorised manual to become a guide to historical facts on the production runs and manufacturing specs of virtually every Martin instrument since the company began in 1833. Take a deep breath and dive in – every page has something of interest. HAL LEONARD (MUSIC SALES): 01284 702600

Target: General Comment: This is the fourth revised and updated edition of this classic, which should be read by any aspiring performer thinking about getting involved in the record business. Avalon kills dozens of music business myths dead and makes you wonder why anyone with a creative bone in their body would want anything to do with the ducking and diving lowlifes that make up the vast majority of the industry. BACKBEAT: 020 7720 3581

CLASSICAL Artist: Astor Piazzolla (arr Crabb) Vuelvo al Sur Target: Accordion Comment: Seen by many as the father of tango nuevo, Piazzolla wrote well over 1,000 pieces for various ensembles and is today recognised around the world. In this edition, James Crabb adapts his pieces for the accordion, which includes music from the film Sur. BOOSEY & HAWKES (SCHOTT): 020 7534 0744

POPULAR Artist: Katherine Jenkins You’re the Voice Target: PVG Comment: Probably the leading light in terms of bringing classical voice to the masses in recent years, Faber has put together another of the hugely successful You’re the Voice compilations, this time in the style of the Welsh warbler. Traditional pieces, hymns, arias and popular songs (ten in total) make up this useful collection. FABER: 01279 828989


Artist: Karl Jenkins Te Deum Target: Choirs (piano accompaniment) Comment: This is Jenkins’ third piece in a row to provide a setting for a traditional Latin text – the piano accompanied arrangement for SATB was originally scored for voices, trumpet, percussion and strings. This edition makes Te Deum accessible to choirs of all sizes and will prove a popular and challenging addition to repertoire. BOOSEY & HAWKES (SCHOTT): 020 7534 0744

Author: Tom Hapke Studio Essentials Target: Recording musicians, producers Comment: A beginner’s guide to the recording studio. Nothing earth-moving here, but good solid advice for the wouldbe engineer starting out and wondering how to do some jobs and why one does others. Pretty much every aspect of the studio is covered, however briefly, including a run-through of how to record voices and any instrument you care to think of, combined with outlines of the various console, outboard and monitoring kit you might consider essential. JAWBONE: 020 7720 3581



Author: Take That The Circus

Artist: Various The Ukulele Playlist

Target: Easy Piano Comment: It is quite possible that the success of this archetypal boy band’s reunion surprised even the band itself – then again, maybe not. What is clear is that this band and this album have massive commercial pull and now it’s available from Faber Music in easy piano version, in its most accessible format. This one is already flying off the shelves, so if you haven’t stocked it yet, you should consider doing so now. FABER: 01279 828989

Target: Ukulele Comment: Over 30 songs are collected together here from Faber’s stable – and it represents a pretty exciting and contemporary repertoire for the budding player, as well as a fantastic springboard for those intermediates looking to increase their own playlist. You’ll find excellent choices here, combined with what is sometimes a startling variety. Excellent. FABER: 01279 828989

Author: Mary King (ed) Singing in French Series: The Boosey Voice Coach Target: Voice Comment: Boosey’s excellent series continues with Mary King’s contribution. King points out that today’s singers can no longer depend on a living from specialisation and need to be as broad and diverse as possible to get the work as and when it appears. As with other books in this series, the notes are divided into ‘text’ and ‘French’ and then adds notes on each specific song. The artist can then learn both language and technique through repertoire. BOOSEY & HAWKES (SCHOTT): 020 7534 0744

EDUCATION Author: Jürgen Moser Discovering Rock Piano (Volume 2) Series: Schott Discovering/Improvising series Target: Piano Comment: Following volume one, this book goes through further rock styles and melodies, taking in rhythmic, harmonic and solo improvising along the way, with the aim of helping players develop their own style of playing. SCHOTT: 020 7534 0744

International Exhibition for Musical Instruments and Services ɻਝ ɐࣵ ਝ჌ᅥኂࢄᙴผ

13 – 16 October 2009

Shanghai New International Expo Centre, China

live for the music • over 40,000 distributors, dealers, retailers and musicians from 91 countries • over 1,100 exhibitors showing a broad product mix of both western and traditional Chinese instruments • set against the backdrop of one of the world’s most exciting and rapidly-developing music product markets For information, visit Or email




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Soar Valley Music and Early Years woodwind Get 'em early with the first and the best ocarina on the market. That’s what Soar Valley Music thinks and there is to be no dissuading it...


ince 1983 Soar Valley Music (SVM) has distributed the Langley range of ocarinas and Poly-Ocs. It made a lot of sense back then, as the folk instrument market was reemerging and it was part of SV’s ethos to introduce unheard-of instruments into the MI market, which would bring new customers to the trade. Inspirational musician John Langley started out in the business by making ceramic ocarinas (and he still is). These instruments are beautifully voiced, tuned and played in either D or G. He taught and played the instrument and was endorsed by the great Michael Copley of the Cambridge Buskers, who formed the Chuckerbutty Ocarina Quartet. Seeing how easy it was to teach children, Langley decided to develop an ABS plastic instrument and the Poly-Oc was born. This continues to be taught as the first woodwind

instrument in many primary schools. In the words of Langley: “The English-style ocarina, which I make, is the ideal starting instrument. Everybody can co-ordinate the first two fingers of each hand to produce fluent music within minutes of picking up the instrument. For children, it is a joy and a fascination. To make beautiful sounds, as if the birds in the trees were singing our favourite songs: this is what children want. I take pleasure in sharing it with them.” The Langley instruments have a great tone and are well voiced and in tune over the whole octave plus one note. The originals are designed to play with any concert pitch instrument and are made in bright primary colours – red and blue. SVM supplies the Poly-Ocs in schools packs – with good retailer margins, so expect enquiries to come in during the first few weeks of term. SOAR VALLEY: 0116 230 4926 WWW.SOARVALLEYMUSIC.CO.UK







To find out more about the JVM Series and other Marshall products contact: Marshall Amplification plc Denbigh Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK11DQ

















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Schaller, Sperzel, Sprague, Switchcraft & Wilkinson.

Low call rate 0845 345 5951

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with… 5 attachment bags, 4 of which hold a laptop

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Sound • Lighting • Special Effects - Established 1990 - Distribution Power Squared DISTRIBUTION



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BRITAIN'S FINEST BOUTIQUE EFFECTS Rothwell effects pedals are truly hand-made here in the uk and built to the highest standards. The cases are hand polished and the electronics carefully assembled by skilled uk workers. The circuit design is innovative and original (we don't do clones, repros or mods) and the sound is the sound of classic rock guitar - pure tone. Our pedals are quickly gaining a reputation for superb quality and are being played on some of the world's biggest stages. The Hellbender (overdrive) and Switchblade (distortion) are currently being heard by thousands of fans on Justin Timberlake's world tour, played by Mike Scott (also Prince's main guitarist), who says "you make truly great, great pedals". Why not join our growing list of uk and international dealers and stock Britain's finest boutique effects pedals.



Excellence in Music


Office 2.05, Argentums2 Queen Caroline StreetsHammersmith, LONDON W6 9DX 4ELEPHONE.O  sUK Sales Freephone: 0800 432 0486 Fax Number: +44 (0)20 8323 8306sE-mail:




tel: 01536 485 963 fax: 01536 485 051 email:



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Grand & Upright Pianos by Elysian, Grotrian-Steinweg, Bechstein, Monington & Weston and other famous makers

Making Music in Schools Since 1983 UK made rainbow ocarinas from Ocarina Workshop are easy to play and great fun to teach with.

John Morley Clavichords, Spinets, Harpsichords, Virginals & Celestes

These pocket-sized instruments are popular with kids & well-tuned. Together with 'Play your Ocarina' music books, they are the key to successful music-making in many schools around the country.

Antique, Modern & New, Rental, Repairs, Sales lists & colour brochures on request.

Make sure school ocarinas are on your counter-top and available when customers request them! Quote ‘MI Pro’ when you order 12 Ocarinas & 12 Books and be amazed at the ocarina’s potential... Trade orders are sent by return: free delivery & no minimum order PIANO MOVERS



Robert MORLEY & Co Ltd. Piano & Harpsichord Makers Established 1881

H G AT 37 1 E E S t. L O NDON S



Extensive Product Information Secure Dealer Only Section Public & DEALER Forums Online Ordering


Drum and Percussion Accesories


01562 827666 WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK










TOP 10 BEST SELLERS NASHVILLE ACOUSTIC GUITARS . . . . . . . . . . . . £50.00 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £27.50 trade ex vat NASHVILLE ELECTRIC GUITARS . . . . . . . . . . . . . £99.95 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £54.97 trade ex vat ARK HEAVY DUTY MUSIC STAND. . . . . . . . . . . . . . £18.50 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £10.18 trade ex vat DOLMETSCH DESCANT RECORDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . £6.99 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £3.84 trade ex vat STEINHOFF 108B UPRIGHT PIANO . . . . . . . . . . £1795.00 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £987.25 trade ex vat RAVEN STUDENT TRUMPET OUTFIT . . . . . . . . . £140.00 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £77 trade ex vat NASHVILLE ELECTRO ACOUSTIC BASS . . . . . . . £125.00 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £68.75 trade ex vat STERN VIOLIN OUTFIT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £75.00 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £41.25 trade ex vat MAXTONE BONGOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £29.95 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £16.47 trade ex vat NASHVILLE 5 STRING BANJO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £99.95 retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £54.97 trade ex vat


Adam Hall..............................................................17,52

Roland .......................................................................76

Anglo Spanish Guitar ................................................5

S.Johnson ....................................................................3

Aria ...............................................................................5

Sennheiser .................................................................14

Audio Techina...........................................................48

Shure ............................................................................9

AVSL .................................................................32 & 33

Sound Technology .......................................................1

DBT ............................................................................57

Studio King................................................................26

EMD ...........................................................................75


Eric Reynolds............................................................24


Gremlin ......................................................................43

The Sound Post........................................................49

Headstock .................................................................50

Trinity Xtras ...............................................................15

House Music .............................................................45

Westside ...........................................................11,35,37

HSBC ..........................................................................53

Yamaha ......................................................................23

Intermusic .................................................................20

Yamaha ............................................................38 & 39

JHS ..............................................................................13 Leisuretec .................................................................30 Marked Events .........................................................44 Marshall........................................................................2 Messe China ...............................................................61 Music Sales ...............................................................46 Peavey.........................................................................19


Piano Warehouse .....................................................25 WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK




PRO THE LAST WORD IN MI MI Pro prides itself on bringing you hard-hitting news and analysis, but, we reckon you’d also enjoy seeing your peers in their more ‘off duty’ moments. So, we’ve expanded CODA to include a permanent pictorial spread of the month’s social highlights. If you have any snaps from an event you’d like us to include, please send them to



SEPTEMBER 2002 Cover Stars: Digidesign’s Jed Allen and Tim Hurrell reveal that Pro Tools is on its way to becoming a more MI oriented product. News: Fred Gretsch hands Fender the rights to his guitars worldwide, Carlsbro sets up strategic alliances with Citronic and Celestion, Peavey establishes strategic alliance with Syncro in Italy.

July 28th saw Marshall inviting a selection of press, special guests, dignitaries and employees alike to Ronnie Scott’s club in the West End of London for the launch of a brand new amp: the Class 5. As well as a chance to nosh and natter for the assembled, everybody was also treated to the new amp being put through its paces by the young (just 17 years old) and unbelievably talented Krissy Matthews (above and right) and his eponymous band and a full set from Joe Bonamassa. It was an impressive work out. This is a special little combo and will go a long way to underlining Marshall’s position as the world’s number one amp maker, not least with retailers. It’s an all-valve, handwired box and it’s made in England. The Class 5 is a five-Watt, ten-inch speaker-loaded combo with Class A circuitry from input to output and is the result of research into the needs and wants of bedroom, studio, club and stadium players alike, which would appear to boil down to something simple that can, at the turn of any one of four knobs, create a multitude of valve-based tones. The low Wattage, of course, making it easier to bring about degrees of crunch – from subtle to excessive – at very manageable volumes. At just £350, this is sure to be a best seller.

Features: Two-in-a-bar law seen as out-dated, Intermusic, TC Electronics, endorsements, PLASA preview, Wembley Guitar Centre Products: Carbosticks, Boss DD-6 digital delay, Roland Cube 30, Ovation Elite textured, BC Rich Kerry King signature Flying V, Yamaha DTXpres II, Korg Microkorg, Technics SX-PR804 digital piano. Number one singles: Atomic Kitten – The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling), Pink – Just Like A Pill, Will Young & Gareth Gates – The Long And Winding Road c/w Suspicious Minds Number one albums: Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Atomic Kitten – Feels So Good, Paul Weller – Illumination, Elvis Presley – Elv1s: 30 Number 1 Hits






Although associated predominantly with the Fender Stratocaster during the peak of his career, Hendrix loved his guitars and collected many while working towards his favourite

1959 - 62




1959 - 62


Hendrix reportedly bought his first guitar at Myers Music in Seattle – a Supro Ozark. He then moved on to a red Danelectro Silvertone (nicknamed Betty Jean). Both were single pickup models and were most likely purchased on the grounds of price rather than any actual tone or playability.

Just six years after the purchase of his first guitar, Hendrix was playing with Little Richard (a hero of the guitarist) and plumped for the Fender Jazzmaster, although through this period and later with Curtis Knight, he was seen playing both his Fenders, the Duo-Sonic and the Jazzmaster.



The story goes that Hendrix then exchanged Betty Jean for the (now classic and recently re-introduced) Epiphone Wilshire. It was the dual pickup configuration that Hendrix liked, combined with the depth of resonance from the solid (and heavy) mahogany body and neck. This was probably his first choice of guitar on the grounds that it sounded good.

The big moment came in the summer of 66, when JH bought his first Strat from Manny’s in New York. Although he toyed with various models, including lefties and rosewood fingerboards, he eventually settled on a rightie Strat, strung upside down (he preferred the controls at the top of the guitar) with a maple fretboard.






n the wake of the death of Les Paul, it’s only right that MI Pro salutes that mightiest of guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. One of the most recognisable guitars in the world alongside the Fender Stratocaster, the Les Paul is an instrument that revolutionised the possibilities of amplified sound and changed the concept of how an electric guitar should sound and how it should be played. In the early 1950s, Paul was already a big name on American radio, albeit one with a habit of tinkering with guitars and recording techniques. Approached by Gibson (in what must have been a hugely satisfying moment for Paul, whose previous ‘Log’ design had already been rejected by the company) with a view to cooperating on an endorsement, a genuine musical legend was born.

Hendrix’s now famous Isley Brothers (nine-month) career was performed with his first Fender, a 59 Duo-Sonic. A good illustration of the sounds Hendrix was already getting on this guitar can be heard on the Isley’s song Testify1&2.

1970 That was pretty much it, except for one… In the last year of his career, Hendrix was often seen playing a Gibson Flying V. He owned a few, one of which he decorated himself, using a girlfriend’s nail varnish collection. Again, Gibson has issued a tribute replica of this classic.

MAPEX TOPS UP WITH JÄGERMEISTER Jägermeister, well known for its support of live music in and around Europe, recently acquired a large, six-wheel-drive ex-Russian army truck. After a spot of repair and some very important pimping, the ex-war veteran was converted into an official Jägermeister event vehicle with a ten metre squared stage and bar. The drinks giant decided to kit the stage out with the latest Mapex Meridian series kit and began its tour around Europe’s biggest music festivals. Some of the most exciting bands around will be giving impromptu performances on the mobile venue to excited audiences who can not only soak up the fantastic sounds, but sample the delights of Jägermeister at the same time. The pictures show the stage at Knebworth’s metal Sonisphere festival.

Gibson Les Paul While some controversy remains over the facts of who came up with which parts of the design, it is clear that both the finishes – gold and black – and the trapeze tailpiece came directly from Paul, with the prize winning combination of a mahogany body and a maple top also being his idea. The first Gibson Les Paul was unleashed on an unsuspecting market in 1952, costing $210 and featuring a gold top nitro-cellulose finish, Les Paul-designed trapeze tailpiece and a pair of P90s. It was the beginning of a series of electric guitars that would go on to be held in the hands of the greatest players throughout the history of rock n roll. Going through many permutations, including various custom, junior and artist models, as well as introducing the world to the humbucking (PAF)

pickup in 1957, the Gibson Les Paul has been at the heart of any number of great records and was central to shaping the sound of guitar music in the 20th century. Its popularity today, being the guitar of choice for, literally, millions of players means its status as an MI Icon can never be denied.


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Gavin Thomas Company / job title: Yamaha Music (UK) product manager: drums and Zildjian Years in the industry? 16 years. I joined Yamaha in 1993 pretty much from school. First single bought? I was much more interested in albums. The first LP I bought was New Order’s Brotherhood, which was a great place to start.

ere we see Adam Halls’ general manager, Andrew Richardson in full-on super hero mode, taking part in the Christian Aid London to Paris bike ride. The gruelling, four-day marathon, which had cyclists covering an average of 75 miles per day from July 22nd to 26th, is a big fund raiser for the Christian charity, earning the organisation upwards of £230,000. Richardson added a good £2,000 to the amount. Those interested in this or other Christian Aid charity events should visit “You’ll be surprised to hear that it’s a lot of fun,” said Richardson. “And when it’s for such a good cause, it makes it even better.”

S E IK SOUNDAL METALLICA Inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica are one of the biggest names in rock . Here’s how they get their sound…

Favourite album? Ask me tomorrow and I will give you a different answer. For sheer perfect pop and tight band sound I would say Blondie’s Parallel Lines.

Various ESP James Hetfield – guitar and vocals. Wizard 4x12 and 4x12 Mesa Vs, g Explorers and Flyin Mesa Strategy 400 cabs, Mesa Boogie Tri-Axis preamps, , MXR Phase 100, amps, TC G-Major processor, Boss NS-2 aur. Cent Klon Pro, Vodoo Lab Ground Control White Flying V & Black ESP r. guita – mett Ham Kirk s (KH-2), (KH-1), ESP Black M-II Skull & Crossbone es, Mesa Triaxis Gibson Les Paul, Jackson Randy Rhod Boogie 4x12 preamp, Mesa Strategy 400 amp, Mesa , Dunlop DCRcabs, Mesa Dual Rectifier amp, Boss NS-2 mer, Digitech Screa Tube z Ibane wah, rack aby CryB 2SR Halen flanger, Whammy, Line 6 DL4 delay, MXR Van Digitech Space Station. Maple, 10×8, Lars Ulrich – drums. Tama Starclassic 6 bass drums, 22×1 two , 12×10, 16×14, 16×16 toms Z Custom Dyno 14" , snare ture signa h Ulric Lars .5 14×6 , two 18" A crash ction Proje m Custo Beat hi-hats, 19" A m Projection Crash, Custom Projection crash, 17" A Custo m China. 18" Oriental China trash, 20" Z Custo ity 5-string, Robert Trujillo – bass. Fernandes Grav Tremonti wah, Mark ey Morl s, string ture signa op Dunl driver, bass Amp Sans n, Q-Tro Electro-Harmonix Boss OC-2.

Currently listening to? I recently helped run a local festival called ‘Parklife’ and asked Dom Greensmith’s new band, The Black Swan Effect, to headline. The CD has not left my car stereo since. Favourite musician? It has to be Stevie Wonder. He is so creative and has a distinct musical voice on every instrument he plays. Which instruments do you play? Only drums, when you are as good at drums as I am you don’t get the chance on other instruments. Ha! Are you currently in a band? Depping for a band called Mad Mods and Englishman and helping a local singer songwriter called Leon Jay, which I need for some creativity.

SUBSCRIPTIONS MI Pro has a monthly circulation of well over 6,000. It is distributed to all MI retailers and industry professionals plus carefully selected pro audio executives and resellers.

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miPRO is published 12 times a year by Intent Media ~ Saxon House, 6A St. Andrew Street, Hertford, Herts SG14 1JA, UK

To order your subscription: call: 01580 883848 or email: Please note that this is a controlled circulation title and subscription criteria will be strictly adhered to.


miPRO is a member of the PPA © Intent Media 2009 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. Printed by The Manson Group, AL3 6PZ

ISSN 1750-4198 Enquiries to Mi Pro, Intent Media, Saxon House 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA. Tel: 01992 535646 (Editorial) Tel: 01992 535647 (Advertising) Fax: 01992 535648


All the news from PLASA (and beyond) of course and our latest scrutiny oif the sub£500 acoustic guitar market and the biggest selling products in the traditional instrument market in the UK. EDITORIAL: ANDY BARRETT ADVERTISING: DARRELL CARTER WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK

Europe’s biggest selling Piano bench Special Offer. 5 benches (seat included)

PB 40


.49 £ 41 bench per

8 benches (seat included)

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Call Kandy or Phil on 01293 862 612 to place your priority order. For web account e-mail -

JS-8 e-Band V-Drums TD-4KX

SP-404 SX Sampler V-Drums TD-20KX

BA-330 Portable P.A.

FR-7x V-Accordions

We launched an entire show’s worth of new gear on September 1st. Each product is designed to connect with your customers and bring them through your door. Plug into a profitable 2009 by calling your Roland Area Manager today.


VE-20 Vocal Performer


Mi Pro September 2009 - Issue 112  

Musical Instrument Professional. For everyone in the MI bussiness.

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