COMPANY PROFILE FENDER GBI
I TRADITIONAL I HI-TECH I ROCK I CLASSICAL I EDUCATION I PRINTED MUSIC
ISSUE 103 I DECEMBER 2008
EMD REVEALS ALL The naked truth about a European distributor going all the way
GUITAR HERO LOUD TECH EUROMUSIC TANGLEWOOD T-REX NAMM BOUTIQUE ELECTRICS
Add Disney magic to your Christmas sales Disney-licenced guitars from Sound Technology 01462 480000 | www.soundtech.co.uk/disney TECHNOLOGY
The new album A Sense of Purpose is out now! www.inflames.com
For more information about the MG Series and other Marshall products contact:
Marshall Amplification plc Denbigh Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK1 1DQ www.marshallamps.com
ISSUE 103 DECEMBER 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
BUSINESS SPECIAL • FENDER 26
While many have failed – or at least stuttered – EMD has woven magic in the field of pan-European distribution. It has also established one of the world’s strongest brands, too
Graeme Mathieson has had his hands pretty full over the past year with all of the Kaman Music brands, as well as Taylor, adding to sales opportunities
RETAIL MI Pro’s unique perspective on the UK’s MI business with news, interviews and reports on all aspects of the country’s front line
NEWS 6 Guitar Heroes active, Loud restructures, Schools Proms, cleaning keys warning
DISTRIBUTION 10 Korg scoops two lines, Washburn and Disney, Pacifica Facelift
MUSIC LIVE 12
The UK’s busiest MI show back in black
HW Music re-opens Preston store, Indie Guitars expands operations outside guitar supply, Rotosound’s new products, AT catalogue, Gak.co.uk hits charts, Nevada award
NAMM 14 Joe Lamond reveals the real reasons why you should go to Anaheim in January
STERLING DROP 18 The collapse of the British pound and its repercussions in the market
SECTOR SPOTLIGHT 30
INDIE PROFILE 54 Allegro in Oxford is a prime example of how specialisation equates to successful business
PRODUCTS RECORDING 56 BASS & GUITAR 58 PRINT 61
Boutique electric guitars
STUDIO MONITORS 35 14
An often overlooked sector, but one that can make good profit
EUROMUSIC 38 The buying group calls for those wishing to benefit from united buying
TANGLEWOOD 40 The UK acoustic brand ships its Master Series – Michael Sanden tells the tale
T-REX 43 The Danish footstomping specialist tells MI Pro about its latest innovations
THIS MONTH A free, giant wallplanner, courtesy of Mel Bay, to help guide you through the MI year ahead
10 Years soundly insuring the UK Music Industry
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Aspiring to survival
LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE
Christmas will bring with it promises of impulse buys, but there is still the argument that the richest will feel the fiscal bite the least
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recurring theme over the past few months, certainly in this magazine, has been how MI seems to be bucking the trends that the doom-mongering statisticians are only too keen to expound upon – at the behest, it has to be said, of a hungry media keen as ever to emphasise the negative, rather than the positive. Well, no-one is much interested in feelgood stories, are they? This month’s issue sees more of the same, as at various points throughout the mag you will note references to reports that September and October have been bumper months for MI, but there is no doubt the squeeze is beginning to pinch. One of the highlights this month is an exclusive interview with NAMM’s president and CEO, Joe Lamond (page 14). The December issue is always a time for MI Pro to begin previewing January’s MI trade spectacular in California, but this year, with all of the fiscal turmoil, it seemed a good opportunity to find out what MI’s business was like across the pond. Much the same, it turns out. Lamond points out that some are struggling and some are succeeding, but interestingly, from his own retail experience of financial downturns, he says his business usually grew through such time, through a combination of shrewd book-keeping and, most importantly, improved customer service. Richard Baycock of Allegro in Oxford says a similar thing (page 54). Do what you’re good at and don’t get sidetracked, don’t panic – and don’t rip people off, then they will keep coming back. The whole financial debacle, of course, was the result of credit being given where it should not have been and this became a major headache for a few suppliers this year, particularly given the failure of big players in retail. Perhaps the biggest headache was Fender’s, which found itself with just about every prestige guitar line you can think of, as well as a couple of major percussion brands, too. Graeme Mathieson, Fender GBI’s general manager, talks to MI Pro this month and reveals how his company has overcome the difficulties of having so much to offer each retailer (page 26). Which brings us neatly on to an area of some dispute. Where is the good business to be had in the coming year? Obviously Christmas will bring with it promises of impulse buys with starter packs flying out the doors, but there is still the argument that the richest will feel the fiscal bite the least. In light of that, we look at what the boutique electric guitar market has on offer (page 30). When it comes to making music, aspiration is something that never seems to diminish.
Andy Barrett email@example.com
PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE ROSIE MCKEOWN firstname.lastname@example.org
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Active snaps up super Hero UK supplier scoops Guitar Hero sales for MI and hopes to cash in on youth appeal ACTIVE MUSIC Distribution and Activision, the developer of the Guitar Hero video game, have issued a combined statement announcing a unique partnership agreement to bring the music game to the UK’s MI Market. With the highly anticipated Guitar Hero World Tour being launched on November 14th along with the proven statistics of Guitar Hero developing new music makers, Active Music is extremely hopeful that this will be of great interest to the MI trade, particularly as Guitar Hero World Tour will now incorporate drums, vocal and bass in addition to guitar. “There is an emerging trend that people playing Guitar Hero are keen to progress and
actually start learning to play the real thing,” said Active’s Lee Worsely. “This brings a natural synergy for the MI market to start selling and developing connections with this massive emerging market, bringing new blood to their business. “For many years computer games have taken people away from learning a musical instrument. That trend is now changing and here is a game that positively encourages people to take up an instrument. “This is a real opportunity for stores to embrace the platform and bring new customers into their shops. By offering incentives with purchases of Guitar Hero, such as a free lesson or a discount on their
first instrument purchase, stores can keep these customers. At the same time they can appeal to existing customers willing to make this purchase for themselves or their family”. A spokesperson for Activision added: “We have seen this growing connection between
Loud flurry of activity US pro audio giant drops St Louis lines, but keeps Ampeg DURING A ten-day period in November, Loud Technologies made three big announcements regarding the company’s structure all of which add up to a drastic change of direction by the company’s new president and CEO, Rodney Olsen. Loud has restructured its marketing, sales and engineering departments, bid for the shares in the Nasdaq registered company to regain complete control and, on November 14th, announced the sale of the SLM Marketplace (St Louis Music) catalogue and accessories distribution business and proprietary St Louis Stage Gear brand, along with the Austin guitar and Knilling Instruments brands to the St Louis-based US Band & Orchestra Supplies. In a letter to its shareholders, dated November 3rd 2008, Loud (under the name Sun Mackie) issued a request to buy the remaining 23.8 per cent of shares that are in the public domain. A portion of the letter read: “We are pleased to submit this going private transaction proposal to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common stock of Loud Technologies not currently held by Sun Mackie, 6 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
which currently owns approximately 76.2 per cent of the outstanding common stock of the company. We are prepared to offer $1.45 in cash per share of common stock. We believe this is a full and fair price, which will provide the public shareholders of The Company with a 45 per cent premium over the October 31st, 2008 closing price of $1.00.” The move to buy up the remaining shares in Loud appears to suggest that the company is hoping to go private once again. Then, November 5th saw the company announce a reorganisation of its corporate marketing, sales and engineering functions, with product strategy, development and marketing for the company’s MI and pro audio businesses to be managed by separate, dedicated product management teams, while marketing communications for all Loud brands are to be consolidated and managed by a shared marketing support team.
“The company’s worldwide engineering resources will be scaled accordingly to support a more focused product development schedule,” stated Olsen in a corporate statement. “Loud will also move North American sales from its current captive sales force to a group of independent sales representation firms and consolidate portions of its international sales force.” The restructuring is expected to result in around 90 full-time positions laid off and will be in place by the end of 2008. Finally, on November 14th, Loud announced the sale of St Louis Music, albeit with the retention of the ‘jewels’ in the St Louis crown, namely the Alvarez guitar, and Ampeg and Crate amplification lines. “The SLM sale, a non-core business unit and product lines, enables Loud to dedicate resources and solidify its leadership in the musical instruments and professional audio markets,” said Olsen.
Guitar Hero and music making, so finding a partner that could take the game to the grass roots of music making seemed an obvious channel to explore. We are delighted to have partnered with Active Music and look forward
to developing this market during the coming months”. Guitar Hero games are available from Active with immediate effect. ACTIVE MUSIC: 020 8693 5678
Musikmesse 2009 tickets online Passes available immediately with discounts available for web purchases THOSE INTENDING to visit Musikmesse or Prolight + Sound 2009 can now purchase their admission tickets via the internet and benefit from the lower online ticket price. Musikmesse is the world's leading trade fair for musical instruments, music software and computer hardware, sheet music and accessories and will be held in Frankfurt am Main, from April 1st to 4th, 2009. Musikmesse visitors are granted free entry to the Prolight + Sound trade fair for audio, lighting, event and communication technology. Admission tickets can be purchased quickly and easily on the website and are printed out immediately, avoiding the need to queue at the box office on arrival at the fair. Online tickets are personalised and also authorise the holder to travel to and from the fair using local public-transport services operated by the RMV publictransport authority.
The Musikmesse and Pro Light + Sound shows will take place next year from April 1st to 4th. Last year’s shows attracted a combined attendance of approximately 110,000, visiting over 2,500 exhibitors and sands as the world’s largest MI show, both in terms of trade and consumer figures. A full preview and report will appear in the April and May issues of MI Pro magazine next year. MESSEFRANKFURT.COM
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Sonic youth Thousands more school and college kids make it through to the Royal Albert Hall and an evening of superlatives SOME 3,000 children and youths once again made it through Music for Youth’s (MFY) regional festivals to appear at the 34th School Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November, performing music at an outstanding level and once again illustrating the positive power music has for the younger generation. The total audience over the three evenings was some 15,000. During the course of the three concerts there was a range of music presented including Japanese taiko drumming, rock combos, orchestras, jazz bands, grime, brass bands – among others, performing work ranging from Duke Ellington to Vaughan Williams, as well as premieres of specially commissioned works. This year was the first time the festival was run by MFY’s new CEO, Lincoln Abbot, under the watchful eye of the new
chairman David Hamid, following the organisation’s founder, Larry Westland, retiring last year. “To put on three different shows over three evenings is an ambitious venture, but this is an ambitious organisation,” commented Abbot. “With so many exciting initiatives going on within the music education landscape, it’s a vibrant time for young people’s music making. The Schools Proms is the opportunity to see the next generation of creative, innovative and energetic performers.” The Schools Prom concerts are the culmination of the MFY season, which sees 45,000 young musicians from across the UK taking part in the Regional Festivals. Following this, 10,000 young musicians came together for the National Festival, which is held at the Symphony Hall and various venues in Birmingham.
The performers for the Schools Proms are chosen from these concerts. All of this costs money, which means that MFY as a charity is constantly on the lookout for sponsors and partners. The MIA is a founding sponsor for the organisation and JHS & Co has been involved financially since 2005. Other major sponsors are the National Union of Teachers and The Times Educational
Supplement, but the lack of involvement from MI companies is cause for concern. “Moving forward, Music for Youth will certainly reflect the immediacy, ambition and energy of young people’s musicmaking,” said Abbot, adding: “I also want the organisation to play a part in influencing future directions, so you will see more collaborations, commissions and creative risk taking.” MFY: 020 8870 9624
Drummers back ‘First Lesson Free’ campaign
MIA makes Dettol come clean
Yamaha extends music schools campaign to encourage wider audience with support of top msuicians
TV ads pulled after complaints from MI trade
FOUR OF the UK’s top drummers are backing a pioneering national music making campaign led by Yamaha Music Schools and aimed at introducing more people to drumming by offering free introductory lessons. The scheme, championed by Feeder's drummer Mark Richardson (pictured), Amy Winehouse’s sticks man, Troy Miller, Neal Wilkinson (Van Morrison) and Massive Attack and Kylie Minogue’s drummer, Andrew Small, has the potential to bring a whole new audience to the art, Yamaha is hoping. There are currently 25 Yamaha Music Schools offering the Drum Encounters course and, alongside guitar tuition, it's one of Yamaha’s fastest growing courses. “We’re delighted to launch this national push to get more people into music making,” said Yamaha Music School’s manager Nigel Burrows. “It's a very simple idea – we are offering free introductory lessons for all and, following the success of our recent Jools Holland free keyboard lessons promotion, we know many people will subsequently enroll on a YMS course. “The scheme has received the support of a high-powered group of professional drummers, who will be visiting participating schools wherever possible.
Their endorsement will help us promote the scheme and raise awareness of drumming. The lesson will introduce people to the fundamentals of the art and cover the basics required to play.” Mark Richardson added: “I’d like to introduce more people to the drums, and I know that Yamaha feels the same way. What better way to get started than by getting your first lesson totally free. Lots of people want to play but are unsure of where to start so probably never take the first step. This campaign is designed to introduce more people to music making generally and drumming in particular.” YAMAHA: 01908 366700
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PIANO MANUFACTURERS and dealers were thrown into a state of alarm earlier this month when a television advert for Dettol appeared to suggest owners should spray their keyboards with the antiseptic spray – potentially causing a rush of failures and expensive complaints, it was feared. The ad depicted two children seated at a piano. When one of them sneezed, a concerned mother reached for her can of Dettol and sprayed the keys. One of the first to hear alarm bells was Yamaha, which immediately contacted the MIA, explained the association’s CEO, Paul McManus. “Obviously, nothing should be sprayed on a keyboard and the worry was that people seeing this could spray on their electric keyboards too, which would be a more worrying prospect.”
The MIA’s first port of call was the Advertising Standards Authority, which, McManus said, reacted with impressive speed, as apparently did Dettol’s owning company, Reckitt Benckiser, when contacted directly. The company explained that the idea its product might do harm simply hadn’t occurred to it and agreed not to screen the offending commercial again, pending tests to find out whether, in fact, Dettol actually represents a hazard to pianos. “Obviously, the concern was that retailers and manufacturers might suddenly find themselves faced with a stream of costly failures – or worse – so it is good news that Reckitt Benckiser reacted so positively and so swiftly,” McManus said.
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A drop in the ocean? As Sterling falls against global currencies and Asian manufacturers readjust, price increases in MI become inevitable THE UK’s MI dealers are facing price rises of up to 25 per cent due to the collapse of Sterling on financial markets around the world, combined with price increases from manufacturers and suppliers in China and south east Asia as a whole. In an article by Gary Cooper (see page 18) various UK suppliers have pointed out the 30 per cent devaluation of the pound in a matter of weeks and it appears almost no one is immune from the effect. The rises come at a particularly bad time, with the UK already officially in recession, unemployment rocketing and fears growing for trade in the coming year. Worst hit are likely to be educational suppliers, whose business is often on a contracted basis with local education authorities. The MIA’s Paul McManus says the association is so concerned that it has written to the Federation of Music Services, the National Music Participation Director and the
Left to right: Stentor’s Michael Doughty, Jon Gold, MIA president and Paul McManus, the MIA’s CEO Department for Children to inform them of the situation and tell them that the price rises are sadly unavoidable. “It’s admirable that some suppliers are desperately trying to stick with existing commitments to their customers – I think Stentor is an excellent case in point in that regard,” McManus said. Many suppliers are trying to ease into the price rises, as with Stentor. In a letter to retailers
from Stentor’s owner, Michael Doughty said: “Stentor will honour all outstanding orders that have been confirmed by us at the old prices. This is a very expensive policy, but we trust it will be appreciated by customers who have orders in hand and are awaiting delivery.” But such measures will be temporary at best. Jon Gold, the president of the MIA and MD of Ashton Music UK, fears that some retailers will get the wrong
end of the stick. “The problem is many smaller retailers I have spoken to clearly don’t understand this and see it as ‘profiteering’ and ‘unnecessary’,” he said. “What many also don’t seem to realise is that this is not a manufacturing increase, nor associated with increased shipping or courier costs – it’s purely an exchange increase.” The problem with Sterling is being caused by the drastically reduced base interest rates
announced by the Bank of England on November 6th this year, but the irony is that while the idea is to free up money for the public to spend, the price increases mean that, in this age of Asian manufacture, the money in the customer’s pocket does not go so far. China and Korea are not alone in the cost spiral, either, as the Japanese Yen has also risen considerably in recent weeks, raising the question of what might be on the way from the major Japanese musical instrument companies. Other distributors are privately saying they see the imminent price rises as almost a healthy counterbalance to the price deflation of recent years, where profitability has dropped along with the price of musical instruments, but some are equally unconvinced. “You may get a bigger cash turn, but you’ll also get a lower sales volume. It will stop a lot of discounting, though,” said Clive Norris, the MD of Selectron.
John ‘Mitch’ Mitchell: 1947 to 2008 JOHN ‘MITCH’ Mitchell, who died aged 61 on November 12th in Portland, Oregon, stood out, even among a gifted generation, as one of the finest drummers of the 1960s. Born in Ealing in 1947, Mitchell grew up on the fringes of London’s thriving live music scene at a time when pop music was reaching beyond itself to become rock. He became part of a scene that saw musicians moving from band to band to band, so many of which were destined for stardom – in Mitchell’s case, including the Pretty Things and the Riot Squad. In 1966 he had the good fortune to join Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames which, while it was billed as an R&B band, was staffed by heavily jazzinfluenced players and provided a jazz background that Mitchell was later to take and turn into the foundation of ‘fusion’.
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Heavily influenced by Elvin Bishop and the British drummer, Ronnie Stephenson, Mitchell fitted perfectly in Fame’s sevenpiece line-up. Indeed, in a recent tribute, Fame described Mitchell as, “probably the best drummer of his generation.” Mitchell was certainly a keen student of his craft and for a time is said to have taken lessons from Jim Marshall, in whose Ealing music shop he also worked. What set Mitchell apart from so many of his contemporaries was a technique rare among pop drummers and it was this that so ideally suited him to his next gig as drummer with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1966, introduced by former Animals bassist-turnedHendrix manager, Chas Chandler, Mitchell joined bass player Noel Redding to form Hendrix’s legendary band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Moving from seven-piece to three-piece, playing alongside a musician as experimental and freeform as Hendrix, both allowed and forced Mitchell to use his technical skills to the maximum. On tracks from the Experience’s first album, such as Third Stone From The Sun and Manic Depression, whatever it was Mitchell was playing, it certainly wasn’t straight-ahead rock n roll. It was loose, flowing and free and defined a new style of playing. The Experience was destined to be short-lived, the original band breaking-up in 1969 – though Mitchell remained close to Hendrix and played with him at the iconic Woodstock festival in the same year. He later went on to work with Hendrix after the Band of Gypsies phase and seemed to be set to continue working with the guitarist, had not the latter died in 1970.
Mitchell (like Experience bassist, Noel Redding) was badly treated by Hendrix’s later manager, Mike Jeffreys, and never received the financial rewards he had earned. He went on to play with other artists, but rarely recorded again and, though he did work
outside of the Hendrix industry (including stints with Jeff Beck and Jack Bruce) the rest of his career was spent reliving his time with the Experience. In the weeks prior to his unexpected death, Mitchell had been touring the USA with the 2008 Experience Hendrix Tour.
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DISTRIBUTION • NEWS
Korg wins Hartke Washburn secures Disney Samson also switches to Milton Keynes
Sound Technology to distribute Hannah Montana in the UK
KORG UK is taking over distribution of Samson and Hartke from January 1st 2009. The brands are moving from Sound Technology to avoid conflict following its takeover of Harman Pro UK. Commenting on the acquisition, Rob Castle, MD of Korg UK, said: “Samson and Hartke will be a great complement to Korg and Vox, while also having products relevant to our other brands. We are working with Sound Technology to ensure a smooth transition.” David Marshall, MD of Sound Tech, added: "Samson and Hartke have been fantastic brands for us and we are very grateful for the opportunity Samson has given us over the years. However our purchase of Harman Pro UK earlier this year necessitated a review of existing brands to ensure that there is no possibility of
SOUND TECHNOLOGY has attained the distribution of Disney licensed guitars into the UK’s MI market through its ongoing distribution arrangement with Washburn guitars. Branded ‘Disney by Washburn’ the first products to arrive in the country are based on the worldwide success of the Hannah Montana franchise. The models – a three-quarter size acoustic and a three-quarter size electric – are available in the UK immediately and, the distributor hopes, in good time for the all-important Christmas market. Hannah Montana is seen on Disney Channels all over the world. A record-breaking franchise, the programme was second only to American Idol in the key six to 11-year-old age range in the US and has been supported this year in the UK with a DVD release and a 3D film. There has also been a
CASTLE: A great complement conflict. Although we are sorry to be letting these brands go, we wish Korg UK every success in the future." Castle says he expects the Samson and Hartke lines to make up for the business previously done with Takamine guitars. “Since the departure of Takamine to Fender earlier this year we have been looking for the right products to expand our offering,” said Castle. SOUND TECH: 01462 480000 KORG: 01908 857100
Sequoia in UK Arbiter’s music technology division scoops DAW double for UK and Ireland ARBITER GROUP has announced a new partnership with Berlin based Magix AG to distribute the Samplitude and Sequoia DAW programs in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. “We’re very excited to bring the Samplitude and Sequoia products to the UK MI market, where they represent a perfect fit with our other high profile technology brands, such as
10 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
Native Instruments, Arturia, Celemony and Moog,” said Stephen Parker, Arbiter’s music technology manager. “We are delighted that with the Arbiter Group we have found a partner for the UK and Ireland that has a long experience in business and excellent contacts to continue the success of Samplitude and Sequoia,” added Steffen Holly, director of audio products at Magix. Arbiter Group will commence distribution immediately and will offer Samplitude 10X and Samplitude 10 ProX editions at retail prices of £199.99 and £399.99 respectively for a limited period, a substantial saving on the full recommended retail prices of these products – Samplitude 10 has an SRP of £389.99 and Samplitude 10 Pro has an SRP of £779.99. ARBITER: 020 8207 7860
magazine launch and Nintendo DS, Wii and Sony PS2 video game releases. The ‘secret star’, 14-year-old Miley Stewart, is the typical girl
next door, but she has a hidden identity – she just happens to be the biggest pop sensation in the world at the moment. “It's impossible to underestimate the power of brands in these economic conditions and they don't get much stronger than Hannah Montana at the moment,” commented Ian Cullen, marketing director of Sound Technology. “We hope these models will appeal to MI retailers looking to cover all bases for this Christmas.” SOUND TECH: 01462 480000 Disney by Washburn guitars now in the UK through Sound Technology
Pacifica gets a Facelift Rick Parfitt’s cosmetic accessory now available in brand new shape designed for Yamaha’s best selling guitar, the Pacifica YAMAHA’S Pacifica guitars are the latest iconic design to receive a facelift from Status Quo’s co-frontman Rick Parfitt (pictured) and his ‘stick on’ guitar covers. Parfitt is the driving force behind the Facelift range of re-useable patterned vinyl guitar body overlays. Initially introduced to fit Fender Strat and Tele bodies, Parfitt came up with the idea after being intrigued by the concept of changing the appearance of any guitar in a use and re-use way.
Coated in a low-tack adhesive, Facelift is non-slip when placed on a guitar, it can be applied in seconds to instantly transform the look of any instrument, whether a brand new model or a tried and tested older instrument. It's economical and yet immediately effective. Parfitt is not the only rock icon to recognize the significance of the Yamaha Pacifica as a classic guitar, as earlier this year the Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood,
selected a Yamaha Pacifica for his first ever painting on the body of a guitar, turning a Yamaha Pacifica 112 guitar that sells for less than £200 into a collector’s piece worth in excess of £15,000. Pacifica Facelifts are available now for 012, 112J and 112V models, with a suggested retail price of £19.99 and available from Facelift’s exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland, JHS & Co. JHS: 0113 286 5381. YAMAHA: 01908 366700.
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PROFILE • DISTRIBUTION
Herga Music has been quietly supplying the MI and general trades with unique products for two decades. Irene McGregor gives an insight into her business... Established: 1988
above what people would normally expect to pay for them.
Number of employees: Four Is business up or down on this time last year? Any particular reasons? Business is down because I think shops are being cautious on their purchasing. We’re getting lots of orders in, but they tend to be of lesser value than recently. What are your best selling lines? It’s horses for courses really. Because we have such a big catalogue, there’s something there for every type of shop or retailer, so it’s very varied. Apart from your products, what are your strengths as a distributor? We have a rapid turnaround and keep adequate stocks so that we can always accommodate out customers. Do you think it has been a particularly tough year for retailers? Why? It’s been a very difficult year for everyone, yes. At the moment we’re holding back on some imported products because of the exchange rates. We have plenty of other stock customers can chose from, so there’s not a real problem, but it is an issue at the moment. What we’re trying not to do is put our prices up, which is why we’re holding back on those products which could end up priced
Is the internet the biggest challenge facing the industry today? For the general music shop the internet is a big threat. I think another threat for the people who are instrument retailers is that there is a lot of direct buying, taking the shop trade away. The people who have spent their money on creating the shop fronts aren’t actually reaping the benefits of that. In a perfect world, what product lines would you add to your portfolio? I think possibly a few more household products, but as it is at the moment we have most things covered. What are your aims for the next year? To ride the storm, basically, and maintain the level of business and hopefully see things grow while everything settles down again.
CONTACT DETAILS Address: 4 High Street, Wealdstone , Harrow, Middlesex HA3 7AA Phone: 020 8861 1590 Email: email@example.com Contact: Irene McGregor / Brenda Harvey
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miPRO DECEMBER 2008 11
EVENT REVIEW • MUSIC LIVE
Live and let live Music Live is undergoing something of a shift, but it is one of organic evolution, rather than any change in direction. It is still a unique event. Andy Barrett pounds the aisles… Event: Music Live Venue: NEC, Birmingham Date: November 7th-9th Exhibitors: 142 Visitors: 24,000 (approx, pre-audited figure) Verdict: A slightly quieter Sunday (about 400 down) bucked the trend, which showed figures slightly up on the Friday (education day) and the Saturday, but expectations are that visitor numbers are around 1,000 up on last year. This confirms Music Live’s position as an end-user, retail show. Popularity is maintained despite fewer manufacturer exhibitors, smaller stands and bigger aisles, but these are punters after a bargain. The simple, ‘turn-up-and-buy-something’ message is valid and places Music Live central to a market it has made its own.
pare a thought for Jason Hunt, NEC Clarion’s event manager for the Music Live show. On Monday November 10th, the day after this year’s show closed its doors, he began preparing a weekly report with the daunting title: ‘52 Weeks To Go’ and so the preparations for the next year’s show were underway. Hunt is hoping that the 2009 event won’t have the drama of losing a major partner halfway through the year as was the case in April this year, when Sound Control went into administration and disappeared from the UK’s MI map. As a result of that crisis, this year’s show developed an interesting landscape in that the country’s two largest multiples, PMT and Reverb, were both selling on site, as was Rocktronic, the public face of the MI retail buying group The Firm, representing dozens of independent retailers. This meant that, in between the manufacturers’ stands throughout the show floor, a large retail area loomed. The fact there is so much room for retail at this show is an indication of exactly how much business Sound Control had at its disposal when it was around. Hunt has indications from the floor that, in fact, without the former number one trader, more kit was sold than ever before, but spread around these three the impact is less likely to be so pronounced.
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The crowds were back again, with preaudited figures indicating that, despite a quieter Sunday than for some time, attendance was up around 1,000 over the three days and, of course, education day on the Friday was nothing short of rammed. With all of the doubts that have been raised about the show this year, from the Sound Control issue to the general economic malaise, there was considerable relief that this most important statistic was maintained. “A lot of people were worried about whether anyone would turn up,” said Hunt. “In the end, everybody seemed pretty pleased. I even had people coming to the organiser’s office thanking me for the show, which is unusual.” There were further indications that, outside of retail, things have not been smooth running for this year’s show. While most of the big exhibitors were present (despite extensive pre-show rumours of some major names pulling out) including Yamaha, Roland, Peavey and Sound Technology, the stands were clearly smaller than has been the case in previous years – although this is again qualified by the fact that Roland reduced the size of its stand at last year’s show, while all was still healthy and rosy with both Sound Control and the world in general. It is also worth pointing out that other companies (and most notable among
these is JHS & Co) maintained profile and investment in this show. JHS even went a step further with a dedicated Fret King ‘lounge’ where invited guests could enjoy some peace and quiet and a good range of
“I even had people coming to the organiser’s office thanking me for the show, which is unusual.” Jason Hunt Trev Wilkinson’s guitars to noodle about on and discuss. “As a company, we love Music Live to death, which is why we support it the way we do,” commented Dennis Drumm. “We thought the numbers were very good on Friday, ad it’s a great thing to get all those kids in there. Overall I’m very happy. We added quite a significant amount of space this year and it worked very well for us.” Marshall was the big absentee this year, having had its large presence dominate the show for some years now. In its place, PMT had arranged a Marshall exclusive zone. Simon Gilson was happy, with reservations. “It was a very tough show this year,” he said. “We don¹t know the
numbers yet, but they’re definitely going to be short of expectations. Was it a good show? Yes, I thought it was. Friday was amazing. It was great to see the place absolutely rammed full of kids, which, are obviously our future.” The absence of Marshall meant that there was all the more focus on the likes of Gibson and Fender – the former on site with its impressive ‘tour bus’ and the latter with a kind of ‘festival marquee’ affair. Both stands were predictably popular with the punters. When asked about the wider aisles and the smaller stands, Hunt was unequivocal in his optimism. “All I can do is keep on doing what I’m doing,” he said. “Yes, there were smaller stands this year, but revenues are holding and all we can do is work for an even better show next year.” Which brings us to the overall verdict of Music Live and its very raison d’etre: retail. This show has become a retail show. It is not a show where manufacturers and suppliers jostle to put out their trade messages, it is about getting kit into the hands of the punters. The floors are not carpeted, the stands are simple, the noise ideal for a party, but not conducive to doing deals and discussing strategies. In this regard, Music Live is a unique and valuable show and well worth the effort. WWW.MUSICLIVE.CO.UK
MUSIC LIVE â€˘ EVENT REVIEW
For those about to rock... Music Live is well worth a visit, with the big names out in force and bargains aplenty
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SHOW PREVIEW • NAMM
A NAMM for all seasons As the world descends into turmoil over global finances and the repercussions begin to hit businesses large and small, some might argue it is a time to hunker down and protect what you have. NAMM’s president and CEO, Joe Lamond tells Andy Barrett that would be a mistake…
s MI Pro readers begin to peruse these pages, the first of the big trade events, the Winter NAMM show, is just six weeks away. Under normal circumstances, a good number of the world’s MI businessmen would already have booked hotels, got their show passes and secured a seat on a flight into LAX – but these, as we are all painfully aware, are no longer normal circumstances. The immediate, knee-jerk reaction to bad times looming is to batten down the hatches, cancel all marketing expenditure and cut whatever can be cut. A trip to California might well be high on that list of non-essentials. If the world’s financial gurus are to be heeded, however, it would seem that this is the last thing we should be doing. In order to kick start the ailing economies of the world, what we should be doing is spending as we have spent over the past ten years of economic growth – thus the decimation of base interest rates around
14 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
the world in an effort to get more money into the pockets of the public (which itself has some interesting side effects – see News Analysis, page 18). NAMM’s president and CEO, Joe Lamond, would agree with those who say ‘act normally’, but for a number of quite different reasons.
them reasons to shop with us and to keep making music. One of the key differences this time is 24/7 media coverage of the bad news. The world seems convinced, by our government leaders and by the media, that things are horrible and will only get worse. That has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“You get through tough times by staying laserfocused on customer care.” Joe Lamond Lamond’s business background is in retail and he has seen economic downturns before, although this one, he admits, is a bit different. “Yes, I’ve seen some rough times. We’ve always gotten through them, many times with growth, by staying laser focused on taking care of our customers and giving
Which rings very true to many here in the UK, where our doom-mongering press has painted a picture so dramatic, many in MI, both retail and supply, are wondering where all of this happening as they record figures for September and October. According to Lamond, there is some evidence of this in the US, too.
“The headlines of the global economy are full of bad news these days and the US is no exception,” he says. “There are NAMM members experiencing significant challenges. But we also are hearing of other members who are finding success as well. There is little doubt that this combination of economic factors is unprecedented, leaving the brightest business minds in the world scratching their heads.” MI, of course, has some pretty bright minds of its own and this is where trade associations such as NAMM come into their own, creating a natural forum where these issues are considered. “The NAMM board is made up of real business owners experiencing this firsthand – you can imagine how big a topic this is with them and all our members. Many have lived through past recessions and have ideas on how to weather this one. NAMM’s role is to do everything possible to promote music making to the WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
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SHOW PREVIEW • NAMM
general public, strengthen music education and create learning opportunities for our members to position their businesses not just to survive, but to thrive both now and in the future.” While a little vague, what this last statement does mean is that there are people with experience and know-how within our own industry that can shed light upon areas that might seem intractable to others – and you might be one of those. The important issue is getting together. The NAMM show is – and has been for many years, one of the best places to stage that get-together. “In times of great change, learners win. Those who try to do things the old way find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists,” Lamonds points out. “The NAMM show is the only place in the world where virtually every industry leader comes to learn, gather ideas, solutions and direction for the future. It’s been said that anyone who is really serious about their future wouldn’t even consider missing it.” And there is another factor, not unique to the music industries, but one that we excel at. As Lamond puts it: “Our industry is also made up of great relationships and friendships. There’s something about our inherent need to come together and talk, vent, laugh and just be around one another. These face-to-face relationships are the association’s and industry’s greatest assets.” Many of NAMM’s (and the world’s) best MI minds will be presenting talks and discussions at the NAMM University sessions throughout the show (see box). Inevitably, the message is ‘be there’ as it
always has been, but this is a strong argument that the annual shot in the arm that is the NAMM show is more important at this time than ever before. If you’re not booked up yet, do so. Aside from being the epicentre of all the economic grief in the world at the moment (the USA, not NAMM) America has also enjoyed unprecedented coverage (certainly here in the UK) of that country’s selection of its next head of state. Apolitical British rockers and anarchic punks are known to have stayed up the whole night on November 4th just to get final confirmation that Barack Obama had been elected as chief of the world’s most powerful nation and is to inherit the chair where the buck really can go no further. This two-month gap between winning the election is known as the ‘lame duck’ period, as the outgoing president effectively has no power (nor possibly desire) to do much and the newly elected official hones his (or maybe, one day, ‘her’) policies for the next four years. NAMM, as with any trade body, spends a lot of time lobbying government to ensure its aims and values remain to the forefront of political decision making, but unlike here in the UK, where it is very much ‘the king is dead, long live the king,’ the lame duck period leaves any lobbyist with an administration that is irrelevant and another that has, at best, a general overview of what its policies will be. Lamond explains that the work does not stop – in fact, if anything, it intensifies at this time. “Mary Luehrsen and our government relations team do a very good job of building a lot of important relationships
The crowds of the NAMM show – no better place to get ideas in troubled times with elected officials in both parties. Our strategy is to identify the most vital figures to move our agenda forward and provide them with good research-based information about the benefits of music in order to keep music education strong in communities across the country. “It’s tedious, ongoing work because new officials are coming in and going out all the time at both State and Federal level. During this lame duck period, things can happen very quickly, so we need to be especially vigilant right now.”
Which is general, but specifically? “NAMM and a large coalition of partner organizations have been working with the Obama team for more than a year regarding their position concerning music and the arts and we are continuing that work with Obama’s transition team today. Actually, we were pleased to have President-elect Obama provide Wynton Marsalis on a Support Music conference call recently to discuss this very issue.” (This call is available to listen to now at namm.org on the public affairs page.)
NAMM University sessions The NAMM University has proved itself over the past few years to be an initiative of endless value to the MI retailer, with MI business luminaries offering their real-world advice on pretty much every aspect of MI retail you can think of. As with previous years, each day of the show will begin with a breakfast session (with a free breakfast served from 8am to 8:30am – as if you needed any more incentive). These will take place at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel Pacific Ballrooms. The schedule of these breakfast sessions are listed below, but the NAMM Ideas Centre (stand 5501 in Hall B) will hold sessions every half an hour (unfortunately the schedule is far too lengthy to reprint here, but the full programme is available on the NAMM website at namm.org). Here then is a run down of the Breakfast sessions as they will happen each morning.
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 15 Breakfast of Champions Joe Lamond, President and CEO, NAMM, and guests In this session, Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM, will welcome some champions of business for a series of upclose and personal discussions. Listen in on the thoughts of these opinion leaders and get a rare glimpse into their views on the future of our industry in this rapidly changing business environment. FRIDAY, JANUARY 16 The Big Issues: Trends and Tactics: The Next 12 Months Bill Hinely and panel It’s the beginning of the new year and the ideal time to look ahead and explore the trends that are going to influence business over the next 12 months. In the latest big Issues session, Bill Hinely and a panel of experts will explore some of the emerging trends that are going to
influence the music products industry during the upcoming year and beyond. Find out how these trends are going to affect you and how to control the challenges while you take advantage of the opportunities. This is the information you need to succeed and thrive in this time of economic and social change. SATURDAY, JANUARY 17 25 Ideas to Improve Business – Now Panel discussion with Alan Freidman and Danny Rocks Are you looking for a few fresh ideas to improve your business? Are you looking to find new customers? Do you want to create more ‘buzz’ for your next event? Do you need some help with your financial statements? Well, look no further. In one hour, you will get 25 ideas that you can start to implement Monday morning. These are not just theories, but practical, dealertested ideas to improve your business.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 18 Best in Show – This Year’s Hottest Products Frank Alkyer, Publisher, Music Inc and panel With more than 1,500 companies exhibiting and demonstrating thousands of products at the NAMM show, sometimes it can be difficult to make sure you’ve seen all the important new items. Join Music Inc publisher Frank Alkyer and his esteemed panel of retail buyers, media and gear heads as they scour the aisles and dig into the merchandise to find the best products, ideas and trends from the hidden depths of the show. You know as soon as you get home, someone always asks: “Did you the see the new…?” and you feel you’re the only person who missed it. The chance to change all that, this rapid-fire, 60-minute snapshot covers what you need to see before leaving Anaheim.
MUSIC CHINA • EVENT REVIEW
China’s cup runneth over Exhibitor and visitor numbers up again, but some overseas visitors stay away
he Music China show took place in Shanghai from October 9th to 12th with the organiser, Messe Frankfurt announcing record figures for the seventh successive year since the show’s inception. The fair filled six halls with 1,106 exhibitors from 23 countries and regions, an increase of 87 exhibitors from the previous year. The number of overseas exhibitors totalled 286. The total exhibition area was 65,000 square metres. The event once again showcased leading Chinese and international brands, resulting in almost every conceivable music product and accessory being exhibited on the show floor to the 43,238 visitors – an increase of more than 14 per cent. Of these, 40,612 were domestic visitors, a 16 per cent increase from last year, and there were 2,626 international visitors from 91 countries, which indicates that while the domestic attendance was dramatically higher, international visitors were down two per cent. Despite this, and evidenced buy the number of international exhibitors, an increasing number of international music companies are seeking to do business in China, encouraged by a renewed education focus from the Chinese government, increased domestic consumer spending power and the growing transparency of distribution channels. All of this has led to a rise in exhibitors and national pavilions at Music China. Music China hosted eight national pavilions around the show space from Britain (supported by the Music Industries Association), Austria, Czech Republic France, German, Italy, Spain and Taiwan. Appearing for the first time at the British Pavilion was Oxford University Press. Alastair Henderson, OUP’s key account manager, pointed out that China has a huge potential market for the publisher.
Event: Music China Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre Date: October 9th-12th Exhibitors: 1,106 Visitors: 43,238 Verdict: Visitor and exhibitor numbers both up, but international visitor numbers were down. This was indicative of two factors: the growing appeal of the show domestically and a rash of late decisions by international visitors not to go, possibly due to worries about spending in the current climate. Visitor quality, however, was as high as ever and the UK contingent of exhibitors was up again this year, following an alternating pattern in terms of numbers. Those that attended from the UK, both exhibitors and visitors, saw the show as very much worthwhile. “We have had a lot interest from teachers in our teaching books, which they have never seen before,” he said. “We have a Chinese publisher who is thinking about licensing 26 books in our piano teaching series.” As well as a raft of live music performances, many visitors took advantage of the various educational seminars at Music China, with the NAMM University organising several hands-on courses over two days, led by leading players in the Chinese market and a panel discussion featuring distinguished industry names. Altogether 950 people attended NAMM’s nine events, an increase of 53 per cent compared to last year. “We are delighted at the large increase of attendees at NAMM University this year. This is the third edition of the courses at Music China, and it is apparent that Chinese trade visitors to the show really appreciate the sharing of best practice and learning from their very successful peers. The high-level line up of speakers was clearly mirrored in the dedication and number of attendees," said Betty Heywood, NAMM's director of international affairs. The next show is scheduled for October 13th to 16th 2009 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. WWW.MUSIKMESSE.COM
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 17
NEWS ANALYSIS • ECONOMIC CRISIS
Not so sterling The near collapse of the British pound, which has come on top of all of the other squeezes in the global economy and Asian manufacturing, means that we are facing the most uncertain fiscal period for decades. Gary Cooper speaks to some of the UK industry’s leading lights to find out what this means to our business…
ritain’s hard-pressed MI retailers are facing price rises of up to 25 per cent, leading UK distributors have warned in recent weeks. The recent collapse of sterling against the US dollar and factory gate price increases from Chinese and other Asian manufacturers are largely to blame. Triggering the price rises has been the 30 per cent devaluation of the pound in a matter of weeks and, from soundings taken by MI Pro, it appears almost no one is immune from the effect. The rises come at a particularly bad time, with the UK already in recession, unemployment rocketing and fears growing for trade in the coming year. Worst hit are likely to be educational suppliers, whose business is often on a contracted basis with local education authorities. The MIA’s Paul McManus says the Association is so concerned that it has written to the Federation of Music Services, the National Music Participation Director and the Department for Children to inform them of the situation and tell them that the price rises are unavoidable. “It’s admirable that some suppliers are desperately trying to stick with existing commitments to their customers – I think Stentor is an excellent case in point in that regard,” McManus says. In a letter to retailers, Stentor’s Michael Doughty says: “Stentor will honour all outstanding orders that have been confirmed by us at the old prices. This is a very expensive policy, but we trust it will be appreciated by customers who have orders in hand awaiting delivery.” Another major distributor in this sector, Barnes & Mullins, is also striving to help retailers. In a letter sent to his customers, MD Bruce Perrin says: “Due to the strength of Barnes & Mullins’ export business – the majority of which is based in US dollars – we are able to hold back from passing on all the costs to our customers. This is why on the price update pages issued to retailers you will see only a tiny fraction of our prices have increased.” “The vast majority of suppliers will not be able to absorb the increases, though,” McManus warns. The background to the price rises reflects more than the changing values of the pound and US dollar, however. For 18 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
PERRIN: “Only a fraction of our prices have increased”
MCMANUS: The majority of suppliers will not be able to absorb the increases
“It’s admirable that some suppliers are desperately trying to stick with existing commitments to their customers.” Paul McManus, MIA example, the Baltic Dry Index (the number issued daily by the London Baltic Exchange, giving the cost of international cargo transport) has recently nose-dived, following a decline in shipping coming from and going to the Far East as the recession has begun to bite. This means that shipping costs are actually substantially lower than they were this time last year. Similarly, energy prices are also declining, which should, in theory, offer some relief. However, industry observers point to recent changes in Chinese legislation, which has introduced significant national insurance costs on manufacturers, plus greatly increased labour rates and, paradoxically, a manufacturing slump, with many factories closing due to a fall in orders from the West. This has actually led to price rises from producers struggling to keep afloat. It is by no means solely the big distributors who have been hit by cost
increases. Selectron UK, currently riding high with ESP guitars, was one of the first to warn about what was coming. Its MD, Clive Norris, has been predicting the current price rises for many months. He says: “What you’ve got to bear in mind is that the pound-dollar rate was steady at two dollars-plus over the past 18 months or so – and that had a downside in itself as it meant people could jump on an aeroplane and go to America to buy a guitar. It also gave Thomann a red carpet into the UK – well those two situations have certainly changed. “However, at $1.55 you can see that we’re losing 25 per cent off your bottom line, so everyone’s in the same boat. Added to that, I know for a fact that I am going to be paying higher factory prices as of January 1st next year – anything between four and 17 per cent. They are having to force their prices up just to stay in business due to increased labour costs,
raw material costs and the fact that, as their volume drops, their margins have to increase. Previously, manufacturers were relying on high turnover, which they no longer have.” On the point that Norris makes about raw material costs, one distributor we spoke with on an ‘off the record’ basis confirmed that the price of flamed maple in China has risen astronomically in the past year – just adding more fuel to the inflationary fire. By no means are China and Korea alone in the cost spiral. The Japanese Yen, too, has risen considerably in recent weeks, raising the question of what might be on the way from the major Japanese music companies. Meanwhile other distributors are privately saying they see the imminent price rises as almost a healthy counterbalance to the price deflation of recent years, where profitability has dropped along with the price of musical instruments, but Norris is unconvinced. “You may get a bigger cash turn, but you’ll also get a lower sales volume. It will stop a lot of discounting, though.” This is a picture that could change overnight, should the pound suddenly rise in value – though few are holding their breath in anticipation. Inflated prices in the MI market come at a particularly bad time as prices in other retail areas are, mysteriously, dropping. Large High Street retailers holding massive levels of stock purchased a year ago, are furiously cutting prices in an attempt to boost Christmas sales, which could make musical products look expensive by comparison. The Music Shipping Company’s Craig Fenney is resigned to the prospect of rising prices. “Obviously there have got to be price increases for the reasons we all know. But the problem is that the benchmark prices dealers are used to now are already ridiculously low, so they’ve got to go up, not just in line with the international financial circumstance, but just to make it possible for manufacturers and wholesalers to survive – which makes it a huge increase.” Fenney is one of those who believes that there could be a positive to come out of all the gloom. “If prices go up, so do WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
ECONOMIC CRISIS • NEWS ANALYSIS
dealers’ profits. The margin stays the same, but you make more money. Because we had good stocks, bought when the rate was better, we’ve been able to hold our prices so far – but we have warned our dealers that in December we have to put up Aquarian prices; we just can’t absorb it. If the dollar sticks around 1.50-55 then I can see us needing a ten to 12 per cent price rise.” So what sort of reaction has he been getting from retailers? “Sanguine, really. When you explain it to people, they understand. We’ve all got to come to terms with this and, well, if we lose some people who aren’t prepared to make a sensible margin, that will be better for everybody else and I think it could come to that, after Christmas.” While High Street music retailers face a potentially difficult time in the New Year, trying to sell products that have suddenly increased in price, worse may lie in store for the educational specialist. The MIA predicts a rough ride, as McManus explains: “The problem facing educational suppliers is that they have long-standing commitments to
DOUGHTY: “We’ll honour outstanding orders”
FENNEY: “Retailers are sanguine”
“We’ve all got to come to terms with this and, well, if we lose some people who aren’t prepared to make a sensible margin, that will be better for everyone else and I think it could come to that, after Christmas.” Craig Fenney, Music Shipping Co
educational authorities to supply them at fixed prices. As MI Pro readers will know, there has been a £40 million boost in education spending on new musical instruments, but shops can’t afford to hold the price they’ve tendered at. That’s why I wrote direct to the government and the music services explaining what’s going on. “Having said all that, ultimately, this is a good thing for our industry, because the race to the bottom in prices has got to stop. We have businesses in the educational field not making any margin – and I really mean, no margin at all, just trying to keep the business and that can’t be right. So, painful as it is, this could endup being a good thing.” Higher prices – painful in the shortterm, good for everyone in the longer term? It sounds like an economics exam question set by a particularly sadistic examiner. And maybe there is no correct answer. One distributor (off the record, for reasons that will soon become obvious), when asked what he thought the New Year would bring, put it bluntly: “It’ll be every man for himself.”
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 19
In black and white
This is a new section in MI Pro aimed at creating dedicated news pages for the UK’s piano suppliers and retailers. This month, information has been contributed by Piano Warehouse and Yamaha, but the idea is that all those dealing with or manufacturing pianos in the UK now have their own special section in MI Pro to deal with the news and issues that directly affect them.
Trade price warning
The people’s piano
Factors make trade price increases inevitable from the Piano Warehouse
World’s largest piano uncovered in Chinese capital 50 years after its completion
A COMBINATION of price increases from the Piano Warehouse’s suppliers and the falling price of sterling, caused by the global economic situation, has led to the piano supplier having to make price increases on the Weber, Steinmayer and Gors & Kallman ranges. Piano Warehouse is keen to emphasise that the increases will be minimal, with some models
remaining unaffected, although Howard Martyn has told MI Pro that the current uncertainty surrounding the market means that it is impossible to make any medium to long-term predictions as to price stability. “Bearing in mind that prices for Steinmayer have remained unchanged for over ten years, while many of our competitors have seen increases by as much
as 30 per cent over the last few years, we feel our pianos offer good prices with great margins for the retailer,” said Martyn. Those wishing to obtain further details regarding the increases should contact Piano Warehouse for an updated price list and Martyn added that there would still be special offers on selected items whenever and wherever possible.
Yamaha’s Hamburgers First YPTG European seminar held at Yamaha Europe’s headquarters OVER 70 piano technicians from 15 European countries recently attended the inaugural Yamaha Piano Technician Guild (YPTG) training seminars held at Yamaha's European head offices in Hamburg. The YPTG was launched in March 2008 at the Frankfurt Musikmesse and aims to promote and develop the highest standards of technical support for Yamaha's handcrafted pianos. This is achieved by providing an accreditation process for technicians, recognised by both artists and venues throughout the whole of Europe. The two day seminar, hosted by Kimiyasu Ito, the director of piano development projects in Japan, focused on Yamaha’s ‘premium pianos’ – the CFIII, S6 & S4 models and provided delegates with a much deeper
20 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
and more practical understanding of Yamaha's design, construction and material selection processes. Some 14 countries were represented including the UK. “We are delighted that our pioneering guild accreditation programme is proving popular amongst so many technicians across so many countries,” commented the president of the YPTG, Takahiro Mizuno.
A PIANO THAT has stood in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing for nearly 50 years is, in fact, the world’s largest. The commonly held belief has been that, until recently, the biggest ever piano was a Challen grand made in 1935 in celebration of King George V’s silver jubilee. This model was 11 feet and eight inches, although the piano went off the radar after its last sighting, back in the 1980s, when it was seen by a piano tuner, Paul Bexon, in Gwyrch Castle in North Wales. Since then, its whereabouts are unknown. The record was believed to have been broken a few years ago with the construction of a 12-foot grand in the States, made by Rubenstein. It turns out, however, that the Challen’s record was broken less than 25 years after it was made, by a considerably larger model – ‘a veritable leviathan in piano terms’, was how Piano Warehouse’s Howard Martyn described it. Martyn went on to explain that the piano had remained relatively unknown, probably
because of the very closed society that China was when the instrument was built, back in 1959. By the time China was opening its doors to the world, the details of the piano had been lost to history. The story goes that in 1959, upon the completion of the Great Hall of the People (itself built to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Chinese Republic), the communist party commissioned the Beijing Piano Company (today makers of Steinmayer and Gors & Kallman pianos, both sold in the UK through Piano Warehouse) to build a piano for the Great Auditorium. The company responded by producing a 15-foot model that has dwarfed any other pretenders to the crown. The significance of the piano has not been noted until now, although the former prime minister, the late Sir Edward Heath, a good amateur pianist and composer, gave a recital on the piano at a charity event in 1987. The piano remains on display at the Great Auditorium to this day.
“The training provides a recognised level of quality assurance to our top end piano customers and players. It also helps us further promote the qualities of Yamaha pianos while strengthening our relationships with the piano technician communities who play such a vital role in ensuring that the highest levels of Yamaha quality and support are maintained.”
606: the number of the jazz Buyer found for Seiler Yamaha launches new CD at live concert at London’s 606 club LONDON’S award-winning 606 Jazz Club hosted a showcase evening featuring the best of the UK’s young jazz talent to celebrate the launch of the Yamaha Jazz Sessions CD. The new CD features emerging young jazz artists and is the latest initiative in Yamaha's partnership with Jazzwise magazine, the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) and the 606 Club. The collaboration has resulted in a three-year scholarship programme. The CD will feature in, and be cover mounted on, the Christmas and New Year edition of Jazzwise. Produced by Andy Ross at Astar Studios the Yamaha Jazz Sessions CD features six musicians, nominated by the heads of jazz at six of the UK’s leading conservatoires, as well as
German piano marque saved byb Samick THE GERMAN manufacturer, Seiler, has been bought by Samick, ending fears that the company would disappear for good. It is the third German piano company that the Korean firm has bought Seiler, based in the town of Kitzingen in Bavaria and a manufacturer of high end pianos since 1849, went into liquidation early in the autumn, but but is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Korean MI giant. A new management team for Seiler has been appointed.
special guest tracks from Yamaha jazz artists Gwilym Simcock, Jason Rebello and Julian Joseph. The six jazz scholars who each performed a 30 minute set at the 606 launch are (pictured, left to right): Rick Simpson (piano), Iestyn Jones (electric bass), Ruby
Wood (vocals), Zem Audu (sax), Calum Gourlay (acoustic bass) and John Randall (drums). “Yamaha Scholarships have developed events from appreciation of jazz to growing jazz education,” stated Michael Connarty MP, of the APPJAG.
The company will continue making pianos in the same factories by the same craftsmen, Samick noted. Seiler joins an ever-growing number of names under the Samick banner, which includes Pramberger, Kohler & Campbell, Knabe and Sohmer.
New Albert Weber upright THE PIANO Warehouse has announced the immediate availability of the new Albert Weber series of upright pianos from Young Chang in Korea.
The new piano is a 121 centimetre framed upright and will be available in a black polish finish only, with e suggested retail price of £4,995.
DEALERSHIPS AVAILABLE How Indie dealerships work… 1. You choose any 8 guitars from the range, any price point. 2. 4 of the 8 are supplied as free issue guitars and 4 are invoiced, you choose. 3. We only invoice free issue guitars after they are sold by you. Pay 30 days later. 4. You choose free issue replacement guitars and we send them free of charge. 5. You replace your purchased guitars only after you sell them. 6. We will exchange any guitars that do not sell, no need to discount as nothing sticks! You can share in the success of the fastest growing guitar brand in Europe… …with the confidence that all indie guitars are unique and non competitive to any other brand. There is no catch… We simply believe in working with you to help sell great guitars. You can visit the showroom to view our guitars or we will bring them to you…
CONTACT US NOW on 01635 579300 or visit www.indieguitars.com ps. If we sell a guitar online you will get the sale!
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 21
COVER STORY • EMD
Bucking the trend EMD has seen impressive and long-term growth for some years now, not least because the company never stands still. Leonardo Baldocci and Serge Alsteens explain to Andy Barrett how they manage such development – one step at a time…
hen you look at what European Music Distribution (EMD) has done in the 45 years of its existence, you do tend to wonder why noone else has chosen to go a similar route. A precis of the business plan might well read something like this: Establish a distribution hub in a location that has access to the major markets in Europe and start building your networks; once established in western Europe, introduce an entry level brand with European spec, but sourced in Asia; provide regional distributors with unbranded product; open up a branch in the USA; develop joint ventures in China; organise the supply of all customers direct from China; promise a maximum two month lead time. Simplistic? Very likely, but that, in essence, is what EMD has done. Admittedly, the journey has been slightly longer than a paragraph. Its early beginnings stretch back 45 years, to when Leonardo Baldocci arrived in Brussels to establish a distribution company for an Italian manufacturer. 22 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
But, by forging the path outlined, Baldocci’s EMD is a company that has grown beyond anybody’s expectations – and continues to grow today. The problems experienced by the likes of Pearl, Fender and, more recently, Gibson in trying to establish a pan-European operation seem almost insignificant when
worthy distributor operating throughout Europe before it turned its hand to design and manufacture. The result, the Stagg range of instruments and accessories, and its subsequent success in no less than 55 countries, has been something of a revolution of its own.
“What is important is that dealers know they’ll make a great margin on any Stagg product, even in these difficult times.” Serge Alsteens viewing them through the EMD lens. Considering that these companies leapt, in relative terms, into the logistical web that EMD has spent decades navigating, it is no surprise that supply problems arose. Those big names were manufacturers and brands, of course, before they braved the rigours of distribution outside their own territories, whereas EMD was a
“I think we can safely say that Stagg is a recognised brand today,” says a clearly satisfied Baldocci. “In fact, it has been one of the fastest growing brands in the industry.” So successful, in fact, that the R&D team has been working hard to increase the standing of the products. “Originally, Stagg comprised entry-level products only, but for the last few years,
some lines – such as the brass and woodwind instruments, amplifiers and cymbals, which have all been developed in house – compare to the best while remaining affordable,” adds Serge Alsteens, EMD’s international sales director. “Cymbal sales in particular are growing spectacularly and I’m very confident it will be one of the leading brands in the near future.” The company is very keen to emphasise the involvement of its own design team, too. It is often the perception that a lot of the gear that ships from China in container loads is almost scooped on to the ships from the factories, but it would be a brave company that risked that – even at the entry level. “Right from the start in 1995, the products sourced in Asia have been developed or improved by us,” insists Baldocci. “Existing products from suppliers usually don’t meet our quality standards.” Combining this with EMD’s philosophy of maintaining traditional distribution and sales formats, namely maintaining some WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
EMD • COVER STORY
90 per cent stock levels, having a full contingent of reps on the road throughout Europe and the US, and priding itself on quality after-sales service, you have a brand that is positively sought after among third party suppliers elsewhere in the world. “Offering good quality products has been an important part of our success,” confirms Alsteens. “It’s because we offer a reliable range of products sold everyday by our own sales team in France, the UK, Germany, Benelux and the US, that distributors all over the world have chosen Stagg.” “Our R&D department also designed a range of drum cases a few years ago,” interjects Baldocci. “These are produced by the industrial joint venture we’ve set up with a partner in China.” But both Baldocci and Alsteens recognise the limitations of scale. Although products such as the drum cases and the recent James Neligan series of solid topped acoustic guitars do achieve a very high standard, there is a limit to what can be done. “We won’t be aiming at what you might call ‘boutique’ items,” explains Alsteens. “This is not part of our plan right now, although we’re currently working on more mid to high-end products to be produced by our joint venture.” It is here, with the joint venture, that EMD has once againforged a path and proved that it is a company always on the look out for the way to take another step forward. Sourcing products in south east Asia was, in many ways, the first step, followed by collaborations for warehousing and manufacture. The latest step, put in place late in 2007, was to provide unprecedented lead times for products by allowing customers to buy according to online stock figures from the warehouse in China, filling a container and having that shipped directly. Ordering and receiving a delivery of this sort could normally take five months or more, but EMD is promising delivery from as little as six weeks and within two months. “Our top 900 products are available from the Foshan warehouse and our distributors worldwide are taking advantage of this to maintain their stock levels,” says Baldocci. But even for a company with the logistical experience of EMD, there were some teething problems. In the company’s financial report for the 2007, it was reported that some six per cent of the company’s turnover had been affected by problems with deliveries. While not too keen to go into the details of what happened, nor how the problem was overcome, Baldocci is certain the problem has now been eradicated. “The situation is now back to normal,” he confirms. “We have increased our stock levels this year to ensure that dealers are
not affected further in the event of any delivery problems.” Rather than dwelling on the negative, Alsteens is keen to underline the benefit the ‘Foshan Direct’ scheme can give to its smaller customers. “This is also a unique opportunity for dealers to increase their margins,” he enthuses. “We not only offer the best prices, but EMD will organise transport to the dealer’s door and, most importantly, offer the same warranty on products as when purchasing from our warehouse in Belgium. We’re currently shipping 85 per cent of any order from Brussels, including Remo heads for France & Benelux. “This is crucial for our dealers at this time of year. Dealers can also use our retailer-exclusive business web service for up to the minute stock, prices, images, statistics and much more.” As a company, EMD is worth something in the region of 40 million euros and right up to November is still on track to hit all of its targets for 2008. According to its financial reports, the UK makes up around a quarter of the company’s MI sales, but the real growth lies in the subsidiary company it opened five years ago in the States. In November 2007, the EMD Group appointed Daniel Barker as the president and CEO of EMD Music Inc. Barker brought with him some 35 years of MI sales experience, not least having served as the president of Sabian. With doubledigit growth in the previous two years (36 per cent in 2007), Barker has overseen a climb over the past year that has been nothing short of spectacular. “We’ve shown 52 per cent growth in the US so far this year which is fantastic,” confirms Baldocci. “We are confident that the US will be our main source of growth, if not revenue, in the coming years.” “We’ve also recently started distributing Ashdown over there, which will also contribute to our growth,” adds Alsteens. With reports coming in daily of how bad the economic climate is at the moment and figures seemingly confirming that the High Street is now beginning to suffer, the MI industry has, thus far, managed to avoid the worst of any effects – and EMD is, frankly, thriving at the moment. The first quarter of 2008 was looking good, with the financial report showing growth of 14 per cent up to April. While this figure has adjusted somewhat, the picture is still an attractive one. “Despite the current economic climate, our total sales figures are 7.5 per cent up, which was our target for 2008,” says Baldocci. “This wouldn’t have been possible without our fantastic sales force as well as our very professional customer service department.” Alsteens feels that the trend is likely to continue. “Even the figures for September and October show an increase over the
New products, such as the James Neligan series acoustics (far right) are moving EMD up to the mid-priced section of the market
But well featured entrylevel gear, such as the GA series amps (above) remain the bread and butter of the Stagg ranges
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COVER FEATURE • EMD
same period last year in all our territories,” he says. “What is important is that dealers know they’ll make a great margin on any Stagg product, even in these difficult times. Investing in profitable lines is crucial for any dealer, now more than ever.” Interestingly, the almost wild fluctuations in currency over the past few years do not seem to have affected EMD greatly. Obviously, any company that trades across borders is going to weave gains and losses into its projections, but with most growth taking place in the USA and China dealing in dollars, a big chunk of currency-effected business has remained relatively untouched. With sterling nosediving at the moment, however, that big chunk of EMD’s business could well be hit. Baldocci thinks not. “The falling pound isn’t really a problem, as it hits everyone in the same way,” he states. “I also don’t think sales of entry-level instruments and accessories will be affected by a price increase.” Which puts paid to speculation regarding heavy inflation from this particular quarter, at least. While Stagg is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of EMD’s line-up, it is always worth remembering that the different operations around the world also function
as third party distributors for various bigname brands. As Alsteens alluded to above, in the US and for much of the European mainland, it is the supplier for Ashdown Engineering’s bass amp products, as well as the Essex company’s Hayden guitar amps and Lodestone guitars and basses. In the UK, where Ashdown, of course, handles itself, the third party lines include the Seagull, Art Lutherie and Simon & Patrick acoustic guitars from Canada, as well as B-Band electronics and Martin and Augustine strings. In all of its territories, EMD is always open to suggestions for lines to handle, but it says ‘no’ a lot more than it says ‘yes’, maintaining the edict that it is the right brand that is important, not any brand. That said, the main push of the company in the recent past and into the future is going to be Stagg. This most catholic of brands, now spreading upwards into the mid-priced market, covers just about everything you can think of from classical guitars and PA systems to brass, woodwind and just about anything you might want to hit with a stick or a mallet (or a hand, come to that, but they don’t make them). Baldocci clearly has his sights set on making a lot more of his brand. “We
definitely want to keep improving our products and reinforce Stagg’s presence all over the world and for the next few years, we expect further growth in the US and from export sales.” Being in the enviable position of having created pretty much all that he surveys, Leonardo Baldocci is now at an age when most of us would be looking to take a step back, take things a bit easier – perhaps spend some time in the garden or even at the golf club. As EMD is something of a testament to, however, such thoughts are pretty alien to him. The very suggestion provokes something of a shocked answer.
“As I’m currently enjoying every single minute of my time in the company, I don’t see any reason to take it a bit easier.” Well, that put me in my place, but he must surely have thought about who might be in line to take things over when he does finally call it a day. Unfortunately, he remains inscrutable. “Who will be running things in the future? There are plenty of people within the company to choose from.” That should keep the work force going the extra mile – as if there weren’t good enough reason already. WWW.EMDMUSIC.COM
A proliferation of Stagg STAGG HAS, over the past 13 years, become a literal one-stop-shop for the beginner musician, whether rock n roll, brass and woodwind, traditional strings, or, well, just about any and every sector of music and accessories you care to think of. Recent additions to the Stagg catalogue go a long way to illustrating the fact that, while distinctly entry level in price, the range is improving in quality all the time.
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Perhaps one of the most impressive areas the company is working in at the moment is that of brass and woodwind, with instruments such as the 77-SA alto saxophone. This sax, weighing in at under £300, has everything the learner should want from a first instrument. This is the very latest version of Stagg's popular low priced alto and it really is incredibly good. It has a reassuringly good weight to it and feels very solid, as well as being extremely comfortable to play. It ships with a quality case, strap, mouthpiece, ligature and reeds. Of course, these days, no
catholic brand could exist without a quality acoustic guitar and the NA30MJ CBB is one of the new range of Stagg instruments that goes that step further. This is an electro-acoustic mini jumbo guitar with a solid spruce top mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, all very nicely bound and inlaid. The addition of B-Band’s undersaddle pickup and A3.2 eq makes this an instrument that punches way above its weight in the sub-£300 range. There are electrics, too, of course, and the LP-style L-300 with its gothic black finish, again shows that EMD is well aware where the tastes of the buying public are at the moment. Dual humbuckers on a solid alder body, a hard maple set neck, Kluson tuners and a Tune-O-Matic bridge gives the learner everything he or she will need to get to grips with what is needed to be an electric player. Being under £150 puts it almost into the impulse buy category. On the amplifier front, the new GA series offers a lot for its sub £100 price tag. The GA-60 is a dual channel, high impedance combo with a 12-inch speaker and footswitch control over the channels, as well as a line input for CD or MP3 players and a headphone socket.
Finally, on the traditional (or rather folk) side of things, the M-30 mandolin comes it at a remarkable sub-£70 retail price, but again, gives the learner everything that is needed to get to grips with the instrument. Playability is achieved through quality craftsmanship and although cheaper components are used, the overall effect is of a musical instrument and not a toy. Spruce top, back and sides, an unusual linden neck, a nato fingerboard and a rosewood bridge combine with an adjustable maple tailpiece to ensure that, with care, this instrument will take the learner right through to the point where a high end instrument is required. This is, of course, is where Stagg and EMD is at: making the instruments that make music makers. What is more, the standard of the instruments is improving year on year. There is little point in making instruments that put the learner off, but with the quality of Chinese manufacture better than ever, plus the quality control that EMD has in place, both in terms of R&D and at the factory gates, the brand is certain to be high up on both retailers’ and customers’ shopping lists for years to come.
COMPANY PROFILE • FENDER GBI
Stratified 2008 has been a pretty eventful year for Fender, globally, continentally and regionally, with the company scooping up the Kaman Music brands, as well as winning the European distribution rights to Taylor Guitars. Since then, many questions have been asked as to how UK dealers would cope with such a wealth of essential product from a single supplier. Fender GBI’s Graeme Mathieson supplies the answers to Gary Cooper…
f the three stories that dominated the MI trade in 2008, one of them – Fender’s takeover of the multitude of Kaman brands – has arguably had the greatest impact on the greatest number of retailers. While the dust has (largely) settled following the collapse of Sound Control and the takeover of Harman Pro UK by Sound Technology has gone pretty seamlessly, the ramifications of the Fender acquisition are still being felt. And then, to top it all, came the news that Taylor Guitars had appointed Fender its European distributor – sticking a prize cherry on top of a mix that already included an embarrassment of riches: Fender, Guild, Takamine, Ovation, Gretsch and Tacoma.
Critics say no one owner can possibly give equal attention to them all. How does Mathieson feel about that claim? “If you look at Gretsch now, it’s stronger than it has been for a long, long while. That’s an example of what Fender is very good at: it keeps the lines separate and distinct and not just in terms of marketing, because it applies to production, too. If that’s how a Gretsch is made or that’s how a Jackson is made, then Fender doesn’t change it to Fender’s way of doing things.” In the five years since Fender GBI was established, growth has been on the extraordinary side of rapid and for all Mathieson can point to successes like Gretsch, surely some brands must get, if not trampled, then surely a little bruised in
“Gretsch is stronger now than it has been for a long while. Fender is very good at keeping the lines separate and distinct and not just in terms of marketing, because it applies to production, too.” The man charged with working out how to handle this profusion of brands is former Arbiter veteran Graeme Mathieson, Fender GBI’s general manager, an affable Geordie with a rapid wit and, as soon becomes apparent, an encyclopaedic knowledge of the UK trade. MI Pro met up with Mathieson and the Fender Europe team at the company’s European HQ in East Grinstead. Mathieson recognises the size of the task he is up against and understands the initial caution expressed by some retailers. To them it looked like a takeover too far, resulting in too many of the world’s top guitar, amp, drum and, particularly, acoustic guitar brands concentrated in the hands of one distributor. So how is Fender handling so many of the industry’s blue chip brands? And have the worried dealers been satisfied? We begin with the sheer number of brands currently under the Fender umbrella.
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the rush? For example, what about Charvel and Jackson, once the kings of the pointy headstock market? “Jackson’s actually one of our biggest success stories and until the Kaman acquisition it was the brand that we all thought was going to be our second biggest. Most of the problems that we’ve had with Jackson have been supply problems, as opposed to a lack of demand. Charvel is different, but we’re just about to re-launch Charvel and I think it’s going to become a fantastic line for us.” Mathieson opts to play his Charvel cards close to his chest but does say: “There’s going to be a limited number of Charvels built, but they are going to be very special with no more than forty or fifty dealers in the whole of Europe. There are nine in the UK so far – and they will get a limited number of US handbuilt guitars, selling for around about the same money as an American Standard Strat, so
what will happen is that we will get a good demand from a handful of dealers – and sometimes that’s the best way to be.” So how is Fender GBI’s organisation managing to cope with taking on so many brands at once? Was there no danger of indigestion? “We bought Kaman for a number of reasons but you have to realise we didn’t take it on to do less business. So if you have a dealer who was buying from one of the previous incumbents, the fact is that he was buying and the only difference now is that all that money is going into one pot.” But isn’t that the very essence of the problem – that, rightly or wrongly, dealers have traditionally robbed Peter to pay Paul and if they owed money to, say, Korg, for Takamines, they could previously have bought some Ovations or Guilds, while they juggled their credit? Now, with a huge chunk of acoustic sales with one distributor, that makes the retailer far more dependent on Fender, with less room for fancy footwork. “We had a thorough credit review of all our accounts and the approach we took was to say: ‘Okay, this person has a good record. He’s paying his bills and he’s got a £10,000 credit limit, so he’s got to be good for £15,000 or £20,000,’ and that’s the view that we’ve taken. I think we have a very straightforward way of dealing with people and we’re always happy to look at putting credit limits up. We’ve increased the cash discount for dealers who pay
Fender’s product list has just got a whole lot bigger – how will dealers feel about ordering so much from one company?
FENDER GBI • COMPANY PROFILE
early, but if a dealer doesn’t want that and would rather have terms, we’re happy to look at that. I think we’ve been pretty fair. “Having said that, I can understand where all the concerns were coming from. It’s just that we’ve gone from being a big player to being a very big player.” There is no getting away from the fact that the Kaman takeover put a few industry noses out of joint. Several distributors felt they had been badly treated (only ever off the record, of course) and it left Fender with some odd overlaps and awkward corners. For example, Genz-Benz amplification, which Sutherland had been quietly establishing as a useful niche brand in the UK, or Hamer, which Go To Guitars had begun to do good business with as a plug to fill the ‘Gibson Gap’. How has Fender GBI found these two brands sitting with all their others? “There’s no doubt that some of the distributors we took those lines off were doing a pretty good job and I can understand why they might have been upset, but I can put my hand on my heart and say that we haven’t had any issues with previous distributors – it’s all been very amicable. As for dealers, it’s been a mixed bag. Some dealers thought it was a good thing as we already had a good relationship and they just saw it as a way to buy more from us, which makes things a bit simpler for them, but other dealers have concerns about spending that much money with one distributor, as we’ve just said. But once you’ve got the first couple of months out of the way, it really doesn’t make that much difference.” With the two brands in question, Mathieson says both Genz-Benz and Hamer have been going from strength to strength. Logistically, Mathieson and his team had to think fast to make sure Fender’s reps weren’t competing with themselves, or trying to cover too many brands in any one call. The answer was to stratify (sorry!) the sales team.
Graeme Mathieson: “We’ve gone from being a big player to being a very big player”
“For the first quarter this year, it was all about taking on staff. We just had to go out there and recruit as many people as necessary. As a result, we now have one sales force that does Fender, Squier and Guild, another that does Taylor, Gretsch and SWR and then a Kaman sales force that does the remainder of the Fender lines, like Jackson and the other brands like Takamine, Ovation and so on. “But that’s just guitars – we have a separate drum and percussion sales force now and then there’s Simon Jacob who does Custom Shop products for us – so some dealers could actually see five people and we think we need to do that, to achieve separation.” It must be an expensive operation as it means Fender has 15 people on the road in the UK and the Republic of Ireland alone. “Yes, but we feel it’s necessary. I’ve done it when I was a rep – you go in with a huge catalogue, but a dealer only has a limited amount of time to see you and after the first 15 minutes he’s starting to feel he’s spent too much money with you, or his attention is starting to wander.” If Fender’s Kaman takeover had been a surprise, gaining Taylor was a complete shock. No one could have criticised Sound Technology’s sterling work taking the brand from relatively humble beginnings to the point where it was doing
exceptional levels of business and this was, let it not be forgotten, not a consequence of Taylor having sold-out to Fender – it hadn’t – it was simply a switch of distribution. What had precipitated it? “The thing you have to remember was that this wasn’t just a UK decision – it was Europe-wide and that’s something we can offer. It’s not 20 different sales forces, it’s not however many marketing departments, it’s one company. We can offer a dedicated sales force in every area, a marketing department that puts out one concise message and one warehouse, so that they can see exactly what’s happening.” And yet, some rumours in the trade suggest that Taylor supplies have not been all that they might have been in recent months. What has been happening there? “I wouldn’t say that’s a problem at all. We do have problems from time to time, everyone does, but we haven’t really had an issue with Taylor – in fact we’re very pleased with the way it’s gone and the back orders with Taylor are minimal. “Gretsch has been a problem, I would have said, because we’ve been making bigger orders than the factory has been able to cope with, but not Taylor. And of course part of that reflects the fact that we’ve got Gretsch quality to a far higher
“We haven’t had any issues with previous distributors – it’s all been very amicable. As for dealers, it’s been a mixed bag.” level than it’s been for a long while and there has been such a huge Gretsch community growing out there.” For all Fender GBI’s impressively calm absorption of perhaps the biggest meal in MI history, the signs are that things are shifting around within Fender globally, as it tries to come to terms with what it is becoming. For example, Guild, which word on the street suggested had languished after its move from Rhode Island, but which was brought back to life following the purchase of Tacoma, is now being moved to the Ovation plant in Connecticut, while Tacoma production in the USA is being discontinued and the brand moved to Far East manufacture. Clearly, there is much going on with Fender globally and MI Pro is looking to talk to Fender USA about its global strategy and what this could mean for some of our industry’s most iconic brands.
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FENDER GBI • COMPANY PROFILE
Meanwhile, in the UK, the Fender GBI operation is getting into its stride with its five-fold sales team, Mathieson says. But if Fender is changing, how about retail? “The big change that we’re seeing is that the end user now wants every aspect of the sale to be thorough and professional. He’s so much better informed for a start, thanks to the web, but it’s a very cold and impersonal way of buying things. “It’s a valid route to market but it’s only one way and by our figures only one in five guitars gets sold that way. That means four out of five people still want to go into a shop to buy a guitar.” Mathieson believes this is particularly important for the future of MI retail and cites Hamer and SWR as examples where
potential buyers are likely to be extremely clued-up before they walk into a store and will expect a retailer to be as passionate and enthusiastic as they are, if they are to make a purchase. This is a point of view, which, increasingly, we are hearing from distributors and manufacturers. While Gibson has chosen to plough its own distinctive furrow, others are rumoured to be considering similar approaches and even those that, like Fender, are out there in the market offering their products to anyone who is willing to do a professional job selling them, are starting to suggest
that specialisation is the key to future success. Which is all well and good, but teetering on the brink of recession, how does Mathieson feel that translates to reality for hard-pressed retailers? To be blunt, does he feel there is the business to be had, whatever they do? “Without being unduly optimistic, we are in a very good business. Music is popular and uplifting. But yes, it’s a very odd time and it’s hard to know what is happening. Just last week, for example, I visited two dealers – one a web business who told me his sales are well up, the other a bricks and mortar retailer who has been in business for
“Fender – all manufacturers – need retail stores. If we thought the internet was the be-all and end-all, we could do that ourselves, but it isn’t. What is crucial for us is the ability to compare and contrast – that’s why we offer so many models. And in my experience if somebody’s got £500, they’ve got £600 and if they have £100 for a pedal, they can just as easily spend £130 and getting him to spend that extra is the retailer’s job. I think the end-user, looking at how he buys into brands, is looking for a specialist – a higher level of service. “What we can do is provide a level playing field, with uniform pricing across
“The big change that we’re seeing is that the end user now wants every aspect of the sale to be thorough and professional. He’s so much better informed, for a start, thanks to the web, but it’s a very cold and impersonal way of buying things.” over 100 years and he says he is up, too. There is a feeling of uncertainty out there, I know. But people will still buy musical instruments. “At the end of the day, if you’re a chap who wants to buy a Gretsch White Falcon, you’re going to want to buy it from somebody who has it in stock and really knows what they are talking about and who will empathise with you and enthuse with you about it. That’s the dealer who will do well. For us, it’s all about finding our who your customer is, who is buying into that lifestyle, getting the message out to him and driving him into the dealer who can give the customer the experience he wants.
Europe. We don’t do deals – it’s very transparent, so if you’re a dealer you buy with confidence from us, knowing you are getting the correct price. It’s up to you then to get as much margin as you can and you do that best by providing service and experience.” Like other suppliers, Fender sees the best future for retailers coming from increased specialisation. With Best Buy on the horizon (Mathieson was unwilling to speculate about its arrival here) it’s hard not to conclude that it is the way for individual shops to thrive. And with Fender GBI’s basket of icons, where better from which to pick and choose the rock n roll legends on which that future will be based? FENDER GBI: 01342 331700
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SECTOR SPOTLIGHT • BOUTIQUE GUITARS
The stuff of
dreams... A hand-crafted guitar will top the wish-list of many a musician all year round. The best and most profitable way to start stocking them is with a lot of information at your fingertips. With that in mind, Rob Power investigates…
ith most guitar players, their instrument is far from just a lump of wood with a few bits of metal attached; it’s an obsession, a hobby that takes over their spare time and eats up all their spare cash, a demanding mistress that needs space, cluttering up spare rooms and walls and gathering about itself an army of amplifiers, effects and accessories. Many of us can remember the first flush of guitar enthusiasm and are still caught up in the long-term love affair that started rather inconspicuously in our local music shop. Highly detailed back-ofschool-book drawings detailing our favourite shapes, endlessly repeated Strat headstocks and curvy body shapes – hours were whiled away dreaming of the day that the ideal guitar was finally landed.
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For some, the day never comes – the guitar is outgrown, rarely picked up, never learned, consigned to the loft and left for some curious ancestor to pick up and maybe play. For those of us that persevere, however, working our way through non-
ownership of that guitar. You know the one. The instrument that, when you first started playing, you wanted more than a fat kid wants cake (which I’m led to believe is quite a lot). It is these instruments that we shall concern
For those of us that persevere, however, working our way through non-rock n roll jobs, a bit of sneaky saving and perhaps some subtle mind manipulation on partners can lead to the eventual ownership of that guitar. rock n roll jobs and generally going about our lives, a bit of sneaky saving and perhaps some subtle mind manipulation on partners can lead to the eventual
ourselves with here – the highest of the high end, the hand-made, boutique guitars that arrive smelling of leather and wealth, that have been toiled over and perfected
in custom shops by men who know more about the guitar than it is reasonable for any human being to know. The top end of the guitar market is a glamorous place, a haven for the beautiful and the adored, the lusted after and the intricately detailed. Imagine if you will Primrose Hill without the cocaine. Anyway, tenuous comparisons aside, lets dive in and take a look at what the cream of the guitar crop has to offer… FENDER With a rake of desirable names under its broad banner, Fender has a huge stake in this area of the market, alongside the heritage to add real weight to its high-end offerings. The Fender Custom Shop remains a hugely popular luxury for those with bucks to burn, and retains high
BOUTIQUE GUITARS • SECTOR SPOTLIGHT
production values and high desirability. For example, the Time Machine series Closet Classic ’56 Stratocaster looks and plays like the guitar that, given the chance, no self respecting guitarist would not want to own, and recreates the feel and sound of those instruments down to the smallest detail. Elsewhere at Fender, the Hamer brand remains a popular high-end choice, and it is easy to see why: handbuilt in Conneticut by a small and dedicated team to exacting standards using processes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Fender’s own original workshop, Hamer is a steady selling brand that, because of its limited production, is highly prized. Take a look at the beautiful looking Talledega Pro, with its distinctive shape, rich finish and its punchy Duncan designed pickups and you’ll soon realise just why Hamer continues to perform so well. GIBSON Still the first choice for many with a couple of grand burning a hole in their pockets, Gibson remains a byword for high quality US-manufactured guitars that are instantly recognisable and in many eyes the original high-end guitar brand. The 2008 Les Paul Standard aims to replicate some of the stand-out 1950s models that have become legends and, thanks to extensive customer feedback and a bit of good old fashioned redesigning, this latest Les Paul looks set to do the business. To begin with, there have been a few neck adjustments. An enlarged neck tenon joint for more wood-on-wood contact and therefore improved resonance is the first change, whilst a new ‘asymmetrical’ neck profile aims to provide a new level of comfort for and feel for players. Locking Grover tuners and hand-made gold pots from Bourns are on board, while a new computerised Plek set-up system has been used to individually dress each fret. The idea here is to completely eliminate fret buzz and all the associated problems that can come with it. Burstbucker Pro humbuckers and a chambered mahogany body are also included here, as well as new strap locks and the Gibson snakeskin. All in all, a fine addition to the Gibson history books. TOM ANDERSON GUITARWORKS Westside’s US ambassadors of cool, Tom Anderson is a name that, among those in the know, is a byword for pure class. With wonderful guitars that tell you all you need to know about hot-rodding and handbuilt on the west coast of the US, Tom Anderson is building itself a growing reputation not just in the States but worldwide. This is thanks to instruments
that seem, if the reports are to be believed, to play themselves. The Drop Top Classic is a great indicator of everything Tom Anderson does well. Tricked out with three M-Series hum-free single coil pickups, players can use the Kickback circuit to dial in an array of tones not usually available on a classic ‘S’ shape, and do so with a guitar that looks stunning. In high demand and with production often uable to keep up with the baying demands of the freshly converted, Tom Anderson is in the upper echelons of boutique guitar makers for good reason. YAMAHA Just as well known for its entry-level instruments, Yamaha’s high-end offerings have been massively popular for a number of years now. Its SG models, by far the best known and most highly prized guitars that the company produce, were championed by the likes of Santana in the late 70s and remain a top pick for name players. The classic SG2000 features the sustain-maximising spec that Santana was looking for and includes a maple-topped mahogany body, thru-neck construction and solid brass sustain block under the bridge. The more rock-focused SG1000 drops the sustain block and swaps the thru-neck for a regular set neck, while the high-end SG3000, not widely available outside of Japan, adds custom finishes and upgraded cosmetics. The latest SGs also feature another of Yamaha's technological innovations – a process called IRA (Initial Response Acceleration), which helps the guitar achieve the tone of a played-in instrument, and they are shipped in a vintage hard case complete with signed certificate authenticating the setup and serial number of the guitar.
Elsewhere at PRS, the Hollowbody I is a striking piece of work, carved inside and out with nothing but a small block under the bridge connecting the back and top. It does the job of a thinline hollow electric with style. Additionally, the optional PRS/LR Baggs piezo system means that players can plug straight into a PA or recording console as well as an amp at the same time, with a large choice of tonal possibilities. Impressive stuff. FRET KING With the steady guiding hand of industry legend Trev Wilkinson at the helm, Fret King has made an immediate impression with players thanks to its extremely high production standards and eye-catching designs. Contemporary updates on classic themes, with a bit of the old Wilkinson magic thrown into the mix for good measure, these are fresh looking, lovingly constructed instruments of the Right: Gibson Les Paul Standard; Far right: Vox Virage
PRS Having become the brand of choice for a large number of guitarists – hard rock players can hardly been seen with anything else, while a growing army of blues affectionados and top ranking name players have taken it to their hearts – PRS is a boutique maker that has achieved a vast amount in the last 15 or so years. The Modern Eagle II, an update on the previous Modern Eagle, continues PRS’s tradition of striking, really quite attractive instruments with all of the signature PRS moves fans have come to expect. Premium grade timbers, a wide flat carved neck and an all new pickup system (the 1958/2008 pickups aim to achieve both modern and vintage sounds), all complement a frankly dazzling finish that will capture the hearts of many an established fan and probably make a few new ones too.
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SECTOR SPOTLIGHT • BOUTIQUE GUITARS
Left: Drop Top Classic Right: Hamer’s hand made beauty Far right: the Time Machine series Closet Classic ’56 Stratocaster
The latest Yamaha SGs a modern guitar that oozes ‘classic’
highest calibre. The Green Label series Fret Kings have been hand made in the UK and can certainly walk the walk. Take a look at the striking Esprit for an example of what Fret King does best. RICKENBACKER Thanks to a long held association with being irrevocably cool, Rickenbackers have been in high demand for many years and as long as everyone continues to love the Beatles, this will continue to be the case. Right up there with Gibson and Fender in terms of classic instrument design, either the 330 or 360 have an instant, iconic appeal which makes Rickys difficult to get hold of in the UK at the best of times. VOX The recent unveiling of Vox’s all-new guitar line was met initially with curiosity, and then (once the assembled masses had seen, heard and most importantly played the axes in question) with lots of nodding and chin stroking. The Virage, available in both double and single cut designs, is a hollow body beauty and full of the sort of distinctive idiosyncracies that you might expect from a Vox product. With retro-tinged looks, these guitars are easy on the eye, and you can tell from the off that a lot of effort has gone into making sure they stand out from the crowd in what is a packed market. Ergonomically curved bodies, contoured across their length and width,
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combined with a slightly smaller than might be expected body size, makes the Virage extremely comfortable to play whether sitting or standing. Featuring the Vox Three-90 pickup system, which includes two triple coil pickups able to deliver clean, crunch or
boutique guitar market with features galore, making for a great retro-looker with plenty of modern aspects that will no doubt appeal to plenty of players who love the appeal of vintage instruments but want plenty of tonal options. There are, without a doubt, an awful lot
While times are tight at the moment, the investment factor in a world class, boutique guitar can never be forgotten. The demand for the truly spectacular will never really wane, at least not as long as the guitar is lusted after. lead tones, the idea is that these guitars are able to replicate single coil, P90 and humbucker type sounds without the player have to switch guitars. The system, designed by DiMarzio for Vox, employs analog circuitry, which means there are no batteries or active electronics, and operation is hum free. It has tonebar construction, designed to keep feedback to the minimum and gift the Virage with the resonance of a hollow body but the attack of a solid body, while the hand carved neck joint offers comfort high up the neck. Elsewhere, the Vox-designed Full Contact aluminium bridge allows for clear harmonics and easy string loading. All in all, Vox has packed this foray into the
of goodies out there at the moment, and plenty of eye candy for those of us who are still dreaming. And while times are tight at the moment, the investment
factor in a truly world class, boutique guitar can never be forgotten. One only needs to look at the constantly rising prices associated with instruments of yesteryear to see that the demand for the truly spectacular will never really wane, at least not as long as the guitar remains the most lusted after instrument out there. Beautifully crafted instruments that have been put together with care and dedication can pull together everything that the industry has learned since the birth of the electric guitar all those years ago and give players something that will last a lifetime and sound amazing throughout, whether battered to death as a regular stage axe or lovingly cherished in the home. Some collect antiques, some cars, but there will always be a significant group of us that love guitars and long may that remain – no matter what state the economy is in.
CONTACTS FENDER: ..................................................................................01342 331700 GIBSON: ..............................................................................0800 444 27661 WESTSIDE (TOM ANDERSON GUITARWORKS): ...............0141 248 4812 YAMAHA: ...............................................................................0870 4445575 HEADLINE (PRS): .................................................................01223 874 301 JHS (FRET KING): .................................................................0113 286 5381 ROSETTI (RICKENBACKER): ...............................................01376 550033 KORG (VOX): .........................................................................01908 857 100
STUDIO MONITORS • SECTOR SPOTLIGHT
Monitoring sales With home recording at an all-time high, it is perhaps surprising that the last thing many hobbyist musos consider when setting up in their bedrooms or building their home studio is a decent set of reference monitors. Andy Barrett looks through the transparencies to see what money is to be made…
o be a good recording engineer or producer there is one absolute essential: a good ear. Unfortunately, not even the best MI retailer can sell that, although they can let their punters know that developing one is akin to learning a musical instrument – it takes years and, even then, some people simply never acquire the skill. What dealers can do, however, is let any potential customer know how important a good nearfield reference monitor is, what makes it good and how there is pretty much no limit to how much they can spend. Studio monitors come in two different types: passive and active, although it must be said that the passive market is pretty much ignored these days. This is a shame, as the need to buy an amplifier and all of the cabling needed to feed the speakers makes for good business. This feature will concentrate on active monitors, as that is
What dealers can do, however, is let any potential customer know how important a good nearfield reference monitor is and what makes it good. pretty much the market (until some clever marketing manager comes up with a popular reason why going the passive/amp route is superior). A misconception that users often carry with them is the idea that they want a monitor that ‘sounds good’. This is a misnomer. We all want hi fi speakers that sound good, but this is not the territory of the studio monitor. Hi fi speakers tend to add ‘warmth’ and depth to a signal, but the job of a monitor is to accurately reproduce the signal – there should be nothing added and nothing taken away (there are exceptions here, notably the B&W Nautilus and
800 series hi fi speakers, as used in Abbey Road and other top studios, but way beyond the sort of price range discussed here). This is expressed as ‘transparency’. The engineer/producer needs to hear what has been recorded as it has been recorded with no embellishments, because his or her job is to make the recording sound good at source. Take it as read that all of the monitors in this feature are referred to by the manufacturer as ‘transparent’. This is not to say that there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ monitor, it is that the criteria are different from what many would call a good or bad speaker. How can one tell whether a monitor is good or bad? Well, quite simply, you tend to get what you pay for. Top quality monitors from the likes of Genelec, Dynaudio, Adam, JBL and even KRK can cost thousands of pounds because of the R&D, top components and extensive quality control, much as you would expect from any top priced product, but, as is the case in so much of our industry these days, the quality of cheaper monitors is improving all the time. Which brings us back to having ‘a good ear’ again. Customers should always be encouraged to spend as much as they can afford and this is truer for monitors than for many other products, but then it comes down to good old fashioned subjectivity as to selecting a particular model over another in any given bracket.
M-AUDIO The boys and girls at M-Audio are pretty full of themselves at the moment – and why not? The USA’s MI Sales Trak retail statisticians recently provided information that put the company’s new ‘studiophile’ nearfield active monitors, the BX-5A and the BX-8A Deluxe, as the top selling products in their category. M-Audio is, of course, well established in the sphere of home studios, having grown exponentially through its Midiman days of the late 90s and early noughties, but it has always been in the area of interfaces that
The Yamaha MSP7 monitor delivers consistent quality and performance the company has been the powerhouse. However, the release of the BX Deluxe models confirms that the company has a lot more strings to its bow (or channels to its DAW). The BX-8A Deluxe monitors muscle in with 130 Watts of total output and update the BX-8A system with a variety of enhancements: a new waveguide for a cleaner sound and a custom amplifier tuning creates a better
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SECTOR SPOTLIGHT • STUDIO MONITORS
integration between the high and low frequencies, delivering refined spectral balance and a smoother response. The eight-inch LF driver is made from woven Kevlar. This material’s high mechanical and thermal resilience makes it ideal for use in speaker cones. These, in turn, have been designed to provide a curved conical design that improves room dispersion. The HF domes are made from silk, which avoids the ringing, metallic edge that cheaper materials tend to create at the upper registers. Magnetic shielding is included to avoid that nasty computer interference. The new Deluxe monitors also provide the smaller 5A actives, with pretty much the same spec, but the more intimate design makes them ideal for the smaller set-up – the quality, however, remains the same. At well under £200 for the 5A Deluxe, the customers are getting a lot for their money. Beyond the BX series sit M-Audio’s high resolution reference monitors, the DSM series, which go that step further into the higher realms of £500-odd, but of more interest to the MI store than that is the AV series – entrylevel monitors for the new kid on the recording block (on a budget).
YAMAHA There are still those in the business who bemoan the withdrawal some years ago of the Yamaha NS10 monitors and others who still refuse to replace what was widely viewed as the industry standard for nearly 20 years, but we have to move on. As it is, Yamaha introduced the MSP Studio series as it withdrew the NS10s and, let’s face it, there is no way it would have done that unless improvements had been made. The MSPs are taking over from where the NS10s left off and are now widely used in pro studios the world over. The top-of-the-line MSP7 powered monitor is capable of delivering consistent quality and performance that fits into just about any modern production environment and its moulded, thick-walled casing has been developed for precise tolerances and resonance. The one-piece moulding also makes it possible to produce large-radius, rounded baffle corners that help maintain a natural wavefront and minimise diffraction for a smoother, more uniform
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response. Internal tweeter mounting also boosts highfrequency performance by eliminating spurious resonance from the tweeter frame. The MSP7 has a suggested price of just over £700, but street prices vary quite widely, which means this is likely to be one punters look for first. The MSP5 is the smaller brother, but still provides all of the quality of the 7. A step below the MSP series is the HS series, designed for the budget market, but still, it has to be said, pretty uncompromising on that important area of transparency. Home studios, computer-based music production, gaming systems, keyboards rigs and personal computer systems can all benefit from these and all models are sold individually, making it easy to build flexible monitor setups and 5.1 systems. The 70-Watt HS50M (five-inch cone and threequarter-inch dome tweeter) and the 120-Watt HS80M
The HS series, designed for the budget market, is still uncompromising on that important area of transparency. (eight-inch cone and one-inch tweeter) are housed in bass reflex-type cabinets, and reproduce surprisingly tight low end and smooth, high frequency response to beyond 20 kHz.
controlling those recordings that come through at more unmanageable levels, and there are also recessed tweeters that focus the sound away from the cabinet. More conventional designs, apparently, direct sound along the plane of the cabinet where waveform interaction can cause phase problems and increased diffraction. KRK’s VXT series slot in just above the Rokits in terms of price point and again offer the user three models, the 4, 6 and 8, and utilise the Kevlar cones and silk HF domes. It also has a curved design, but this time there is ABS structural foam in its cabinet, which mean there are no parallel walls inside the speaker for ugly, resonant reflections.
ESI Continuing a couple of themes (Kevlar curved cones, magnetic shielding), ESI introduces one of the more cumbersome elements of modern marketing to its nearfield monitor range: the random capital letter. The nEar eXperience monitors, despite the spelling, are excellent budget products with features that belie the price point. Available in four, five and eight-inch versions (with the matching monikers, 04, 05 and 08), these monitors offer an ultra-flat low frequency response, as well as those silk HF domes. ESI claims to be the first manufacturer to use Kevlar for the LF driver in studio monitors in this price range, but can still boast its proprietary crossover control technology that provides the perfect output level and frequency response to match the installed drivers and cabinet design.
SAMSON KRK One of M-Audio’s main competitors in this area of the market is KRK, distributed in the UK by Focusrite. These attractive wee boxes with the distinctive yellow cones take low priced performance and give it something of a shake up. The Rokit series, for example, is now in its second generation with three sets, the 8, the 6 and the 5, that have a number of interesting features. At a glance, you notice the curved front plate design, which is attractive, but also, more importantly, eliminates diffraction distortion. The Rokits have an input volume control that provides an adjustable gain range from +6dB to -30dB, thus
Not a name that might spring immediately to mind for some when considering studio monitors, but Samson’s activity in studios with its mics should be clue enough that the company knows what it’s doing in this area. Of immediate interest is the Resolv series and particularly the 65a, which has proved massively popular. The sub £200 price point adds to the appeal. The Resolv 65a features 6.5-inch co-polymer butyl surround woofer, a one-inch titanium diaphragm, neodymium magnet with ferro-fluid cooled tweeter and gold plated connectors, all mounted in a ported tuned cabinet. In addition, it utilises a mid-range contour control.
STUDIO MONITORS â€˘ SECTOR SPOTLIGHT
Stocking a careful selection of monitors could bring in some good profits
In the nominal position, the Resolv monitors are clinically accurate, but by dialing in the control, the frequency response from hi fi to an aggressive mid-range can be dialled in, emulating some of the classic nearfield monitors. Each unit is powered by a dual power amp, (75 Watts low and 25 Watts high) perfectly matched to the drivers. The active crossover allows precise control of the crossover frequency.
thanks to a DSP chip programmed using psychoacoustic principles that converts low frequencies into a series of overtones which the human ear cannot distinguish from the original low frequencies. This allows the listener to perceive bass frequencies outside of the normal range of the speaker cone, without over-driving the woofer. With the Bass Enhancer, the MA-7A Stereo Monitors offer a strong low-end in a very compact set of reference monitors. Itâ€™s an excellent selling point for the beginner recordist.
Samson is, of course, distributed in the UK by Sound Technology, so staying with that particular supplier, we move into another brand â€“ one of the Harman brood â€“ that might not spring to mind when thinking studios. What the company has, in fact, is something pretty special. The 4300 series of monitors include a thing called Room Mode Correction, a proprietary technology that automatically analyses and corrects the response of each speaker in the room for accuracy at the mix position. These are the first studio monitors with network intelligence built into each speaker specifically designed to deliver an accurate mix in any room, and the LSR4300s are a good investment for modern production studios. Despite this, these monitors are priced well within the reach of any project studio at sub-ÂŁ800, but with street prices that knock a considerable amount off that â€“ okay, so not exactly starter packs, but for a â€˜self aware monitoring system,â€™ these are going to be the delight of many.
Still associated with all things â€˜home studioâ€™, the Fostex brand has never quite maintained the high spot it achieved during the 1980sâ€™ home recording revolution, when, along with Tascam, it really led the way. That said, the company has continued to put out important products and its forays into studio monitoring have produced some excellent results. The latest line of monitors from Fostex is the PM series, a collection of five monitors (including a sub), ranging from 100mm drivers to 200mm, which the company claims has a â€˜brighter, tighterâ€™ sound in these second generation models. The PM-1 MkII, for example, is a nicely proportioned model for slightly smaller rooms and offers the type of transparent sound that singles out a good monitor. It can pack some pretty high SPLs accurately across the audio spectrum, thanks to 120 Watts of bi-amped power, as well as a bass response that matches well with its high-end. Prices start at around ÂŁ100 and build up to about ÂŁ400.
EDIROL As with M-Audio, Edirol has made its name with accessible, essentially entry-level interfacing, but this has led the company on to supplying a bit of everything the project studio might need â€“ and monitors are no exception. As is often the way with Edirol and Roland, a lot of technology from the top end trickles down to sometimes quite surprising price points. The MA-7A monitors, for example, are well under ÂŁ100 at retail, but contain some little tricks that belie the cost. These little monitors contain something called the â€˜Bass Enhancerâ€™. This is technology that lets the user hear bass frequencies not normally audible through speakers this size,
Who sells* more reference monitors than anyone else in the USA? 4PVSDF.*4BMFT5SBL
CONTACTS M-AUDIO ......................................01753 659590 YAMAHA ......................................01908 366700 KRK (FOCUSRITE) .....................01494 462246 ESI (TIME+SPACE) .......................01837 55200 SAMSON (SOUND TECH) .........01462 480000 JBL (SOUND TECH) ..................01462 480000 EDIROL .......................................020 8747 5949 FOSTEX .......................................020 8418 1470
Read all about the M-Audio monitor story at:
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COMPANY PROFILE • EUROMUSIC
As a purchasing group with growing membership and plenty of buying power, now might well be the time for independent retailers to get on board with Euromusic. Rob Power finds out how it can help you…
Working with a buying group can help retailers compete
uying groups can be a big help to smaller retailers struggling to compete against low online prices or multiples that can simply offer more products at better prices that the average indie. To help combat this and fight the corner for the little guy, buying groups have emerged as a potent force – especially in these uncertain economic times. Initially formed over 20 years ago when some Scottish retailers grouped together to form the Scottish Musical Instruments Retailer Association, it was when this group merged with a hardy band of piano dealers, based mainly in the south that Euromusic was formed. The group’s chairman, Richard Harfield, has been involved with Euromusic since meeting some members at NAMM eight years ago. “I was recruited by a guy from a music shop in Scotland,” he recalls. “I started buying bits and pieces, but nothing more than that. Every year we have an annual general meeting, and I went to one of these and I suddenly saw the light – I understood what it’s all about. A lot of people don’t understand it, the products we have, the quality of the products and the general knowledge that members of Euromusic have.”
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Buying product in bulk as a group has obvious advantages and Euromusic prides itself on the huge amount of product it is able to supply. “We have our own branded guitar line, Jim Deacon, which we have exclusive rights to in the UK,” continues Harfield. “They’re basically the best entrylevel guitar you can get bar none. They’re too expensive for the majority of wholesalers to offer and because they’re more expensive they don’t bother. “They’re expensive because the quality is so high. We sell these guitars at £99 and the margins on these instruments are excellent. You can’t get these sort of margins from a regular wholesaler and you definitely can’t get the quality. It’s a proper, 60s-sounding guitar that doesn’t sound horrible, like a lot of cheap guitars do. We also have our own brand of cables and amplifiers, all of which we are buying in bulk. “This means we’re buying at the best price, which we are then able to pass on to our members. A little independent would not be able to buy at the same price as us. Basically, we’re saving around 20 per cent – net probably around 16 per cent. But if you’ve got a little shop that does 200,000 a year, struggling because it’s only making
25 per cent, this means that all the profit is used up on rent, rates and maybe a lad to help out. The owner can’t go on holiday, and he’s got nothing at the end of it. If he buys with Euromusic, he’ll be making a 50 per cent margin, and can go on holiday and make a bit more money.” At the moment, Euromusic is looking to add to its ranks, so it’s time for retailers who may have thought about buying groups before, but never quite took the plunge to take another look. “We have 50 members at the moment and we’re looking to increase that to around 80 to 100,” says Harfield. “We’re actively looking for people at the moment. We have an online ordering system which is unique in any buying group, we have our own very modern warehouse up in Glasgow and we have this web-based interface where you can see what is in stock at any one time, the prices – everything. “You can order straight from there and it’s all very easy to use and extremely straightforward. We’ve got a lot to offer retailers. Because Euromusic always buys the best price, our members get the best prices on a lot of products. We exist to help get our dealers better margins.” EUROMUSIC: 0141 577 5330
Get involved Becoming a part of Euromusic is simply a case of getting in touch and having a chat. “To get involved, people can apply to us via email or post and we’ll talk to them,” confirms Harfield. “It’s basically a members club, so we can be selective about who we want to deal with. The directors have to approve them, as we don’t want anybody who is financially insecure – it’s our money we’re using so we don’t want anyone going out of business on us. “Membership is £200 a year and we ask for a bond, which is ten per cent of expected turnover, which is lodged with the bank and we then use as our purchasing capital. “If you leave, you can have the money back, but in the main, this sort of arrangement gives the group a good amount of working capital.” You can email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively call and leave a message at the number on the bottom of this page.
COMPANY PROFILE • TANGLEWOOD
A line in the Sanden December sees the arrival of Tanglewood’s new Master Design series and the brand’s first foray into the high end acoustic market. Some years after the idea was first mooted, Andy Barrett discovers that nothing has been left to chance…
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“I have never seen the point in developing more conventional designs. I want to do my own thing.” Michael Sanden around south Sweden (not to mention the UK). “We have a good relationship with the factory, so I’m not too nervous about that,” points out Sanden. “It is whether people will want to buy the guitars – and then which of the 32 countries that Tanglewood sells to will go for them. “Tanglewood has experience of what sells where, so things look promising. In the end, customers are going to get really good value with the guitar and the woods they use, as well as the pickup and the case… In fact, I think it is a little too good for what they will be paying.” There will be three models in the initial run of the Master Design series, but no cutaway model. Initial attempts with Sanden’s extremely attractive cutaways proved too costly and too difficult to maintain quality control over, so they will be added later if sales go well on the first models. From the decision to make any new models, Sanden estimates up to 18 months will be needed to get the models
into production. With Guitar & Bass magazine giving the series its ‘Best Acoustic’ award, however, everyone is quietly confident that sales will go well. “It is an exciting time for us,” says Tanglewood’s sales director, Brian Cleary. “Moving into this price bracket is new for us, so we’ve always known that we have to be different if we are going to compete – we didn’t want simply to slap a luthier’s name on a guitar. Michael has given us that difference. I know others have done this sort of thing before, but here we have a couple of interesting elements coming together at the same time. Tanglewood has established a good and trusted brand and wants to move into the high end, so we needed something different. It has worked really well for us.” It is too early to say whether Tanglewood will look for other luthiers to add to the Master Design series, but it is a possibility. “Let’s get these models out there first,” says Cleary. “We have a lot on our plate now, but if another opportunity arises, who knows?” TANGLEWOOD: 01937 841122
Bringing together Sanden’s unique talent and Tanglewood’s strong brand ensures a good start for the Master Design series of guitars
hose fortunate enough to have been at the Music China show in 2006 might well have noticed (alongside the launch models of the new entry-level Evolution series) that the Tanglewood stand had a couple of elegant looking prototypes of the Master Design series. These were the result, it turned out, of Tanglewood’s Tony Flatt having scoured the globe for something – or rather someone – who could take his burgeoning brand up to the next level and into the £700-plus market. The problem was, as the Swedish luthier Michael Sanden (pictured) explains, he didn’t want ‘just another dreadnought’. “They had been looking for something different,” he says. “Tony saw my guitars at a show here in Sweden and he liked what he saw.” Sanden, who hand-makes around 40 guitars a year, was asked whether he wanted his designs under the banner of a global brand. “I have sometimes been criticised for not developing more conventional designs,” Sanden reveals. “I have never seen the point in that. I want to do my own thing, so it took me a few weeks before I said yes to Tanglewood, but I made it very clear that while the designs would be mine, they would differ from the guitars I make here in my workshop.” In the end, just about everything on the Master Design guitars is different from Sanden’s own models, but also easily recognisable as Sanden designs. It has been quite a feat – right down to the ‘invisible’ elements, such as the bracing. Five or six prototypes were shipped back to China with notes as to how to get it right and eventually Sanden was happy. “Tanglewood has been great. It has given me a full veto on every aspect of the guitars and that gives me peace of mind. The factory had trouble with the necks, so there has been a compromise there, and the wood for the tops is not as I’d ordered, but that turned out really well.” Sanden noticed on an early prototype that the tops were a different colour from the usual Canadian sitka, but it turned out that the factory had sourced another spruce from Tibet. “I thought that was kind of cool. I checked the wood for its flexibility and resonance and I really like it. It was a good result.” With Sanden and Tanglewood waiting for the first shipment as MI Pro goes to press, there are quite a few nerves jangling
Triumph E-Upright, Maple body (hollow milled), AAA-Flamed Maple top (2-piece, bookmatched), One piece Maple neck, body rest made of Flamed Maple, Scale: 1/2 - Eb, 24 positions, Magnetic MEC Pickup (neck) and Piezo pickup system (bridge), MEC Piezo Buffer electronics, Finishes: Coloured Oil Finish or Stain High Polish Finish (Stain High Polish Finish with extra charge), Triumph tuners, handmade Ebony nut, available as 4- or 5-string, left-handed version without extra charge, only 4-string Hellborg Preamp Audiophile quality bass preamp with 72 dB gain, transformer balanced input, 4 Band Eq with inductor based mid bands, effects loop operating on -10 or +4 dB level, transformer balanced DI out. All transformers and coils are studio grade and housed in mu metal casings.
Hellborg Mono Power Massive 250 Watt Bipolar Power Amp with over dimensioned output stage. Transformer impedance matching between amp and speaker. Advanced circuit protection. Hellborg Club Cab 115 Bass reflex cabinet loaded with one custom designed Celestion 15" coaxial speaker. 8 ohms, 99dB. Rated at 250W RMS. REVOLUTIONARY Launched for the first time in the spring of 1953, the Triumph E-Upright was the first commercially viable Electric Upright Bass. For 55 years it has been the industry standard.
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FOR HELLBORG SYSTEM
Warwick UK: Headquarters: Branches:
Warwick Music Equipment Trading (Manchester UK) Ltd. • 75 Bridge Street • Manchester M3 2RH / Great Britain Phone 0044 - (0) 161 - 8390 - 666 • Fax 0044 - (0) 161 - 2146 - 161 • E-Mail: info@war wickbass.co.uk Warwick GmbH&Co.Music Equipment KG • Gewerbepark 46 • 08258 Markneukirchen / Germany • E-Mail: email@example.com D ü b e n d o r f / S w i t z e r l a n d • P r a h a / C z e c h & S l o v a k i a R e p u b l i c • W a r s a w / P o l a n d • S h a n g h a i / P. R . C h i n a
Visit us on the World Wide Web: www.warwickbass.co.uk • www.warwick-distribution.co.uk & join the WARWICK BASS FORUM: www.warwick.de/forum
Then: Jim Rumey Jimmy Bond Clerence Palmer Eberhard Weber Holger Czukay Now: Viktor Krauss Jorge Casas John B. Williams Jen Zeilenbach Guy Pratt
T-REX • COMPANY PROFILE
Rexy music Noisemakers the world over have been realising that a pedal board is simply not complete without a selection of T-Rex’s finest noise boxes. Rob Power finds out what the Danish wizards have been up to recently…
andbuilt in Denmark to exactingly high specifications, T-Rex has become one of the preeminent names in the guitar effects market. The reasons for this lie primarily in the products – wonderful sounding pedals that reek of quality can only be a good thing – while the way the company operates, with its friendly yet professional, laid back but dedicated manner, has also contributed. Distributed by Westside in the UK, TRex’s international profile has been growing for some time now, and 2008 has seen the company and the brand make significant steps forward on to the world stage – and with considerable aplomb.
“Everybody else these days is using the old, square design, but we wanted something a bit more striking.” Sebastian Jensen The latest products to be dreamt up in the company’s Danish workshops are always of interest, thanks to T-Rex’s seemingly endless pursuit of innovative new ideas. This year has seen the release of one significant new product – the Twister. “The Twister is a chorus and flanger pedal,” says T-Rex’s Sebastian Jensen. “It is essentially two units in one and users can switch between the two. We wanted to make a good sounding chorus, but not based on the delay circuits
you normally get. We wanted to keep the high end of the tone, which was a problem we had to work around. The chorus pedal is digital – the delay line has been replaced with a DSP processor instead, but all around it is analog. It has been successful so far – but the first batch is always easy to sell. We’re getting good reviews though, and hoping for further success.” Another pedal launched this year is the Polyswitch, which is, according to T-Rex, the world’s first true hardwire stereo A-B switch. “We launched the Polyswitch at around the same time as the Twister,” continues Jensen. “It is a stereo switch pedal that also has a buffer inside, so if players want to buff up their signals they can. Very often, people need some kind of buffer, so we wanted to build one in.” Allowing players to split their stereo signal and switch between outputs, the Polyswitch also works in reverse, giving players the opportunity to run two separate stereo instruments into a single amplifier. A new series is in the works, currently at the planning stage, but looking set for an unveiling at NAMM, which reflects T-Rex’s individuality and a desire to get away from the familiar shapes and sizes that are regularly associated with effects pedals. “We plan to have a new series called the Tone Bug, because here at T-Rex we’re fed up with the square angled design, so we wanted a new one,” outlines Jensen. “It will include a reverb and at least one more pedal initially – and at an affordable price. We want to build on these first two models and have a full range there. Everybody else these days is using the old square-angled pedal design,
but we wanted our own design, something that looks a bit more striking and less boring.” Elsewhere at T-Rex, the company is working at raising its profile even further by working with high-profile players, such as the latest collabioration with ex-Creed man and current Alter Bridge guitarist, Mark Tremonti. “We have just met Mark Tremonti and we have built a phaser with him,” says Jensen. “We will be launching that one at the NAMM show in January 2009. It’s a traditional phaser, but Tremonti wanted it to be old fashioned, with a bit of bite – so it sounded dirty. What we actually did was build a distortion pedal into the phaser, so you have a ‘bite’ control in there, which sounds really cool when used with the phaser.” Working with big-name players has also led to the inclusion of the most unlikely of names – Katie Melua, no less – to be associated with the brand. The Radio 2 listener’s favourite guitarist has been a T-Rex endorser for some time, and the company has now built custom boards for both Katie Melua herself and her bass player. With plenty in the pipeline, and an ever-increasing popularity among both name players and the huddled masses of small club playing talent, T-Rex looks certain to continue its impressive growth to date, all the while keeping to the hand made, boutique pedal ethos upon which the company was founded. There are plenty of other pedal manufacturers out there, but few with the eyes, ears and expertise to continually provide the sort high quality product for which T-Rex is making a name for itself. WESTSIDE: 0141 248 4812
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Dave Burrluck is the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine. Guitarist, the UK’s leading magazine for serious players, is published by Future Publishing – 01225 442244
LA stories “I
’m the Dope Man,” growls, er, the Dope Man. I’m at the legendary Baked Potato in LA, for a Monday jam night at the implausibly small club that for the past couple of decades has been the place to hang and catch some of the world’s finest musicians on a night off. My bullshit radar is on maximum as the Dope Man (think Muddy Waters with a flock of mad professor white hair) takes out his cheap nylon string from a black bin liner. It’s just one more example of a surreal few days I spent in LA. I’m here on assignment for Guitarist, as a guest of forward-thinking retailer Steve Gray, part-owner of the Guitarguitar chain, who thought it would be a progressive
snatch it away minutes later, “Gee, is that for me?” Er, no, it was Steve’s change. A few days earlier everyone was envious about me going ‘on holiday’ again. Steve and I have done this before: we cram in lots of visits, which generates both good copy and makes important contacts. Then we fly back. Frankly, by the time the Potato’s house band hits the stage I’m beginning to think I need some more exotic substances to keep me going. I’m jet-lagged. I’ve been talked at for the past two days by companies keen to get their messages across and I really could do with just going to bed. We’d started our visit the day after we arrived at VHT, Steve Fryette’s high-end
We cram in lots of visits, which generates copy and makes important contacts. Then we fly back. I’m jetlagged, I’ve been talked at for the past two days, and I could do with just going to bed. move to head out to la-la land to visit some of his key high-end brands – VHT, Tyler, Suhr and 65 Amps – and hook up with Way Huge founder and now Dunlop product developer Jeorge Tripps, who’s just taken us to a rather good Mexican restaurant in ‘the Valley’. Back at the Baked Potato, Steve opts for a G&T; I ask the spacey waitress – no doubt a resting actress or singer/ songwriter – what beers they have. She reels off a long list; I settle for what I think is a Mexican-sounding brand: Gwenes. She brings me a bottle of Guinness and gives us six dollars change from a 20 only to 44 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
amp company. Nice guy, great amps. Then we dropped in for a cigar with boutique guitar maker James Tyler, who’s making a very good recovery from a serious operation. Nice guy, great guitars. A few beers then bed. And, yes, as usual I’m woken up at 2:30am by a call from the UK – you know who you are. The next day we drive down from LA to Lake Elsinore to meet up with John Suhr, another gear obsessive, who, with Rudy Pensa, created the infamous Mark Knopfler Pensa-Suhr in the 80s and the OD100 amp with Bob Bradshaw. For the past decade, after a stint in the Fender Custom
Instead of filing his copy on time our resident guitar journo is off on his holidays again… Shop, he has been making very Tom Anderson-style guitars, amps and now effects pedals. Obsessive about quality, Suhr’s operation is growing into quite an act, yet they’re little interested in me. “Oh right, you’re writing a story about us, that’ll be a first,” says Suhr’s partner Steve Smith with just a hint of sarcasm. I’m used to it. Still, nice guitars. With a couple of hundred miles on the clock we get back to LA and meet up with Jeorge Tripps, a very likeable electronics nerd who started Way Huge and then went to Line 6 before hooking up with Jim Dunlop. Now, I’ve been called an anorak gear obsessive before, but compared to Jeorge, I know nothing. The guy lives and breathes carbon film resistors et al, can quote – and does – the circuit layout of the script logo original MXR Phase 90 stomp box. At the end of day I realise that everyone I’ve met is totally obsessed with what they do and the gear they make. Sod any social skills, these guys just live and breathe guitar gear. And it’s not over yet… On day three we head back to the Valley to meet with Dan Boul at 65 Amps, a company he founded with Peter Crouch (Sheryl Crow’s guitarist). Another motormouth, Dan at least comes from my world – we both quote Keef as our fave guitarist – and his hand-wired amps are to die for. “There’s rock and there’s rock n roll,” says Dan. “I like the latter.” I’m not arguing. Just before I head back to LAX we pop into Line 6 (Steve’s ex-employer) to say
On day three Dave hooked up with Dan Boul, co-founder of 65 Amps... hello and get the lowdown on a few secret products that I can’t talk about. As my flight takes off I begin to wonder what I’ve learned. Well, unless everyone I’ve spoken to is lying, the boutique market, or whatever you want to call it, seems remarkably recession proof. There are worries about the strength of the dollar and the inevitable price rise, but it seems that despite worldwide doom and gloom this sector is more secure than many others. Of course, to any of us who are feeling the pinch, this kind of opulent spending power is a little upsetting. Finally home, some 16 hours later, my daughter asks: “Good holiday, Dad?” I climb into bed and sleep for 12 hours. WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
New from Doctor Q The Q in QSC. Founder and chief designer
Shure Distribution UK Call us on +44 (0) 1992 703 058 ÂŠ 2007 Shure Incorporated Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org www.shure.co.uk
Just who IS the MIA? T
here are many perceptions about the Music Industries Association and who is involved with it, so this month, the MIA thought that it would highlight some of the 100 people in the industry that give up their time (free of charge) to help the association in its mission to ‘Make More Musicians’. There are, in fact, only three employed staff in the organisation, Paul McManus, who is the only full time employee,, Clare Sayers and Pat Robinson, who both work on a part time basis. The staff is based at a small office near Leatherhead in Surrey (where, McManus says, visitors are always more than welcome to visit). The MIA is, then, extremely fortunate to have the support of a voluntary board of directors that meets three times a year to help the staff with strategy. This board is made up of retailers and suppliers from a vast array of companies. Retailers: Andertons, Drumwright, Sheehans, The Firm, Rosehill, The Music Instrument Co. and Phil Parker Suppliers: Ashton, JHS, Sound Technology, Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Headline, Peavey, Intermusic, Synergy, Sibelius, Stentor, Guitar XS and Active Distribution Over and above that, the MIA has a number of working parties that meet to agree strategies and actions for specific subjects important to the industry. These committees bring in additional volunteers from sources such as PMT and Dolphin right through to the Federation of Music Services and the National Association of Music Educators, with most committees, as with the board of directors, meeting three times a year. The bulk of actual work, however, is normally done between meetings by emails and phone calls. Here are details of some of the association’s current active working parties and the company volunteers who are helping to deliver the workload. Education Committee (chaired by Justin Baron) Main issues; School music provision, early years music provision, teacher training and availability, assisting the government in spending the extra £40 million on new quality instruments, Music Manifesto, Music Education Council, National Music Council, liaising with the Department for Children, LIMS Education Day Members: Sibelius, Stentor, Rockschool, Normans, Buffet, Roland, Yamaha, ABRSM, Motif Media, Federation of Music Services, Association of Music Educators, Institute of Contemporary Music
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Exhibitions Committee (chaired by Tim Walter) Main issue: The successful growth and development of LIMS for 2009 Members: Roland, Sound Technology, Drumwright, Guitar XS, Headline, Yamaha, Studio Music LIMS retailing working party (chaired by Jon Gold) Main issue: to decide on a suitable model for retail involvement at LIMS 2009 Members: Andertons, Bonners, PMT, Sheehans, The Firm, Drumwright, Digital Village, Sound Technology, Ashton, Active Distribution (and many others by email) Promotions Committee (chaired by Lee Worsley) Main issues: DCMS Rehearsal room roll out, MIA Awards, Weekend Warriors, Get Alive!, Learn to Play activities, LIMS, new retail initiatives (for example, music clothing), Music for All liaison, MIA communications strategy Members: Active Distribution, Yamaha, Future Publishing, PMT, Dolphin Music, Headstock, Korg Membership Committee (chaired by Tina Chandler) Main issues: Increasing membership, new membership benefits, review of membership bands Members; Guitar XS, The Firm, Ashton Music, Sharon Music Music for All (chaired by John Booth) Main issues: Successfully establishing a charity for our industry, piloting a prison teaching model, taking Learn to Play to schools and the general public Members: Roland, Drumwright, Korg and two companies external to the MI trade Jon Gold, MIA President comments: “We have great new blood on board now, with Dave Marshall (the new vice president), Tony White from Bonners and Clive Roberts from Peavey. We are all people who do not like sitting in dusty rooms making vague decisions, so I want us to be active and I want all of us to contribute. We are trying to make a difference.” The MIA only exists because of this type of support from people who want our industry to be the best it can be in getting everyone playing music and enjoying the world we all love and believe in. If you feel you could give up some time to support the MIA in any of its various activities, please call 01372 750600 or email email@example.com WWW.MIA.ORG.UK
CLIVE ROBERTS: MD of Peavey Europe JON GOLD: MD of Ashton Music UK and MIA president
JUSTIN BARON: MD of Sibelius and chair of Education Committee LEE ANDERTON: Promotions Committee chair
TINA CHANDLER: Guitar and Membership Committee chair
RICHARD HODGSON: Yamaha Music UK director
1 â€“ 4. 4. 2009 live for the music
The world of music is coming to Frankfurt am Main again in 2009. Visit the Musikmesse show from 1 â€“ 4 April to find out about the most important product innovations and new developments in the industry. Musikmesse is the leading international trade fair for musical instruments, music software, computer hardware, sheet music and accessories. With a complete range of musical instruments from the classical spectrum through to electric guitars, keyboards, brass instruments and electronic equipment, our exhibitors give retailers, trade visitors and music fans alike an insight into the latest trends. Make valuable contacts and successful business links here. Discover the most recent technical innovations and try out the latest instruments. Plus, there are professional product presentations from famous musicians to enjoy at this top insider event. Tel. +44 (0) 17 84 41 59 50 firstname.lastname@example.org www.musikmesse.com
New Crisp venture New RCF and dB man Former Numark boss goes it alone with DJ sales for Sound Technology and US-style agency model for the audio market INDUSTRY veteran Damon Crisp, who recently left German giant Monacor, has launched a brand new venture, DAC ProMedia, which will, among other activities, be an official agent and ‘specialist subdistributor’ for Sound Technology’s Harman brands in the UK (namely JBL, Crown and AKG) into the DJ market.. Crisp, who prior to his time at Monocor spent ten years as MD of Numark Alesis Europe, has begun his new company in considerable style, having bagged several big names, including the US GCI Technologies line of products, with brands including Gemini, Cortex and I-key Audio. “Ultimately, we will be looking to represent the right lighting and accessories suppliers, too. I have had many meetings so far and expect to make an announcement of these partners either at the start of 2009 or at the Winter NAMM music conference in Anaheim USA in January,” Crisp commented. “Having been in the pro audio, DJ and ‘night’ venues market for some 23 years, I felt with the changing world we live in that a serious, more personal and direct sales-to-market strategy was needed.
CRISP: direct selling is the future “Professional agencies have worked incredibly well in America for years, along with many other countries, too. The proof is clearly there for all to see. With everyone experiencing escalating costs and the immense amount of money needed to train, develop and finance a sales team these days, this way of direct selling will be the future for many companies, I am sure.” DAC PRO-MEDIA: 07505 070299
for UK moves from IAG Ex-Wharfedale salesman to head up MI and pro division RCF UK has announced the appointment of Dean Davoile as its new sales manager for its MI/pro division. Davoile, who brings a wealth of experience to the position, latterly with IAG UK, where he handled many international brands including, Wharfedale, Quad and Mission. Working mainly in the MI and pro audio markets, Davoile’s remit is to grow RCF’s products in these areas. “Following on from this year’s ProLight+Sound show in Frankfurt, where we launched a number of high profile MI products, including the new ART 7 series, NX series and some new 4PRO speakers, it became evident that we needed to expand the MI/pro division. We have already had a great response with the new MI products and we are now looking to build on this initial success with Dean’s appointment,” commented RCF’s Phil Price. “I have to say that I’m really looking forward to working with Phil and the RCF team, they have great roster of
DAVOILE: filling the gap products to offer the market” commented Davoile on his appointment. The hiring of Davoile fills the gap in the UK team left by the departure of Jim Khan a few months ago. RCF UK: 0844 745 1234
NEED NEW STAFF? Put your company at the forefront of the market and attract the best candidates from professionals already working within the MI industry! For print and web recruitment positions please contact
email@example.com or telephone 01992 535647
48 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
I WOKE UP THIS MORNING KEITH WILLIS Indie Guitars
To be honest, with Indie Guitars about to launch in the US, a new studio about to open and a festival to get off the ground in 2009, 24 hours doesn’t seem long enough...
t home means being woken up at silly o’clock by my little boy banging the bed, so that’s the start of my day for the foreseeable future. Then it’s eating some breakfast and getting to work on time while his mum gets him to nursery. So I make my way to our offices – I’m only ten minutes away from them. We’re based about ten minutes from Newbury on the border of Oxfordshire and Berkshire – and get started. My day normally starts by looking at far too many emails, usually communicating with our factory in Korea.
We’re busy expanding our repertoire: we’ve got the guitar range, we’re opening the studio and we’re setting up a music festival for the end of July next year. We speak to them about various production issues, sometimes over email and sometimes by phone, so that takes up the first half of the day. Then I deal with some public enquiries, usually telling ten bands we can’t endorse everybody. I’ll then have to speak to dealers and the guys out on the road, as well as dealing with distributors and finding out what’s going on out there. Right now we’re busy setting up an Indie recording studio as well in Oxfordshire. We’re busy expanding our repertoire – we’ve got the guitar range, and WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
now we’re opening the studio and we’re setting up a music festival for the end of July next year. It’ll be an open air summer festival, and we’re looking at getting some big names along with our endorsees playing, so that’s all going on right now. We’re also planning for the NAMM show at the moment, as we’re about to launch in the US in January, so there’s an awful lot of work going on for that, too. We’ll be launching at NAMM, so there’s plenty going on in that area. We’re re-releasing our amplifier range as well, so I’m busy working with our manufacturers, sorting out an acoustic amps and valve combos to go with the bass amp we’ve already set up. We’re also trying to catch up with our sleep after the Music Live show at the moment, which was good but hectic. There’s always loads going on – we’ve just had a new German distributor start this month, so that’s taken up lots of time. There are four of us that work here, there’s another six in the office in Korea and around 30 in the factory there. There are also a few guys working in the office in Canada, so there are a few of us. I get away from the office at about quarter to seven every night. I’m gigging as well, and get in a couple of gigs a month with the band. We originally started as a covers band, then did originals when we were at the right age and once we realised we weren’t going to be famous we went back to covers. So we are heroes in our own bath times now, playing locally. And we’re obviously endorsed by a great guitar company. Our retailers are panicking at the moment, so we’re working hard to make sure they’ve got the right gear in stores to help them. We need to make sure they’re all right, and not overstocked, so that’s a very big deal fir us right now. miPRO DECEMBER 2008 49
RETAIL NEWS, OPINION, DATA
INDIE PROFILE Allegro Oxford: a traditional brass and woodwind specialist, but a fast moving business nonetheless
Indie Guitars moves into new territories, Rotosound has new strings to its bow, Audio Technica online catalogue
A1 tradition maintained HW Music’s takeover of established store after administration of Sound Control aided by former Academy of Sound bosses THE HW Music Megastore has taken over the former Sound Control store on Heatley Street, Preston, a store with considerable pedigree as it was originally a branch of Manchester’s famous A1 Music before it was bought up by Academy of Sound and then subsequently by Sound Control. The store was closed in May, following Sound Control’s demise. Richard Harfield, the founding director of HW, immediately made enquiries as to the availability of the store, but was told that there were ‘non-returnable deposits’ on the Preston business, making Harfield ‘too late’ according to Deloitte Touche.
“We aim to make HW Preston the coolest rock n roll music store in the North West. We have the right mix to make this a real success.” Richard Harfield Despite this, Harfield could not help but notice that there seemed to be no activity at the store after the administrator’s sale of stock had been completed and so he approached Ashton Music’s MD, Jon Gold – a former Academy of Sound (AOS) manager and responsible for the purchase of the former Sound Control store in Stoke. Gold put Harfield in touch with AOS’s former owner, Keith Woodcock. “Keith was very pleased that I was interested in re-opening it as a music shop as when it was AOS they had spent a huge amount on shopfitting and luxury extras such as climate control air-conditioning. We moved in late August and opened for business on September 8th.
The Preston store is, as Harfield describes it, ‘a medium-sized store’ on two floors, close to the town centre and opposite the university. HW has taken on some of the former Sound Control staff and has installed its own manager, Phil Crompton, and his assistant, Marc Winstanley, from the Bolton megastore. Harfield is now looking to consolidate his business with no plans for further expansion. “We did have a branch years ago and we learnt the lessons of this,” he explained. “If you have a branch, it must be strong enough to exist on its own, otherwise it will end up being supported by the main store. This Preston store has consistently turned over around a million pounds, so if you are intelligent at buying and stocking, you will make money.”
Harfield has secured the Gibson franchise for the Preston store, as well as other prestige brands. These are products that, Harfield believes do not ‘get trashed on the web’. The company is also a member of the Euromusic buying consortium, which means it gets industry leading margins (see feature page 38). The HW Music Megastore in Bolton is the largest independent music store in the UK, with over 20,000 square feet of space. It was founded in 1976 by Richard and Chris Harfield and enjoys an enviable reputation in the North West of England. Richard Harfield has even bigger plans for the Preston store, however. “We aim to make the Preston branch of HW Music the coolest rock n roll music store in the North West. It’s ideally
situated in the Preston city centre and we will have the leading brands. Together with our staff, we think we have the right mix to make this a real success.” Coming back to further expansion, Harfield added (with his tongue in his cheek): “We need to get our management team trained up to handle it, but when one of the other chains falls apart, we should hopefully be in a position to exploit it. Historically we have always done well in recessions – the thing is to offer a good choice and have a nice store.” He puts his company’s success down to simple factors such as this and offering good customer service. “Remember, customers don't stop buying, they merely stop buying from you,” he concluded. HW Music Preston: 01772 204567
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RETAIL • NEWS
Indie broadens its horizons Recording studio and record company established and plans for a festival and record label are laid as UK firm ‘upgrades’ INDIE GUITARS is set to expand its remit considerably, having established a recording studio in a collaboration deal with the facility, formerly known as 427. Set up by renowned session guitarist Adam Fox in 1991, 427 was recently relocated to a disused munitions building at Grove airfield – a major hub during the Second World War – and acquired its new name shortly after a meeting between Fox and Indie MD and founder, Keith Willis in September this year. Plans have now been laid for an expansion and upgrade. Indie Guitars is taking on the adjoining building and the dividing wall will be knocked through in order to construct a 1,000 square-foot live room and analog recording suite. It is hoped that the partnership between the two companies will result in combined endorsement and recording arrangements, enabling Indie to offer allin-one deals to deserving artists. According to Fox, even bigger plans may also be in
the pipeline with talk of a record label at the Indie camp. The company intends to diversify even further next year with the launch of the first Indie Guitar festival – an open-air summer event. The festival is designed to raise awareness of the brand and establish
Indie on the festival circuit. Details of the line-up are yet to be set in stone, but the company has confirmed that a number of Indie endorsers will be performing alongside a number of big name acts that are yet to be revealed. The event will most likely take place at the end of July next
year, with the location and ticket sales details still to be confirmed. “Indie Guitars is not just about guitars,” explained Willis. “We’re adamantly not merely a guitar company. Guitars are built to play music on and that’s what we’re all about. Part of the whole plan for the company was always to do more within the music industry. Whether economically forced or not, we were looking to diversify anyway and we think that now is the right time to do this. “We ran a private test festival two years ago and we plan to run the first Indie Guitar festival next year – a three-day outdoor event held at the end of July. “We’d already intended to launch a studio, but the opportunity came up recently so we leapt at it with both hands. We’re also proposing to launch a record label called Indie Dreamer. All of this is linked in – it all comes under the same umbrella of what we’re doing.” INDIE GUITARS: 01635 579300
Bottom end expansion Virtually Audio Technica Rotosound new lines improve low tone choice for guitarists and bassists and gives in to coated products THE PAST 12 months have seen the Rotosound R&D team in overdrive, resulting in a variety of new products launched for the bass and guitar playing fraternities. On the bass string front, two roundwound sets aimed specifically at players who de-tune have been introduced. The Drop Zone and Drop Zone+ sets allow players to lower their tunings down to B and an F# respectively. On a slightly more mainstream note, the custom gauge FM66 set has been repackaged and renamed ‘Funkmaster’. Of all the additions made to Rotosound’s string ranges this year, possibly the most dramatic step for Rotosound is the introduction of the Nexus coated sets. Two sets will be available for four string bass guitar. The aim, Rotosound’s chairman, Jason How explained, was to “produce high energy strings rich in mid-tones as an alternative to steels with high presence, with a polycoat dressing over a Type 52 wrap. We believe that with the Nexus Bass sets we have produced a string with extra life to suit the player for all seasons.”
52 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
The intention is to have these sets in stores early in 2009. More details on all sets can be found in the new string brochure which can be download from Rotosound’s website (rotosound.com). There is expansion in the electric guitar string sphere as well, with the arrival of the British Steel and Pure Nickel sets. Previously available in a generic pack, these string sets now have their own packaging. The 12 string sets have become the Double Six range and both the sevens and the 12s are now colour coded by gauge. ROTOSOUND: 01732 450838
Mic giant’s full product range now accessible online AN ONLINE, interactive version of Audio Technica’s new 2008-2009 product catalogue is now available for customers to use at audio-technica.com/catalogue. The elegantly designed UK retail print catalogue has been recreated in electronic form to make it easy for dealers to find product information and email to colleagues – all from the comfort of their computer. Everything within the hard copy catalogue, from product images to technical specifications and UK retail pricing information is present in the interactive version, which is fully searchable and also allows users to add notes to pages for future reference. Harvey Roberts, Audio Technica’s senior UK marketing manager, said, “In this electronic age it’s important that we provide our customers with online support
that makes life as easy for them as possible. The interactive nature of the electronic catalogue, with its ability to create notes on customer preferences, ordering reminders and so on makes it a very useful resource for Audio-Technica’s UK dealers.” AUDIO TECHNICA: 0113 277 1441
Portastudio in your pocket TASCAM HAS launched its first miniature recorder, the DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio, a portable four-track digital recorder no bigger than a paperback book. The DP-004 retains the ease-of-use of cassette-based four-track recorders and instead of confounding menus and windows, the recorder uses a set of dedicated knobs and buttons for easy operation. Tracks or mixes can be transferred to a computer via USB.
"Tascam invented home recording," said Paul Jenkins, vice president of sales and marketing for Tascam. "The DP-004 is our most portable model yet, just plug in the included AA batteries and take it anywhere. It's the perfect holiday gift for students, songwriters and musicians.” The unit, which is available immediately, has an estimated retail price of £152. TASCAM: 01923 438880
INDIE PROFILE • RETAIL
RETAIL • NEWS
Gak.co.uk receives Hitwise Top Ten award
ALLEGRO MUSIC, OXFORD
Internet observer rates MI retailer with consumer music firms GAK.CO.UK, the sister company of The Guitar, Amp and Keyboard Centre in Brighton, has earned a Hitwise Top Ten award for ranking ninth, based on market share of visits among all UK websites in the ‘Shopping and Classified – Music Industry’ category. Gak.co.uk has been registered with Hitwise for some years now and receives reports from the internet activity observer monthly and quarterly. The Brighton-based company hit the top ten for the period July to September 2008. “Every member of staff is working really hard to keep the company moving forward, both in-store and online, awards like this show us we’re doing something right,” said Gary Marshall, Gak’s MD. As an independent store based on the south coast of England, from which the retailer still earns more than 60 per cent of its revenue, Gak has turned its sales of musical instruments into a national sales
operation and the website now makes up a good chunk of the company’s income. Marshall added: “While this is undoubtedly great news and it shows what we can achieve, I still want to emphasise that as a bricks and mortar retailer, we are still a big player and going from strength to strength.” The news of the website charts is still giving the company a big feelgood factor. “This has given us a real sense of achievement,” said Gak’s marketing manager, Max Mckellar, adding: “We felt it was worth shouting about as we are up against multi-national firms that deal with music consumption as opposed to music making. I think this is a milestone.” GAK: 01273 665428
Nevada’s online presence turns heads Website acknowledged by Hampshire County Council NEVADA MUSIC has been named runner-up as Best Small Business Website in the Hants Web Awards. The awards recognise the development of local web-based businesses and Nevada will add the award to a number of other industry and local business accolades it has won for its services in the past few years. Nevada Music relaunched its website just over a year ago, working alongside a web development company. The relaunch has increased Nevada’s customer base, as well as improving its service to existing customers.
The judges commented: “This is a world-class e-commerce site that many of the largest retailers could learn from. “Up-to-date products are presented well and all the e-commerce basics of delivery, returns and security are well managed. Team information and buying guides are good.” Nevada’s MD, Mike Devereux, said: “These awards are very important to us, they are a recognition of the talented Nevada Music web team, which has developed The Nevada Music Experience – a site with heart, soul and authority.” NEVADA: 01489 578737
The Nevada Music team receiving the award
54 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
FACTS & FIGURES Address: 404 Marston Road, Oxford, OX3 0JE Phone: 01865 798165 Owner: Richard Baycock Established: About 20 years ago Number of employees: 2 Is business up or down compared to last year? About the same, really. We’re a highly specialised woodwind and brass retailer, having custom from all over the UK and Europe coming to see us, so we’re very different from most shops. Do you advertise locally? I try not to. I’m in the Yellow Pages, but I do advertise in specialist magazines like Jazz UK, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra magazine, and sometimes in the MU mag. I don’t do a shotgun job, I do a rifle bullet one – you can waste a lot of time and money advertising if you do it wrong, but I also try and get on local radio. Do you have a web presence? Yes, and I think it’s a very good one. We’re at www.saxophoneheaven.com and brass instruments at www.brassheaven.co.uk.
What is your main strength? Expertise. I’ve been playing for 55 years, and we nearly know everything about the saxophone. We know the old players and the current ones, and have an awful lot of experience here. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned during your time in the business? Hands on playing of instruments. We are players here, and we do the job. We know the business and have done for a number of years, and we like to think we know everything about what we do. We’re very specialised. What is the biggest challenge facing you today? I think it’s the same as any other music shop – to survive. The good thing about smaller shops is that if they do what they know, and don’t get sidetracked and panic, that’s the thing to do. Don’t rip people off and they’ll come back. Given the power, what would you change about the industry? Probably ensure that suppliers serve their time in shops. If suppliers do deals and sell things at cost to dealers, all that is left is for people to go lower. People can’t sell things at cost just to make cash and move the metal. Suppliers need to understand that.
NEW PRODUCTS BASS & GUITAR G ACCESSORIES G DRUMS G RECORDING G PRINT
NEW PRODUCTS • RECORDING & HI TECH TASCAM DP004 PORTASTUDIO £152 They say: Retains the legendary ease-of-use of cassettebased four-track recorders. Range: Tascam Portastudio Spec: Dedicated knobs and buttons, 1/4" inputs for mic or line, built in stereo mic, stereo mixdown track, USB compatible, AA battery powered, SD Card media, ships with 1GB card. From: Tascam 01923 438880 The Tascam Portastudio (above) is a great starting point for musicians who want to start recording
NINE VOLT AUDIO TAIKO £85 They say: Offers composers a unique set of tools to create compelling drum performances. For: Studios, computer musicians Spec: Multi-sampled library of Japanese drums, range of articulations and effected sounds, Kontakt scripting, patches with up to 90 velocity layers. From: Time + Space 01837 55200
NORD STAGE EX STAGE PIANOS £2,599 & £2,399
They say: All the advantages of Automap in a keyboard as futuristic as the concept that it delivers. For: Studios, performers Range: Novation Remote Spec: Eight faders, 16 rotary controllers divided into 16 boxes with transport, octave and data/select sections, Automap sequencer control, automatic assignment, 999 models. From: Focusrite 01494 836324
They say: An even greater selection of sounds for each and every performance. Range: Nord stage pianos Spec: 256MB memory, accompanied by releases of Studio Grand2 XL version and others from Nord Stage Piano library, velocity and aftertouch sensitive keyboard (88 and 76 keys available), three sound engines. From: Sound Technology 01462 480000
DYNASONIC PDR-1 PORTABLE RECORDER £110 They say: A high quality digital recorder, specially designed for audio and music recording. For: Musicians Range: New FCN product Spec: USB or two AA batterypowered, built-in condenser mics, switchable mic, guitar & audio inputs, built-in monitor, input and output volume control, 16b/44kHz quality. From: FCN 01892 603730 56 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
NOVATION REMOTE SL37 LIMITED EDITION £369.99
PRESONUS STUDIO CHANNEL £249 They say: Delivers first-rate sound at every stage. For: Studios Range: Presonus outboard Spec: Tube-based Class A mic/instrument preamp, VCA compressor, three-band parametric eq, 1U rackable, metal chassis. From: Source Distribution 020 8962 5080
VOX JAMVOX £159 They say: Drag-and-drop access to virtually any combination of sought-after amp and effects models. For: Guitarists, vocalists Spec: Korg GXT Guitar XTracktion technology, imports MP3/iTunes, guitar/vocal extraction or mute function, instrument/vocal record function, USB-powered, amp, cab and FX models, hardware with two 3“ speakers and two bass reflex port. From: Korg 01908 857100 WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
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NEW PRODUCTS • BASS & GUITAR
ARIA SB-1000 CB BASS £749 They say: Modelled on Metallica’s bassist, the late Cliff Burton, and the ideal bass for metal or rock. For: Bassists Range: Aria SB basses Spec: Ash body, maple/walnut 5-ply double octave thru-neck, ebony fingerboard, active MB-1E dual coil pickup, BB low-noise circuitry, sixposition pickup attack selector Gotoh tuners and tail piece, black hardware, black gloss finish. From: Aria 01483 238720
SHINE RK-2000 NT BASS £249 They say: A classic shape made more accessible with quality manufacture and a great price. For: Bassists Range: Shine basses Spec: Maple body, maple thru-neck, rosewood fingerboard, two double coil pickups, chrome hardware, diecast tuners, black finish. From: Intermusic 01202 696963
Shine on the money, with a high class bass at a low price
58 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
EKO KADETT SL1 ELECTRIC £149.95 They say: Italian style reissued for the discerning 21st century player. For: Guitarists Range: Eko electrics Spec: Tone wood body, maple neck, rosewood or maple fingerboard, two single coil (neck and centre) and bridge humbucker pickups, available in natural, or metallic blue or red finishes. From: Freestyle 01924 455414
FRESHMAN APOLLO 1 SERIES £249.95 They say: Guitars that simply defy belief when the price is compared to the quality of the instruments. For: Guitarists Range: Freshman acoustics Spec: Two body shapes: grand auditorium cutaway (Apollo 1OC) or dreadnought cutaway (Apollo 1DC) grade A sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, gold machineheads, Fishman 201 ION system, built in tuner. From: AAA 01355 228028
WASHBURN IDOL RANGE, FROM £849 They say: Passionately hand-built in Washburn's Chicago facility by some of America's best luthiers. Spec: Five new models. WI570: humbucker loaded, single-cut mahogany body, maple top, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard. WI566: EMG pickups, Buzz Feiten tuning system, TonePros tune-o-matic bridge. WI568: figured maple top, Seymour Duncan electronics with coil tapping. WI580: Seymour Duncan pickups with coil tap. Also WI420, WI440 & WI460. From: Sound Technology 01462 480000
VINTAGE SYNERGY ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC £149 They say: The acoustic guitar for people who prefer electrics. For: Guitarists Range: Vintage electros Spec: Partial bowl back cutaway body, C-section neck profile, fine frets, six-in-line tuners, Shadow undersaddle piezo pickup and P3B preamp, available in sunburst, natural, ruby red burst and gloss black finishes. From: JHS 0113 286 5381
INDIE THE SOUND £379 They say: Ultra clear low frequencies through the sound board the same time as the highs, for a balanced output. For: Guitarists, studios Range: Indie acoustics Spec: Jumbo body, cedar top, openpore satin finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, lacquered inside back for accelerated projection. From: Indie Guitars 01635 579300
BASS & GUITAR • NEW PRODUCTS
ADMIRA SERIE ORO CLASSICAL GUITARS FROM £879.99 They say: Admira’s latest addition to these highly acclaimed instruments. For: Guitarists Range: Admira classical guitars Spec: Solid German spruce top, Honduras cedar neck, ebony fingerboard, Rubner machine heads. Rojo with redwood back and sides, Blanco with German maple, Negro with Indian rosewood. All ship with hard case. From: Barnes & Mullins 01691 652449
OZARK DELUXE ‘D’ MODEL £595
OZARK DELUXE PARLOUR GUITAR £525
They say: A touch of pure class for the bluegrass or country afficionado. For: Guitarists Range: Ozark acoustics Spec: Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides, ‘tree of life’ abalone inlaid 12 fret neck with inlaid edges and soundhole, chrome plated machineheads, Artec transducer and endpin jack preamp. Vintage style finish. From: Stentor 01737 240226
They say: Ozark Deluxe guitars offer superb value and quality and all include a hard case. For: Guitarists Range: Ozark Deluxe series Spec: Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides. 12 fret neck, fitted with D’Addario EXP strings, Artec transducer and endpin jack preamp, ships with hard case, 630mm scale length. From: Stentor 01737 240226
The Amira classical range now boasts a thin-bodied model (left) - ideal for younger players
ADMIRA ECLIPSE & MALAGA THIN BODIED ELECTRO CUTAWAY CLASSICAL GUITARS £339 They say: The first thin-bodied guitars in this range – ideal for younger or smaller players. For: Guitarists Range: Admira classical guitars Spec: Sapelli back and sides, African mahogany neck, mongoy fingerboard & bridge, Shadow P3B preamp. Malaga: solid cedar top. Eclipse: black coloured solid spruce. From: Barnes & Mullins 01691 652449
STAGG SQUARENECK RESONATOR £226.85
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS 3/4 SIZE ELECTRIC GUITAR PACK £89.99 They say: Spongebob Squarepants guitars go punk – turn these guitars way up loud. For: Beginners and young guitarists Range: Spongebob Squarepants instruments Spec: 3/4-size twin cutaway electric guitar, forearm chamfer and rear ribcage contour, maple neck and fretboard, single coil pickup, single rotary volume control, inbuilt amp and speaker, 9V battery powered, jack socket, headphone out. Spongebob graphics. Ships with carry bag, signal lead, strap, pick and Spongebob tutorial DVD. From: JHS 0113 286 5381
They say: For the country and bluegrass slide players who want something just for them. For: Slide guitarists Range: Stagg acoustics Spec: Squareneck lap-style resonator, spruce top with nickel-plated steel cover plate, large cone spider-style resonator, mahogany back, sides and square neck, rosewood fingerboard, nickel-plated bridge and tailpiece, diecast nickel machineheads. From: EMD 01293 862612
GODIN 5TH AVENUE ARCHTOP ACOUSTIC £POA They say: Takes you back to a time when the archtop acoustic guitar reigned supreme. For: Guitarists Range: Godin acoustics Spec: Canadian wild cherry body, back and sides, silverleaf maple neck, rosewood fingerboard and adjustable bridge, floating pickguard over fholes, cream binding. Cognac burst, natural and black finishes available. From: Active Music 020 8693 5678
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 59
PRINT • NEW PRODUCTS
BOOK OF THE MONTH Artist: Various (Kemp & Pegler – eds) The Language of Song Comment: The advanced editions (three volumes for low, medium and high voices) of this excellent series provide a wealth of classic repertoire, selected and presented to develop the skills needed to sing in a foreign language, and will doubtless prove a prime resource for teacher and students. Each song comes with a detailed pronunciation guide (using the International Phonetic Alphabet) and background information on the song. The CDs provide a spoken text read by a native
speaker as well as a recording of each song’s accompaniment on piano (by Iain Farrington). These three books focus on Italian, German, French and Russian. The Association of Teachers of Singing are quoted in the blurb for these editions as saying that singing teachers have been waiting for a publication of this nature for a very long time and that they offer the best introduction to singing in other languages that it had come across. Which is certainly high praise.
CHRISTMAS Artist: Donald Sosin (arr) Baching Around the Christmas Tree Target: Sax, woodwind, brass, strings Comment: A selection of well worn Christmas songs (14 in all) from The First Noel to Go Tell It on the Mountain, but intriguingly arranged in the styles of 14 composers from Purcell to John Williams. The book is available for ten different instruments, comes with backing CD and will be a lot of fun for the learner soloists. HAL LEONARD (DE HASKE): 01536 260981
Artist: Richard Harris (arr) Play Christmas Target: Violin & piano Comment: Ten modern festive classics from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Wham’s Last Christmas, arranged for piano and violin and targeting the Grade 3 to 5 player. Full backing is on the CD – as are the piano accompaniments in pdf version. A simple, yet extremely effective book that does what it says on the tin and supplies young learners with valuable seasonal repertoire. The focus on popular tunes gives it that bit of extra appeal at this time of year. FABER: 01279 828989
Artist: Timothy Roberts & Jan Betts Sing Nowell
Artist: Katherine & Hugh Colledge A Yuletide Suite
Target: Education, PVG, general Comment: Something of a breath of fresh air in the season of trying to make everything new and different: 34 Christmas carols arranged for simple piano, with guitar chords and all lyrics. Ring and hard bound for easy placement on the piano music stand, attractively illustrated for the younger player, and with two CDs of demo and backing, it’s everything a Christmas carol book should be. A&C BLACK: 020 7758 0200
Series: Simply 4 Strings Target: Elementary string ensembles Comment: Not a new publication, but certainly Christmas relevant, the Colledge family’s series of ‘modular’ arrangements of songs that can be used with almost any mix of instruments available. Four pieces (from the Czech Republic, Gasconym Cornwall and Wales) all arranged to give even the earliest beginner something to do and enjoy. BOOSEY & HAWKES (SCHOTT): 020 7534 0744
Artist: Furlong/Milburn/Norton The Little Cradle Rocks Target: Vocal/piano Comment: Two of Boosey & Hawkes’ top educational composers (plus the introduction of Andrew Milburn to the ranks) get together to create 14 new Christmas songs for two, three or four upper voices (and full piano accompaniment). The idea is to put contemporary styles and rhythms before the singers, who can be accompanied by piano or by the backing CD included. An excellent edition for all of those busy choirs out there this Christmas. BOOSEY & HAWKES (SCHOTT): 020 7534 0744
That ends the details. The reason these books take the Book of the Month slot is that the precision in every aspect of this book – the most valuable publications for the serious singer for some time – simply ooze with care and attention. The purpose is functional – aimed squarely at the highest level of education, but the pages carry a lot of the emotion of the editors, as well as that of the composers. Put simply: quite superb editions. FABER: 01279 828989
CLASSICAL Artist: Various (Artem Vassilev – arr) Classical Play-along Series: Master Play-along Target: Violin, flute, clarinet, trumpet, sax (Grades 3 to 5) Comment: This book and CD focuses on 12 works from classical masters (Beethoven Haydn, Mozart and Gluck) with live recordings of the orchestra for all of the above instruments. Piano notation is on the CD as pdfs. Fun for younger students. SCHOTT: 020 7534 0744 miPRO DECEMBER 2008 61
NEW PRODUCTS • PRINT
Artist: Various (Mark Phillips arr) 30 Easy Spanish Guitar Solos
Author: Phil Taylor The Black Strat
Target: Guitar Comment: The word ‘easy’ in the title probably needs some sort of qualification. Easy it might be for the higher grade learner of classical and/or Spanish guitar, but for the many (who seem to be included as the notation is accompanied by tablature) this is a book with some hard work involved. That said, making the style more accessible is no bad thing. Any guitarist should be encouraged to give this a go – many new tricks to be learnt. HAL LEONARD (DE HASKE): 01536 260981
Target: General, enthusiasts Comment: Subtitled ‘A history of David Gilmour’s black Fender Stratocaster’ this book was a contender for book of the month. This is a coffee table volume of considerable beauty, with excellent archive pics and what is possibly the most indepth research into the life of a single electric guitar ever – for an off the shelf purchase from Manny’s in NYC. HAL LEONARD (DE HASKE): 01536 260981
Author: Kevin Mitchell (compiler) The Musician’s Joke Book
Artist: Ted Eschliman Getting into Jazz Mandolin
Target: Musicians, general Comment: Over 100 pages of ruthless mockery of all musicians – no-one is spared, which is nice, as it means there are sections of the book when one looks embarrassedly around to make sure no-on else has seen one that applies to you, but then a few pages one can guffaw with ease at the precision with which others are spiked. A neat gift for any muso at a tad under seven quid and one that will give a good few hours of pleasure at rehearsals and other musician-oriented gatherings. HAL LEONARD (DE HASKE): 01536 260981
Author: Helen MacGregor & Steve Chadwick Singing Spanish Target: Language education (key stage 2) Comment: A series of beginner Spanish lessons built around new songs and chants. Song is arguably the most efficient way of implanting words and phrases into the mind and is also an excellent way to establish a fun atmosphere in the classroom. Set alongside any Spanish programme, this will be welcomed by pupils and teachers alike. A&C BLACK: 020 7758 0200
Target: Mandolin players Comment: One is tempted to say ‘now I have seen it all’ but this is dead serious. On the wave of mandolin and ukulele fever, players are looking for more involved musical challenges – and jazz is about as good a grounding as one can get to open doors into blues, pop and even classical music. Watch out for those jazz mando solos in the future. MEL BAY: 020 8323 8010
Artist: Mary Cohen Bags of Tunes/ Bags of Folk Series: Mary Cohen’s Superseries Target: Cello, violin Comment: Repertoire for the younger learner as Cohen combines well-known tunes and original pieces based around the first finger pattern. No further comments or notes are made so that teachers can maintain their own fingering, bowing and dynamics methods as required. Bags of Folk does the same, only introduces the learner to the world of traditional music from Britain and the US. FABER: 01279 828989
POPULAR & JAZZ
Artist: Astor Piazzolla El Viaje
Artist: Jonathan Larson Rent
Target: Piano Comment: The man many consider to be the master of tango Nuevo has been arranged for piano in this brand new edition. The pieces are aimed at the intermediate player and include extracts from Piazzolla’s incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Family Troupe and, of course, The Journey (El Viaje) in full. Those looking for a challenge will be taking this one up – although this book is definitely not for the feint hearted. BOOSEY & HAWKES (SCHOTT): 020 7534 0744
Series: Pro Vocal Target: Vocal Comment: Larson’s massive Broadway hit is pared down here to just eight songs, arranged for the rehearsal/audition/karaoke market with a backing CD that is computer compatible in order to allow pitch changes. Rent never quite took off in the UK as it did in the States, but that does not mean there are not big fans of the show over here – particularly among the singing fraternity. HAL LEONARD (DE HASKE): 01536 260981 62 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
THE PLACE FOR BUSINESS
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Shipping your music products...
he Music Shipping Company is now established as a key supplier of percussion products to UK retail stores. It supplies leading brands such as Natal, Aquarian, Mono, Holz, Groove Juice and Shaw. It carries huge stocks of Remo and Vic Firth products and many niche market percussion items, such as Hansenfutz pedals and Triplet Gloves, together with an array of accessories and consumables. All of these items are shipped on a next-day delivery basis from its warehousing in the Midlands. Natal has undergone a huge increase in its profile in 2008, with brand new lines and additions to its already wellestablished ranges. The professional series of Natal Congas and Bongos are still made in the UK, using the original moulds and patterns, all hand produced. This scrupulous attention to design carries through to all its other products, too. Anything that carries a Natal badge is of the highest quality at its price point.
Aquarian drumheads are now viewed as the finest quality available, with many leading drummers joining the family of endorsers. Another range that has been advanced is Shaw Sticks, which now features accessories such as drum bags and practice aids. MSC’s product ranges also extend to non-percussionists, with its supply of hearing products from US-based Hearos and the market-leading ER20 ear filters. Several web-based innovations were put in place this year, such as a full ‘dealer-only’ secure online catalogue, with full ordering facilities. The main MSC website is now focused on product information and advice for drummers.
W WARWICK BASS GUITARS . . . . . . . . . . . . 0049 3742 255 5100 WIND PLUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0116 243 1698
CLASSIFIEDS: MINIMUM 12 MONTHS - ONE ANNUAL CHARGE QUARTER PAGE £1,295 WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
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ACCESSORIES & GIFTWARE
To find out more about the JVM Series and other Marshall products contact: Marshall Amplification plc Denbigh Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK11DQ www.marshallamps.com
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MI MARKETPLACE DISTRIBUTION
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ETHNIC AND FOLK
ETHNIC AND FOLK
GHANA GOODS WEST AFRICAN PERCUSSION WHOLESALE AND RETAIL PO Box 95, Fishponds Bristol, BS16 1AG Tel: 0117 9354132 firstname.lastname@example.org
66 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
MI MARKETPLACE GUITAR PARTS
r, emier Guita The UK’s Pr er Parts Suppli p m A & s s a B
t r a p a k Pic p mp Am eA ge tag inta V Vin
• Amp Cabinets • Amp Kits • Capacitors • Grill Cloth • Pots • Hardware • Speakers • Resistors • Transformers • Transistors • Valves • Tubes ... and much more ! ! ! GUITAR ACCESSORIES
To order call 0870 442 3336 Low call rate 0845 345 59
Order online @:
www.allparts.uk.com or email us: info@allparts
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.
WWW.ROTHWELLAUDIOPRODUCTS.CO.UK 01204 366133 WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 67
MI MARKETPLACE INSURANCE BUSINESS
Excellence in Music
s 3UPERB RANGE OF 1UALITY 0RODUCTS s %XCELLENT 3ERVICE s 'ENEROUS $EALER -ARGINS s #ONTACT US ./7
Office 2.05, Argentum s 2 Queen Caroline Street s Hammersmith, LONDON W6 9DX 4ELEPHONE .O s UK Sales Freephone: 0800 432 0486 Fax Number: +44 (0)20 8323 8306 s E-mail: email@example.com
68 miPRO DECEMBER 2008
MI MARKETPLACE OCARINAS
tel: 01536 485 963 fax: 01536 485 051 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PIANOS AND HARPSICHORDS
MORLEY Co t r Lt be d Ro
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
www.ocarina.co.uk PERCUSSION AND DRUMS
Robert MORLEY & Co Ltd. Piano & Harpsichord Makers Established 1881
E S t. L O NDON S
www.morleypianos.com PIANO MOVERS
MSC ONLINE www.musicshipping.co.uk
Extensive Product Information Secure Dealer Only Section Public & DEALER Forums Online Ordering
THE MUSIC SHIPPING CO.
Drum and Percussion Accesories
NEXT DAY DELIVERY
01562 827666 email@example.com www.musicshipping.co.uk WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 69
MI MARKETPLACE PROMOTIONAL MERCHANDISE
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
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MI MARKETPLACE ADVERTISERS INDEX
Anglo Spanish Guitars......5
Messe Frankfurt ................71
Barnes & Mullins ................11
P & R Howard ...................33
Euro Music ........................25
House Music .....................49
Indie Guitar ........................21
Stand First ........................28
TO ADVERTISE IN MIPRO
CALL DARRELL CARTER ON
01992 535 647
M Audio .........................4, 37
International Exhibition for Musical Instruments and Services ɻਝɐࣵ ਝᅥኂᙴผ
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 www.musikmesse.com Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
miPRO DECEMBER 2008 71
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 email@example.com...
DECEMBER 2004 COVER STARS: Arbiter Group’s Andrew Landesberg discusses ‘the storm before the calm’ following his company’s loss of its Harman Pro and Fender accounts in the UK as both companies went for ‘self-distribution’ the year before. Landesberg reveals he always believed that Arbiter would emerge stronger than ever. NEWS: Musikmesse pulls out of Russian show, MacDonald’s Music of Camberley closes and owner, Jon MacDonald, retires from the MIA retail committee, Pat Kelly reveals the manoeuvring in Sound Control’s purchase of Academy of Sound. FEATURES: Music Live and Schools Promos reports, NAMM preview, Chip and Pin questions answered, Audio Toyz, G&R Piano Removals PRODUCTS: Parker P36 and PM10, Vintage Metal Axxe, Electro Harmonix 16 Second delay, M Audio 02 USB MIDI controller, Antigua saxes NUMBER 1 SINGLES: Girls Aloud – I'll Stand By You, Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It's Christmas?
IT’S ALL ABOUT LIVE MUSIC Music Live came around once more and, as ever, amid the throngs of the tyrekicking public and exciteable school kids, the personalities of the MI trade were gaining their annual lesson in how to deal with the general public. Lessons, of course, that any retailer would be more than happy to impart. Above we see Audio Technica UK’s marketing manager and resident German linguist, Denise Burnage, dealing with an enquiry from an Audio Technica endorser, Robin Guy (he uses an AT3000 wireless system, as well as the ATM 73 VW wireless monitoring headset). Guy was giving drum clinics at the show and also appearing on the stage with Swans in Flight. On the left is a new face to MI, Sarah Rand, the founder of Randy Straps, who was at the show to get a flavour of the rock n roll world she finds herself in. Randy Straps are exclusive, custom made and bespoke straps that are made specifically to the customer’s specifications and make worthy companions for the most prestigious guitars... Or any much loved instrument, for that matter.
NUMBER 1 ALBUMS: U2 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Robbie Williams – Greatest Hits
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SMILES ALL ROUND AT THE NEC Top left: One of Music Live’s biggest fans, Rotosound maintained its presence at the show. Here Kathy and Jason How give proceedings a big thumbs up. Above: Adam Hall’s Andrew Richardson seemed exceptionally relaxed, despite this being his first Music Live attendance. Some people are simply unshockable. Speaking of which, Playmusic magazine’s Nick Bryant and Tim Slater (left) have seen it all before and so enjoy soaking up the vibe – as well as enjoying the launch of their new online version of the magazine.
ince its release in 2002, the microKORG has racked up an impressive number of appearances both live and on record, building itself a huge and varied fanbase and rightfully gaining itself a position as a modern MI Icon. There is an awful lot of power in its diminutive, retro-styled casing. As a result, the micoKorg has become popular thanks to its flexibility, tonal nuance and, importantly, low cost, which has meant that unlike some of its richer brothers it has been able to reach a large market of musicians looking for something extra to add to their sound. Packing in 37 keys and a huge number of presets into a suitably cool looking, wooden-ended frame that screams of retro cools, the microKORG’s strength lies in its dual oscillator DSP synthesis engine – the same that can be found in the much loved MS2000 – which gives players a huge selection of waveforms. Over 70 waveforms on the first oscillator, including a number of traditional analog waves, can be combined with the ring and sync modulation in
oscillator two to create sounds that would be out of place on a synth five times the price. Artists as diverse as the Killers, the Prodigy, Royksopp and Bloc Party have found a space in their set-ups for the little synth and it’s easy to see why. Using DSP technology to replicate the sounds of an analog synth, it features 129 factory preset sounds bunched together in eight groups – trance,
techno/house, electronic, drum n bass breaks, hip hop, vintage, retro, S.E./hit, and of course a vocoder, which can transform the voice of the singer and make them sound like a funky robot for the future. A hugely powerful and costeffective bit of kit, the microKORG deserves a place in the MI Icon hall of fame thanks to its widespread use, distinctive sounds and popularity.
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Gibson Keddie Company / Job Title: JHS Marketing Dept PR / Gear Editor / Maker of strong coffee Years in the industry: Knocking on the door of (cough) 20 years now First single bought: The Smiths What Difference Does It Make? (With the Terence Stamp cover sleeve – a quite exceptional first 45rpm choice, if I may make so bold).
SCHOOLS PROMS No famous faces in this section this month, but you never know – in time, these could prove to be the big stars in the future. The Schools Proms ran from November 12th to 14th this year and presented the 15,000 strong audience that attended the three gala performances with musicianship that was not ‘good for their age’, but good – full stop. From jazz to grime, rock to classical, with bands, orchestras and choirs all featured, the eclectic mix of styles confirmed that it doesn’t matter what the music is – the younger generation loves to play it. Music for Youth, which has existed for 37 years and has now presented 34 Schools Proms, is a registered charity and is open for all offers of help, whether with the regional festivals (which see some 45,000 kids participate) or in terms of full scale, big money sponsorship. If you give anything over the next year, give to this organisation. It does more for the future of music in the UK than anyone.
S E IK L SOUNDA FLEET FOXES Seattle-based Fleet Foxes’ recently released album of ‘baroque harmonic pop jams’ and caused quite a stir thanks to its classic songwriting, tight knit harmonies and intricate sound. Here’s the gear the quintet are using at the moment…
Favourite album: Eagles Hotel Califormia – guitars and harmonies never sounded better. Wish I could have been there Currently listening to: Kings Of Leon: Only By The Night; AC/DC: Black Ice; Bread: Essentials (Retrospective)
Robin Pecknold Acoustic guitar, vocals – Martin D28
Favourite musicians: Robben Ford, Robin Trower, Robyn... (Okay, I’m Robin'd out)
Skye Skjelset Guitar – Epiphone Casino, Fender Twin
What instruments do you play? Electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, keyboards (did seven years classical piano as a young ‘un), drums, kazoo
Casey Wescott nt Keyboards – Fender Rhodes, Korg Tride Christian Wargo Bass – Fender Precision, Ampeg
Are you in a band? Lead guitar / vox in 60s band Rain. I get to be every 60’s guitarist from Hank to Hendrix – in one night. Great fun
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Market spotlights on guitar effects and entry-level electric guitars, a major profile of an iconic British brand, plus the usual hot news, chilled comment and the latest in retail on the side. EDITORIAL: ANDY BARRETT email@example.com ADVERTISING: DARRELL CARTER firstname.lastname@example.org WWW.MI-PRO.CO.UK
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