w w w. m m r m a g a z i n e . c o m
Environmental Consequences of
KMC Music Opens New Facility
Yamaha Guitarsâ€™ 40th Anniversary Have Guitar Shows Lost Their Appeal? Show Report: MIAC 2009
Survey: Surge in Ukulele Products
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Contents Cover photo: Martin OMC model in cherry wood.
OCTOBER 2009 VOL.168 NO. 10
Features 24 UpFront Q&A: Fretlight Guitars’ Rusty Shaffer
MMR chats with Rusty Shaffer, CEO of Optek Music Systems, Inc. and inventor of the Fretlight Guitar.
30 On the Ball – Ernie Ball Continues to Uphold a Tradition of Excellence
One of the foremost names in strings since the ‘60s, family-owned Ernie Ball/Music Man continues to break new ground with innovative product offerings.
34 Spotlight: The Environmental Consequences of Guitar Making
Everyone talks a good game – nature-loving guitarists profess genuine concern for the planet’s well being, but that sentiment is at odds with the simultaneous preference for rare wood instruments. As it turns out, it’s not always easy being green. We spoke with a number of suppliers who are, nonetheless, fi nding ways to satisfy the complex desires of many of today’s guitarists.
46 Survey: Ukulele Surge 56 Product Showcase: Fretted Gear 68 Guitar Shows: Up, Down, & All Around
MMR checks in with a number of guitar show promoters and participating dealers to see how such shows are faring in the current economic climate.
74 Show Report: MIAC 2009
The annual get-together in Toronto this year was characterized by the now familiar, “cautious optimism” that is defining many industry events as the national and global economy slowly and cautiously begins to emerge from the recent recession.
80 Anniversary: Yamaha Guitars’ 40th
4 6 18 20
Editorial Upfront People Stats
82 94 98 104
New Products Supplier Scene Classifieds Advertisers’ Index
MMR Musical Merchandise Review® (ISSN 0027-4615) founded in 1879, is published monthly by Symphony Publishing, LLC, 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781)453-9310, publisher of School Band and Orchestra, Choral Director, Music Parents America and JazzEd. All titles are federally registered trademarks and/or trademarks of Symphony Publishing, LLC. Subscription Rates: U.S.A., US possessions, one year $32; two years $40. Canada one year $80; all other countries one year $159. Single issues $5 each. May Supplier Directory $35. Periodical-Rate Postage Paid at Boston, MA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER/SUBSCRIBERS: Send address change to Musical Merchandise Review, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853. Periodicals circulation is directed to music dealers and retailers, wholesalers and distributors, importers and exporters and manufacturers of all types of musical instruments and their accessories, related electronic sound equipment, general musical accessories, musical publications and teaching aides. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competion. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright ©2009 by Symphony Publishing, LLC, all rights reserved. Printed in USA.
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Volume 168, Number 10, October 2009 PUBLISHER Sidney L. Davis email@example.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Rick Kessel firstname.lastname@example.org
A Recipe For Profit
EDITOR Christian Wissmuller email@example.com
efore there was Sam Walton there was Herbert Gibson. Gibson, a larger than life Texan, was the founder of a chain of franchised discount stores that, at its zenith, covered 29 states and totaled 684 units. He had the zeal of an evangelist and the mind-set of Barnum. During an interview many years ago he proudly acknowledged that, as a young man, he was employed to warm the opening of a political crowd by wresting alligators. As legend has it “Mr. Sam” came calling on Gibson seeking a franchise and was rebuffed due to a lack of capital. The two men had little in common other than their southern heritage and small town roots (Walton lived in Bentonville, Arkansas, while Gibson was based in Seagoville, Texas.) However, both understood that one of the requirements for retail success was employee motivation. While the two chains took different paths, one leading to the emergence of the nation’s premier retail operation and the other all but fading from the scene, each highlighted employee participation. Gibson was the ultimate entrepreneur, running his franchised company much like a personal fiefdom. Gibson house brands were predominant within the store. He maintained his own travel company, advertising agency, and trade show (which eventually led him to a protracted and losing battle with the FTC and contributed to the company’s eventual demise as major franchisees split from the group). Whether motivated by greed (booking travel for franchisees, selling booths to Gibson authorized suppliers) or an uncanny sense for the retail mindset, he insisted that franchise owners bring their store management to the company-owned trade shows with the strong suggestion that store managers be included in the buying process. His stated belief was: if they bring the products into the store they would pay special attention in getting it past the checkout counter. Sam Walton, as we know, had a less pragmatic but equally high regard for the value of his “associates.” Prior to a store opening, he warmed the employees with a “pep rally” and series of exercises, and danced in a hula skirt when goals were met. While in later years, as Wal-Mart matured, the company had its share of labor critics, the point to be made was that the founder understood the value of his people, or as, GE said in a past commercial, “People are our most important product.” The music industry has a range of trade events from the international reach of a NAMM Show to an eighty-booth RPMDA (Retail Print Music Dealers) convention. Whether it’s a PASIC (Percussive Arts Society) or an AES (Audio Engineering Society) event, there is ample opportunity and motivation for store management attendance. In truth, over the years, we have seen a preponderance of owners (as it should be), however little representation of store personnel at industry gatherings, even from the “major” chains. Who sets up the product, constructs the displays, and demonstrates the instruments? To quote Bill Parcells, former coach of the New England Patriots, when citing his reasons for resigning from the team, “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries” (i.e. not having the fi nal word on draft selections). Hard to imagine that a store or department manager would not place a little extra effort into selling a product in which they had a voice in the selection.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eliahu Sussman firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR Denyce Neilson email@example.com ADVERTISING SALES Iris Fox firstname.lastname@example.org CLASSIFIED AD SALES Maureen Johan email@example.com PRODUCTION MANAGER Laurie Guptill firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Andrew P. Ross email@example.com Laurie Chesna firstname.lastname@example.org CIRCULATION MANAGER Melanie A. Prescott email@example.com ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Popi Galileos firstname.lastname@example.org WEBMASTER Sanford Kearns email@example.com SYMPHONY PUBLISHING, LLC Xen Zapis • Chairman Lee Zapis • President firstname.lastname@example.org Rich Bongorno • Chief Financial Officer email@example.com Corporate Headquarters 26202 Detroit Road, Suite 300, Westlake, Ohio 44145 440-871-1300 www.symphonypublishing.com PUBLISHING, SALES & EDITORIAL OFFICE: 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310 Fax: (781) 453-9389 www.mmrmagazine.com
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Upfront New Jersey Reporter Launches Music Industry Class Action Lawsuit On September 11, a class action complaint against NAMM, Guitar Center, and Fender was fi led in California Southern District Court in San Diego alleging that the three conspired to raise prices on amplifiers, guitars, and other “fretted instruments.” Violin is also singled out. The plaintiff is Brooklyn-based David Giambusso, a reporter for the New Jersey Star-Ledger who has frequently reported on class action lawsuits for that paper and the New York Times. He is also a guitarist with the band, Ann Courtney and the Late Bloomers, which just released an album on an independent label. According to the 20-page complaint, Giambusso bought a Fender at a local Guitar Center “on or about” September of 2007. He is suing for $5,000,000, plus legal fees. NAMM issued a statement confi rming that it received a copy making antitrust claims, and is reviewing the suit. “Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) views the claims against it in Giambusso vs. NAMM, et al as groundless,” states Jason Padgitt, FMIC vice president of corporate communications. “As background, FMIC, along with NAMM and many other manufacturers and retailers in the musical instrument industry, received a request for information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in March 2007 as part of a nonpublic investigation of the industry. FMIC fully cooperated with and responded to the FTC. The FTC entered into a consent agreement with NAMM, which became a consent order, in April 2009. FMIC was not, and is not, a party to the above-referenced consent agreement or order, or any other, with the FTC. On August 24, 2009, the FTC notified FMIC that, other than its consent agreement and order with NAMM, it had determined that no additional action was warranted and its investigation against FMIC has been closed. FMIC is surprised that this lawsuit was brought against it, particularly in light of the results of the FTC’s investigation, and it will vigorously defend any and all claims against it.” 6 MMR
The FTC settlement does not allege NAMM or its members actually violated any anti-trust laws. Guitar Center released the following statement: “Guitar Center, Inc. has reviewed the lawsuit fi led as Giambusso vs. NAMM, et al, a purported class action alleging violations of the antitrust and related laws. Guitar Center views the lawsuit as meritless and intends to defend the claims against it vigorously, at trial if necessary.
“In commenting on this lawsuit, Guitar Center also confi rmed that it has recently received a letter from the Federal Trade Commission regarding the widely-reported investigation that the FTC conducted of the musical products industry. In the letter, the FTC advised Guitar Center that the FTC had determined that no additional action was warranted by the FTC at this time given its previously announced action taken in In the Matter of National Association of Music Merchants, Inc. in April 2009. The letter further advised Guitar Center that the FTC has closed its investigation.”
The Complaint What’s alleged is that pricing information was shared, “restricting retail price competition, or by eliminating price discounting entirely.” The complaint accuses NAMM, Guitar Center, and Fender of unlawfully restraining trade, attempted monopolization, and unfair competition. The complaint also alleges pricefi xing on guitar strings. The complaint states: “Beginning in 2005, the exact date being unknown to plaintiff and exclusively within the knowledge of defendants and their coconspirators entered into a continuing contract, combination or conspiracy to unreasonably restrain trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act by artificially reducing or eliminating competition in the U.S.” Two lawyers at two firms are pursuing the suit: Lee Squitieri of New York-based Squitieri & Fearon, and Mark Tamblyn of Sacramento-based Waxler Wallace. When reached at his desk at the Star Ledger, Giambusso declined to comment, but he had Squitieri return MMR’s call. When asked about why the dates of the alleged conspiracy were January 2005 to December 2007, he replied: “I’ll sum it up with a hippie quote: If it was good enough for the FTC, it’s good enough for us.” (In the FTC’s settlement with NAMM, that was the period the FTC alleged that competitively sensitive information was exchanged, as were “strategies for implementing minimum advertised pricing and restrictions of retail price competition.” NAMM, in its press release at the time, disputed that that is what the settlement meant, pointing out the FTC never produced any evidence of wrong doing, only that there was opportunity for wrong doing.) While Giambusso is the sole name on the class action suit, in the complaint it says that thousands of fretted instruments were sold at the nearly 300 Guitar Centers during that period. But it also says that an effort to contact others was “impractical.” “You can represent everybody once a judge certifies it,” Squitieri OCTOBER 2009
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Upfront told MMR. Once that’s done, “others might join. But a class action lawsuit can proceed with one [client].” He added that they have been investigating since April, and then said that they found, “a lot of screaming and hollering” about pricing and the “concentration” of stores.
In Detail: Those in this industry who take time to read the complaint will certainly fi nd it intriguing. Here are some highlights: “Plaintiff is informed and believes • and alleges that as to all transactions relevant herein, each defendant was an agent of one or more defendants named and, as such, was acting within the purpose, course and scope of such agency. Plaintiff is further informed and believes that each defendant aided and abetted, and acted in concert with and/or conspired with each and every defendant to commit the acts complained of herein.” •
“According to the MMR issue of July 2009, 171 outlets selling fretted instrument closed.” This is used as proof of the conspiracy. That thousands of all kinds of retailers went out of business because the country is experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression was not acknowledged. “Despite the large gross margins, the [MI] industry has been consolidating rather than attracting new entrants,” the complaint reads. “Even mass market retailers have decided not to compete with defendants herein on the same scale and scope.” It failed to note that there exists quite a bit more demand for cell phones and MP3 players than guitars, or a possible reason mass merchants have backed away from musical products is due to too many returns because of broken strings, not being able to service the instrument, and being too much trouble for not enough profit for stores better suited for selling coffee makers and televisions.
“Between 2005 and 2007, NAMM organized various meetings and programs for its members at which competing retailers of musical instruments were permitted and encouraged to exchange information and discuss strategies for implementing minimum advertised price policies, the restriction of retail price competition, and the need for higher retail prices. Representatives of NAMM determined the scope of information exchanged by selecting a moderator and setting the agenda for these programs. At these NAMM-sponsored events, NAMM members discussed the adoption, implementation, and enforcement of minimum advertised price polices; the details and working of such policies; appropriate and optimal retail price and margins; and other competitively sensitive issues.” MMR is awaiting an answer to the question of whether or not Giambusso ever attended a NAMM show. Included in the complaint is an MMR post-NAMM show quote from a dealer. Readers are certainly used to members going on record saying he or she is glad they attended the show, that they found it “absolutely necessary” and the “education seminars are priceless. The interaction with the industry people and colleagues is also priceless.” Positioned in the complaint as it is, the clichéd comment appears ominous.
The complaint alleges that, “potential competitors have been restrained from entering into the relevant market and have been prevented from competing effectively against defendants.” Present economic conditions notwithstanding, it’s been reported that over the years that the number of retailers has remained mostly even, with new stores sprouting up often.
Any manufacturer and retailer who has witnessed prices and margins deflate for a decade due to increased competition on the Internet and eBay, and the
increased manufacture of better quality instruments from China at lower prices will find this section peculiarly interesting: “Specifically, defendants: (a) sold their musical instruments at prices substantially in excess of marginal costs, (b) enjoyed high profits margins thereon, (c) sold such products substantially in excess of the competitive price, and (d) enjoyed substantial barriers to market entry and growth.” •
“Guitar Center possesses, and has demonstrated, a dangerous probability of achieving monopoly power in the relevant market. Guitar Center continues to dominate this market through the unlawful conduct described above, to the detriment of plaintiff and the class.” To back this, the complaint featured quotes from retailers expressing concern over Guitar Center in trade magazines, but not quotes of other retailers saying on the record that they benefit from Guitar Center’s advertising muscle and ability to build awareness, or how the competition has enabled them to differentiate themselves with different product and services.
There are other interesting claims, like that, “since 2006 the price of an average guitar has increased by more than $60” and that Guitar Center and Fender have profited “despite a 10 percent decline in unit sales.” While some may charge that Giambusso and his lawyers are rather removed from the realities of this industry, that point is now moot. Both firms boast their success in class action lawsuits, and unless the accused trio can convince the judge to throw the case out, this will be another unwelcome and expensive chapter in the industry’s history. As for Giambusso, don’t jump to the conclusion that he carries a grudge against the guitar company he accuses of conspiracy and anti-trust impropriety: On his band’s Web site it states that he, “provides comment from the outer orbits as signals from distant galaxies jangle through his beleaguered Fender.” OCTOBER 2009
In 1964, it was simply about sharing a passion. It still is.
In 1964 at the age of 14, Tom Bedell developed his own line of acoustic guitars to help a generation explore their musical passions. Over four decades and two inductions into the Iowa Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame later, Tom Bedell introduces his new line of namesake acoustic guitars.
Times change. Passion doesn’t. In the sixties, Rock ‘n Roll changed the world, revealing a passion for expression through music. As a teenager Tom Bedell was ﬁlled with that passion and sought to share it with the world by introducing his line of namesake Bedell acoustic guitars. Today Tom remains as passionate about music and ﬁne guitars as he was all those years ago. He again shares that passion by introducing Bedell Performance Series Guitars. Beautifully designed in all solid wood and precisely handcrafted of the ﬁnest materials available, Bedell Guitars let you share your music and your passion. It’s your music… Perform it on a Bedell.
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Upfront KMC Music Opens New Bloomfield Headquarters A host of Connecticut state officials headed by Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele were on hand for the official ribbon cutting ceremonies at the new KMC office-warehouse facilities in Bloomfield, Conn. Attending the open house was a gathering of suppliers, vendors, and representatives of KMC and Fender Musical Instruments which purchased the wholesaler two years ago. KMC president Ed Miller and vice president Paul Damiano welcomed the assembled group.
Robert Berman, Bloomfield Town Council; Joan Gamble, Bloomfield Town Council; Larry Dunn, KMC Sr. VP Finance and CFO; Paul Damiano, KMC Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing; Ed Miller, KMC President; Sidney Schulman, Bloomfield Mayor; Conn. State Comptroller Nancy Wyman; Conn. State Rep David Baram; Conn. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal; Conn. Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele; Billy Ciotto.
Smith-Holden Closes In mid-August, George Holden and his son, Mark, announced plans to close Bloomington, Indiana’s Smith-Holden Music Store. George Holden is the president and co-founder of Smith-Holden Music Store who partnered a close friend to open the store in the 1950s. In memory of his partner who passed away soon
after the store’s opening, George opted not to change the business’ name. Smith-Holden had long been a vital local resource for local musicians and had a major impact on area music education (George, himself, was a music teacher). After briefly retiring in 2007, George returned to the business and had been at the helm ever since.
A Friend on Capitol Hill? Stephen G Pagliuca, managing director of Bain Capitol, the investment company that acquired Guitar Center, is eyeing the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward M. Kennedy. Pagliuca, who is also a part owner of the Boston Celtics, has never held public office, however he is reportedly worth $400 million and, according to a report 10 MMR
in the Boston Globe, plans to spend a considerable amount of his own money in a statewide television blitz to raise his public profile. Pagliuca joined Bain Capitol in 1982 and helped build the firm into one of the world’s leading investment companies with more than $40 billion in assets under management. Bain acquired Guitar Center in June 2007 for $2.1 billion.
Jam Industries, Ltd. Acquires US Music Rudy Schlacher is stepping down from his position as CEO of US Music Corp, an enterprise he founded four decades ago, as the company has been acquired by Jam Industries, Ltd. Rudy stated, “We are pleased to join forces with a strategic partner like Jam Industries, Ltd. who has a long successful history in the music industry and has been a long-term business partner with US Music.” Rudy added, “It has been a thrilling and rewarding 40 year ride that has allowed me to realize my dreams and goals that would not have been possible without the support of our customers and suppliers. It is now time to hand the reins over to a valued and trusted partner.” Marty Golden, chairman of Jam Industries Ltd, commenting on the purchase of US Music said, “It is with great pride that we have been able to come to an agreement with Rudy and US Music Corp that will enable US Music and its worldwide brands... to continue to grow and prosper going forward. We envision that US Music will operate as an independent and wholly owned subsidiary of Jam Industries under the guidance of its current president, Barry Ryan.” In closing, Marty Golden stated, “We are confident that we will be able to leverage our combined companies strengths and past successes to even greater results. In addition, we will continue to tap into Rudy’s creative and intuitive instincts as well as his supplier knowledge as we make the transition to the next chapter in US Music’s history.” U.S. Music Corp’s family of brands includes: Washburn; Randall; Eden; Parker; Soundtech; Oscar Schmidt; Vinci; and GWL. Jam Industries, Ltd. is a Quebec-based company that has been distributing musical instruments and related gear for over 30 years. OCTOBER 2009
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Upfront ‘USA Today’ Chimes in On the GH/RB Question On September 8th, USA Today gave some ink to an issue that’s been hotly debated in the MI world for years now: Do video games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” have any impact on potential music makers – and, if so, is that impact positive or negative? The article notes that, “In an article on the BBC’s Web site, former Rolling Stone guitarist Bill Wyman expressed fears games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band will discourage players from trying
out real music instruments. ‘It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble,’ Wyman tells BBC. “Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason echoes similar sentiments, voicing his irritation over watching his kids play. ‘If they spent as much time practicing the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they’d be damn good by now,’ Mason said in the BBC story… “Harmonix [developers of Guitar Hero I & II and the Rock Band franchise]
co-founder Alex Rigopulos disputes the claims, telling BBC he hears from fans regularly who say Rock Band influenced them to pick up a real instrument. “A 2008 survey from instrument retailer Guitar Center seems to back up Rigopulos’ comments. The findings show 67 percent of people surveyed said they would learn a real instrument in the next year or two.” Any way to follow up with the aforementioned 67 percent to see if they followed through on their commitment…?
Muse Research Inc. Announces Ownership & Name Change Muse Research, Inc. announces that the company is under new ownership and will henceforth be called Muse Research & Development Inc., also known as Muse R&D, Inc. The assets and intellectual property of the company are now ma-
Intellimix to Distribute Elation in Canada Elation Professional has appointed Montreal-based Intellimix Corporation as its exclusive Canadian distributor. Under the agreement, Intellimix will distribute Elation’s professional lighting and control products to dealers, lighting installers, designers, rental houses and architectural clients throughout Canada. Kosters said that Intellimix would be debuting many new Elation products at the Music Industries Association of Canada (MIAC) Show in Toronto later this month. Among these will be the award-winning Impression LED moving head, which has been used on many major concert tours including No Doubt and Billy Joel/Elton John, as well as Elation’s Design Spot 250 Pro hybrid spot/wash moving head and the Opti Tri Par tri-color LED par can. Intellimix will be exhibiting at Booth 401 at the MIAC show. 12 MMR
jority owned by Matt Christiano, a former lead investor and founder of Reprise Software, Inc., and Chris Halaby, founder and CEO of Muse Research, with minority ownership by a group of former Muse Research investors. The company will continue to operate as normal from its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, with no interruption in sales, support, shipping, or product development, and all staff members have been retained. The specific terms of the change of ownership were not disclosed. Chris Halaby will be president and CEO of Muse Research & Development,
while Matt Christiano will be Chairman of the Board. Halaby, stated, “This is a huge opportunity for the company to develop new products. Matt brings not only financial stability and business acumen, but also the same passion for music and musical instruments that we all share. The real beneficiaries will be our customers.” Muse R&D will continue to work with the same partners as in the past, and forge new relationships around the world. Additionally, current customer support and warranty repair will remain in effect.
Ultrasone Inc. Adds Northeast Marketing as Sales Rep Ultrasone Inc., distributor for German headphone manufacturer Ultrasone AG, has selected Northeast Marketing as its new sales representative for New England and upstate New York. Northeast Marketing will be responsible for selling Ultrasone headphones to pro
audio and musical instrument stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and upstate New York. Based in West Hartford, Connecticut, Northeast Marketing represents GCI Corp, Chauvet Lighting, CAD Audio and Odyssey. OCTOBER 2009
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Upfront Phonic Joins AM&S Dist. Network American Music & Sound announced that Phonic has joined the AM&S distribution network effective September 1, 2009. “Phonic has a fantastic Pro Audio and MI product lineup,” says Lynn Martin, president of American Music & Sound. “We are very excited to bring them on board, and we are looking forward to great achievements with Phonic.” “Phonic’s success in the US in the past few years outgrew our standalone Tampa
office,” offers Stephen Wang, Phonic’s chairman and CEO, “and prompted us to search for a local partner able to provide even greater support and faster fulfi llment to users. American Music & Sound was chosen for its track record of brand development and its established distribution network that covers not only musical instruments but also the installed market. Phonic looks forward to expanding our US distribution with a trusted partner in American Music & Sound.”
NAMM Offers Members Free Web-Based Resources NAMM recently launched NAMM U Online, a full and varied library of videos, articles and interviews that supplement the popular live Breakfast Sessions and Idea Center Sessions at the NAMM trade shows. Members visiting the namm.org Web site can learn about key business topics including finance, lesson programs, retail ideas, sales and technology. All course
content is provided by NAMM Members and experts including, Alan Friedman,
George Hines, Pete Gamber, Nick Rail and Kevin Cranley.
Sabine Names Thorvin as Canadian Distributor
The NAMM U Online library will continue to grow as new modules are developed later this year and into 2010. NAMM Members can also leave comments and discuss the ideas they’ve learned, creating more interactive content for site visitors. To view the new NAMM U Online content, please visit www.namm.org/nammu
Sabine Inc. has named Thorvin Electronics Inc. as exclusive Canadian distributor for their professional audio, microphone and wireless systems products effective August 1, 2009.
Rob Brown (sales manager, Thorvin) Jean-Marc Langevin (VP, Thorvin) Joe Nguyen (director of sales, Sabine) and Wilf Langevin (president, Thorvin). 14 MMR
On page 55 of the September issue of MMR, Tracy Leenman of Musical Innovations was incorrectly identified. Additionally, CJ Averwater was mistakenly listed as, “Lee Averwater” on the same page.
Upfront CAD & Astatic Rebrand as CAD Audio CAD Professional Microphones and Astatic Commercial Audio Products are re-branding as CAD Audio to expand the company’s product offerings across several markets, optimize the efficiencies of its sales and distribution channels, and streamline its marketing, PR and promotional efforts.
Under the new CAD Audio brand, there will be four series of products: Recording, Live Performance, Astatic Commercial and Personal Audio. These new organizational changes will be reflected on the company’s new website, cadaudio.com and in all product, sales and promotional materials in the future.
Fishman Dealer Resource Site Fishman Amplification has created a new resource and support Web site that provides a range of online tools designed to grow their dealers’ business and profitability. The new dealer resource site, www. fishmandealers.com, offers a variety of training videos and reference materials to provide dealers with more information about Fishman’s products and technologies.
MMR ONLINE SURVEY: Thusfar, how has your business been affected by the much-talkedabout “economic stimulus” initiatives? Significant positive impact: Somewhat postive impact: No Impact whatsoever: Business is worse now than it was this time last year:
2% 12% 60% 26%
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com 16 MMR
Trade Regrets: Lucien Wulsin III Lucien Wulsin III, the past president of the Baldwin Piano Company and the third family member with the same name to hold that position, has passed away at the age of 92. Lucien’s grandfather was taught the piano business by D. W. Baldwin, the founder of the piano company. What he learned was passed down to his son, who, like his father, became president of the company. Lucien III carried on the family tradition and served as president of Baldwin Piano Company during the 1960s. Lucien created company goals to seek new markets and under his leadership the company sold more pianos to public schools than any other company of the era.
Jeffrey A. Phillips Jeff Phillips had worked at Vater Percussion for 10 years in the quality control department. “Each and every Vater stick in the past 10 years went through Jeff’s hands, as he was responsible for putting the Vater logo and model designation on every Vater branded stick,” notes the obituary released by Vater. Jeffrey passed away on July 24, 2009 as a result of what is described as “a senseless act of violence.”
Sam Hinton Sam Hinton was an important preservationist of some of our nation’s greatest folk songs. Sam spent many years traveling the backwoods of this country in search of traditional songs that surely would have been lost without his efforts. As early as 1947, Sam recorded his favorite folk songs for the Library of Congress. Sam passed away on September 10th at the age of 92. OCTOBER 2009
People NAMM recently announced that Zach Frederick, managing director of Frederick Export, a local export company, has been elected as president of the National Association of Young Music Frederick Merchants (NAYMM). NAYMM is devoted to preparing young professionals, ages 21 to 35, for increasingly responsible leadership roles within the musical instruments and products industry through business, social networking and leadership development programs such as industry mentoring. Members are part of a network of professionals who work together to ensure the continued growth of the music products industry by developing strong ties within the larger NAMM community, and by providing career guidance to students in colleges and universities. The
group meets annually during the NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. For information about how to join NAYMM, call (800) 767-6266 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashly Audio has appointed John Sexton to the position of national sales manager. Sexton, who will be based in Oklahoma, started out in the professional audio industry at Altec Lansing Corporation Sexton and has since amassed twenty-five years of experience in various regional, national and international sales and marketing positions. LudwigMasters Publications has announced that Joseph Galison has been appointed the new director of sales. Galison is the fourth generation of family leadership for the Kalmus family of music publishing companies. Alto Music has hired industry veteran Bill Scranton to expand its Pro Audio division into Upstate N.Y. and beyond. Formerly with Boynton Studio, Bill brings over 25 years of experience Scranton as a studio engineer, designer, and sales manager to Alto Music.
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of the original Shubb Capo! www.shubb.com email@example.com 707-843-4068 18 MMR
Kawai America and Kawai Canada recently announced the promotion of their Electronics Marketing Manager, Tom Love, to Senior Manager of Electronics. “This promotion recognizes the total Love scope of leadership in electronics marketing, product development and sales that Tom has been providing this organization for a long time”, remarks Kawai’s senior vice president, Brian Chung. Additionally, Mr. Love has stepped into the newly created position of senior manager of Internet marketing. In this role, Mr. Love will direct Kawai’s efforts in the growing area of digital marketing. LOUD Technologies Inc. announced the promotion of Adrian Bell to the position
of vice president, Corporate and Marketing Communications. In this expanded role, Adrian will lead integrated marketing across all LOUD brands, as well as manage the Company’s corporate com- Bell munications function. Bell reports to Rodney Olson and is based in the Company’s Woodinville, Wash. headquarters.
Auralex Acoustics, Inc. has announced Karen Richardson as its new director of Sales. Richardson, an industry veteran, has extensive experience in multiple Richardson sales channels. Richardson’s broad experience includes the position of National Sales Manager for Home Theater products for Genelec OY, VP of Consumer Sales for Bryston and Accounts Specialist for Parasound Products. Just prior to joining Auralex, Richardson held the position of president of the ASL Group, a distributor of upscale home audio brands, where her responsibilities included expanding ASL’s dealer base into the custom install channel. NAMM recently announced that it elected Mark Goff, president of Paige’s Music, as secretary of its 2009-2010 Executive Committee. In his new role, Goff will work toward fulfilling the 108year-old association’s mission Goff of strengthening the international musical instruments and products industry. Lowrey has named Joanie Manero regional sales manager for the Eastern territory. Joanie steps from the position of product specialist and concert artist with Lowrey to the role of managing a sales territory. Manero Holding a degree in Music and Education from West Chester University, Joanie has been involved with the Lowrey brand, in a variety of retail and wholesale capacities, for over 30 years. OCTOBER 2009
If you’re passionate about electric guitar, then we have your amp. Introducing the newest addition to our amp family, the Sweet 16. Sixteen watts, lightweight, amazing sound. Stop by a PRS amp dealer near you to try the new Sweet 16 and to Experience PRS.
© 2009 PRS Guitars Photo by Marc Quigley
Stats MI SalesTrak Snapshot: Average Retail Selling Price Trend - Guitars $500 $450 $400 $350 $300 $250 $200 $150 $100
Aug 08 Jul-08
Aug-08 Sep-08 Oct-08
Nov-08 Dec-08 Jan-09
Feb-09 Mar-09 Apr-09
Q Acoustic/Electric Guitar $485
Q Electric Guitar
Q Electric Bass
Q Acoustic Guitar
The numbers represent US retail sales in music stores, based upon sku-level POS data from a sample of over 500 online and brick-andmortar outlets. For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXPRESS THROUGH TOUCH IMPRESS THROUGH SOUND Privia redefines the digital piano category by introducing the PX-330 and PX-130. With Casio’s superior engineering, the sleek, lightweight and supremely portable Privia digital pianos boast an authentic piano touch that captures every detail and nuance of your performance and offer an unmatched level of realism and expression through unprecedented sound quality.
The versatile PX-330 and PX-130 are designed for a grand piano experience whether on stage, in the studio or at home. Experience the grandness of Privia for yourself, and get ready for an encore.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT WWW.PRIVIAPIANO.COM ©2009 CASIO AMERICA, INC.
News Note from Joe
The Magic of a Music Store
Retailing is arguably one of the toughest businesses to be in, even more so during times like these. Every day, NAMM Members unlock the front door and do their best to serve a demanding, knowledgeable and diverse clientele. Music stores are hallowed ground to me. Growing up, I distinctly remember shopping at Kuberaâ€™s Music in Buffalo, N.Y. It was a small store, crowded with customers, and the gear was stacked to the ceiling. When I was 15 and had saved enough money from cutting lawns, I went to Kuberaâ€™s to buy my ďŹ rst â€œrealâ€? drum set. Art Kubera personally helped me pick out a shiny new set of drums with all the accessories. I chose a color that he had to order, so I went home minus my money but clutching my receiptâ€”and counting the days until it would arrive. When I went back to pick everything up, Mr. Kubera looked at me in all seriousness and said, â€œSorry, kid, something happened and
Renew Your Membershipâ€”
Take Advantage of the BeneďŹ ts of Belonging 7ORLD #LASS 4RADE 3HOWS
Our industry gatherings provide an unparalleled forum to conduct business, meet with buyers, revitalize your inventory, see new technology, reunite with peers and gain business knowledge.
0ROMOTING THE )NDUSTRY
In 2009, NAMMâ€™s Wanna Play? national public awareness campaign has generated more than 296 million media impressions worth approximately $7.6 million, helping to increase demand while creating new customers.
In these challenging economic times, NAMM continues to offer free resources and ideas through NAMM Uâ€™s Breakfast Sessions, Idea Center sessions and the recently launched NAMM U Online program, which provides snippets to supplement your learning throughout the year.
NAMM stands for its Members every day with ongoing representation in Washington, D.C., on issues that impact the industry, including tax reforms, small business health insurance, music education and others.
ADVERTORIAL â€˘ OCTOBER 2009
visit us online at www.namm.org we didnâ€™t get them yet.â€? My face must have looked like Iâ€™d just witnessed the death of a relative. Then he laughed and said, â€œTurn around.â€? There were my drums, set up and ready for me to play. Not only did I have my new drums, but Mr. Kuberaâ€™s ribbing made me feel like I was his friend, part of the â€œclubâ€? of real musicians. I was already hooked on music, but I think Iâ€™ve been hooked on the magic of a music store ever since. All NAMM Membersâ€”retailers, reps and manufacturersâ€” fulďŹ ll customersâ€™ dreams every day. And when business seems tougher than ever, like itâ€™s been lately, try to remember that you are doing much more than moving boxes. With each sale you make, you are creating memories that will last a lifetime. And speaking of memories that will last a lifetime, make your plans now to join your industry peers in Anaheim this January. The beneďŹ ts of attending far outweigh the cost, and investing in your future is the best thing you can do to ensure success in the year ahead.
*OE ,AMOND s .!-- 0RESIDENT#%/
Member Quote h3WEETWATER HAS BEEN A .!-- -EMBER FOR decades and for good reason. Through its summer and winter shows, publications, and OTHER PROGRAMS .!-- HAS BEEN A GREAT PARTNER supporting what we do as a retailer, and helping us to make important connections throughout the MUSIC INDUSTRY ) CONSIDER .!-- TO BE FAR MORE than a â€˜trade associationâ€˜; it is nothing less than our strategic partner.â€? #(5#+ 352!#+ &/5.$%2 !.$ 02%3)$%.4 s 37%%47!4%2 3/5.$ ).#
Save money through NAMM-endorsed business providers offering shipping services, school and church lease/purchase programs, health insurance information and several other services.
on the keep up-to-date by NAMM. To ed e-newsletter sh al bli git pu Di is back NAMM News up for our PLAY n sig , ws ne . g industry email@example.com latest breakin at playbackdigi
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UpfrontQ&A Fretlight Guitars’ Rusty Shaffer By Dennis Carver
When learning the guitar, beginning players are invariably challenged by how much repetition is involved in the memorization of scales and chords. Ultimately, many are put off by the time required in order to become competent. While still a student in college, Rusty Shaffer was also thinking about these barriers to learning guitar and began to devise a method that would be easier than the age-old approach of flipping through countless books and translating the written page to the fretboard. The innovative concept and design of his Fretlight guitars has vastly simplified and sped up the learning process. In a recent conversation with MMR, Rusty Shaffer shared with us the past, present, and future of the Fretlight teaching system. MMR: Could you tell us a little bit about the beginnings of the Fretlight system and the people behind it? Rusty Shaffer: Sure thing. I played guitar in college, at the University of Connecticut. I was playing cover songs and rhythm with a couple of friends and we’d play out at the local bars. After I graduated, I moved to California and shortly afterwards wanted to get into lead playing. I was told by someone at a music store to buy a book of scale patterns and start memorizing. When I cracked the book open it became apparent that this process, of going back and forth from book to fret board, trying to memorize the scale was inefficient and boring. The light bulb went off in my head (no pun intended) and I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t someone just put these patterns on the neck of the guitar so I can see them where I need to play them?” That
was it, really, and shortly thereafter I began building a prototype Fretlight guitar.
MMR: Your site states that, “All Fretlight’s are made at the same factory as Fender, Gibson, Ibanez” — what factory is this and where? And, just to be clear: You don’t have a specific production arrangement with Fender, Gibson, or Ibanez, do you?
“In the end, Fretlight is the path for those non-players to reach their dreams – playing guitar and making music.”
RS: We use one of the top quality factories in China to produce the Fretlight. They produce for many of the brands you see in distribution today. No, we don’t have any affiliation or agreement with any other guitar company. The reason we say that on our Web site is to let our customers know that a Fretlight guitar is a great playing musical instrument – like many other guitars out there. MMR: Do you feel that some people have misgivings about buying a guitar
with such non-traditional features, such as light-up fret board? If so, what about the product would convince a skeptic? RS: It’s funny because, with the advent of “Guitar Hero,” many people do think that the Fretlight is something other than a very real instrument, but most of the people that say that, of course, have never seen a Fretlight in person. When people do see and use a Fretlight guitar, the reaction is vastly different. We’ve hidden the lights so cleverly under the advanced polymer fretboard that you can’t even tell the neck or fi ngerboard is any different than a normal guitar. But when the song lights up – say, for example, the riff to “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns n Roses – most everyone is blown away! MMR: To what extent, and in what specific ways, do you believe the Fretlight system helps novice musicians? RS: The concept of Fretlight is simple: eliminate the back-and-forth traditional OCTOBER 2009
learning method of your eyes to paper, then your eyes to your (blank) fretboard, eyes to paper, eyes to fretboard, et cetera. Seeing the notes and patterns light up right under your fingers allows you to “get it” instantly. Here’s an analogy – look down at the keys on your computer. Where did they put the letters and numbers for those keys, on a piece of paper to the side of a blank keyboard? No! They put them right on the keys, where you need them. Do we advocate eventually memorizing those patterns? Absolutely, but why struggle to do so? In this day and age of 1,000 TV channels, X-Box and Playstation, Internet, and more, everyone’s time is so limited and valuable. Our customers make the most of that time playing a Fretlight.
MMR: Would someone with little computer knowledge have an easy time understanding the system and working with the software? RS: The Fretlight is truly plug-and-play. One cable from the Fretlight connects it to the USB port of a Mac or PC. The Fretlight studio software launches to a screen that simply gives the user four choices: play a song, take a video lesson, light up a chord or scale, or improvise a solo. Within another couple of clicks of that, our customers are doing it – lighting up their Fretlight and playing. If you can surf around the Internet, you can easily use the Fretlight and its software.
an advanced player that our software will let them improvise over a given chord progressions using several different scale patterns and chord tone patterns that change automatically during the progression – well, they finally admit that even they can learn from Fretlight. Carlos Santana used a Fretlight for a while – it wasn’t that he needed to know how to play, but he wanted to know where to play to get new sounds and tones. The analogy is this: those reading this can probably drive a car pretty well. But if I magically dropped you in a strange location, you’d drive in a circle. Give you a map, though, and you can go anywhere. The Fretlight’s lighted fretboard is a map for the advanced player to create new tones using scales they don’t know and wouldn’t otherwise have the time to memorize.
the gaming consoles, the iPhone and the Internet. What we’re trying to do is to increase the chances that the average person, who might not consider that they could ever learn to play and enjoy the guitar, can succeed and enjoy the guitar. The world of non-guitar players is vastly bigger than the world of existing guitar players. Look at the success of “Guitar Hero.” If we can reach just a small percentage of those customers and potential players we’ll sell millions of units and guess what? The music industry will supply them with straps, strings, amps, etc. Fretlight is truly a market expansion tool for the guitar industry.
“Seeing the notes and patterns light up right under your fingers allows you to ‘get it’ instantly.”
MMR: Do you see the company moving the software to any other platforms such as Xbox360, Playstation 3, and possibly reaching a wider audience? RS: Absolutely. We have plans to incorporate other platforms such as
MMR: Are there other products from Optek/Fretlight that we can expect to see in the near future? RS: Yes, we have a bunch of products revolving around Fretlight and expanding the technology in the coming months and years. I can mention one product that we have in the works right now which is a new Web site that we are building that is very similar to YouTube, where there will be hundreds of guitar videos showing how to play signature riffs and songs or someone’s own creation. The big difference, of course, is that by simply con-
MMR: Fair enough. But how do you feel the Fretlight system is beneficial to more advanced musicians who may shy away from such a product, deeming it more appropriate for beginners? RS: The advanced guys can learn on a Fretlight just like a beginner. Most advanced guitarists know how to play and probably know a few different scales. But if I’m doing a demo and I show OCTOBER 2009
UpfrontQ&A necting a Fretlight to the USB port, all of these videos will light up to show the fingering for what is being played in the video. It’s an offshoot of our highly acclaimed Video Player technology that we currently have in our Fretlight Studio Software. We also have plans to equip all Fretlight guitars with a proprietary MIDI pickup system by mid 2010 so that a
“If you can surf around the Internet, you can easily use the Fretlight and its software.” player can record their own videos and associated Fretlight data – upload to our new Web site, and their friends around the world can watch their creations lightup on their Fretlight guitars. It’s going to be amazing. Learning music and sharing creations will be revolutionized with Fretlight and the Fretlight Video site.
MMR: Have there been any big-name musicians to offer any interactive lessons or endorse the product? RS: Throughout the years we’ve had various endorsers or users of our Fretlight guitars such as Neal Schon of Journey, Carlos Santana, Edge from U2, Metallica, America, Brooks & Dunn, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and many others. MMR: Where do you see the company heading in the next couple of years? RS: Our mission is to be the leader in guitar education around the world. We’ll be implementing educational programs for schools and colleges, creating products so that traditional guitar instructors can use Fretlight in their everyday lessons, and reaching out to mass distribution in order to fi ll the demand of millions of non-guitar players who want the technological advantage of Fretlight. In the end, Fretlight is the path to for those non-players to reach their dreams – playing guitar and making music. 26 MMR
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On the Ball
Ernie Ball Continues to Uphold a Tradition of Excellence
avored by numerous high-profile artists and boasting a rich history of innovation reaching back to the beginning of the guitar rock revolution of the ‘60s, Ernie Ball strings have long been one of the foremost names in the industry. Ernie Ball/Music Man continues to break new ground with distinctive new product offerings and creative marketing techniques, upholding the dedication to excellence established by its founder, and maintained by the Ball family to this day. New Offerings “We’ve been extremely aggressive and invest a lot of resources into R&D and product development,” notes Brian Ball of Ernie Ball, Inc. “Our team of engineers are geniuses and work with my dad, Sterling, myself, my brother Scotty and a few others in creating new ideas and delivering products that fi ll a void, fit our brand, and enable dealers and distributors to experience great profit margins.” Among some of those new ideas and products, Brian points to a few recent introductions that have been particularly successful for the company. “Of the new product releases, we are extremely proud of the new 25th Anniversary Music Man models,” he says. “Celebrating 25 years is a great milestone, however what’s truly 30 MMR
amazing is continuing to push the sonic boundaries of instrument manufacturing. Combining modern technology with design features that span a quarter century, has produced some of the best instruments we have ever made. We have been excited to offer these instruments this year and the feedback has been tremendous. “Additionally, the PowerPeg is selling extremely well for us, as is the new Coated Titanium Reinforced Slinky Guitar String Line. MI Salestrack had them at the fifth best selling line of strings, with the second highest sell-through in April of all string lines - coated or uncoated!”
Going Green? EB’s Been There for a While… In an age when “going green” is all the rage [see cover feature on page 34] OCTOBER 2009
– a result of both fashion/hype, as well as legitimate long-term economic and environmental need – Ernie Ball is more than doing their part. “We’ve placed a high priority on eliminating waste in the factory and becoming as lean as possible,” Brian says. “As always, we test raw materials through all stages of guitar string manufacturing. With new testing techniques we are now able to isolate problem raw material components earlier then we were able to in the past. Not only does this ensure more quality and consistency, but also reduces the amount of scrap produced. We recycle all scrap wire and have a strict recycling policy in and around the plant. My grandfather Ernie was extremely fond of protecting the environment and instituted a lot of lean manufacturing processes in the workplace years ago. We’ve continued his tradition, and with lean becoming the rage, it’s nice to know that we’ve been implementing those policies for years.”
Marketing & Endorsements As with many suppliers, Ernie Ball takes advantage of a number of close relationships with high profi le artists and events. But as Ball explains, endorsement deals are not simply a part of an overall marketing plan – these affi liations are, in many ways, the cornerstone of EB’s hugely successful branding efforts and the unusually close relationship the company has fostered with its end-users: “We are extremely proactive with entangling our brand with successful live music events. The Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar Taste of Chaos, South By Southwest, John Mayer’s Mayercraft, and Eric Clapton’s Crossroads are just a few of the many events that we partner with. Most notably, in its 13th year the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands was an overwhelming success yet again. Over 10,000 bands signed up for the once in a lifetime opportunity to play live on the Vans Warped Tour, and the contest itself creates a tremendous goodwill with our consumers. It’s our way of giving back to the bloodline of our consumer base, while getting as close to them as possible. We want to be in a position where we can smell our customers’ OCTOBER 2009
breath and know what they like and value in our products and brand. “In addition we are and have been the exclusive string partner of the ‘Guitar Hero’ and ‘Rock Band’ video games. I’ve developed a close relationship with both entities and we think of them as very close partners to the Ernie Ball family. The Ernie Ball Company endorses over 700 artists out of our home office in Coachella, Calif. It gives me great satisfaction when I see the list of musicians who play and use our products — from Clapton, to Jimmy Page, Slash, John Mayer, The Eagles, Aerosmith, AC/DC, and more. Our Family of Artists is a key ingredient to our family’s business, and something we place a high priority in servicing their needs while creating a family environment. Every artist on our roster is important to us. From the smaller bands to the legendary Artists who grace the back of our string packages, we recognize the importance and influence they provide building and maintaining our brand throughout the world.”
“I think the industry, as a whole, has this permeating ‘cool factor’ that continues to grow.”
A Positive Outlook While the phrase “cautious optimism” is becoming more than a bit worn when contemplating the near future of the retail market, Brian feels there are plenty of good reasons to keep a positive outlook, despite inarguable economic turbulence. “I think the industry is in somewhat of an awkward state, where there’s some uncertainty for what’s to come,” he observes. “On one hand, you have an increasingly
competitive retail segment where online retailers, independent retailers, and big boxes are fighting it out. On the other hand, I think the industry, as a whole, has this permeating ‘cool
“We want to be in a position where we can smell our customers’ breath and know what they like and value in our products and brand.”
factor’ that continues to grow. I met with close partners of ours, Rockstar Energy Drink, recently and they had held some retail contests where the top salesmen from their largest retailers could pick from an Ernie Ball Guitar, a Burton Snowboard, A Surfboard, an Apple Laptop, or a Samsung TV. The Guitar was the number-one choice amongst the sales staff, by a landslide. With You Tube, online Web sites, chat rooms, video lessons, and so on, learning to play an instrument has never been easier. With that accessi-
bility, I believe it will continue to foster the demand for folks to pick up an instrument – thus creating new products and services for the industry. While the economy has slowed purchases somewhat, the desire to play is still evident.” Ernie Ball certainly looks to a number of upcoming events and promotions sure to continue the company’s winning streak. “Coming up we look forward to our end of the year Showcase party with four of the best unsigned bands in the US,” says Brian. “We fly them out to showcase in Hollywood with Warped Tour executives and industry professionals in attendance. Simultaneously we are gearing up for next year’s promotions, which include some newer live events and tours. We always look forward to the Winter Trade show, which allows us to catch up with old friends, our family of valued artists, and dealer base, both domestic and abroad. We look forward to cultivating relationships and creating new ones, while showcasing the latest innovations both on our accessories and instruments divisions.”
To succeed in the future, not to mention the present, you need to expand the number of people who make music. With several music education courses for children and adults, Yamaha can help. Yamaha programs create regular store traffic, generate steady revenue and seed the market for many years of lucrative digital piano and acoustic piano sales.
From the world-renowned Yamaha Music Education System (YMES) to the upcoming Clavinova-based Yamaha QuickPlay course,Yamaha provides excellent opportunities for you to grow and prosper. Call the Yamaha Music Education Department today at (800) 722-8856 to discuss your options for long-term success. ÂŠ2009 Yamaha Corporation of America. All rights reserved.
The Environmental Consequences of Guitar Making:
The Present, and the Future Industry forges ahead, doing the “right thing” – even as tree-hugging musicians still want that Brazilian rosewood 34 MMR
“Guitarists are all tree huggers right up to the point they buy their guitar. Then they all want Brazilian rosewood and Adirondack spruce.”
uitar and accessory makers are getting increasingly progressive and sensitive to the global impact of every product they make, changing and refining their ways through adhering to and going beyond international guidelines, consistently implementing new conservation policies, and in some cases, developing radical new products.
There are no laws mandating this. There’s certainly little or no demand from players for it either. No money to be made. Many state they don’t think they sell a single extra instrument or package of strings because of their green efforts. Yet, they look ahead to the inevitability of limited resources and what it’ll mean to future generations. “A lot of the hardwoods have sustainability problems,” says Rick Nelson of Flaxwood. “There’s increasing international trade regulation, and certain woods require documentation.” Michael Blank, of Zuni guitars, thinks the future involves all the guitar makers doing what he’s doing – which is going out and physically cutting the wood themselves. He sees treasured hardwoods continuing to go up in price, along with the temptation toward illegal practices. “Don’t believe those ‘it blew down in a hurricane’ stories,” he says. The future? Switching to more plentiful woods, like maple. As the industry embraces non-governmental international organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) practices and their certification process, there’s no easy answer and no quick fixes. Will there be a point when certain woods are completely unavailable? “The furniture manufacturers and homebuilders are using a ton more wood than the guitar industry, so I see shortages happening in other areas first,” says Jody Dankberg of OCTOBER 2009
Washburn. But none seem to be waiting for the canary in a coalmine. They are acting now.
to point out MI is not just competing against each other for these resources – that would be easy. Martin not-so-jokes The Issue of “Tonal that those in the funeral Woods” business are still making Taylor Guitar’s Bob caskets out of some tonal Taylor takes the long woods. Then of course view: Progress will need there are the furniture to be measured not in two makers and homebuildor 10 years, but a generaers. tion. Yes, manufacturers Taylor and are setting up mandates to Dick Boak, Martin Guitars others are have FSC certified woods working to to build guitars, “but that doesn’t mean certify spruce, which is furthe suppliers can supply those woods. So ther complicated because so we’ve made a step forward and told supmuch is on Native American pliers that they have to help us figure it land and treaties and Conout.” gressional acts need to be There have been “wood summits” worked through. “Somewhere guitar makers meet with suppliday we’ll have it, and ers who work with all the guitar compathen it’ll be ‘Great! Let’s nies, though both Chris Martin of Margo [certify] mahogany!” tin Guitars and Taylor are always quick Taylor says they typically
need a container of mahogany every month just to make necks, and there are five or six logs of wood in a container. Recently they stopped putting mahogany necks on their babies, 100 and 200 series, and some of their electric guitars. This has cut their need for mahogany by 60 percent. “Last year we parachuted our operation into two additional villages in Honduras, and now we’re in a total of three. We’re talking super primitive – donkey and chain saws here, all to get five or six logs a year per community.” Visits are made, loyalty is built, and even this past year when the high-end guitar market took a hit like everything else, they still bought wood that the orders didn’t necessarily This Martin model is made completely of sustainable woods. All Martin dealers are required to carry a certain percentage.
Doing More with Less
“We are continually looking for new ways to optimize the production and efficiency of our guitars,” says Craig Toporek, Sierra Guitars product manager. “Minimizing wood usage and wasted materials while maintaining a quality product is the goal.” Martin is creating soundboards from recycled pulp logs, purchased right before they were ground up, says Martin Guitar’s Dick Boak. Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars is looking at how they can make their guitars more efficiently using fewer materials, and he says the best decision they made was made over 10 years ago with how they bolt on their necks. “I can’t say we use less wood because of it, but we can use all the wood.” So instead of standing in a mill and taking one piece out of 20, they can take all 20 pieces. “We use all the wood from all the trees, so we’re not cutting 20 trees to get four trees’ worth of wood.” Also they’ve embraced veneering a guitar, something that had a bad reputation going back to the 1970s 36 MMR
because that’s what was featured landfill are being re-filtered and reon all the poorly made guitars comused,” says Jim D’Addario. “It’s a ing out of Asia at the time. But Tayreal reduction on the impact of the lor maintains it wasn’t the idea itself environment. And we’re looking at that was bad, but the way it was the manufacturing process all the done. Today they take a Rosewood time.” log and use it as a ve“Streamlining the neer, which “is a big manufacturing pro“A lot of left over step for someone like cess is one of our bigTaylor. Our 100 and 200 hazardous material gest priorities right series are veneered that would end up now,” says Washand they are incred- in a landfill is being burn’s Jody Dankible.” berg. Using materials re-filtered D’Addario has resmarter and wasting and reused.” fined the processing less has bottom-line of string making, not benefits too, “espeonly using everything including the cially on the Parker Guitar side of scraps, but getting the raw material things. Parkers are made out of from the tire industry – pieces that wood combined with carbon fiber are too small for them to do anything technology, which provides more with are just right for strings. Switchstrength and no warping or bending to materials that already are ing. This process gets the guitars brass plated keeps them from havdown to a real low weight, below ing to use tin, and works just as well five pounds.” But all this is laborto prevent corrosion. They’ve nearly and material-intensive. “We’ve recompletely eliminated their use of cently come up with ways so that caustic chemicals in the process. they come off the CNC machines “A lot of left over hazardous without wasting material – that’s materials that would end up in a been a major undertaking.” OCTOBER 2009
justify. “I didn’t want them to know there was a global recession,” he says. “And we also are the source of 40 percent of their economy.” Washburn also sources most of their wood through certified green suppliers. But woods like koa are often the exception because the amount available is so small it would be hard to get certified, says Dankberg, director of marketing and artist relations. “We have, from time to time, initiated our own programs, too – like planting a tree for every guitar sold.” They also support green organizations through donations. Martin requires their dealers to participate in their special sustainability program and stock FSC models. Despite that, the results are not overwhelming. “I’d like to tell you that we’ve doubled or tripled sales [of FSC wood models],” sighs Dick Boak, Martin Guitar’s director of artist and public relations. “But it’s a tough sell because there is a tremendous amount of education required. Guitarists are all tree huggers right up to the point they buy their guitar. Then they all want Brazilian rosewood and Adirondack spruce.”
Yet Martin has doubled the number of FSC certified wood models they offer – there are now two series for a total of eight models, all 100 percent certified woods. “In the past two years we’ve seen growth of 13 percent in sales from the green initiatives. But that’s only about 1 percent of our total. So we’d like it to
Washburn Artist George Lynch was involved in the creation of his signature model, insisting that it be done in environmentally sound ways.
be more. It’s a start, and we’re committed and sticking with the program. “There are people who have moral integrity and environmental conscience
Jody Dankberg, Washburn
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who are accounting for pany is aware of and conthe sales [in FSC certified scientious about the enviwood] we’ve had now,” he ronmental sustainability adds. “We’re going to conof the various woods used tinue to require dealers to in the manufacture of PRS participate in a program Guitars. “PRS is a memwe think is important and ber of the International right. Right now it’s a bit Wood Products Association of a tough sell. We need (IWPA), and is committed to have the dealers. If they to supporting sustainable aren’t able to educate the forest management praccustomers, we won’t see tices,” she says. “The IWPA any progress.” promotes efforts to achieve As far as the FSC is con- Ron Van Ostenbridge, Black Diamond the fastest practical progcerned, Taylor has been ress towards environmenblunt to them: “I told them their certifitally sound permanent forest managecation process is too stringent. You’ve got ment worldwide and supports responsible groups like Greenpeace, who can be divinational and international efforts to focus sive, but guitars bring red states and blue attention on the various threats to the states together. Frankly, we’re not going world’s productive forests. Hugh Reitz, the to sell one single more guitar because it’s international wood buyer for PRS Guitars, FSC certified. But we’re all pushing for it is an IWPA member and has served on the because it’s the right thing to do.” Taylor IWPA Board of Directors.” suggests a tag that says, “The neck is FSC The company uses about 24 different certified” because right now, an all or kinds of wood to manufacture its instrunothing approach for this guitar makers ments. “The facts and practices surroundwon’t work. ing the acquisition of each of these woods The FSC isn’t the only guide. Rebecca are very different,” Eddy points out. “PRS Eddy at Paul Reed Smith says the comGuitars closely examines the circumstances
of each wood purchase and is careful to only purchase woods that are harvested under ecologically sustainable practices. As part of its wood procurement procedures, PRS now purchases certified woods whenever available that meet PRS quality standards.” In some instances, PRS will not purchase wood because the company believes that the wood was harvested using unsustainable ecological practices. “The PRS Wood Team goes into the field with loggers and saw mills monthly and personally evaluates the practices that are used to acquire various woods. PRS Guitars is committed to purchasing wood that is harvested and marketed in a lawful and ecologically sustainable manner.”
Musicians as Environmentalists? Not So Much… Do player’s care? “That’s a good question,” Black Diamond’s Ron Van Ostenbridge answers bluntly. “I don’t honestly know. I know we promote it. I know we think it’s the right thing to do. I think customers appreciate goods that don’t harm the planet.” “Guitar players are essentially collectors, and they don’t need the instrument. It’s an
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emotional buy,” Dankberg says. “They are most influenced by what their favorite artist plays – that’s more likely to affect the purchase then any green concerns.” “People want their Les Paul or Taylor or Martin made of Brazilian rosewood and then they sing about saving the rainforest,” Taylor says. “People care about global warming and the environment in a general way, but not the day they buy a guitar. They don’t want one out of oak. They want the guitar they want and then say, ‘You Bob Taylor handle this issue for us.’ Best I can do is set it up for the next generation.”
Martin’s Boak ponders: “Is a musician willing to sacrifice a little tone to do right by the environment? Or will they just do as they’ve been doing until the woods are not available and have disappeared? Brazilian already has. African Blackwood pretty much has. Mahogany and ebony are both problematic, and harder to get every year.” Popular musicians typically embrace environmental concerns – think everyone from Crosby, Stills, & Nash to Dave Matthews. But it’s not clear it’s transferring to the instrument itself, though perhaps that’s changing.
“Frankly, we’re not going to sell one single more guitar because it’s FSC certied. But we’re all pushing for it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Carbon Fiber & Wholly Sustainable Material: Catching On? Ellis Seal of Composite Acoustics in 2010. Meanwhile, in (CA) reports he’s seeing a surge in Heinävaara, Finland, a their all human-made carbon fiber new process of “moldguitars. “I think a lot of it is that peoing wood” is creating ple are becoming aware of who we an ecologically friendly, are and what he do,” he says. “Being recyclable tone matea small company, it takes a little lonrial by Flaxwood. Rick ger to get the word out. But the more Nelson, director of stores stock our guitars, the more the sales in the USA, has guitars move out the door.” been at the company Today they offer five different for just a year, though body styles, with models having previously he worked various features. at Fishman Electronics Rick Nelson, Flaxwood Yet despite the ecological impliand Parker Guitars. cation of their non-wood guitars, Nelson says while Parker was a Seal doesn’t promote or market that revolutionary great guitar that litaspect. “That is a decision we leave erally broke the mold, the reality up to the customer,” he says. “We is the unique design don’t really promote “They fall in love was not appealing to that aspect, though through the feedback with it and then you many players. “What’s exciting to me is that we get, it does affect tell the Flaxwood is so much the buying decision story and the more esoterically apfor a certain number of players.” Still advance- ecological benefits.” pealing.” What they have ments continue to be done in Finland is taken an exexceptionally eco-friendly: Their latceptionally renewable resource, est is a new finish that’s raw and usFlax seeds, or linseed, used with ing no paint whatsoever. spruce, one of the more quicker “We don’t want to create an engrowing woods which are plentiful vironmental battle between us and in northern Finland, and molded wooden guitars, so putting it out it. “They’ve come up with an exfront doesn’t do anybody any good.” tremely resonate instrument that That said, more are selling their resonates not unlike ebony,” Nelwooden guitars to make a CA their son says. “It’s has unusual sustain primary instrument, as opposed to capability, and the high pressure inhaving it as a secondary instrument. jection molding system they use to Next up is all carbon fiber electric create it allows for a consistency of guitar, followed by an acoustic bass OCTOBER 2009
sound that I’ve found to be astounding.” Flaxwood came from a desire of a small group of luthiers concerned about the ecological ramifications of harvesting hardwoods for guitar. “The primary motivation was to look at their surrounding environment and create an instrument that didn’t harm that.” At the moment they are using hardwoods for the fretboard, but are currently experimenting with material to replace that. Though again, not an inexpensive guitar: They start in the $2,000 range though they are currently working on a line that will come in below that. Most importantly to Nelson is the sustain and playability, plus the consistency issue. “The neck has no dead spots – it’s very highly regarded, and recently the instrument won an award and a great review from Premiere Guitar Magazine.” This is what they are promoting first: “You put it in the hands of a dealer or a player and say, ‘Check it out.’ They fall in love with it and then you tell the story and the ecological benefits.” Like similar nonhardwood guitars, these instruments too are not susceptible to heat and humidity. MMR 39
Washburn recently released a signature with George Lynch guitar. “He was very insistent that the instrument be as green as possible,” Dankberg reports. “He lives out on the desert and is very much in touch with nature. Actually, through the process of working with him, I personally learned a lot more about these issues!” Over at Sierra Guitars, Craig Toporek says that “Sierra artists are very interested in Sierra’s eco-friendliness and it is just one of the many reasons they choose to endorse Sierra. Some Sierra endorsers, such as Ashleigh Flynn, perform at the green-themed High Sierra Music Festival in California, which raises awareness and funds for worthwhile organizations related to music, art, education, and social justice.” Jim D’Addario of D’Addario wants to work more with their artists who are especially passionate about this issue. “We need to focus more on that, because I know we have certain endorsees just because of our environmental stand.” “Promoting green models has always been a tough sell, especially when you make a product so highly esteemed,” Danny Fonfeder, Blueberry adds Boak. “None- Guitars theless we’re really committed at Martin to promoting our FSC wood models as well as our sustainable wood models and educating the public about the viability of these models.”
Alternative Ways Zuni Guitars hand makes all their guitars out of North American hardwoods that are readily sustainable and not on any endangered list. Zuni doesn’t even put plastic on their guitars – all pickup rings and cover plates are made out of sustainable figured maple, and most of the knobs and tuners are made out of elk or deer antlers that are shed naturally Recently they updated their Web site to further promote their eco-friendly guitar making ways. They’ve added pictures of themselves cutting the wood in Michigan. “I cut every piece of wood we use,” says president Michael Blank, who spent the early part of his career getting 40 MMR
Q&A with FSC President Bill Hayward The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was founded in 1993. Today the Bonn, Germanybased organization represents the world’s strongest system for guiding forest management toward sustainable outcomes. The FSCUS was established in 1995, and currently Bill Hayward is its CEO. Haywood is also CEO of Haywood Lumber, a 90-year-old building materials company, and the first in the country to stock FSC lumber. MMR: What is the purpose of the FSC? Bill Hayward: To ensure forest stewardship. The forests of the world have a valuable place in our eco system. The dream of when the FSC was founded was to educate people to the true value of a forest – which is much more than just wood. It’s air, plants, water, animal, life. MMR: What is “bad forestry.” BH: Large-scale clear-cutting that doesn’t manage the needs of biodiversity. Today 25 percent of all green house gases are because of deforestation. MMR: Describe the FSC certification process. BH: The starting point is a land manager saying they want to certify their operation. An independent certifier does the certifying. They walk through and weigh what is being done to the 10 principles of the FSC system. They will say what’s is good, and what they need to improve on to qualify. MMR: Some guitar makers feel that some wood can’t be certified because it’s too rare. BH: There’s almost no wood that couldn’t be certified or be part of a sustainable plan. MMR: What’s the relationship like between the FSC and the guitar makers? BH: I’ve been able to watch Martin, Taylor, and others all sit together and say that the sustainability issue is the most important thing for the [MI] industry, because the wood used for instruments would disappear if they didn’t work together on this. It’s one of the most powerful leadership moves I’ve ever witnessed in my life, because there’s no outside source demanding they do it; they are doing it because it’s the right thing to do. MMR: There is competition for this wood not so much within our industry, but with other industries – like furniture. Can the FSC control what industry gets what? BH: The FSC can’t, but the market can. Over time, as some woods become more expensive, less will want it for their product. As the market moves toward sustainable forestry, the market will sort out who is willing to pay what for certain woods. MMR: Is there any progress being made because of the FSC? BH: Absolutely. In the early 1990s there were major environmental groups fighting the lumber industry saying they had to do better. The lumber industry said, “What is better?” Now there is a definition of good and it’s created a positive mood going forward. The more people hold the industry accountable, the more the industry will enact standards that the FSC has set up. Change is on every corner of the planet. OCTOBER 2009
wood for Gibson and Washburn. He also launched birdseyemaplewood.com, a site offering wood he’s cut himself that is of especially high quality. “These are freaks of nature and very rare, and some can go for $10,000 a log,” says Blank. Blank’s family helps cuts the trees, find the materials, and work the sawmill in southern Illinois. It’s not a high volume company – to date they’ve completed 28 guitars. And they are not cheap. But “even the strings are made in America – everything on this guitar comes from North America.” Mark Payung’s Glasstones guitars feature patented technology that replaces traditional wood components with glass. The idea is that every part of his guitar that touches the string is glass – from the nut (typically brass) to the frets to the saddle. “Glass is made of sand, and sand is a plentiful resource,” Payung says. “With global warming, there’s more sand then we know what to do with.” But it’s not environmental concerns that fuel the GlassTones approach. “There’s a clarity of tone that’s never been heard before. It’s a fundamental change.” But the green aspects of the guitar cost green: the instruments have a MSRP of $5,500. They are also offering a modification kit. Montreal businessman Danny Fonfeder found his foot into the business in the sands of the island of Bali, where he would create instruments that combine craftsmanship and art. Instruments are hand made by indigenous crafts people with extraordinarily sustainable material. The company is Blueberry guitars, and the story is certainly unusual. Vacationing on the island, he had lost his guitar, so he went to buy another one. “There weren’t any music stores, and I ended up at what can be described as a 7-11 where I found a low-quality one for $20 that wouldn’t stay in tune.” This led to him wondering why they couldn’t make them there? The island was rich with experienced woodworkers. Thus began his journey. The wood used is Balinese rosewood. There’s also a Balinese koa, Balinese 42 MMR
tempo wood, and white angelwood being used. “All made in a little village that has looked the same for 300 years.” Instead of spraying a fi nish on, the fi nish on all the instruments are done with linseed oil applied by hand. “I don’t think it’s possible to leave a smaller footprint in this business then we’re doing,” Fonfeder exclaims. “If you play our Balinese rosewood and compare it to an instrument made with Brazilian rosewood, there’s no difference – only one is rare and one isn’t.” But here’s is a difference: The team has discovered that carving on the guitar does more than just add beauty to the guitar, but enhances the acoustic properties. “With groves, the whole guitar vibrates and resonates better and louder. You couldn’t do this with Flaxwood Liekki Kulta Gold
cedar, spruce or koa. This processes adds a 20 percent boost in sound properties.”
Guitar Accessories On the topic of raw materials, economics are having as much influence as environmental concern at Black Diamond. Prices for copper and silver has risen, and Van Ostenbridge says they absorb the increases as much as possible, raising prices only as a last resort. “We have a great cost containment philosophy: when we do raise prices, it’s truly necessary.” The company is one of the many doing things that they don’t necessarily “have” to do. “We’re totally into the environment and do anything we can to preserve or protect,” says Van Ostenbridge says. “So with our packaging, it’s a priority to try to use all recyclable material. We’re looking at different types of packaging both economic and environmental – and we’re also experimenting. And it’s no secret that some of that is to prevent corrosion.” He adds that any and all changes are tested against three equal goals: economics, customer satisfaction, and the environment. Van Ostenbridge points out that “plastics” is a not a dirty word, and some of it biodegrades quite well, which is really important because, “while everything we put out is recyclable, not everybody in the real world recycles. So if some of our packaging material does end up in a landfi ll, we want it to biodegrade as quickly as possible.” They have their strings coming in a vinyl pouch, which while recyclable, does not biodegrade too quickly. So efforts are being make to improve on that, yet keep the product fresh and from the elements – which can be daunting: “You’re transporting a lot of your goods by ship and they can spend as long as 35 days on the ocean where they are exposed to a lot of harsh conditions. So it needs to be packaging that gives the customer what they are paying for, but is still as environmentally friendly as we can make it.” D’Addario, who in the late 1970s operated out of a building with a too-close-to-ignore landfill he had to look at every day, has been on the forefront of this issue for years. Most recently the company has focused its efforts on products shipping out under the Planet Wave name. “We’ve been trimming back the packaging on that, shrinking the sizes down,” says Jim D’Addario. “We used OCTOBER 2009
suppose we might lose a customer wanting an Apple iBox [type container], but the vast majority of consumers are in tune with the efforts.”
Marketing Green Blank of Zuni says his wholly sustainable production is key to his marketing strategy: “When people come to look at the guitars, they can tell they are made with love and are environD’Addario promotes their environmentally friendly approach on their Web site, which mentally sound.” Blank also also features eco-responsible tips to their consumers. doesn’t have a lot of symto have those products in an elaborate box, pathy for those who still but now we came up with packaging that go after the tropical hardcuts back raw material use from 30 percent woods, which he points out up to 70 percent.” you can’t even import in But is there a danger in doing so much Europe. “A lot say they are that the product becomes less appealing to re-growing, but it’s hard grab? “We spend a lot of time making whatto ‘re-grow’ 300 year-old ever packaging look even better then before. hardwood. That’s why I And we’ve gotten nothing but compliments decided a long time to take – people are glad we’re being responsible. the path I’m taking. Plus, dealers like what we’ve done because “And eventually they more products can fit on the hook. Yes, I all are going to have to do Jim D’Addario
what I’m doing. They will have someone on their staff in the woods. With their own chainsaws.” D’Addario has made their ecologically friendly efforts part of their marketing strategy since 1991 – sort of. “We could do more,” he laments. “We’re not educating people enough about how serious the problem it is, and how much we’ve done to address it.” The people at Black Diamond also think they can do a better job marketing their green efforts too. “We don’t do a good job at that,” Van Ostenbridge says. “Probably because it’s not the main reason we do it – we do it because it’s morally and ethically the right thing to do. Marketing wise, we focus more on the quality of the product. We’re happy with the quality and service we give. We have a good product. “ At Flaxwood, Nelson says they have internal discussions about how much – or if at all – to promote the environmental aspect of their guitars.
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“The unfortunate reality is at the end of the day, most guitar players don’t really care. They want to play a guitar that sounds great.” Still he adds that they are making inroads in promoting this aspect of the instrument, but “guitar players are very conservative, and anything new and different takes time.”
Challenges & the Future The process of getting the wood is part game, part strategy, and sometimes luck is involved. “The biggest part is planning,” Dankberg says. “A lot of it comes from overseas and they have different schedules, priorities, and languages, so the planning really comes into play.” And sometimes no amount of planning can help. Dankberg tells that last year the government shut down the industry because of the Olympics. Factories that were going seven days a week went down to two; busy ports were made to idle. Sure, plenty of woods are plentiful even here in the states. “We’re making guitars
“While everything we put out is recyclable, not everybody in the real world recycles. So if some of our packaging material does end up in a landll, we want it to biodegrade as quickly as possible.” out of Cherry that are quite wonderful, but is it fair to compare those to the ones made out of Brazilian rosewood?” Boak asks. “The physical properties are different.” He explains that it’s difficult to complete tonally with the woods that have been traditionally used. “Just like a Stradivarius violin, there’s a level of tonality that sets a standard, and if you want it you’re going to have to pay for it,” he says. And the pay off may just be worth it looking at history – a vintage Martin D 28 guitar made with these now hard-to-get woods in 1939 is now selling for up to $75,000. OCTOBER 2009
Yet most agree it’s going to matter more and more to future players. “I’m 33, and I grew up in the generation where they celebrated Earth Day when I was in grade school,” says Dankberg. “It’s never really gone away, and I don’t think it will.” He adds that if we see more long-term affects of greenhouse gases, if the society continues to push for more fuel-efficient cars and green buildings, it’ll continue to be more important with everyone’s everyday purchasing decisions. D’Addario says that it’s cross-generation: It’s an attitude that reaching
the entire population. “If I can get the same result from this car as that one, this packaging instead of that one, and do less damage to the planet, why not? Younger people are paying more attention, but so are the 60-year-olds. It’s universal. People speed right up to my electric cars when I’m driving them, take pictures, give me the thumb’s up – people are paying attention to this.” “We’re going to get to more sustainable instruments, because that’s where the world is going,” says Taylor. “Our kids won’t let this go.”
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Ukulele Surge: Finally some Respect? An upward turn and an industry-wide effort to move beyond mere novelty is paying off
ould the ukulele have reached a new, higher plateau? A point where it’s more than just a novelty toy to play “Tiny Bubbles” on, or be the mere prop that Tiny Tim made into a joke?
MMR’s recent survey inquiring into the ukulele industry came back with a resounding “yes.” The little four-stringed-instrument-that-could has achieved respect – and more importantly, market share. “It’s really taken off,” says Jim Beloff of Flea Market Music. “It’s a really fun part of the business right now.” And a growing part, as documented in a Los Angeles Times article this past July. That article attributed the boom to the Internet, pointing out the massive amount of hits that some uke-centric tunes have gotten on YouTube, in addition to clubs and related downloadable applications (that Blackberry you have there can mimic the instrument and teach you how to play chords). Rock journalist Sylvia Simmons established “Million Uke March” to support Barak Obama’s campaign (assumed motto: “Change Uke ’An Believe In”). Several key elements contributed to this surge in addition to the Internet: First, like so much else about music making, it’s artist-inspired. George Harrison was known as a fan and when fellow Beatle Paul McCartney played the instrument at the 2002 tribute Concert for George, people took notice. Virtuosos like Jake Shimabukuro are daz-
zling the world with it, and groups like the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, performing such tunes as “Shaft” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” are entertaining audiences on and off the Internet. And there are the products themselves. The quality of the lower priced instruments has improved dramatically enough to create playable instruments in the $30 to $50 range. Those more serious can spend hundreds on many brands, and even up to $5,000 and beyond on a Martin-made uke (tellingly, Martin stopped making the instrument completely in 1994, only to take them back up in 2001, about when the current trend took root).
The print publishers and accessory makers have been right with them, creating products and putting out songbooks from not only Hawaiian uke stars like Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo but also from the likes of Beatles and Elvis. Finally, there’s the economy. Hohner’s Scott Emmerman points out that “in the depression era, it was said that the only two instruments that showed sales increases were ukuleles and harmonicas, so recent economic forces could be having an effect in the upward trend.” Retailers can benefit, and there’s plenty of advice: “Stock a variety of ukes and display them prominently them in front
of the store, as opposed to burying them on the back wall with the sitars and Theremins,” says Kay Guitar’s Tony Blair. Mel Bay’s Bryndon Bay states it simply: “The better you treat the uke, the better it will treat you.” Read on to learn what these industry leaders have to say about the trend, how to make it pay off for retailers everywhere, and what’s hot.
Magic Fluke Phyllis Webb We have noted that the ukulele has far more to offer than had been previously thought. For one thing, it’s an easy instrument to learn and it is gaining a whole bunch of new respect! We all need music in our daily lives and the ukulele is an affordable way to bring music home, to school and to the stage, spanning the ages from four to 104. It is the perfect size for travel, for little hands to strum, and for a group sing along. Add to all of that, the unique design of our Fluke and Flea Ukuleles, the ability to hold their tune, bright quality sound, durability, eye-catching colors, and designs – it’s very appealing.
Fluke Ukuleles are growing in popularity. In 10 years we have shipped over 36,000 worldwide. With so many colors and designs available such as rosewood fretboard and electronic pickup options, they are all selling well. All are made to order from our shop in New Hartford, in the “tropical” state of Connecticut. The new mahogany deluxe models are very popular. Making it Work: Keep a close eye on your inventory, especially at the holidays, and plan ahead.
Consider the value of offering “made in the USA” products to your customers. One of the great attributes of a Fluke Ukulele is that it stands up on it’s own, perfect on the sales counter! It sure helps if some of the staff can pick one up and strum a tune while shoppers poke around. Hot: Our new Tie Dye Fluke uke fits right into the resurgence of tie-dye fabrics everywhere. It’s fabulous in our new custom hard-shell case too!
Hohner Scott Emmerman Our Lanikai and Kohala branded Ukulele business has been consistently growing over the past 24 months. In the uke market, up to now there really hadn’t been one predominant brand. However, over the last 18 months, the strong unit numbers that we’re tracking and the amount of new dealers that we’ve added indicate that OCTOBER 2009
Lanikai has become the best selling brand of ukes in the US. Our innovative P.O.P. strategy, formal restocking policy, written price protection guarantee, extended credit
terms, freight incentives, and quarterly dealer rebates have contributed in making Lanikai the market leader. Making it work: Devote some oor space to Ukuleles and use one of our P.O.P.’s to focus attention on them. You don’t need to carry a lot of different brands or tons of different models. I would advise staying away from the plastic “toy looking” uke products that devalue the instrument. Ukes will produce protable, incremental business for your stores. MMR 47
What’s hot: Our Kohala’s retail at $54.99, and our hi-end, exotic wood ukes retail for $489.99. At Winter NAMM 2009, we in-
troduced three new Lanikai P.O.P.’s that have really been adopted by music retailers across America. We’re rolling out a new, small-footprint Kohala P.O.P. shortly. Kohala is our entry-level uke line that comes in bright, colorful retail
packaging, and is quite inexpensive but still offers great quality. This new P.O.P. looks great and makes Ukulele’s even easier to sell. Most of all there’s they Lanikai SMC Spalted Mango Uke, which MAPs at $319.
Kala Ukulele Mike Upton Sales for ukuleles have been crazy. And it’s a worldwide trend, not just Hawaii, but also on the mainland, and Japan, Europe – in England, it’s huge right now. That’s also true for Australia and New Zealand. Business has been great – steadily been growing 50 percent a year. We’re selling them as fast as we can get them in. I became acquainted with the charm of the ukulele at an early age as my Dad would strum the ‘uke’ and sing old standards, entertaining the family, neighbors, and worshiping in Church. The sweet, soothing sound was the best pacier for a dgety child like yours truly, so as I grew up, you guessed it, I started playing the bass.
Anyway, back to the ukulele: I re-engaged with the uke while living on heavenly Lanikai Beach in 1991 with my lovely wife, Wendy. You were just starting to hear and see more people playing ukulele back then. My interest in them continued, as I became the Hawaii Sales Representative for the Hohner Company in 1997. I found out quickly that there were few quality, affordable ukuleles available on the Islands. So with that in mind, I set out and with some help developed the popular ukulele line.
Making it Work: The lower-priced instruments are ying out the door, so stock products between $100 and $200 dollars because we are selling a lot in that price range. Hot: Out Travel Uke has been quite a hit. It’s a thin body instrument with an arch back but has a very big sound. Also our UBass has been getting a lot of traction. I just got a call from the house bassist for the Grand Old Opera saying how much he loves it.
Flea Market Music Jim Beloff The ukulele growth has been consistent since the beginning of what is referred to as the “third wave” of ukulele popularity. This current wave began in the early 1990s, fueled in part by a new generation of Hawaiian ukulele virtuosos, and also the introduction of new songbooks and how-to-play materials, many of which were published by Flea Market Mu-
sic. Another major factor that has driven the market is the rise of the Internet which allows uke fans to communicate with one another, like they do on our website www.fleamarketmusic.com. Other reasons include the introduction of new, high quality and reasonably priced ukes, and the endorsement of pop music icons like George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Eddie Vedder. Making it work: Keep ukes in the store tuned up. They’ll sell themselves! Also, promote it as one of the easiest musical instruments to learn to play. Many chords require only one or two fingers and if a player has even the slightest bit of experience with the guitar the learning curve is especially short. Because of its size, the uke is also
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a great first instrument for children and can easily lead later on to the guitar. Finally, it is a portable, social instrument that encourages group jamming and singing across all generations. It is truly a “fun machine” that doesn’t require batteries or electricity. Hot: All of our Jumpin’ Jim’s songbooks are strong sellers. We offer everything from Beatles songs, jazz, blues, and Bach pieces – all arranged for ukulele. A recent DVD by famed jazz ukulele master Lyle Ritz has been a big seller, as has our Blues Ukulele songbook. Our best sellers continue to be Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Tips ‘N’ Tunes and Jumpin’ Jim’s 60s UkeIn that includes many Beatles songs and an appreciation by George Harrison. All of our books and DVD are distributed by the Hal Leonard Corp.
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The Evolution of Guitar Performance. MMR 49
Day, Eagles, Michael Jackson, Cat Stevens, and the very popular arrangement of “Over The Rainbow” by IZ, and so much more. It is perfect for both hobbyists and serious musicians alike.
Larry Morton There has definitely been a growing demand, with a recent spike happening in the last few years. Suddenly, the Uke is hip and cool, and lots of people are ‘rediscovering’ the instrument. We’ve released instructional books and DVDs like the Hal Leonard Ukulele Method and the Hal Leonard Ukulele Chord Finder, but we have also had great success with titles like The Beatles for Ukulele, as well as the entire Jumpin’ Jim line, which we distribute. Making it work: The key is that the uke and correlated books/DVDs must be displayed independently from guitars, preferably in a visible enough space that will attract a casual buyer. The uke is all about simplicity and the idea that anyone can play. For uke players, they are grateful that so many books and DVDs are available, but they need to know about them.
Mel Bay features a strong mix of both instructional and songbooks in our ukulele offerings and are releasing new products all the time. Making it work: The popularity of the ukulele is everywhere right now (from movies to YouTube, and even being played on the big concert stages), so retailers should make sure their product is prominently displayed. Also, support the uke-craze by offering classes, which usually results in increased sales of instruments and related materials. The price of the ukulele makes it easy for customers to own more than one, and sometimes it can even be an impulse purchase. The better you treat the uke, the better it will treat you. What’s hot: One of our newest ukulele books is the Children’s Ukulele Chord Book won Best in Show at Winter NAMM 2009. It is a great book for not only children, but also beginners of all ages. It’s popular also because it teaches common chord progressions while teaching chords.
John Maher The uke is definitely enjoying an upsurge in sales and we even have a Uke Club here in Petaluma that meets every first Thursday of the month! Making it work: My advise to retailers is to create a focal point that includes strings, peg winders, tuners, pitch pipes, bags, cases, lesson books, audio CDs and position everything around three ukes in a “Good, Better, Best” display. Impulse buys, especially with accessories, are the hot ticket in this economy, and sales will continue to grow as we approach the holiday season. What’s hot: Kaces has a new uke bag that features a comfort-style rubber grip, adjustable shoulder strap and special reinforcements at the headstock and bridge. A front storage pocket is also included. Inside, you will find over-stuffed 20mm internal padding for ultimate protection. This is a deluxe bag. Most customers will instinctively ask for cheap bags, but dealers who present a selection will also sell more higher-quality, higher-profit padded bags and cases.
What’s hot: We’re extremely excited about a new release coming out shortly: Elvis Presley for Ukulele. Along with the Beatles Uke book, the Elvis book will become one of the biggest selling Uke books of all time!
Bryndon Bay There has been a noticeable upsurge in ukulele product sales, and the trend is currently climbing upwards and has not yet hit a plateau. Ukulele has always been a constant seller for us, but we have seen a large upswing over the last few quarters. OCTOBER 2009
Ohana Ukulele Louis Wu There is definitely an upward trend in uke sales and uke enthusiasm. This trend started about two years ago and has been moving upward gradually. We see more uke-related activities such as festivals and local clubs forming around the country, and all this contributes to the growing enthusiasm and popularity for the instrument.
Making it work: My advice is to work with your local community and schools to support the learning and playing of the ukulele. Start a uke class at your store if possible. The ukulele is a very versatile instrument and it appeals to all age groups. Have a separate section in your store to display these instruments so customers can try them out. Ukulele players tend to own more than one instrument, so stock some mid-range products so they can come back
and purchase upgrade instruments from your store. And make yours a one-stop shop for your ukulele customers by carrying essential accessories such as strings, books, tuners, cases, and gig bags. Whatâ€™s hot: We recently introduced a solid cedar-top model that has exceptional tone to it, the CK50G. It features rosewood back and sides, rosewood fretboard, and abalone detailing. It has a suggested retail price of $349 and is doing very well.
C.F. Martin & Co. Dick Boak Martin offers six ukulele models: S-O (Soprano) Ukulele at $469.00 retail; 3K Koa Ukulele at $2,499.00 retail; 3 Mahogany Ukulele at $2,249.00 retail; 3 Cherry Ukulele (FSC certi-
fied) at $1,999.00 retail; 5K Ukulele at $5,199.00 retail; and 5 Daisy Ukulele (f lamed mahogany) at $5,449.00 retail. Except for the S-O uke, ours are an ultra high-end premium ukulele market for Martin, so retailers canâ€™t be too aggressive with it.
Making it work: The Martin ukuleles define the instrument in quality tone and design. For customers seeking the real deal, Martinâ€™s ukulele offerings provide exceptional premium quality. Although the SO uke is more mass market and affordable, the high-end ukes are obviously
not for everyone. They should be marketed and aimed at the serious player or the collector. What’s hot: Martin’s 3 Cherry Uke is constructed with 100 percent Forest Stew-
ardship Council (FSC) Certified wood. You might expect such alternative woods to harbor less tonal properties than traditional woods, but the surprise is that this environmentally conscious uke can stand up to any traditional model. This bodes
well for the future, as many of the traditional tone woods will become less available.
Cordoba Guitars Naomi Con, Jon Thomas We have noticed an upsurge in uke sales and we attribute this to a couple of factors. Ukes are associated with a fun, easy-going lifestyle, and it’s a smaller instrument that is easy and approachable for both experienced and beginner players. They’re also showing up more in pop music and on the Internet, so this seems to be fueling the popularity of the instrument overall. Cordoba offers a complete range of ukuleles from soprano size to tenor and with or without electronics and cutaways. We have models in every price point from $99 to $500 with all kinds of woods including koa, mahogany, and many other combinations. We also have a signature tenor ukulele and gig bag for musician and surfer Donovan Frankenreiter.
We also offer accessories like instructional books, tuners, and various cases for each ukulele size. Recently we acquired the US distribution of Aquila Strings, which are widely regarded as the best strings for ukulele. Aquila is a great brand and has been making strings in Italy for many years.
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What’s hot: The Cordoba 20TM-CE is our hottest selling ukulele right now. It’s tenor-sized, which makes it comfortable for people who are used to playing guitars. It has a cutaway and electronics, comes with a gig bag, and is an easy purchase at the $199 price point.
Making it work: We’ve had a lot of success playing up the “lifestyle” angle. It’s important that people have the ability to get their hands on the ukes. Anyone can play a C chord on a uke – it takes one finger on one string. Usually it’s this experience that
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makes someone want to buy one. With lower price points, convenient size, and the few barriers to learning, ukes also make great gifts.
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We offer a unique ukulele that has a traditional look with a little Fender flair. There’s our Ukulele Hau’oli – Concert Shape, which features all laminate mahogany, a cool Tele® headstock, rosewood bridge/fretboard, and D’Addario strings. The Ukulele Nohea – Concert shape features all laminate koa, abalone acrylic inlays, Tele headstock, rosewood bridge/fretboard, and D’Addario strings. And then there’s our Ukulele Pa’ina – Concert shape has all solid mahogany, passive electronics, Tele headstock, rosewood bridge/fretboard, and D’Addario strings. All of these, in
the low and the mid price, have been extremely popular. Making it work: Make your store a ukulele destination offering a vibe, multiple brands, and accessories (instruction books, strings, tuners, etc.). Create the kind of place where the uke fanatic can go and experience a complete ukulele world. What’s hot: All of our ukes are new as of January, but what’s most surprising is our Ukulele Nohea. It’s all koa and has a sweet sound and flavor of the islands that has resonated extremely well with our customers.
Kay Guitars Tony Blair Kay has been selling ukuleles for over 70 years. Our records, compiled back since 1980, show that ukulele sales have been consistent with occasional 10 percent to 15 percent swings both up and down. The past two years we have sold out of both our Santa Rosa and Kay soprano ukuleles before the end of the holiday season. For the past three years we have increased our manufacturing and our ukulele sales have been up 30 percent. Making it work:Sow the seeds with affordable instruments. Often the pro musician minded dealer/retailers are the biggest obstacle to future sales. The pro player is looking for the perfect instrument that they would play himself, but often the criteria is so stringent that only instruments that sell for $100 or more are good enough. Consumers who plan on learning how to play and make a long-term commitment to take lessons might be candidates for a $100-plus uke. But most first time impulse-buyers are looking for an easy to learn instrument Unless affordable entry-level instruments are made available to the public, the potential buyer will be turned off by a $100 investment. A good quality Santa
Rosa or Kay Uke can be retailed for under $50. Ukes are easy and portable as well as in everyone’s budget even in today’s tight economy. What’s hot: Boy, have we got a winner for this Christmas. About five years ago we introduced the Santa Rosa Soprano Uke Package (Uke, bag, book, pitch pipe, extra strings, and picks in a four color box). The first few years are sales were nominal. But as dealers bought a few pieces and displayed them in the POP box they started moving off the shelf faster than our standard models. This year we wanted to cover some of the requests of our loyal dealers and distributors so we created a step up quality Kay Uke in eight new colors including four different sunburst and four solid colors. The Kay Uke is a step up model but still at an affordable budget price point (under $50). It features upgrades like chrome geared machine heads, rosewood fingerboard, nickel silver frets, deluxe black strings, and a rosewood bridge. The package is packed in a four color POP box that has a peek-aboo window to see the actual color inside and comes with a nylon bag, extra strings and picks. OCTOBER 2009
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Fretted Gear Acoustic Essential Series from Hohner Hohner’s Essential Series of acoustic guitars are built utilizing a technique Hohner calls “frequency matching.” Hohner’s technicians utilize a form of tap tuning to determine the resonant frequencies of the wood and then match the solid spruce tops with similarly resonant mahogany backs and sides. The result is a guitar that is said to be resonant, and produce a rich, singing tone that makes even the small bodied Parlor and Folk guitars in the Essential series sound big. Hohner has equipped each Essential model guitar with the Earvana Compensated Tuning System. The special nut and bridge are said to assure that
these guitars play with perfect intonation, up and down the length of the neck. Each Essential guitar goes through a 12- point inspection at Hohner’s US facility.
The Essentials Parlor and Folk models start at $249. The Dreadnaught, Classical, and Acoustic Electric Mini-Jumbo are priced as follows $269, $289, and $329. www.hohnerusa.com
Alfred Distributes Blue Book of Guitars on CD-ROM Alfred Publishing is now distributing the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars and Blue Book of Electric Guitars in a CD-ROM format. The Blue Book of Guitars on CDROM, contains the entire contents of the 784 page Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, 12th Edition and the 1,216-page Blue Book of Electric Guitars, 12th Edition as well as over 7,500 color images. This CD-ROM
also includes Photo Grading System as well as many PDF files including Serialization and House Brand information. This CD-ROM works through most Web-based browsers. To find a guitar, simply locate the letter of manufacturer (A-Z), and select from the list of categories that appear under the manufacturer. Several models have one or more picture
that makes identifying guitars easy. The CD-ROM is ideal for users who prefer a computer-based program to research or look up values. Also, the Trademark Index with manufacturer’s contact information is incorporated directly into the CD-ROM listings. The Blue Book of Guitars on CDROM, 12th Edition retails for $49.95. www.alfred.com
Levy’s Rockabilly Guitar Straps Levy’s new Rockabilly-style guitar straps are 5/8” carving leather and feature a jeweled, enameled gold buckle set. A two inch moveable shoulder pad, 56 MMR
lining and soft leather backing, comes with the strap and can be used at the player’s discretion. www.levysleathers.com OCTOBER 2009
Boss’ eBand JS-8 Audio Player Boss’ eBand JS-8 audio player with guitar effects, is a portable audio player designed for guitarists who play and practice at home. eBand combines playback of full songs, backing tracks, and rhythm loops with Boss guitar effects and a built-in stereo speaker system. Loading music onto eBand
Center Cancel function to remove guitar or vocal parts. eBand comes with 300 backing tracks and rhythm loops which also include pre-programmed guitar effects. eBand comes with COSM preamp technology, effects derived from the Boss GT-10, and over 100 preset guitar sounds from every musical genre. eBand includes the EZ TONE function, providing an intuitive approach to sound creation based on graphic icons. In addition, tuner and metronome functions are built in. The eBand JS-8 will be available in November 2009. www.bossus.com
Pedulla Guitars’ Nuance Bass
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can be done with direct playback from any standard USB memory stick or SDHC memory card up to 32GB. eBand also has the ability to import songs from any audio CD using the included utility software. eBand allows guitarists to interact with their music by changing the pitch and tempo independently, or using the advanced
M.V. Pedulla Guitars’ Nuance is the new addition to their line of bass guitars and are handmade by Michael Pedulla. The Nuance was designed as a responsive extension for the player’s artistic and tonal subtleties and techniques. It has been field tested with a number of Pedulla artists, including Tim Landers, Mark Egan, and David Buda. The Nuance features a bolt-on-neck design, a soft maple back with maple
burl, Arbutis Burl, and Red Heart Quilted Maple tops that add to the distinctive high end; a hard maple two-piece quartersawn neck, and ebony for the 22 fret fingerboard, which adds a midrange that contributes to the glassy high end. The brass bridge is fully adjustable and the standard Pedulla tuning gears round out the hardware. The electronics are powered by two custom-voiced Bartolini humbuckers, complimented by an on-board active tone system which includes controls for volume, pickup pan, bass boost and cut, treble boost and cut, and a midrange boost and cut switch, all powered by a single 9 volt battery. Other features include an ebony backplate, easy access battery box, and the truss rod/
It’s hard to believe how perfectly the new Aura Spectrum DI reproduces the subtle uniqueness of your acoustic instrument. But this is no ordinary direct box. Powered by Aura technology, it gives you the eye-opening sound quality of a recording studio – anywhere you plug in. And it’s loaded with everything from a tuner and 3-band EQ to compression and auto feedback control. Yup, it’s pretty unbelievable.
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Stagg’s new range of heavy-duty solid-state backline is powerful enough for any performance and versatile enough for any musical style. These beasts can crush or caress, kiss or kill. All with the reliability inherent in solid state design and a sound that’ll blow you away !
250 GARH: 250W(RMS)/4 Ohm solid state, 2-channel guitar ampliﬁer head. 150 GC412A: Angled 4x12” semi open-back guitar speaker cabinet, 150W/8 Ohm. 150 GC412: Straight 4x12” semi open-back guitar speaker cabinet, 150W/8 Ohm.
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stiffening bar design that is used in all Pedulla basses. A Pedulla oil/urethane finish tops it off. The Nuance is available as 4-string or 5-string (5-string with 17.5mm or 19mm string spacing). Options include choice of maple burl, arbutis burl, or red heart quilted maple top and choice of black, chrome, or gold color hardware. It is also available fretted or fretless. The Nuance bass retails for $4995. www.pedulla.com
Ohana’s All-Solid Concert Ukulele Ohana’s new concert ukulele, the CK-75CG, features solid figured maple back and sides and a solid spruce top. The flamed maple back is book-matched, with each half separated by abalone inlay. This inlay is also around the sound-hole, headstock, and purfling both front and back. A 19 fret rosewood fingerboard goes all the way to the sound-hole and the cutaway makes the upper frets easily accessible. A
bone nut and saddle and Aquila strings come as standard. www.ohana-music.com
Yamaha’s Acoustic FJ Jumbo Yamaha’s FG acoustic guitar, introduced in the 1960s, is now complemented by the new FJX730SC and FJX720SC acoustic-electric, medium jumbo body models. The FJX730SC comes with Yamaha’s A.R.T. (Acoustic Resonance Transducer) acoustic-electric pickup system, which will also be available in the dreadnought-style FGX730SC. The FJX720SC and FGX720SC include the piezobased System55T pickup. All models include handselected and naturally-dried solid Sitka Spruce tops. The 730 models include high-grade rosewood back and sides; the 720s feature mahogany backs and sides.
The 730 models offer the one-way A.R.T. preamp system which features two proprietary transducer contact pickups placed underneath the bridge. It minimizes feedback and maximizes the acoustic guitar’s natural sound. The system also comes with a three-band EQ, adjustable mid-range control, and onboard tuner. The FJX730SC and FG730SC with A.R.T. pickup system retail for $899.99 and $789.99. www.yamahaguitars.com
Eastwood Adds to Airline Series Eastwood Guitars has added a seafoam green color to the Airline ’59 Custom 3P
guitar lineup. This retro color has never been offered on the flagship Airline 3P model. The Seafoam Green Airline ’59
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Custom 3P features a white rubber binding that surrounds the tone chambered mahogany body. The vintage style pinstriped pickguard and the aluminum tone switch plate are further details linked to the original Airline guitars. The ’59 custom series also includes the upgraded Airline VVSC pickups. Each guitar has individual volume and tone, master volume, five-way switch, Bigsby Tremolo, and the classic 25 ½ scale. Each guitar comes in the Vintage Style Deluxe form-fit Airline hardshell case with steel plate logo. www.eastwoodguitars.com
Environmentally-Friendly Flaxwood Guitars
Flaxwood began addressing this issue seven years ago. Produced by injection-molding readily available spruce to form the parts of the guitars, the resulting Flaxwood material rivals top tone-woods in terms of consistency, tone and feel, while also offering complete humidity resistance. www.flaxwood.com
Zuni Guitars’ Birdseye Maple Series Zuni Custom Guitars’ Birdseye Maple Series feature Birdseye Maple tops, necks, and fingerboards. These guitars are constructed out of high grade North
While the depletion of exotic trees has recently made itself felt in the MI industry,
In addition custom guitars Zuni will return to selling instrument wood to the music industry, which will include, Hard Maple, Curly, Birdseye, Spalted, and Quilted Maple tops, necks, and fingerboards, as well as body woods such as Black Cherry, Cyprus, Sycamore, Basswood, Black, Green, and White Ash. Zuni will also be introducing limited editions of the Robin Egg Blue collection in Quilted, Birdseye and Curly. www.zunicustomguitars.com
The Pedal Riser from Stage Trix Stage Trix’s Pedal Riser creates individual platforms for selected pedals, allowing easy access and cable routing. The Pedal Riser enables the user to elevate specific pedals for easy access. In addition, each Pedal Ris-
American hardwoods with no imported woods or plastic. Zuni cuts all their own woods from the forest of North America with their own sawmill.
Play Love Songs Uke Package
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er has cable-routing features that address the problem of messy cables all over the board. The Pedal Riser is made of 18-gauge steel and attaches to both board and pedal via heavy-duty hook-and-loop fastener. The Pedal Riser retails for $23.99. www.pedalriser.com
neck shape, tremolo bridge, PRS phase II low mass locking tuners, nickel hardware with gold option, and volume and tone control with a five-way blade pickup selector. www.prsguitars.com
PRS’ New 305 Model
Walden’s Concorda Series
Based on the PRS 513 model platform, the new Paul Reed Smith 305 model features three proprietary PRS single-coil pickups offering five classic sounds and is said to offer a warm, clear bite. The 305 features a carved alder body, 22-fret rock maple neck, 25 ½” scale length, banded melon “513” bird inlays. Additional appointments include rosewood fretboard, “513”
Walden’s Concorda is a full lineup of acoustics guitars including dreadnaught, grand auditorium, orchestra, stage, nylon/classical and 12-string guitars with solid woods ranging from spruce, Engelmann spruce, and Sitka spruce, to rosewood and cedar. Also included is the tobacco sunburst CG670TB grand auditorium style acoustic guitar and features a solid western red cedar top, solid rosewood fingerboard and bridge, maple and mahogany rosette, gold hardware, and a high gloss finish. www.waldenguitars.com
Lollar Pickups’ Supro-Style Lollar Pickups’ Supro-style string through steel guitar pickup features Alnico 5 magnets, dual split coil humbucking construc-
tion with adjustable poles. The pickup requires a small route 1/8” deep or it can be surface mounted on top of a pickguard. For guitars with taller bridges, shims are available to raise the pickup. www.lollarguitars.com
Deering’s Deluxe Banjo The Deluxe banjo by Deering is made of mahogany and features a glossy finish and a set of new peghead inlays created by Greg Deering with elegant double
arches that create a crown highlighted by a trinity of leaves, delicate petals, and a gold and white art nouveau fan. White and gold swirls of circles, diamonds, and leaves flow throughout the natural ebony fingerboard, ending with a inlay at the 22nd fret with the name “Deluxe” engraved. The custom option of having the Deluxe in maple is also available at no increase in price. The Deluxe retails for $3244. www.deeringbanjos.com
Spider IV Amps from Line 6 Line 6’s Spider IV amplifier line includes five flexible combos and a powerful head. Each of the four flagship amplifiers, including the 75-, 120-, and 150-watt combos and the 150watt head, feature over 500 presets. The flagship Spider IV amplifiers also come complete with 16 of the latest Line 6 amp models, as well as 20 on-board Smart FX, a built-in 14-second looper,
and many more effects. New pitch effects, include Smart Harmony and Pitch Glide, Delays, Echoes, Mods, Reverbs, Auto-Wah and more.Up to four effects can be used simultaneously, and all effects can be edited completely. The 15-watt Spider IV combo features six Smart FX (up to two effects simultaneously); the 30-watt Spider IV combo features a collection of 12 essential amp models and seven Smart FX (up to three effects simultaneously). Each Spider IV amplifier can expand its sonic capabilities with the addition of a Line 6 foot controller, including FBV Shortboard MkII, FBV Express MkII, and FBV2. These foot controllers deliver everything from wah-wah, pitch-shift, and volume control to tap tempo, a chromatic tuner display. and simple channel switching. Spider IV amplifiers feature a built-in tuner, a CD/MP3 input, a three-band EQ, and a headphone output that doubles as a high-quality direct-recording output. www.line6.com
Behringer’s Virtube Amplifiers Behringer’s Virtube is a 100-watt guitar amplifier head that features two inde-
pendent channels, VTC Tube Modeling, and Dual FX. Behringer’s proprietary VTC (Virtual Tube Circuitry) gives these amps their tone. The VTC Tube Modeling processor is said to accurately emulate the interaction between classic tube stages, responding to the subtle tonal changes that occur when one stage hands the signal off the next. The resulting signal is rich in harmonic content and true to the nature of tube amps. www.behringer.com
Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com
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Guitar Shows: Up, Down, & All Around O
ver the past year, we have watched economies around the world tumble and, finally, slowly begin to recover. This imbalance and the unpredictable nature of the beast have clearly played out in the MI industry. While some retailers struggled to keep their doors open, others reported to have felt very little impact from the recession. Dealers and manufacturers who did manage to stay on an even keel seemed to play it safe by taking no risks, cutting costs, and keeping a low overhead. It was possibly this cautious strategy that had attendance numbers down at this year’s big trade shows. MMR wanted to find out how guitar shows fared through all of this, and to do that we checked in with several dealers and show promoters.
David Baas Promoter/Dealer Indiana Guitar Show & Roadworthy Guitar and Amp Indianapolis, Ind.
Business has been pretty good at the guitar shows that I’ve been to over the past year. I think guitar shows are beginning to come back from the low point of four or five years ago when the dreaded eBay really took hold; every68 MMR
one thought they were a guitar dealer. Now things have leveled out a bit, and I think they will continue to do so. What people have learned is that to actually be a guitar dealer is a lot of work. It takes knowledge of many things besides guitars. A dealer must have the ability to know exactly what they are selling and to stand behind their product. These things are not trivial.
“The vintage instrument market has definitely seen some changes, and we have seen a lower number of weekend warrior dealers attending the shows, as some of them drop by the wayside. But, our year-to-year dealers seem solid, and we see our show as a way to promote the industry as a whole, and turn people onto the fun of playing an instrument.” - Brian Bell, Greater Seattle Vintage Guitar OCTOBER 2009
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Guitar shows are unique in that there are so many guitars and people all at once in this small, ephemeral marketplace. It is a great convenience and, at the same time, a great challenge. But, unlike the
Internet, you get to see the guitar and the person selling it before you make a deal. This is a great advantage. I think many people who thought they had things nailed down by dealing on the Internet have found out, much to their displeasure, that there are many, many scoundrels out there on every side of a potential deal, and the anonymity of the Internet gives them a place to thrive. At guitar shows, people who are not honest donâ€™t last, sometimes not even through an entire show. My business has been pretty solid over the last eight months. Before that, we felt the economic downturn quite profoundly, but things have come back. It always surprises me that business can look grim for one month or six weeks, and people are overcome with doom and gloom. I think we need to see things with some perspective, and itâ€™s important to be proactive. I have reduced my inventory level to have
a little more cash in hand during slower times. Used solid-body electric guitars, between $300 and $1,000 dollars, are my bread and butter, and have been for many years. Good quality, unaltered, clean, used pieces sell the best. Also, small tube amps are very popular right now. As fall approaches I will build inventory back up to more typical levels.
Ryan Thorell Luthier Thorell Fine Guitars Logan, Utah
Over the past year, traffic has been good at the smaller guitar shows. The larger trade shows have been way off. I sell only high-end, handmade guitars, which have been doing well, particularly my archtop guitars. Fortunately my business has grown, and my offerings have expanded. With the careful spending that is going on, you would expect to see cheap to midrange guitars selling, but it seems that a lot of that must fall into an impulse buy scenario. Companies with really good high-end products are seeing no decrease in those products, while their other prod-
ucts might be faltering. People want to buy just the one guitar they want, not have three or four mediocre guitars and a really great one. I have had to step up marketing so that I am a stronger contender in my particular arena. I have a strong niche that I look forward to maintaining.
Brian Bell Promoter Greater Seattle Vintage Guitar Shows Seattle, Wash.
Traffic at our 2009 guitar show was down approximately 30 percent from our 2008 levels. Guitars, basses, and amps under $1,000 have been doing well at the shows - player gear rather than true vintage gear; although parts and cool, lesser known brands of vintage amps under $1,000 continue to do well. The vintage instrument market has definitely seen some changes, and we have
but we consider it an investment in future shows. We will continue to try to make our show bigger and better each year, provide a well promoted and professional show for our dealers, and a room full of eye and ear candy for our attendees.
John Brinkmann Promoter/Dealer Four Amigos Guitar Shows & Waco Vintage Instruments Mansfield, Texas
Our Arlington, Texas show, in October 2008, was at least as good as the year
before. We were down a little bit in pricing, but people were coming through the door in the same numbers, maybe even slightly higher than the year before. The high-end instruments seemed to suffer the most. For example, there was a guy at the show in October who wanted to sell a ’62 red Strat. He was offered $37,000 for it
“I have adjusted my schedule and reduced the number of guitar shows that I attend due entirely to the decrease in foot traffic.” - Phillip Winfield, Maverick International, Inc. seen a lower number of weekend warrior dealers attending the shows, as some of them drop by the wayside. But, our yearto-year dealers seem solid, and we see our show as a way to promote the industry as a whole and turn people onto the fun of playing an instrument. We will continue to put on our show and support the local musical instrument retail community as long as they want to continue supporting us by being vendors at our show. In 2009 we moved the show into a new facility after 12 years at our previous venue. The new space is larger, with nicer rooms. All the dealers and attendees seemed to approve of the move and the new venue. I certainly noticed a decrease in walkin attendees who are either enthusiasts or newcomers. Our core audience attended, but we saw a dramatic decrease in people just coming to look and not necessarily purchase an instrument. We are barreling full speed ahead despite the economy. Yes, we took a hit with higher venue costs and the decrease in walk-ins, OCTOBER 2009
and didn’t take it. He took the same guitar to a show in March and sold it for $15,000. High-end stuff has really taken the hit. At price ranges of $5,000 and below, there wasn’t much of a change. We have had good sales in those price ranges.
We did a show in Austin this past year, which was a new venue for us. We did it in conjunction with South by Southwest Music Conference. We had roughly 8,000 people come through the door. Dealers were very excited, and we have already almost doubled the show for next year. After that there was our Chicago show, where we had good sales in the midrange. We are currently getting ready for the Arlington show again in October, and we are already 80 percent sold. The last 20 percent will easily fi ll up, and we will probably be looking for more space. Overall, guitar shows have held their volume over the past year. A guitar is something that you can buy and use for 20 years. Gibson has been showing in our vintage shows for 15 years. They have been offering more vintage models at shows due to the demand. They have also taken advantage of the pricing. Gibson guitars used
to be $1,200 to $1,500; you could get any Les Paul for that price. Now Les Pauls are ranging from $6,000 to $9,000. Gibson is just an example; all of the others are the same. In my area here, as a store owner, I have definitely noticed an increase in acoustic sales. I’ve also noticed a resurgence in mandolins sales. Bluegrass music has a lot of influence in this area. Believe it or not, the fi lm “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” had a lot to do with renewed interest in bluegrass. When the movie came out, people not only loved the music, but also said to themselves, ‘I can do that. I can play.’ I noticed an increase in business around that time, and most people I talk to point to that movie as the prime mover for mandolin sales.
Phillip Winfield President Maverick International Inc. Mooresville N.C.
We exhibit anywhere between 12 and 40 vintage guitars at any given show. It is impossible to predict what will sell unless you are wholesaling to trade buyers. I have successfully sold vintage Fender Strats and Les Pauls over the years, but
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that business has become increasingly difficult to complete in a show setting. I have adjusted my schedule and reduced the number of guitar shows that I attend entirely to the decrease in foot traffic. In 2009 we saw a significant decrease. Due to the poor economy, we have reduced payroll, concentrated on the core business, and anything that was on a tangent has been jettisoned. We are a much tighter ship now. I have actually increased my business by staying home for the weekend instead of attending a guitar show. In the coming year, we will concentrate on higher value products with greater profit potential. I think that my guitar show attendance will be reduced to two shows a year. I will be a fly-inwalk-around buyer, over and done in 24 hours.
dealers at guitar shows is fairly strong. I still do regularly sell guitars in this range at shows. The best sellers are Gibson, Fender, and PRS. Rickenbacker guitars have been quite strong for a long time. The most surprising thing I am seeing right now is that guitar prices have not really dropped at all. Many manufacturers have even raised their prices. Guitar show vendors have followed suit. My business has not grown in recent months, as my focus has been on eliminating debt and expenses, so that I can survive these economic times and come out even
stronger. The economy has forced me to look very closely at my expenses. I have cut out some of my advertising. I have been trying to keep gas and hotel expenses as low as possible too. My focus when attending guitar shows has shifted from selling to buying, as I have been able to increase my mail order sales. I see the market for pre-owned current issue guitars moderately increasing in the coming year with the vintage guitar market following the next year. I see my business increasing in 2010, as my debt should be eliminated by then, and I can focus on growth.
John DeSilva Owner My Generation Guitars Syosset, N.Y.
Guitar show attendance has seen a steady decline over the past few years. My belief is that this has been caused more by the Internet than the economy. The Internet has made it easier for guitar players to find what they want, which has made attending guitar shows unnecessary. Many guitar enthusiasts love to just window shop, and because of that, attendance has not taken a severe drop. Purchases by attendees have taken a very big drop. My focus has always been on quality, pre-owned guitars in the $500$3,000 range. From what I see and hear, this price range is fairly strong, but the strongest sales I see are in the $100-$500 range. As someone who travels great distances to display at guitar shows, it is not financially feasible for me to use valuable transportation space on the lower price level instruments. While sales to show attendees have been down, my sales to other OCTOBER 2009
MIAC 2009: Down, but Not Out A
t 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, the International Centre at Toronto’s Pearson Airport opened its doors for Canada’s annual MIAC and PAL show, held on August 23 and 24. As visitors trickled in, things looked to be getting off to a slow start, but by noontime the atmosphere had a bit more buzz to it. Pre-registration for attendees was down from 2008, and the number of exhibitors had reportedly fallen 20 percent for MIAC and 10 percent for PAL, but despite the numbers, exhibitors remained, for the most part, upbeat.
Managing the booth for first-time exhibitor, Legere Reeds, was an optimistic Tim Elvy. “This is our fi rst time here and, as far I’m concerned, the show is going great,” he said. “We’ve been aiming to do some business around the Pacific Rim and South America. I’ve already met with some folks from Taiwan this morning.” For some exhibitors, to be concerned with the statistics was pointless. British manufacturer JHS’s Dennis Drumm did admit that the numbers of exhibitors and attendees were down, but was quick to point out that he didn’t concern himself with it: “Numbers up, numbers down, I don’t pay attention to that stuff; I’m here to get new vendors.” Harvey Levy, Levy’s Leathers, claimed it would take a while to really know how the show went. As he explained, “Computer systems have changed how dealers order and make purchases. We really can’t assess the show until a month from now, after orders have been placed.” Levy was certainly sure of one thing: “The golf tournament yesterday was fantastic,” he proclaimed, referring to MIAC’s 13th Annual Charity Golf Tournament held the day before the opening of the show. By midday Sunday, things were picking up, as more curious dealers began fi ltering through the conference hall OCTOBER 2009
Hal Leonard’s Brandon and Erin Mathieus.
Martin’s Ray Kopko, Bruce Mariano, and Tim McNair.
Garth Giesbrecht and Harvey of Levy’s Leathers.
Tim Elvy of Legere Reeds.
Tommy Norton of Daisy Rock.
Pamela Rees of Rees Harps.
Sabian’s Terry Ryan.
doors. At lunchtime, MIAC hosted a “Learning Lunch Session: The Secret Weapons to Buying & Managing Music Inventory.” The hour-long, well-attended session was presented by Alan Friedman, CPA and music industry consultant. Complimentary sandwiches and desserts were provided for attendees during Friedman’s informative and, oftentimes, lighthearted discussion and PowerPoint presentation.
Roland’s Fernand LaPierre.
dance for both exhibitors and buyers. As she sees it, “With fewer exhibitors, buyers are able to take more time at a booth and, with less people attending, I’ve been able to spend more time with buyers. We’ve had a surprisingly good year. Despite the recession, harp sales are up across the board and, with our Harpsicle being an entry level instrument, it’s even more accessible and affordable.” She also commented, “It’s nice to participate in a show
Sennheiser’s Sebastian Herbert.
Jeremy Berger and Kent Bonkoff of Yorkville Sound.
“With fewer exhibitors, buyers are able to take more time at a booth, and with less people attending, I’ve been able to spend more time with buyers. While some exhibitors were expressing cautious optimism, others were outright delighted with the show and the attention their products were garnering. Husband and wife, Brandon and Erin Mathieus, were busying working the Hal Leonard booth. According to Brandon, “We’ve had a great start and have been busy all day.” Erin sited their instructional guitar software and method books as the big attention grabbers at the show. Pamela Rees of Rees Harps was extremely pleased with the attention her Harpsicles were getting at MIAC. Rees took a positive view of the lower attenOCTOBER 2009
that isn’t dominated by the bigger guys. It gives smaller exhibitors more of an opportunity to get noticed.” Efkay’s booth seemed to be getting noticed, especially by young visitors, mostly teenage boys, wanting to hammer on the front-and-centered Tama drum kit, with some encouragement from Efkay’s in-house drummer, Dan Ellison. There were also more than a few dealers checking out their Ibanez line and eyecatching array of Orange amps. Sabian’s Terry McNair spotlighted his company’s Explosion Fast Crash cymbal and did take notice of the slow start to
D’Addario’s Ashleigh Johnston.
Jam Hub’s Dave McCarthy.
Dennis Drumm and Paul Pinchuk of JHS. MMR 75
Entrance to MIAC exhibit hall.
Rhythm Tech’s Davis McAllister, B&J Music vice president Dale Kroke, and Kyle McAllister of Rhythm Tech.
Kosta Karabat and Daryl Brunetti of Guerilla Guitars.
MIAC’s Gerry Labelle and Janice Secchian.
B&J’s Chris Kendy.
Behringer’s Michel De Blois.
Dan Ellison of Efkay.
Linda Booth of Guitar Booth and Glen Booth of Levy’s. 76 MMR
Patrick Godin of Godin Guitars.
Steve Ford of Coast Music and Martha Perkins of Erickson.
MIAC advertising manager Michael Murton and Cynthia Keyzer show coordinator.
“Numbers up, numbers down, I don’t pay attention to that stuff; I’m here to get new vendors.” the show on Sunday. Despite his observation, he said that he was, “feeling a positive vibe from dealers.” Continuing, he remarked, “Canada has lost a lot of small MI stores outside of the major cities; they were the ones who felt the economic crunch. But, now we are on the backend of the recession, and things are looking better.” Nothing was troubling the smiling Fernand LaPierre as he entertained the crowd at the Roland booth with his accordion playing talent. LaPierre, former organist for the Montreal Expos, has been playing and promoting Roland accordions for the past five years and loving every minute of it. If one needed a break from all of the show’s wheeling and dealing and just wanted to relax and be entertained, LaPierre was the man to see. The PAL side of the show was loud and flashy, as it should be; after all it is an audio and light show. Sennheiser was promoting their recently launched Sennheiser Sound Tour — a marketing campaign that is passing through the U.S. and select cities in Canada. Sebastian Herbert, in his mid-twenties and relatively new to Sennheiser, talked about the Sound Tour with great enthusiasm, “They are showing the tour’s Webisodes on our micro site, and the tour now has 7,000 fans on Facebook.” The Sennheiser Sound Tour van was parked prominently OCTOBER 2009
MIAC’s executive director Al Kowaleuko enjoying the party.
outside of both the International Centre and the Marriot Toronto Airport – the host hotel for MIAC. When the first day of MIAC/PAL came to a close, the crowd fi lled into shuttle busses outside of the International Centre to head to the Marriot for the MIAC Industry Welcome Party. The party theme was a cruise ship. As the guest came through the door, they were greeted by MIAC representatives who happily adorned them with a lei. And the large ballroom was garnished with tropical, nautical-themed decorations. Everyone seemed to get into the spirit, and the atmosphere was festive. The next morning, back at the International Centre, the start was again sluggish, but like the previous day, began to pick up a bit. Commenting on the foot traffic, Behringer’s Michel De Blois said, “It’s been interesting. Yesterday we did okay. Today is slow; I think a lot of people left this morning. I think next year will be better. I’m looking forward to being downtown next year.” MIAC 2010 will be held on May 16 and 17 and will move to the Direct Energy Centre in downtown Toronto, rather than the location they’ve had at the airport. Everyone seems to be happy about the new location. After all, Toronto is a great city with lots to do, especially in the evening, when the show is over for the day. 78 MMR
Sennheiser Sound Tour van.
Yamaha’s Dave Miner and Yamaha president Ken Hiraoka.
Counter Point’s George Ullmann and Gary Gougher of Heinl Ltd.
Lillian Urosevic of Saga.
“Canada has lost a lot of small MI stores, outside of the major cities; they were the ones who felt the economic crunch. But, now we are on the backend of the recession, and things are looking better.”
Efkay’s Orange Amps display. OCTOBER 2009
Yamaha Guitars’ MMR sat down with Dennis Webster, marketing manager of guitars at Yamaha USA, to discuss Yamaha Guitars’ 40th anniversary. Dennis informed us that although Yamaha first started experimenting with guitars in the 1940’s, it wasn’t until 1969 that the company opened up their world distribution and started to bring guitars to the states.
“The 40th anniversary is quite an exciting time,” says Dennis Webster, marketing manager of guitars at Yamaha USA. “We’ve put out two anniversary models that we made exclusively for the U.S. Both guitars were limited to a run of only 40 instruments. “The SPG3000s were individually numbered and each came with a wall-mounted display case,” explains Webster. For the FG180, he notes that Yamaha, “took a cue from Ford’s success with their Mustang reissues. We went back and had Japan make for us a replica of the original FG180 that came to the U.S.” Although the instrument is inspired by the past, the 40th anniversary edition is made with all solid woods. “It’s a high-end, handmade piece,” says Webster. “We’ve got two iconic guitars out there and we’ve had great reception for them. It’s always exciting to celebrate a 40th anniversary and this year coming up is the 50th anniversary of Yamaha Dennis Webster Corporation in America.”
The New Yamaha
Yamaha artists, Rodrigo y Gabriella. 80 MMR
“In the past, Yamaha guitars let the market defi ne who we were,” says Webster. “The market said, ‘Hey, they’re great beginner guitars,’ and that was how we were perceived. That’s not all we make, however; that’s just one portion of what we do. We do a lot of mid-range and high-end guitars as well.” To change the face of Yamaha, Webster is taking on the market from all angles. From dealership education and training to consumer advertising, artist relations and product development, Webster hopes to make Yamaha a household name in the guitar market. “We’ve come up with something called ‘The Rosewood Program,’ where we’ve focused on 100 of the top guitar stores nationwide,” he says. “It’s a program where we go in and do product training with the dealers, run promotions, and take a representative from each dealer over to China and Japan, to tour our factories. They get hands-on training, and it’s a very fun and intense OCTOBER 2009
learning experience.” The goal is to turn these dealers in to Yamaha experts. “By January we will have 100 showrooms throughout the United States. Once we have these showrooms, we’ll continue to work with them on training, in-store promotions, and clinics in every outlet,” explains Webster. With his 100 showrooms in hand, Yamaha hopes to capture the eyes and ears of customers. “We’re really going to go after the consumer market in the next year, and start focusing on the end consumer,” says Webster. “We want to make sure that the product is out in the stores at all price points and models that the customers are looking for. Yamaha has been kind of silent in the market the last five to ten years, but we have a brand new Web site that went live September 30. It has a totally different look and feel from our previous site and we’ll be doing quite a few promotions from that platform.” In addition to print ads, increased online presence and dealership showrooms, artist relations have been a key component of Yamaha’s marketing strategy. “Artists are very important,” says Webster. Our artist relation manager, Mike Contesta, is really out there and focused on getting the guitar players of today.” Webster credits many of these artists in turning around Yamaha’s public image. “We’re selling more and more higher end guitars,” he says, citing Mike Stern’s signature guitar as a top seller. “Every year we sell more and more Mike Stern models, so the artist relation side is important and is becoming more and more important as we go into the future with our new models and new lineups.” Not only have artists helped promote Yamaha’s brand, some are actually helping design new instruments. “The new series we’re launching at Winter NAMM, is called the NX series. It’s really exciting because we have a lot of high-end professional players playing the NX series. Rodrigo y Gabriella were pretty instrumental in helping to design these guitars and they play them exclusively on stage now,” says Webster. “Lee Ritenour plays the NX series and he’s got a new project underway where he’s using these guitars. It’s pretty exciting that we’re developing this new line with artists out there and have artists performing with our instruments even prior to our launch.”
Going Forward and Looking Back Although it may seem like Yamaha is completely revamping it’s business strategy, Webster is quick to point out that the company’s core values of quality control and customer satisfaction are still the centerpiece of Yamaha guitars. “We own and run all of our own factories,” he explains. “Every guitar Yamaha makes is directly out of one of our factories. We’re in charge of the quality of materials going in, and we’re in charge of the quality of production.” “Two years ago, our goal was to be the number-one importer of acoustic and acoustic/electric guitars in the United States. Within two years, we’ve realized that goal,” says Webster. “As a matter of fact, right now if you look at sell-through data in the industry, Yamaha is the number-one selling acoustic guitar in the United States.” Webster tells us that although the guitar market is declining, Yamaha has ‘beat the odds.’ “Last year was our record year in guitars,” says Webster. “We beat our previous record by about 4.5M dollars and, so far this fiscal year, we’re on pace to tie or do better than last year. Although the market is shrinking, we’re taking more market share and looking to equal or even surpass our best year ever at this point.” OCTOBER 2009
Newproducts Rovner Products Star Series Rovner Products Star Series of saxophone and clarinet ligatures are said to offer accurate intonation and are suitable for both beginning and advanced students. This new line of ligatures is available at a lower cost. www.rovnerproducts.com
Pro-Mark’s Performer Series Marching Bass Drum Mallets Pro-Mark’s new Performer Series marching bass drum mallets are made with American hickory handles and dense felt heads. The handles are designed with a “Comfort Flare” for a more secure grip, and feature an upward taper at the head for balance and
sound projection. The mallets are also available with puff heads for a more muted tone. Both standard felt and puff mallets are available in five sizes to accommodate the smallest to the largest bass drums. Prices range from $47.95 per pair to $71.95 per pair. www.promark.com
Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer by Larry Fine is now available for free on the Internet and as a print publication in bookstores and on the Web site. This advertising-sponsored guide will be published twice a year as a colorillustrated hybrid consisting of a book and a magazine. The book aspect consists of 82 MMR
brief, but informative articles and tips on basic piano-buying issues, such as what to look for when buying a new, used, or restored acoustic, digital, or player piano. These articles will remain constant from issue to issue. The magazine aspect will feature rotating content consisting of manufacturer profi les, spotlights on particular technologies and rebuilders, product reviews, and pricing information, which is updated each issue to adapt to market changes. The pricing information is also available on the Web site in a free, searchable database, allowing dealers and consumers to compare acoustic piano brands and models. The book retails for $24.95. www.pianobuyer.com
Audix’s Carbon Fiber MicroBooms Audix Microphones has updated the MicroBoom Series to include two models: MicroBoom 50, which features a 50 inch boom arm, and the newly developed MicroBoom 84, featuring an 84 inch boom arm. The MicroBooms are designed to be used in conjunction with The Micros, the world’s smallest condenser microphones with integrated preamp and detachable cable. The MicroBooms, which are lightweight, portable, and easy to position, are ideal for choir miking. The new MicroBoom 84 now has the ability to reach the back row of the choir with ease. The MicroBooms feature a specially designed clutch assembly which allows it to be utilized with any standard 5/8” mic stand. The stand adapter allows for total control over the angle, rotation, and position of the carbon fiber rod. A knurled knob locks the rod firmly in place.The final angle and position of the microphone is controlled by using the flexible metal gooseneck just below the microphone. The MicroBooms are internally wired with shielded cable to insure a clear audio signal path between the microphone and the bottom of the boom which terminates in a mini-XLR male connector. Depending on the formation, two to three MicroBooms will be able to handle a 50 person choir. Phantom power of 18 48 volts is required for operation. All sys-
tems include a cast metal stand adapter, and a 25’ mini XLR-XLR microphone cable. Retail prices range from $599-$799. www.audixusa.com
Epilog’s Legend EXT Epilog’s Legend EXT, a large-scale engraver, features a large work area and
powerful cutting capabilities for engraving instruments. The EXT can be used on a wide variety of materials. www.epiloglaser.com
Fishman’s Aura Spectrum DI & Solo Performance System Fishman Amplification is rebranding the SoloAmp as the SA220 Solo Performance System. Designed for the singer/songwriter/acoustic musician, the SA220 Solo Performance System delivers 220 watts of clean, lightweight power into a line array of six custom high-excursion speakers and a soft dome tweeter. This combination is said to provide full sound, wide dispersion, and deeper sonic penetration than the average speaker cabinet. The enhanced bass response of the customdesigned speakers eliminates the need for a subwoofer. The SA220 weighs only 25 pounds without stand and can be easily carried in the supplied padded carry bag with wheels. New variations of the existing form factor are expected in the future, hence the name change. Fishman’s Aura Spectrum DI instrument preamp/direct box combines a OCTOBER 2009
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Newproducts direct box with Aura Acoustic Imaging technology that restores the sound of a studio-miked instrument to undersaddle and soundhole pickups. It features 128 pre-loaded Images of the most popular acoustic instruments; a 3-band EQ; built-in chromatic tuner with bypass/mute, one-knob compressor, volume, blend and image controls, automatic feedback suppression with up to three notches, an effects loop, a high-quality balanced XLR DI and wealth of other practical user features. It also ships with Aura Image Gallery III software’s ever-expanding library of over 700 studio-recorded acoustic images. The retail price is $509.95. www.fishman.com
Keystone’s Lithium Battery Holder Keystone Electronics’ 1/3 N Lithium battery holders are heat resistant, and are housed in UL 94V-O rated Nylon. The SMT version features gold-plated phos-
phor bronze contacts. The THM version incorporates tin-plated phosphor bronze contacts and the heat resistant Nylon housing. The THM types mount directly on PCB’s, securely positioned during wave soldering and placement. Both holders accept 1/3 N three-volt cell lithium batteries from major manufacturers. www.keyelco.com
Planet Waves’ Chordmaster and ScaleWizard LE Planet Waves’ ChordmasterLE allows users to view each chord in first position
and to strum the virtual strings to play and hear each chord in pristine audio. The library allows users to navigate to any chord easily and quickly. The full version of Planet Waves Chordmaster offers a comprehensive library of over 7,800 guitar chords, displaying notes and fingerings on a virtual fret board. Scale Wizard LE provides four of the most useful scales including major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, major, and minor in all neck positions. Offering over 10,000 patterns, the full version of Scale Wizard is the most complete scale application, featuring a interface optimized for iPhone and iPod touch. All Scale Wizard and Chordmaster applications have a digitally sampled sound library that enables the user to strum across the fingerboard and hear exactly what the scale or chord they have selected sounds like.
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Showing Off the Fretlight Has Never Been Easier. For years, guitar dealers have loved the Fretlight—but wondered how to sell it. Our exciting new point-of-purchase display instantly captures your customers’ attention and gets them talking! And with the holidays right around the corner, there’s no better time to become an authorized Fretlight dealer. Call today for complete pricing information.
800-575-6511 • www.fretlight.com To see more conversations that your customers will likely have with you about the Fretlight guitar, go to
Newproducts Planet Waves’ LE versions of Chordmaster and Scale Wizard for iPhone and iPod are available as free downloads from iTunes.Users can log into their iTunes store account and search Planet Waves to download the applications. www.planetwaves.com/iPhone
DrumFire’s Snare Wires DrumFire’s DSW1420 Snare Wires are intended as replacements and/or upgrades for the stock wires included with most snare drums. The Snare Wires are durable and are said to produce a clear sound suitable for a wide spectrum of musical styles. Designed for 14” drums,
Three Brands. One Focus. Dependability Easy playability Affordable pricing Tonal responsiveness Quality workmanship
Trusted brand names from a trusted supplier. www.BeckerInstruments.com www.Stentor-Music.com
the DSW1420 is a 20-strand steel wire configuration, featuring identical medium-gauge (0.6mm) coils and chromeplated end clips. Two mounting strips are included with the snare wires. Snare Wires retail for $10.99. www.musicpeopleinc.com
New Cases from SKB SKB Corporation’s 1SKB-375 Universal Euphonium case is made from durable yet lightweight ABS molded plastic and will accommodate a variety of upright bell three or four valve euphoniums from leading manufacturers such as Yamaha, Eastman, and Anthem models. The euphonium case includes moldedin bumpers with four oversized rubber feet for impact protection and two injection molded, rubber over-molded cushion grip handles for comfortable transport. SKB’s patented glass reinforced nylon trigger release latches with a TSA lock enables the user to safely lock the case and still have it inspected by airline security personnel. The interior features lined foam to hold the instrument securely. The 1SKB-375 Euphonium case is covered by SKB’s lifetime warranty and retails for $174.99. The SKB-SCPS1 Powered Speaker Soft Case is manufactured with a rigid core that is encompassed by a rugged 600 Denier exterior for added protection. Along with the protection of the rigid soft case, added features include an injection molded pull-out handle, side handles for lifting and supported dually wheels to balance the weight and for easy transport. An exterior accessory pocket is located on the OCTOBER 2009
Distributed by EMD Music. For further information, please contact EMD Music, )NC s firstname.lastname@example.org 866 871 5800 Toll Free s 877 231 6653 Toll Free Fax
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SCPS1 measures 27” L x 17.5” w x 15” H and will accommodate many powered speakers such as the JBL EON 515 and the Mackie
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SRM 450. The 1SKB-SCPS1 Powered Speaker Case has a retail price of $129.99. The 1R6218W 88 Note Narrow Keyboard case from SKB is designed to accommodate 88-note narrow keyboards such as the Korg SP250, Roland RD700SX, and the Yamaha CP33, digital pianos and controllers. The 1R6812W case is rotationally molded from Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), offering high durability and strength and features SKB’s patented glass reinforced nylon trigger latches with TSA locks, enabling users to safely lock their case and still have it inspected by airline security personnel. The 1R6218W 88-note Narrow Keyboard case includes built-in wheels offering tilt-and-go transport as well as a neoprene seal and ambient pressure relief valve making the case water and dust resistant. The interior of the 1R6218W 88-note Narrow Keyboard case features a combination foam/corner cleat interior, which holds the instrument securely during transport. Adhesive backed foam for the interior lid is provided loose, so that the musician can customize the fit of the case to match the keyboard. The retail price is $479.99. www.skbcases.com
Quik Lok’s Z-70 Keyboard Stand Quik Lok’s Z-70 heavy duty keyboard and mixer stand is a single tier, rapid set-up Pro “Z” structure. Width and height adjustable, the Z-70’s new patent-pending design can set up and fold down in ten seconds. The spring-loaded, dual pin system instantly releases and locks and the tiers into the desired height position. The width adjustment makes the Z-70 useful for a range of keyboards – everything from 37-key compact designs to 88-key controllers and stage pianos. Constructed with computerwelded, 14-gauge steel, the Z-70’s design also provides a large area for placement of floor pedals. The new Z-70 is fully compatible with other “Z” series options, including the Z/728 mic boom, Z/731 utility shelf, and the LPH/Z laptop holder add-on. www.quiklok.com OCTOBER 2009
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� A No Fee Licensed Afﬁliate Rental Program. � Rental agreements that are customized to the speciﬁc laws of the Afﬁliate’s state. � State licensing and/or registration of the Afﬁliate’s rental program at NEMC’s expense. � Only one quality level of name brand instruments in New and Like-New condition only. � The restoration of all rental returns to Like-New condition at NEMC’s service facility. � Multi-colored Promotional & Educational handouts provided. � Motivational mailings to the Afﬁliate’s customers. � No inventory investment and all normal freight costs are paid by NEMC. � One of the largest staffs of skilled repair technicians dedicated only to rental instrument service. � Hands-on repair training in our NJ repair center with one-on-one private instruction (FREE). � Billing and collecting rental fees for the Afﬁliate’s accounts. � Ability to review customer accounts 24/7 through a dedicated web site. � The NEMC Calling Plan for collections. Working for the Afﬁliates from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
� The Platinum Plan Plus - to increase commission percentage. � The Annual Rental Bonus Plan - for an additional cash bonus.
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� Business is promoted into the Afﬁliate’s retail store, not onto the Internet. NEMC does not Afﬁliate’s individual marketplace. NEMC does not post rental prices on the Internet.
� An Afﬁliate’s territory is protected. NEMC will not set up its own retail stores in an Afﬁliate’s territory. compete against its own Afﬁliates by renting ‘On-Line’.
For Complete Information: Call Toll Free (800) 526-4593 Ext. 240
Ask For Gene Garb
National Educational Music Company 1181 Route 22, Box 1130 Mountainside, New Jersey 07092
New Kick Drum Mic from Heil
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Heil Soundâ€™s PR 48 large diaphragm dynamic kick drum microphone features a 1.5-inch diameter element, and is mounted in a vulcanized double shock mount, which offers complete isolation within a rugged cast metal housing. The PR 48 metal housing was designed with a slanted entrance to the three pin XLR so the cable assembly is easier to connect. A specially designed low pass fi lter sets the -3 dB hinge points at 30Hz and 8kHz with a +10 dB peak from 50 Hz to 80 Hz. The response rolls off at 8kHz, which helps control unwanted top end â€œnoiseâ€? inside the drum, while keeping frequencies critical to kick drum harmonics found when the beater meets the drum head. The microphone provides a 600-ohm balanced output and can handle over 150 dB of SPL. www.heilsound.com
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Sabianâ€™s X-Plosion Splash Sabianâ€™s 11-inch X-Plosion Splash is a scaled down version of the AAX X-Plosion Crash. Extra thin and available in brilliant finish, this model, with its AAX Dynamic Focus, offers drummers and percussionists of all styles a splash that can be played by hand or stick. www.sabian.com
Numark Enhances the CDN88
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Numarkâ€™s CDN88 MP3 rack-mount CD player features MP3-playback capability complete with text display, so DJs can carry more music on fewer discs. DJs can
scratch in real time using CDN88 MP3â€™s dual jog wheels and create two different seamless loops, including smart looping with three hot-stutter starts on each deck for creative capability. Twelve DSP effects with direct access including reverse, enables DJs to layer multiple effects. The CDN88 MP3 contains Numarkâ€™s Key Lock feature, similar to Master Tempo but with more flexibility, which enables DJs to speed up or slow down 90 MMR
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the music by up to 100 percent without changing the pitch. Numark’s Beatkeeper aids in visual beat matching so the DJ can spend less time in headphones and more time creating a party or event soundtrack. CDN88 MP3’s Interlock function can automatically beat match the two decks. It also can store thousands of cue points in its memory for instant access to the DJ’s favorite points in their tracks. The CDN88 MP3 is housed in a rigid metal extrusion, and it contains a laser-saving sleep mode. The CDN88 MP3 retails for $699. www.numark.com
SONiVOX’s DVI for Strings & Brass SONiVOX’s latest batch of DVI products (Downloadable Virtual Instruments), for both MAC and PC platforms, includes Ensemble Strings and Brass taken from SONiVOX’s flagship product, Sonic
Implants Symphonic Collection, as well as African and Afro-Cuban percussion instruments taken from SONiVOX’s collections. All DVIs come equipped with their own virtual instrument engine complete with a selection of FX by SONiVOX and iZotope, including Chorus, Delay, Reverb, Amp Simulator, and EQ, as well as fi lter and envelope controls section, enabling the user easy sculpting of sounds. All SONiVOX DVIs are compatible with both MAC and PC environments as a standalone instrument, as well as a plugin within any VST, AU, or RTAS host. Retail prices range from $9 to $99. www.sonivoxmi.com
OctoPre MkII from Focusrite OctoPre MkII, Focusrite’s eight-channel pre-amp, features a built-in 24-bit / 96 kHz ADAT output, providing an input upgrade for the Pro Tools system, or any digital audio workstation. The OctoPre MkII offers Saffire PRO pre-amps with digital conversion and JetOCTOBER 2009
PLL jitter elimination technology. The digital output allows users to make the most of ADAT inputs - useful for expanding the number of mic-pres for interfaces like the Saffire PRO 24. Connect OctoPre MkII to an audio interface’s ADAT input to create a multi-channel studio recording solution. OctoPre MkII is equally suited to the live environment as a mic-pre expansion for any analogue or digital console, or hard disk recorder. With line outputs on every channel, each mic-pre can be routed to a separate channel on an analogue mixer, with the ADAT output left free to send a copy to a digital recorder. OctoPre MkII has been optimized for drum recording. Designed not to clip, 10dB pads are provided across each channel, and the gain range of the pre-amps has been tailored to handle extreme levels from sound sources like the kick drum. The OctoPre MkII retails for $499.99. www.focusrite.com
L-Acoustics’ XTi Series L-Acoustics’ new 8XTi and 12XTi coaxial enclosures are primarily engineered for the fi xed installation market. Sharing the electro-acoustic design of the established XT series, the 8XTi and 12XTi feature streamlined cabinetry and discrete rigging that can be color-matched according to architect specifications. L-Acoustics’ XTi series can be acoustically and mechanically modeled using the
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com 92 MMR
proprietary Soundvision 3D simulation software or with the EASE/CATT data for acoustic design consultants. XTi enclosures are said to bring flexibility to installation projects due to a rationalized production and the implementation of the hybrid and flat presets found in the new LA-Network Manager v1.2. The LA-Network Manager software offers real-time remote control and monitoring of the amplified controllers via an intuitive graphic interface. The XTi series point-source technology is suited to distributed applications in semireverberant spaces where a single reflected OCTOBER 2009
source offers a more coherent radiation field with less reflected virtual sources than a dual horn-woofer combination. Pointsource systems are also adapted to proximity applications such as stage monitoring, front-fills and under-balcony fills. The 8XTi and 12XTi are available as plug and play solutions with LA4 and LA8 amplified controllers. These come with a complete set of dedicated preset libraries providing creative freedom for any application in theatres, clubs, concert halls, broadcast, and multipurpose facilities for FOH, fill, and monitor modes. The integrated package offers contractors a high amplifier density, high efficiency for lower power consumption and less heat, and a fast and easy set-up. The 8XTi and 12XTi are expected to begin shipping in December of this year and will be available in maroon-grey and white as standard colors. A custom color program is also being offered, allowing the systems to match virtually any installation. www.l-acoustics.com
Hercules DJ Control MP3e2 The MP3e2 DJ controller from Hercules is designed for beginning DJs or anyone interested in the world of DJing, digital music, and the latest remixes. Users can create their own mixes with the DJ Control MP3e2. The new controller was specifically designed to make mixing MP3’s easy. The controller can be used with PC or Mac platforms that are equipped with a sound card, amplified speakers, and USB port. The MP3e2 features two mixing decks, two jog wheels, one cross fade, two volume faders for mixing two music tracks together,r and track speed controls for changing the pitch or tempo. Music can be altered with the equalizer controls (bass, medium, and treble ranges), add-
ing loops, multiple effects, and signature sounds. The retails price is $129.99. www.guillemot.com
Mackie Onyx-i Series Mixers Mackie’s Onyx-i Series FireWire recording mixers feature built-in 24-bit/96kHz FireWire I/O and can be used with all major DAWs and Pro Tools M-Powered 8. The new Onyx-i Series mixers feature deep FireWire integration and a host of analog features like Onyx mic preamps and Perkins EQ. Users can choose to implement the Perkins EQ into the recording path at the push of a button, and can also choose to record auxes, groups (1640i) and the master L/R signal. The flagship Onyx 1640i incorporates a 16x16 FireWire interface, allowing the user to return up to 16 DAW channels right back into the channel strips. The Mackie Onyx-i Series all models (820i, 1220i, 1620i, and 1640i) include the built-in FireWire interface. The 820i has a retail price of $469.99, the 1220i $899.99, the 1620i $1299.99, and the Onyx 1640i $2199.99. www.mackie.com
Alfred’s Wizard of Oz Songbook The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Deluxe Songbook from Alfred Publishing features all of the classic songs by E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen plus never-beforepublished character themes by composer Herbert Stothart, the complete Munchkinland musical sequence, and the song “The Jitterbug” which was deleted from the original film. Each song is presented in its original key, utilizing MGM
studio manuscripts and the original motion picture soundtrack. Two songs from the 1903 Broadway musical production of The Wizard of Oz, with lyrics by original author L. Frank Baum are also included. The songbook contains dozens of original production stills and publicity photos, an essay on the story behind the songs and score, and biographies of the composers. www.alfred.com
JZ Microphones Improves Black Hole Series The redesigned Black Hole BH-1 from JZ Microphones features two large diaphragm capsules with three polarn patterns: omni, cardioid, and figure-eight. The mic has a switch of -10db and -20db options to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion. The BH-1 comes with two separate back-to-back placed single diaphragm capsules which are manufactured using patented Golden drops technology. The retail price is $3999. www.jzmic.com
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Supplierscene Conn-Selmer Launches “Build A Bach” Web Site Conn-Selmer’s “Build A Bach” Web site is now available for musicians to design their own custom Bach Stradivarius trumpet. With this new on-line resource, players can customize their own Bach Stradivarius Bb or C trumpet. There are five easy steps in the process. It is as simple as picking the instrument to be customized, choosing from a variety of options in each category, saving multiple configurations during the process, and printing out the final version as a record. Once completed, the printed record can be provided to the local ConnSelmer dealer who will assist with pricing and ordering information. A wide range of features are available to choose from including bore size, bell and mouthpipe options, hooks and triggers, valve caps, finishes, mouthpieces, and cases. www.build-a-bach.com
afternoon, 1,859 pickers joined together to play the “Luckenbach, Texas” song for more than five minutes to break the world record. Tradition Guitar’s spokesman, Rusty Bickford said, “It was great to be able to help out a worthy charity Voices of a Grateful Nation and to raise money to benefit our returning soldiers while having a once in a lifetime experience in Luckenbach”. Following breaking the world record, the crowd played “This Land Is Your Land” with such Texas luminaries as Monte Montgomery, Gary P. Nunn, and Jimmy Lafave onstage. To learn more, visit www.voicesofagratefulnation.org.
Tycoon’s New Sales Promotion; Adds to Artist Roster Tycoon Percussion has announced the start of their new sales promotion that will take place over the next 12 months.
Guitar Playing World Record Broken in Texas On August 22, over 2,500 people converged on the little town of Luckenbach, Texas to break the world record for the
most guitar players playing one song at the same time. The charity event was co-sponsored by Tradition Guitar. The official count of 1,859 guitar players broke the previous world record of 1802 people set in Germany in 2007. In the 94 MMR
In order to qualify for the trip, dealers will accumulate points based on their normal purchases of Tycoon Percussion instruments and accessories between August 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010. Dealers with enough points will be eligible for the five day, four night trip to the ancient and exotic Thai city of Bangkok in July 2010. The trip will include a tour of the Tycoon factories, airfare, accommodations, and food. Tycoon Percussion also has added world percussionists Steve Campbell and Lindsay Rust to its artist roster. Campbell and Rust are the founders and leaders of Dancing Drum. During a recent trip to Thailand, Campbell and Rust collaborated with Tycoon in designing the Dancing Drum Signature Series line of djembes, djun-djuns, ngomas, and accessories.
The drum line is made from sustainably harvested wood and natural drumheads and is rope-tuned. To learn more, visit www.tycoonpercussion.com.
Music China 2009 More than 1,100 exhibitors from 24 countries and regions will take part in this year’s Music China show to be held 13 – 16 October 2009 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, China. Music China is the most important musical instrument show to take place in the Asia Pacific region as it brings together hundreds of music product suppliers from around the world. Exhibitors at this year’s show will include nine international pavilions from the Czech Republic, France, German, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden), Spain, the UK, and Taiwan. Music China will be the launching pad into the Chinese market for many new products that include drum kits, keyboards, pianos, guitars, and accessories. Roland is introducing the TD series electric drum kit with an improved sound quality and MIDI output for sequencing or triggering other sounds, making it ideal for practicing or studio use. Steinway & Sons will be presenting two new additions to their Crown Jewel series. The Sapphire and Aquamarine pianos are crafted in rosewood and birch. Korg is offering the nanoSERIES of USB-powered, slim-line controllers in three new versions. The nanoKEY features a 25-key velocity-sensitive keyboard and is ideal for song production; the nanoPAD has 12 highly responsive trigger pads, each capable of sending up to eight notes simultaneously, and nanoKONTROL offers nine faders, nine knobs, 18 switches, plus a full transport section for expansive control. The new guitar amplifier from Line6 Spider IV redefines what is sonically possible from modelling amplifiers. More than 50 of today’s hottest guitarists and OCTOBER 2009
bands have handcrafted more than 300 presets for Spider IV. Taylor is introducing a new loaded pick guard for the SolidBody Classic guitar which changes its tonal characteristics and appearance. For more information, visit www.musikmesse-china.com.
Kala’s Dancing Hula and Vintage Woody Car Displays Dancing hula stands with grass skirts and vintage woody cars are just two of the new stands from Kala Music that are designed to boost ukulele sales for dealers. These ukulele stands are the fi rst in a series of displays from Kala and are free to dealers that place minimum orders.
The dancing hula stand is three feet in diameter and holds 16 Kala ukuleles. The movement of the display causes the hula skirt to shake. The woody stand has a 2”x 4” footprint and is a simple snap together wood frame display with a vintage woody car graphic. It also will accommodate 16 Kala ukuleles. The graphic of the car was designed by artist OCTOBER 2009
Wendy Long exclusively for Kala. Dealers can view the displays in detail and watch a video of the dancing hula stand on Kala’s Web site. www.kalaukulele.com
Harmonic Capo’s New Packaging & Pricing Harmonic Capo’s new retail packaging and pricing is now available and may now be ordered with no buy-in or minimum order requirements, in colorful, wallhanging clamshells. Harmonic Capos are sill available in the original under-thecounter display boxes. Prices for both packaging options decrease substantially as the order size increases, giving larger retailers access to distributor rates. www.weaseltrap.com
Kala U-BASS on Tour with Coral Reefer Band Kala Brand Music welcomes the addition of Jim Mayer of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer band to Kala’s U-BASS artist roster. Jim has been playing U-BASS on the band’s latest tour that began in mid August. The U-BASS is Kala’s 20 inch scale bass which is strung with proprietary polyurethane strings that produce upright bass-like tones. Features include a solid mahogany body, custom Hipshot tuners , and a passive Shadow pickup system. The U-Bass is available in fretted and fretless models. www.kalaukulele.com
WD Issues New Catalog WD Music Products’ new counter catalog is available to dealers to use with their customers. This is an 80 page, four color catalog, complete with illustrations, descriptions, and retail prices on WD’s inventory. email@example.com
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Supplierscene ucts. The first product shipping under the new arrangement will be the Tonelux Equalux, a two-channel, four-band discrete parametric equalizer. The Tonelux Equalux, based on the company’s EQ4P, offers a number of unique features, including the use of a constant energy curve or proportional Q that is wider at lower boost or cut levels
and becomesnarrower at higher levels. Alternatively, the unit can be switched to peak mode, which maintains a constant Q of one-third octave for more precision control. The Equalux can also be switched to provide high ad low shelving. For more information, visit www.transaudiogroup.com.
GMI Announces Distribution of Keilwerth and York Gemstone Musical Instruments has announced that it will expand its partnership with Germany-based SchreiberKeilwerth to include Keilwerth saxophones and York brass instruments. With the adoption of the Keilwerth and York lines, GMI will shift focus away from the Andino and Stephanhöuser brands and direct its energies toward marketing Schreiber-Keilwerth as a comprehensive line of reed instruments. For more information, visit www.gemstonemusical.com.
tering in the contest, users can discover fun, quirky things about many of the featured artists, like Brooke White’s favorite dessert and Jeremy Furstenfeld’s favorite superhero. All Access 360 is an online, behindthe-scenes supplement to Yamaha’s All Access magazine. Twice a year, the magazine profi les 10 of Yamaha’s artists. Now fans can go even further behind the scenes by viewing the newly launched videos. Drawing visitors into an intimate backstage world, All Access 360 offers a window into the process of creating All Access magazine’s layouts and offers personal perspectives from each artist. Now through Dec. 1, 2009, contestants can search the Yamaha All Access 360 Web site for the answers to three Yamaha artist-related questions. The contest winner will be announced on or around Dec. 15, 2009. To enter the contest, visit www.yamaha.com/allaccess360.
Digital Pianos & Keyboards
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Portable Digital Pianos & Ensemble models Traditional Styled Digital Pianos, Grands & Ensemble models Digital Church Keyboards 10 models to choose from
You’ve Just Gotta Hear & See Them! go to
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Win a Yamaha Keyboard Signed by Sarah McLachlan To mark the debut of the newest All Access 360 videos, Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs, Inc. (YCAA) has announced a contest offering All Access Web site visitors the chance to win a Yamaha NP30 keyboard signed by platinum selling Yamaha artist Sarah McLachlan. By enOCTOBER 2009
WYMAN Member since 2004
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 941.661.0200
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com MMR 97
Classifieds Classified Advertising To place an ad, please call Maureen at 800-964-5150 x34 or email email@example.com Payment by: Visa, MC, Amex or Check Classifieds must be paid in advance. Symphony Publishing 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 • Fax: (781) 453-9389
Accessories A One Of A Kind Guitar Gift for Any Occasion
Personalized Guitar Strap Personalized Guitar Straps are embroidered, affordable, cool and professional looking - making them a long lasting guitar gift for that special guitar player.
View and order online at www.guitargifts4u.com
For Classified Sales Call Maureen • 800-964-5150 ext. 34 • firstname.lastname@example.org 98 MMR
Visit the Classifieds on the Web: www.MMRmagazine.com
For Sale • Band and Orchestra Rentals • New and Like New Educator-Approved Brand Name Instruments • Personalized Rent-To-Own Program • No Franchise Fee or Inventory Investment • No Shipping Costs • High Commissions Paid the 1st of Every Month • Exceptional Service
MUSIC STORE FOR SALE ON MAUI
Have you ever dreamed of living in Hawaii? This could be your chance! Full Line Music Store in Paradise. All inventory and fixtures included. Most major lines are represented. Established in 1979 For info 808-870-5953
URL AND WEBSITE FOR SALE
For Classified Sales Call Maureen
800-964-5150 ext. 34 email@example.com OCTOBER 2009
THIS IS A VERY POPULAR WEBSITE FOR SELLING UKULELES. For info 808-870-5953
Music Store Owner Retiring
High trafc area, very successful. We are a full line music store, 10,000 sq. ft. free standing building, Band instrument rental program 14 lesson rooms with over 400 students major lines guitars, drums and accessories, Established 21 years, includes tuning business, piano moving with truck and band and instrument repair dept. Can be subdivided: 4,000 sq. ft. and 6,000 sq. ft. Call 631 495-3223 New York
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com MMR 99
Visit the Classifieds on the Web: www.MMRmagazine.com
Owner Retiring! Full-Line Retail Music Shop in Beautiful Lebanon, Oregon. Up to 7,000 sq ft ground level retail. High visibility, corner location. Historic real estate included. Bonus 7,000 sq ft meeting & event space. 90% nancing available. Call T.J. Newby Real Estate: 503-806-4848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR SALE Beautiful central Florida Well-known music store, Located 24 years on East Coast! All inventory/xtures, turnkey! Major brands, full-line. No real property. 8 + studios Owners have aging parents. Call PM only. Partner/investor okay. 321-725-3047 MUSIC SCHOOL/STORE for SALE (in operation since 1986) Housed on its own PRIME REAL ESTATE property in a beautiful, affluent suburb of Houston, TX AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 2009 Recognized as HOUSTON’S BEST by the US Commerce Association
27-plus teachers for almost 600 students; half-acre back lot ideal for store expansion or rental space. Call Owner at 832 445-5668 or BROKERS at 281 358-2222 or 281 973-0456 Real Estate and Music School/Store operation can be sold separately
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com 100 MMR
Visit the Classifieds on the Web: www.MMRmagazine.com
Shop Manager Wanted for Knilling Violins, St. Louis St. Louis Music, A division of US Band, is seeking a qualified individual for a management position with its Knilling Violin Shop. The qualified individual would have experience in final adjustment of all musical instruments in the violin family and be able to share skills with coworkers readily, organize work flow, and be knowledgeable with production methods. Additionally, the position incorporates personal production of entry level, intermediate, and master instruments. As Knilling is once again becoming the industry leader, this position is a key element and should be viewed as a long term career position with a stellar organization. US Band offers compensation commensurate with productivity, benefits, and a significant bonus program based on production and profitability. Qualified applicants are invited to apply to Vice President of Knilling and Orchestral Sales, email@example.com.
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HARD SHELL PLASTIC CASES Flute $9.00, Piccolo $6.00 Clarinet $10.00, Oboe $12.00
ELKHART CASES 1-800-582-0319
www.mmrmagazine.com OCTOBER 2009
Visit the Classifieds on the Web: www.MMRmagazine.com
ACCORDIONS, CONCERTINAS, & BUTTON BOXES new, used, buy, sell, trade, repair, tune, CASTIGLIONE DISTRIBUTING CO. 13300 E 11 MILE WARREN, MI 48089 PH # 1-586-755-6050 WWW.CASTIGLIONEACCORDIONS.COM
BAND INSTRUMENT REPAIR VIDEO Save $$$ on repair expense. Earn extra income. Journeyman repairman offers “How To” videos on the repair of brass and woodwind instruments. For information write to: B.I.R.V. Co. 880 Slater Rd. Bellingham, WA. 98226 (360) 384-6707
ENDORSED BY HEART - LIVING COLOUR - LETHARGY
Oboes & Bassoons
We create the finest hand-crafted Oboes & Bassoons. Also replacement 5K Bassoon Bocals.
Linton Woodwinds Corporation, Jack Linton 1013 Alma St. Elkhart, IN 46514 U.S.A. PH: 1-866-220-2909 Fax: 574-266-7658 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.LintonWoodwinds.com
YAMAHA–KAWAI & MORE
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GUARANTEED LANDED QUALITY
1-800-782-2694 North American Music 11 Kay Fries Drive Stony Point, NY 10980 Fax: (845) 429-6920
PORCHBOARD BASS The UCL-S PorchBoard Bass offers analog, clean bass rhythm with the tap of a foot. Durable passive magnetic sensor system and 3-way frequency response switch eliminates low-end feedback and delay. Features both 1/4 inch and XLR outputs. No batteries, wall worts or external power supply required. Includes carry bag. $299.95. www.porchboard.com (608) 752-2229
For Classified Sales Call Maureen 800-964-5150 ext. 34 email@example.com
Repair Tools FAST TURN-AROUND ON STOCK REPAIRS NATIONWIDE NAPBIRT member, 26 Years Experience Contact: Dan Rieck, 801-733-4243 firstname.lastname@example.org
For 60 years we have provided musical instrument repair tools to technicians and musicians around the world. We have a wide selection of pads and other supplies in addition to our repair tools. Contact us today for a FREE CATALOG.
BOW REHAIRING Expert Bow Service
Order forms,Pricing and Shipping label at:
www.bowrehairing.com Violin bows as low as $10.00 per bow in quantity incl. shipping (see website for details.) Large inventory of replacement parts both new and vintage. IRA B. KRAEMER & Co. Wholesale Services Division
“An industry leader since 1967”
www.mmrmagazine.com 102 MMR
467 Grant Avenue, Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076 Tel: 908-322-4469 Fax: 908 322-8613 e mail: email@example.com
Visit the Classifieds on the Web: www.MMRmagazine.com
Musical Distributors Group Seeks Reps Musical Distributors Group (MDG) is seeking highly motivated and talented independent reps for select locations in the US. Lines to be represented include: Hiwatt Fernandes Guitars EBS Bass Amps & Effects Coffin Cases Olympus Gig-FX Potential applicants should contact Jack Thompson at:
Guitar Show Operators
Office Direct: 973-335-7888 x 214 Cell: 718-986-2667
Wanted To Buy Wanted USED TUBAS ANY CONDITION-CASH PAID THE TUBA EXCHANGE 1825 CHAPEL HILL RD. DURHAM, NC 27707 1-800-869-8822 WWW.TUBAEXCHANGE.COM
Promote your show dates and reach every guitar dealer in the US
through the classified pages of MMR. Call Maureen 800-964-5150 ext 34
Reps Wanted Sales Representatives Wanted!! Michigan-based Brass, Woodwind and accessories line. Join a great new organization with an “artist-endorsed” product. Competitive Commissions with incentive. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 734-384-1705
INDEPENDENT SALES REPS
Sales Reps Wanted Most territories open A Great Job! Hunter Music Instrument Inc. email@example.com OCTOBER 2009
WE, BUY, SELL, TRADE SHIPPING YOUR PIANO
with Lone Wolf Trucking
is a “grand” idea!
An independent, long-distance Mover specializing in coast-to-coast residential Relocation.
and ship worldwide. Written APPRAISALS available. GRUHN GUITARS, 400 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
fax (615) 255-2021
www.lonewolftrucking.com Alamogordo, New Mexico. 88310
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com MMR 103
Adindex COMPANY NAME
A/B Ac-Cetera Inc. Al Cass Alfred Music Publishing Allparts America Longxing Inc. American DJ Supply Inc. American Way Marketing LLC Anderson Silver Plating Antigua Winds, Inc. Bedell Guitars Big Bends Nut Sauce Blue Book Publications Inc. Breezy Ridge Instruments Ltd.
Dream Cymbals And Gongs Dunlop
www.alfred.com/dealer www.allparts.com www.huntermusical.com www.americandj.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.antiguawinds.com www.bedellguitars.com www.guitarisonly.com www.bluebookinc.com www.jpstrings.com
91 92 83 96 49 27 84 32 73 9 93 13 96
www.casiousa.com www.chem-pak.com www.collingsguitars.com www.compositeacoustics.com www.madarozzo.com; www.hoyerguitars.com www.dreamcymbals.com www.jimdunlop.com
21 70 43 57 28-29 64 26
E E. & O. Mari Inc./La Bella Eastwood Guitars Eleca International EMD Music Inc. EMD Music Inc. Epilog Laser
www.labella.com www.eastwoodguitars.com www.eleca.com www.staggmusic.com www.staggmusic.com www.epiloglaser.com
69 60 72 87 59 37
www.fishman.com www.flaxwood.com www.fleamarketmusic.com www.freedmusic.com www.georgels.com.com www.chopsaver.com www.graphtech.com www.greatdivideguitars.com
58 88 50 53 42 97 49 11
www.indieguitars.com www.jackrabbittech.com www.jonesdoublereed.com
72 93 96
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I/J Indie Guitars Jack Rabbit Technologiesrument Jones Double Reed Products
K K and S Music Kala Brand Music Co. Kay Guitar Co. Keystone Electronics KMC Music, Inc Kurzweil Music Systems Kyser
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54 48 62 55 86 79 71
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61 26 38 77
M/N NAMM National Educational Music Co.
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www.oasishumidifiers.com www.ohana-music.com www.tuners.com www.fretlight.com www.peakmusicstands.com www.pedalstop.com www.petersontuners.com www.pjlamusc.com www.prsguitars.com www.prudencioseazusa.com
88 51 60 85 64 91 91 43 19 70
www.qmpsales.com www.reunionblues.com www.rolls.com
95 67 66
www.sabian.com www.sagamusic.com www.samsontech.com www.samsontech.com www.samsontech.com www.shsint.net www.shubb.com www.shubb.com www.skbcases.com www.stringswing.com www.sunlitedrum.com www.cavanaughcompany.com
17 45 1 5 3 62 18 44 65 15 95 90
Q/R QMP Sales Reunion Blues Rolls Corporation
S Sabian Ltd. Saga Musical Instruments Samson Technologies Corp. Samson Technologies Corp. Samson Technologies Corp. SHS International Shubb Capos Shubb Capos SKB Corp. String Swing Mfg. Inc. Sunlite Industrial Corp. Super-Sensitive Musical String Co.
T Tanglewood Guitars Tech 21ood Guitars TKL Products Corp. ToneGear Tregan Guitars
www.tanglewoodguitars.com www.tech21nyc.com www.tkl.com www.theStringCleaner.com www.treganguitars.com
63 7 cov 2 66 40
www.visualsound.net www.VoyageAirGuitar.com www.wdmusic.com www.weaseltrap.com www.wymanpiano.com
cov 4 52 40 92 97
V/W Visual Sound Voyage-air Guitar W.D. Music Products Inc. Weaseltrap Records Wyman Piano Company
Y/Z Yamaha Corp. of America Zero Crossing Zuni Custom Guitars Zuni Custom Guitars
www.yamaha.com www.NTUNE.com www.zuniguitars.com www.zuniguitars.com
33 41 91 48 OCTOBER 2009
Jazz Education Network
is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences. The Jazz Education Network was founded in the spirit of collaboration and excellence. Our goal is to be a vital resource for a constantly evolving art form that lives globally.
Who we are: students, teachers, directors, musicians, composers, authors, fans, media, industry...WE are YOU!
Full Individual Membership (18 and up) - $50
lead the transformation of the jazz education culture
eJEN Membership Levels:
(18 and up) - ($35/25)
Partner Membership Levels:
Festival/Event- $100 Institutional - $300 • Corporate - $500
Afﬁliate - $25 Annual Fee + $10 per person/member 17 and under categories to be launched soon! Please check the web site for updates.
JAZZ EDUCATION NETWORK
For complete membership information/beneﬁts please visit us at: www.JazzEdNet.org
Published on Oct 29, 2010
Published on Oct 29, 2010
The Show Report: MIAC 2009 of Have Guitar Shows Lost Their Appeal? Yamaha Guitars’ 40th Anniversary October 2009 KMC Music Opens New Facilit...