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w w w. m m r m a g a z i n e . c o m

October 2008

Industry Boon or Fad? UpFront Q&A: Fred Gretsch III Show Report: MIAC

A Convenient Truth. The best tonewood available today does not require that you contribute to the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest every year! The best tonewood available today does not require a one hundred and twenty five year growth cycle. It did however take a dedicated team of luthiers and engineers several years and several million dollars to develop. It's real wood but it's almost completely impervious to the effects of moisture and extreme temperature changes. It's real wood, it's a sustainable resource and it's fully recyclable. It's the first real breakthrough in solid wood guitar construction in a generation. Oh, and by the way.... these guitars play and sound better than just about any other guitar on the market today.

Stop contributing to global climate change and start contributing to your store's bottom line. Flaxwood offers the only viable tonewood alternative to the destruction of our hardwood forests, and we have built in to our line of guitars the kind of margins that just might save your business as well as our planet.

For more information go to Flaxwood is the future of the solid body electric guitar and you can be a part of it today.

Contents Cover design by Laurie Chesna

OCTOBER 2008 VOL.167 NO. 10

Features 34

Upfront Q&A: Fred Gretsch III MMR chats with The Gretsch Company’s president and CEO about the brand’s 125th anniversary.


Guest Editorial: Simulated Instrument Playing Video Games Gary Gand of Northfield, Illinois’ Gand Music and Sound chimes in on the effects of Guitar Hero and Rock Band on the MI trade.


Best of the Blog: Filling a Void MMR publisher Sidney Davis offers his thoughts on the benefits of creative retailing.



Spotlight: Guitar Hero & Rock Band – MI Boon or Irrelevant Fad? One of today’s most significant cultural phenomena, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have created a subculture populated by millions upon millions of “fake” musicians. Is it possible to transform these gamers into actual, instrument/ gear-purchasing music makers? We speak with MI retailers and suppliers to get their thoughts on the potential benefit of music simulating video games.


So You Wanna Be a Rock n Roll Star MMR talks with Daniel Sussman of Harmonix Music Systems, developers of the first Guitar Hero games and the group behind the current Rock Band series.


Survey: Guitar Hero/Rock Band – An Industry Divided


Show Report: MIAC MMR summarizes the events at the recent MIAC/PAL show in Toronto.



K&M Stands: German Quality, Earth Friendly


Fretted: DBZ Guitars


Retail: Anthem Music Anthem Music Group is offering retailers an opportunity to access high margin China-made instruments.


4 6 26 30

Editorial Upfront People Letters

96 105 112

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 ©2008 by Symphony Publishing, LLC, all rights reserved. Printed in USA.




Samson’s New USB Monitors. With StudioDock’s USB capability, you’ll hear incredibly clear digital audio from your computer. And the onboard iPod dock let’s you sync, charge and play your music. StudioDock. The ultimate in convenience and performance. StudioDock makes the perfect holiday gift for every musician on your list. ©2008 Samson. iPod not included with StudioDock. StudioDock requires iPod with dock connector. StudioDock is a registered trademark of Samson Technologies. iPod is a trademark of Apple Inc.



Volume 167, Number 10, October 2008

My Band is Huge in South America…

PUBLISHER Sidney L. Davis EDITOR Christian Wissmuller


ell, not really. Not at all, in fact, but we (The Acro-brats) have sold a bunch of CDs down there and each fiscal quarter the ‘Brats earn a couple hundred bucks via digital downloads in Brazil, Columbia, Peru, et cetera – never having played a single South American show and having received minimal (if, indeed, any) radio or television airplay. I don’t mention all of this purely as a self-indulgent exercise in ego stroking (though I’m enjoying that element of it). Why would The Acro-brats – one of… forty or so other rock/punk/garage bands in Boston who play to roughly the same size crowds, in the same urine-soaked dive bars – be getting any attention outside of the area? In addition to the ‘Brats, I’m in three of the aforementioned “other” similar local bands and nobody from Ecuador sends me e-mails asking about those groups, so it seems to have little to do with me. Nope, it’s not the stellar songcraft, my nimble fretwork, the band’s unflinching commitment to bold fashion choices, or our impeccable personal hygiene. The Acro-brats have songs featured in the first two Guitar Hero games and Rock Band. That’s all. This whole pretending-to-be-playing-an-instrument-while-actually-standing-around-infront-of-a-television-with-a-ridiculous-tiny-plastic-guitar-strapped-across-your-neck thing may’ve initially struck me as kind of stupid, but as chance would have it, I was (peripherally. Very peripherally) “involved” with the projects responsible for launching the current music simulating games phenomenon. In addition to landing some of The Acro-brats’ songs in three of these astoundingly successful games, Daniel Sussman of Harmonix Music Systems (see interview on page 62) also asked me to do some copywriting for the first two Guitar Hero releases. I should fess up that my connection to these games doesn’t speak to any particular skill or positive character trait of mine: Daniel and I have been friends and frequent bandmates (and, for a long time, roommates) since high school. Additionally, he’s the older brother of Symphony Publishing’s very own Eliahu Sussman – who, himself, is also in The Acro-brats (drums) with Daniel (guitar) and myself (guitar, vocals). There’s also a bassist, but he doesn’t work at either Symphony Publishing or Harmonix. Oh, but he did used to work at Harmonix. Confusing? A little, yes. ANYway… The same passion for these games which drives kids in Venezuela (and all over the world – no joke!) to hop on iTunes and purchase a ‘Brats mp3 could maybe serve as a catalyst for more motion in the MI trade. If a Guitar Hero enthusiast enjoys “playing” a fake guitar or if a Rock Band fan digs sitting behind that game’s not-entirely-fake drumkit peripheral, maybe those same folks might consider dragging themselves into a music store to try out the real things. That’s the thinking of some, anyway – and the topic of industry-wide debate. As you’ll see in this month’s survey (see page 64), almost as many retailers view these games as being non-factors, or even negative influences, as there are those who view Rock Band and Guitar Hero as tools for increasing sales and creating more music makers. I can’t pretend to know “the answer” as to what role, if any, music simulating video games could or should play in actual MI retailing or music education. I do know that Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and the subculture they’ve created have powerful influence over the purchasing habits of vast numbers of consumers. For now, the only downside of this whole music videogame mania for me is that The Acro-brats didn’t finish our new CD in time to be included in Rock Band 2…

MANAGING EDITOR Kevin M. Mitchell ASSOCIATE EDITOR Denyce Neilson ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Rick Kessel STAFF WRITER Eliahu Sussman ADVERTISING SALES Iris Fox CLASSIFIED AD SALES Maureen Johan PRODUCTION MANAGER Laurie Guptill GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Andrew P. Ross Laurie Chesna CIRCULATION MANAGER Melanie A. Prescott ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Popi Galileos WEBMASTER Sanford Kearns SYMPHONY PUBLISHING, LLC Xen Zapis • Chairman Lee Zapis • President Rich Bongorno • Chief Financial Officer Corporate Headquarters 26202 Detroit Road, Suite 300, Westlake, Ohio 44145 440-871-1300 PUBLISHING, SALES & EDITORIAL OFFICE: 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310 Fax: (781) 453-9389




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Upfront Retailers, Pro-Mark Recover from Hurricane Ike Texas is now beginning the recovery process from Hurricane Ike, the devastating storm which has left 50 people dead and interrupted services across the region. As we went to press, MMR checked in with as many MI retailers as we could to see how they were doing. Only retailers in Houston could be reached – as one Houston storeowner put it, “Galveston is buried. People lost everything and they are only allowed back into Galveston for a couple of hours a day to assess the damage to their property. To make matters worse, there is only one road in.” Houston sustained less damage than Galveston, but the effects of this monster of a storm were far-reaching. Despite the massive size and strength of this hurricane, all Pro-Mark employees are safe and the company was able to open its doors for business on Wednesday, September 17th.

“We were fortunate in that the office sustained no damage at all,” reports ProMark’s Pat Brown. “We were down for two and a half days only because we had not phones or power. Most of the staff suffered various degrees of personal property damage, but none too serious, and no physical injuries. But 1.2 million people are still without power and some of our people are among them, so that remains a challenge. Compared to the folks in Galveston, however, we were incredibly lucky. “Thanks to all of our friends who have been calling and e-mailing to express their concern and extend a helping hand. It means a lot to all of us here!” To ask for hurricane-related updates from NAMM, contact Melanie Ripley at or call (800) 767-6266. For the MI retailers we did reach, it seems the damage could have been worse.

Buffet Crampon Purchases Old LeBlanc Clarinet Factory The Argos Soditic group has signed an agreement with the Steinway group for the purchase of the factory where Leblanc clarinet were formerly made. The factory is located in La Couture Boussey, in the Department of Eure region of France. This factory will now produce wind instruments for students under the brand name Buffet Crampon. This factory will now produce wind instruments for students under the brand name Buffet Crampon. The chairman of the company is Antoine Beaussant, chairman of the board of directors of Buffet Crampon. The factory currently employs 35, and additional personnel will likely be added in the near future to meet new production needs. A considerable investment plan is also on the horizon. The Buffet Crampon Group continues to pursue its strategy of development through acquisitions. In 2006, the purchase of Besson and Antoine Courtois allowed it to expand its activity to include 6 MMR

brass instruments, and to extend its range by launching over 30 new instruments. The purchase of this production unit, manufacturing student clarinets, bolstered the company’s strategy of autonomy three years ago. The Manufacture d’Instruments de la Couture allows the Buffet Crampon Group to pursue its industrial independence while increasing its production capacity for students’ instruments. The primary factory in Mantes will continue to produce professional level instruments, notably clarinets and oboes. “This new investment in the musical instruments sector reflects our commitment to building solid companies in this sector, companies which combine centuries-old know-how and growth,” says Louis Godron, principle shareholder of Argos-Soditic. Created in 1989, Argos Soditic is an independent European capital investment group established in Paris, Geneva and Milan.

Jimmy Duncan, owner of Southpaw Guitars says, “The electricity is out. The store suffered no physical damage, but our sign, a 40’ x 10’ which is 40’ off the ground, was spinning like a 78 rpm record. Lehman Bros. and AIG are down, but not Southpaw. We will get back on our feet.” “Our store was closed for seven days and we re-opened yesterday,” says Texas Music Emporium owner, Jim Cappiello. “We did okay here at the store, with all of our stock being secured. It was pretty bad though – the worst storm I’ve ever seen.”

Best Buy Net Drops 19 Percent On September 16th Best Buy said that its second-quarter profit fell a worse-than-expected 19 percent, hurt by increased spending and sales of less profitable items such as notebook computers and video game consoles. The company affi rmed its full-year profit forecast but said second-half sales growth is expected to slow from the fi rst half with the end of the stimulus checks and macro economic concerns. Best Buy shares fell 4.6 percent in the wake of the news. The main reason is the recent purchase of Napster, the digital music provider, for $54 million. This will allow Best Buy access to 700,000 subscribers allowing them to expand their online music distribution. Other reasons include expanding into music instruments; preparing the organization’s first stores in Mexico and Turkey; adding in-store shops for Apple Inc.; and expanding its Best Buy Mobile, which sells cell phones and other wireless services to Canada. “We have some work to do in terms of managing our expenses amid a challenging macro economic environment,” says Brad Anderson, chief executive of Best Buy. OCTOBER 2008


Meet the crew with the heat. Each SansAmp™ Character Series pedal is a time capsule of distinctive amplifier styles taken from decades of tone born in the UK and the USA. You can explore these iconic tones then tweak them your way with the amp-like knobs and the unique Character control, which delivers tones from vintage to red hot mod. Every pedal features true SansAmp speaker cab emulation specifically voiced for each amp type, delivering a complete stage and recording solution. Up your game with the high-rolling SansAmp Character Series and play with fat stacks of tone.


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The tower of power pumping through a stack of 10-inchers is the legendary bass tone for players who enjoy being heard. Bask in thick, articulated tones, from chunky funk with the ubiquitous flip top, to the higher gain growl of indie rock Clean focused thump to dirty earthquaking rump, you dial it in.

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Upfront Hartke HyDrive on the Road with Nate Watts and Stevie Wonder The release of HyDrive perfectly coincided with bassist Nate Watts tour with Stevie Wonder. Nate Watts’ has spent over three decades as the foundation of Stevie Wonder’s rhythm section. In fact, for the last 12 years Nate has acted as Stevie’s music director, a role that puts him in charge of picking the band’s musicians and organizing the rehearsal schedule. As a Hartke artist for many years, Nate was involved in the development of HyDrive products and was excited to give them one of their first legitimate road tests. On Stevie Wonder’s “A Time 2 Love” tour, Nate uses a HyDrive HX410 and

From L to R: Ian Goodman, Nate Watts, Adrienne and Mark Menghi, Scott Goodman

From L to R: Ian Goodman, Stevie Wonder, Scott Goodman

HX115 cabinet with a Hartke LH1000 bass amplifier. Because HyDrive fuses paper and aluminum cones to provide both the warm tone of traditional paper and the punchy attack of aluminum,

Watt’s rig provides the best of both worlds: incredible power and exceptional tone. “Nate Watts is one-of-a-kind in so many ways,” says Scott Goodman, president of Samson Technologies. “His unique style of playing has been a big part of Stevie Wonder’s sound for over 30 years. He’s a very important person to our artist program and to me personally. Our friendship is a blessing.”

Parker Teams with Ntl. Guitar Workshop This summer, Parker teamed up with the National Guitar Workshop at their annual Rock Summits. Parker donated an assortment of import and USA made guitars for the Rock Summit Shred-Off Competitions. Some models included the Parker Fly Classic and the Parker P42. The Rock Summit’s Shred-Off Competition had expanded to the Los Angeles, New Milford, Seattle, and McLean campuses with the help of Parker. The winner of the Shred-Off Competition received a brand new Parker. Rock Summit students were judged on technique, originality, tone, and

stage performance. The winner was presented by Parker endorsers, Dave Martone and James Hogan with a Parker guitar. The Parker Fly Classic is a one-piece mahogany body with reinforced basswood neck delivers extra power for a fabulous mid-range and incredible low-end response. Combined with Parker engineering and our custom electronics, it’s a favorite for creamy crunch and warmer tones. The Parker P42 is a solid mahogany body and maple bolt-on neck, the P-42 screams with lightening fast response and a sweet, full mid-range and singing upper register.

Custom wound Parker Stinger Pickups deliver plenty of sustain and grind while the coil tap gives you single-coil tones. For more information on Randall Amplifiers and Washburn Guitars visit

Durham’s Music Loft Closes After 26 years in business, Durham, N.C.’s Music Loft shut its doors permanently in late August, reported the Herald Sun. The MI store carried guitars, percussion, and sound systems. The 6,000-square-foot outlet was once part of a regional chain, and there are still three other Music Loft stores, each independently owned and unaffected by this store’s closing. “I’m just shocked,” local musician Tim Fluet told the paper. He had stopped 8 MMR

by the store on Wednesday only to fi nd it locked, with a note on the door. “You just miss the hometown music store. Can’t believe it, man.” The Music Loft was opened by Jay Miller in the early 1980s as a tiny, 250-square-foot store. Miller sold the business to Tony Wrenn in 2000 but retained ownership of the building. “For musicians, this was like the general store 100 years ago, like sit-

ting around the pickle barrel,” Miller said. Miller said the Music Loft probably was hurt by a proliferation of Internet sales sites and market encroachment by the Guitar Center that has gone up nearby. One local patron said that one of the problems was that the Music Loft never established an online store to increase its business, and the store never found a niche market. OCTOBER 2008


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Upfront NAMM Announces Trade Show Policy Change, Grants NAMM will now prohibit visitors under the age of 16 from attending the shows. Any visitors from the trade/industry under the age of 16 may only attend NAMM trade shows if they are employees or endorsed artists as verified by an active NAMM Member company. According to NAMM’s recent annual surveys, decreasing the number of visitors on the show f loor is a top Member concern due to the congestion and additional noise level on the show f loor. NAMM Foundation also announced that its 2009 Request for Grant Proposals initiative is now open at www. The Foundation

Chesbro Distributing Elueke Solid-body Electric Ukuleles Relieving unmet demand, Chesbro Music Co. began supplying U.S. music dealers with Eleuke solid-body electric ukuleles earlier this year. “We jumped at the chance to distribute Eleuke products. Their unique approach has generated interest in all types of musicians, ukulele players or not,” says Ben Parker, director of Product Development at Chesbro Music. The Eleuke features an under-saddle piezo pickup, a ¼” jack for a PA or an amp, volume and tone knobs, and a headphone jack for private playing. When unplugged it is whisper-quiet, but with the help of an amp and your choice of effects pedals it is capable of screaming in volumes and tones associated with the infamous electric guitar. Eleukes are available in Soprano, Concert, and Tenor sizes. Models available in Mahogany, Sonokelin, Tiger Maple, Birdseye, and Rosewood. Each Eleuke includes a gig bag and headphones. Pricing starts at $199. For more information contact Chesbro Music Co. representatives at (800) 243-7276. 10 MMR

seeks to fund proposals for projects that further the music products industry’s mission of creating more active music makers of all ages and expanding access to music making. Through program grants, the Foundation seeks to motivate and inspire innovative music-learning programs for people of all ages and to support new knowledge about active participation in music making. Last year’s program grants were awarded to 21 organizations for a total of $627,400 in grant funds. The Foundation also seeks proposals for research that expands knowledge about

the effects of music making across the lifespan through three programs. Since its commitment to research funding a decade ago, NAMM has provided more than $3 million in music research funding that has expanded knowledge about the benefits of learning and making music. For more detailed information about the programs that the NAMM Foundation’s initiatives support, and for funding guidelines and details about submitting a grant request, visit or e-mail

iDea from Ovation On September 16, Kaman hosted an event introducing the new Ovation iDea guitar – “the fi rst and only guitar of its kind,” featuring a built-in MP3 recorder/player. The digital recorder is part of the on-board Ovation preamp. The patented technology makes possible a list of features never before available on any guitar – acoustic or electric. With the iDea, players who write on guitar will have an instantly accessible high-quality digital recorder with them wherever they go. The simple and direct recording control makes it easy to record entire songs or fragments, even vocals and commentary. The iDea can record from the guitar alone, simultaneously from the guitar and built-in microphone, and from an auxiliary input. Any audio signal fed into the auxiliary input is converted to an MP3 file and stored in the iDea memory. The iDea is also a learning tool, with audio lessons pre-installed in the memory. Additional lessons from iDea educational partner,, will be available via download. Guitarists who enjoy jamming will appreciate that several “Jam Tracks” are pre-installed in the instrument, and others are available online.

Downloading fi les from a computer or the Internet is easy via USB. Files in the iDea can be moved, renamed, deleted and rearranged right on the computer desktop. Mixes from recording software, rhythm tracks, even songs the player wants to learn can be downloaded and played either through the guitar output or headphones. The iDea ships the first week of November. For more information, visit or OCTOBER 2008


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Upfront Hal Leonard to Distribute Hohner Harmonicas Hal Leonard Corporation has signed a distribution deal with Glen Allen, Virginia-based Hohner USA Inc. Under the terms of the agreement – negotiated by Hal Leonard Senior VP of Sales Doug Lady and Hohner USA president Clay Edwards – Hal Leonard will distribute Hohner harmonicas in unique packaging to its customer base. Comments Lady, “Hohner is the gold standard for harmonicas, and we are proud to add this venerable line to our

offerings. We know our retailers will appreciate the convenient new packaging, and being able to include these outstanding instruments in their regular Hal Leonard orders.” The Hohner family of brands and instruments also includes highly regarded accordions, acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, mandolins, Lanikai brand ukuleles, Sonor Drums, and Hohner Kids. For more information or to place an order for Hohner harmonicas from Hal

Leonard Corporation, please call the EZ Order Line at (800) 554-0626, send a message to, or visit

Music & Arts serves the educational community with 12 Ed Reps calling on Texas schools and extends its rental reach with a network of 32 affiliates statewide. The new Dallas warehouse, which opened in July 2008, can hold up to 20,000 instruments at a time and also serves as a refurbishment location for instruments returned in Texas and

other markets in the Music & Arts chain including Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. Music & Arts has also expanded its operations in the Boston area. In March 2008, its distribution facility was moved from the former Coffey Music location to a new 8,750 square foot facility to Walpole, Mass., which is 45 minutes outside of Boston.

Music & Arts Expands Music & Arts has expanded its presence in Texas by opening five new stores in the past 12 months and moving into a new 17,000 square foot distribution facility in Dallas County. The new stores in Allen, Arlington, Frisco and Hurst in suburban Dallas and Webster, in suburban Houston bring the company’s total store count in Texas to 11. In addition to its stores,

Zildjian Armand Series Sweepstakes Winners

From Left to Right: Gabriel Goen, Jeremy Goen, Craigie Zildjian, Kerry Grasso, Mark Garrett, Hannah Lease, Carol Lease, Ryan Lease, Dan Dumas, and Simon and Debbie Phillips.

In August, Armand Series Sweepstakes winners Mark Garrett, Jeremy Goen, and Ryan Lease traveled to the Zildjian factory in Norwell, Mass. to select a set of cymbals from the Zildjian cymbal vault. They were assisted and advised by drumming legend and Zildjian artist, Simon Phillips. 12 MMR


The gentleman on the far right of the photo that appeared on page 86 of the September issue of MMR is Arnold Habig, the founder of Kimball International and former owner of Bösendorfer.


Upfront Hohner & Bob Dylan Announce Historic Collaboration Hohner has manufactured and distributed musical instruments since 1857, making it one of the world’s oldest musical instrument makers. From their company headquarters in Glen Allen, Va., Hohner Inc. has been a key player in the US market in harmonicas and accordions throughout the past century. “Since the beginning of 2007, Hohner has enjoyed a marketing resurgence and a return to solid profitable growth” says Scott Emmerman, Hohner’s director of Marketing and Sales. Scott, who has been a sales, marketing, and purchasing executive over the past 25 plus years for industry leaders like Roland, EMU/Ensoniq, and Sweetwater Sound, joined Hohner right before NAMM 2007 “I feel that there is great potential in all the Hohner brands, including our fretted instruments, our wholly owned Sonor Drums and percussion brand, and our Lanikai Ukulele brand. My first challenge was, how to wake up the sleeping giant? The first ‘wake-up call’ to the MI marketplace was Hohner’s introduction of the Steven Tyler Signature Harmonica. I jumped on the opportunity to collaborate with Steven, who as the lead singer for Aerosmith, and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, could put a new face on the Hohner harmonica brand.” In October 2007, Hohner released the Steven Tyler Signature harmonica retailing for $100, which is a replica of the custom harp that Steven plays on stage. “While Steven Tyler is not primarily known for his harmonica playing, his very specific requirements for a harp that would bear his name, combined with the work of Hohner master-craftsman has resulted in a fabulous instrument. This harp delivers easy bending, a consistent, full tone. and lots of volume which is perfect for rock and roll.” In January at Winter NAMM, Hohner released a less expensive version, The Steven Tyler Artist harmonica, which at $39 retail should please Aerosmith fans and hobbyists alike. Along with this NAMM re14 MMR

lease, Hohner introduced two other groundbreaking products, the Hoodoo Box harmonica tube amp and Hoodoo Hand harmonica wireless system, both of which have enjoyed strong sales. After these successful experiences, Scott began exploring options for a new artist collaboration and his first thought was to contact Bob Dylan. During his career, Bob Dylan has won awards for his songwriting, performing, and recording, earning him eleven Grammys (including a Lifetime Achievement Award), Kennedy Center Honors and an Academy Award. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2008, Bob Dylan was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” But Mr. Dylan, known to not endorse many products, has never endorsed any musical product, so would he even consider this project? “It took me almost six months of chasing Bob Dylan’s manager from coast to coast to get him to take me seriously and finally agree to put together the deal,” recalls Emmerman. “We assembled the contract but I had my doubts that it would ever get signed. Then, it happened and we were off to the races.” Bob Dylan agreed to supply several sets of hand-signed, harmonicas that he has played in performance, as well as work with Hohner to create a next generation harmonica based on the classic Marine Band harp, which he has been associated with throughout his iconic career. A striking ebony presentation box was created for the hand-signed product and these products include a certificate of authenticity signed by Hohner’s president, Clayman

Edwards. “Hohner is extremely proud to celebrate the artistry of Bob Dylan, one of America’s musical treasures,” comments Clay. “Throughout his iconic career, Bob Dylan has maintained a special relationship with the Hohner Company and has showcased our harmonicas in his music. At this time, Hohner is honoring that association by offering this collection of limited edition, hand-signed Marine Band harmonicas to the public. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Bob Dylan fans and we hope that those who are able to own these items will treasure them as a reflection of his musical genius.” The actual sale of these limited edition pieces will take place online at www. at midnight, October 29, 2008. “For the Bob Dylan Signature harmonica we produced a really special harp that has enhanced sonic versatility, producing both uncharacteristically warm tones and also achieving a brilliance or ‘brightness’ that allows musicians to more freely express themselves,” says Emmerman. “It was not easy to achieve the standard that Bob Dylan represents and among other things, we gold-plated the reed plate, and used a special wood comb in order to achieve the specific sonic requirements.” This new product is available individually in the key of C, as well as in a set of seven natural keys of A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The harmonica features custom cover-plates bearing Bob Dylan’s signature, a carrying case embossed with Bob Dylan’s “Eye” logo, and an outer gift box featuring an exclusive picture of Bob Dylan in the inside cover. Additional information may be found at OCTOBER 2008

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Upfront Teaching Guitar Workshops Expand The Board of Directors of the Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association agreed to expand the Teaching Guitar Workshop Program to include twelve workshops, up from ten in previous years. The expansion means that 600 school music teachers will receive guitar training through 2009 and 2010. The increase is equivalent to a 20 percent expansion over previous years.

The decision to broaden the scope of the workshops was brought about by Guitar Center’s pledge of $100,000 to the program. It is estimated that the additional 100 school music teachers will introduce guitar to 10,000 children in their first year of teaching guitar. The 12 site locations for 2009 are still being researched.

The Teaching Guitar Workshops were founded in 1995 by members of GAMA and MENC, with major support from NAMM, in an effort to bring guitar instruction to school music. Today, having trained more than 2000 school music educators, GAMA estimates that it has brought guitar instruction to over half a million children.

Tornavoz Is Exclusive US Distributor Of Schertler Mics & Amps Tornavoz Music, will handle the US product sales for Schertler, the Swiss company at the forefront of contact-microphone and acoustic-amplification technology. Currently the exclusive importer and distributor of a port-

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folio of acoustic guitar brands, including Ramirez, Conde Hermanos and Córdoba, Tornavoz will now distribute Schertler’s amplifiers, DYN contact mics and BLUESTiCK under-saddle condenser mics.

For more information on Schertler’s products, contact Tornavoz Music Co. at or (310) 586-1180. Learn more about Schertler at



Band Instrument Line of the Year MMR Dealer’s Choice Awards, 2007

Overall Supplier Excellence Music Inc. Supplier Excellence Awards, 2007

Dealer Support Music Inc. Supplier Excellence Awards, 2008

Companies to Watch NAMM’s Best in Show Awards, 2008

Upfront 2008 Music Industry Award from Texas Bandmasters Association The 61st annual convention of the Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA) was held July 27-30 in San Antonio. At a spirited awards ceremony to conclude the show, Paul Lavender, vice president of instrumental publications for Hal Leonard Corporation, received the organization’s 2008 Music Industry Award. At Hal Leonard Corporation, Lavender directs the product development and marketing of performance publications for orchestra, concert band, marching band and jazz ensemble, as well as instru-

mental books, collections, and methods. He supervises the creative work of the industry’s most respected composers and arrangers, overseeing more than 600 new publications a year. Lavender is also one of the most widely played writers today. He has contributed more than 1,000 arrangements and compositions to the educational and concert repertoire. He co-authored and edited Hal Leonard’s highly successful Essential Elements 2000 method for

beginning bands. His association with renowned fi lm composer John Williams has produced the prestigious John Williams Signature Series, featuring Williams’ authentic fi lm scores and concert music for professional orchestras. The Texas Bandmasters Association Music Industry Award has been bestowed since 2000. Past recipients recognized for their commitment and dedication to music education include Remo Belli, Bill Ludwig, Fred Fruhauf, Vito Pascucci and others.

Winners of Next Gretsch Greats Unsigned Artist Competition Announced The Next Gretsch Greats competition began in May when 879 musical acts from the U.S., U.K., Japan, Canada, Germany, France and Spain entered their original songs at www. . Then, music lovers from around the world listened and cast more

than 55,000 votes from June 15 through July 16 to select the top 10 finalists. Next, a celebrity panel of judges – Chuck Leavell, touring keyboardist for The Rolling Stones; Steve Ferrone, drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreak-

ers; Keith Scott, guitarist for Bryan Adams; and Fred W. Gretsch, president of The Gretsch Company and great-grandson of the company’s founder – reviewed the finalists’ entry songs, media kits and videos of their live performances. They

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the hub of all things yamaha The Hub is the new online multimedia experience from Yamaha. Building on the award-winning Yamaha Podcasts concept, The Hub is a truly unique resource to serve all of your musical needs. With content to complement the diverse lineup of Yamaha products such as synthesizers, recording and mixing hardware, trumpets, Steinberg software, drumsets, digital pianos and guitars, The Hub brings the depth and breadth of the Yamaha family of products into one easy online interface available any time you like. Subscribe to product-specific podcasts and RSS news feeds, download content for your iPhone or iPod, tag videos to your favorite social networking site, grab product brochures in PDF format and reference materials for future use. Access 驶Yamaha Online University始 for product and sales training and certification. The Hub also features exclusive performances, clinics and backstage interviews from world-renowned Yamaha artists. We invite you to explore The Hub of all things Yamaha. It始s all free and easily accessible.

Upfront named the three scoring criteria: stage presence, performance/sound quality and press kit quality. The grand prize winner, Colourslide of Gainesville, Fla., will perform live at Gretsch’s 125th Anniversary Concert in New York City on Nov. 18 at The Highline Ballroom and take home $15,000 in Gretsch drums and guitars. Lansdowne, the first prize winner from Boston, Mass., wins more than $5,000 in Gretsch instruments, and the second prize winner, London Egg of New

York City, N.Y., walks away with $1,250 in Gretsch gift certificates. “Chuck, Steve, Keith and I were truly impressed by the talent from our top 10 finalists,” said Fred Gretsch, president and CEO of The Gretsch Company. “Thanks to the entire Gretsch community — especially the winning Next Gretsch Greats — for helping to continue the tradition of ‘That Great Gretsch Sound’ for the next 125 years.” The Next Gretsch Greats competition is the centerpiece of Gretsch’s 125th anniversary celebration. More information

Sabian Cymbals Available at Universal Percussion Through a special arrangement with Kaman Music Corporation, exclusive US distributor for Sabian Cymbals, Universal Percussion is proud to offer Sabian cast, sheet, and box-set cymbals for immediate delivery. Universal is able to of-

fer these high-quality cymbals at attractive dealer-direct prices, exclusively to retailers. Please contact Universal for more information on prices and ordering. (800) 282-0110 fax (800) 979-DRUM or

about the competition and The Gretsch Company’s 125th Anniversary can be found at and

IBCT Develops New OEM factory in China IBCT Trading Ltd. continues to expand its Chinese operation, with the addition of an OEM high-end guitar factory in southern China. Headed up by Dave Ingham, former production manager of Lowden and Avalon Guitars in Ireland, the new facility will offer clients design, technology, quality, and product management. IBCT will display a number of the new solid top and all solid acoustics at Music China show. These will be fitted with the latest Fishman OEM pick-ups, including the new Ion and Aero systems.

Huge innovation in a new package. The new Vandoren Flow Pack packaging. Every reed we make is now wrapped in humidity balanced packaging resulting in reeds that are factory fresh. The most remarkable part of this innovation is you don’t have to do anything to benefit from it. No special storage, no little bags...nothing. Just put them in the store and watch your customers marvel at the consistency and quality you no extra cost. Now there’s a new point of purchase display availble! Contact your sales representative for details. It’s a huge innovation, but that’s what Vandoren is all huge innovation after another.

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Upfront Trade Regrets: John William “Bill” Davis John William “Bill” Davis, retired president of Kaman Marketing International, passed away on August 18, 2008. He was 78 years old. Bill’s interests resided in his family, his profession in the music industry, world history, and in maintaining a beautiful yard. Always active in his church, he served on numerous boards in churches in Europe and the U.S., and also served as choir director in a Mission Church. He graduated with a degree in Applied Music from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War with the 82nd Airborne Division and while stationed in North Carolina, met his future wife, Betty, on a blind date at Queens College in Charlotte, N.C. In 1954, they were married and began a life of adventure as Bill pursued his career in music, and together raised a family, living in six states, as well

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as France, Belgium, and England. Early in his career, Bill served as sales promotion manager for the H. & A. Selmer Company. For two years he was president of Buffet Crampon, Paris, France and the family enjoyed living in France and traveling throughout Europe. Upon return to the United States in 1976, the family moved to Connecticut where he served as vice president of Sales for Ovation Instruments, a division of Kaman Corporation. He started the International Division of Kaman Music where he served as president until his retirement in 1998. He was a mentor to many in the music field, with deep knowledge of major orchestras and their musicians, as well as performers in jazz and the entertainment industries. A highlight was working with jazz great, Louis Armstrong. Always by his side was his wife of 54 years, Betty – his helpmate and greatest

supporter. Bill encouraged their children to value education, to appreciate different cultures and be citizens of the world. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Ed Miller, president of Kaman Music Corporation adds, “Bill Davis’ contributions to Kaman Music over the years have been substantial and greatly appreciated. In addition to his dynamic leadership of the Ovation sales team in his early days with our company, Bill developed our international business into an important contributor to our overall growth and served as a mentor to many people throughout our organization. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.” Donations in Davis’ name can be made to: West Avon Congregational Church, 280 Country Club Road, Avon, Conn. 06001. To offer condolences, please visit






Upfront Trade Regrets: Henry Z. Steinway Henry Ziegler Steinway, 93, passed away at his home in Manhattan on September 18th. He was the greatgrandson of Heinrich Engelhard Steinway, the German immigrant who founded the company in 1853, and the last Steinway family member to run the company. Born on August 23, 1915, in an apartment on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, he grew up in a family that would dominate the industry during the pinnacle of the piano’s popularity. He officially joined the family business after graduating from Harvard in 1937, building pianos just as his father and uncles had. By the 1940s, he was overseeing three factories in Queens, and he became president of the company in 1955. By then the golden era of a pianoin-every-living-room was over, but Henry’s marketing ingenuity and business savvy led the company to great success. In 1972, he sold the business to CBS and continued as president until 1977, when he was named chairman. He would officially retire in 1980 but not stop working, tirelessly promoting the instruments that bore his namesake. In 1985, CBS sold the company to a group of investors, and Henry continued on as the company’s most visible booster. Up until just a few months ago, he was still showing up at New York’s Steinway Hall on most days and signing autographs at the factory. Last year President Bush presented him with the National Medal of the Arts. Henry Steinway is survived by his wife, Polly; daughter Susan Steinway; and seven grandchildren. A portion of his oral history is available for viewing at MI industry veterans who wish to say a few words of remembrance can e-mail comments to They will be passed on to his family. 24 MMR



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People Korg USA , exclusive US distributor for Korg, Marshall and VOX, announces the retirement of Joe Bredau, vice president Sales and Marketing. Bredau joined Bredau the company in 1989 and distinguished himself over the next 19

years by helping facilitate steady growth for Korg USA and its brands. In that time, he became both a key executive and a beloved company figure. Korg USA wishes him well and salutes his many years of dedicated service and innovation. Bredau began his tenure at Korg USA as National Sales manager. He was promoted

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to VP of Sales in 1990, then VP Sales and Marketing in 1994. Bredau proudly explains that the sales team he helped build during that time had the reputation of being one of the strongest in the industry and consistently exceeded sales forecasts. Prior to joining Korg USA, Bredau spent many years as a musician and M.I. industry sales professional.

Sennheiser announces the addition of Daniel Shawgo and Eric Reese to its southcentral U.S. sales team. As regional sales representatives, Daniel is responsible for all accounts in the Shawgo northern Florida area while Reese covers the northern Illinois and eastern Wisconsin territories. Both report to Regional Sales manager, Rick Renner. Daniel brings over 25 years of experience with sound and lighting, sales, and related industry experience to Sennheiser. Previously he worked as a Reese manufacturersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sales representative for Sales Force and Associations, Inc. In his new role, Eric draws on a ten-year career focusing heavily on installed sound and music industry products. Eric came to Sennheiser from an engineering position at SPL Integrated Solutions, and owns and operates a PA company called Loud and Clear Productions. His career also includes engineering roles at Ford Audio-Video and Peavey Electronics. Additionally, Sennheiser Electronic Corporation announces the promotion of Christopher Currier to associate product manager for Neumann and Klein + Hummel studio systems products. Currier joined Sennheiser in late 2004 as an accounts receivable associate and quickly rose to credit manager in just six months. He now reports to Robb Blumenreder, industry team manager for music industry products. In his new role, Currier supports Neumann and Klein + Hummel products by planning and monitoring inventory levels, assisting with product-related inquiries and collaborating on marketOCTOBER 2008

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ing activities. The Neumann and Klein + Hummel brands are proud members of the Sennheiser Group. A former composition major at the HARTT School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, Currier is also fully aware of how kind Neumann microphones and Klein + Hummel speakers are to musical masterpieces. Currier himself has conducted two a cappella choirs and is an accomplished singer and pianist.

Innovox Audio, Inc. announced that it has appointed Scott Berdell to the post

of vice president of Marketing/Sales. In this new position, Berdell will oversee the development of marketing strategies and support materials, as well as expanding Berdell the company’s sales and distribution networks. Scott will be working out of the St. Paul office of Innovox. Scott Berdell comes to Innovox with many years of experience, having established marketing and sales organizations that built some of the most high profile brand names in the commercial audio/video industry,

sound reinforcement, custom installer market, and various contractor segments of commercial A/V markets. In the past, he was instrumental in building such brands as dbx, Genelec, and Drawmer. In addition he recently worked at OmniMount Systems, where he more than doubled the company’s Commercial sales during his tenure as general manager of Professional Products.

Pearl River Piano Group America has appointed Chuck Clynes to the post of District sales manager for their northeast territory. Chuck has a background in the piano industry with in-depth experience in retail sales and management. He has represented several major manufacturers Clynes including Wurlitzer, Kawai and Samick, and most recently, was a Regional Account Executive with Allegro Acceptance. Ken Ambrose, chief executive officer of Bechstein America, LLC announced the appointment of David Skidmore as the new general manager for the Bechstein Piano Centre in Skidmore New York City. Said Ambrose about the appointment, “We selected David because of our supreme confidence that his extensive experience in our industry will be a valuable asset to furthering the presence of the Bechstein brand, and the Bechstein Piano Centre, in New York and nationally. Bringing him on board is essentially another key element of our business plan now finally put into place.”

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Pictured L-R: Guitar Center Professional Artist Relations/ Account Manger Adam Hudson, Logistics Coordinator Allison Thompson, GC Pro Sales representative Greg Glaser and Account Manager Chad Evans.

Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, announces the expansion of its Nashville facility with three new personnel. Adam Hudson now serves as Account manager and Artist Relations representative, Allison Thompson serves as Logistics coordinator and Greg Glaser is now a GC Pro Sales rep. OCTOBER 2008

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Letters Congratulations on your excellent article, “The Greening of an Industry” in the August, 2008 edition of MMR. It was very, very well done and informative. I’d like to share some of Roland Corporation’s initiatives as our company becomes “greener.” In a recent speech to our employees at Roland Corporation U.S., Mr. Hidekazu Tanaka, president of Roland Corporation said: “For the past several years, Roland has made sure that all of its manufacturing plants are compliant with RoHS and WEEE requirements. This has meant discontinuing some models and dramatically altering the design and components in others. Roland has been striving to make all of our products free of hazardous substances - for example, with no lead or cadmium. “In 2006, Roland Corporation’s Hosoe factory, near Hamamatsu, Japan, installed a solar energy generation system. We estimate that this has resulted in a re-

duction of 44 tons of CO2 in 2007. Where practical or feasible, Roland Corporation is adding more solar energy generation systems to its facilities. “Much of the wood for our digital piano cabinets comes from Indonesia. Roland Corporation is committed to the preservation of the forests in Indonesia. Therefore, we started a dedicated reforestation program in January, 2008. We’re actively replanting trees for future wood production as well as additional fruit trees and bio-fuel plants which contribute to the local Indonesian society. Our goal is to replant over 140,000 trees in 3 years. We estimate that this will result in a reduction of over 10,000 tons of CO2 for over 20 years to come. “Roland Europe (our manufacturing plant in Italy) has re-designed the packaging for the products it builds. The amount of Styrofoam has been reduced or eliminated and other more environmentally friendly packaging materials are now being used.”

So Roland Corporation is not only thinking but also acting “green” and consciously trying to not only bring great musical products to the world, but to respect the earth’s fragile environment at the same time. And thanks again for MMR’s great article! Best regards, Dennis Houlihan President & CEO Roland Corporation U.S.

When I first heard about Best Buy opening musical instrument departments in their stores I was quite skeptical. While they have some very knowledgeable salespeople, many are little more than clerks. In my experience selling better quality musical instruments requires a knowledgeable, skilled salesperson.


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An Open Letter from the President of Petrof Pianos As a representative of the fth generation of the PETROF family, I am honored that the PETROF brand of grand and upright pianos have been a source of delight not only for top-class piano players, composers, students and their teachers, but that they with their romantic and sophisticated tone, have also been touching the hearts of millions of music lovers all over the world for more than 140 years. The awards, honors, medals and certicates we have been awarded are proof that the quality of our instruments is appreciated by both amateurs and professionals. We have always been and will be here for you and I believe that when you purchase a PETROF piano, you will have a life-long friend and an instrument of traditional European quality. The instruments produced by PETROF company are quality conrmed by ISO certicates and comply with the demands of a very broad spectrum of customers. They provide support to starting players, they are reliable for experienced piano players and give inspiration to piano virtuosos. Yours faithfully, Mgr. Zuzana Ceralová Petrofová President Petrof, spol. s r. o.

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Letters As I’ve considered this move by Best Buy I’m beginning to think they may have at least two advantages over Guitar Center. One of those advantages is salaried salespeople. The other is price integrity. Years ago when Best Buy was just a small regional chain in the upper Midwest, they negotiated sales like others in the consum-

er electronics business. As the company looked at how best to grow management decided that going to a fixed price policy was the only way to grow the business and develop strong customer relationships. This approach has obviously worked for the company. It may also work as they get into the musical instrument business.

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I have long felt that Guitar Center’s negotiated sales approach is antiquated and a poor way to develop long-term customer relationships. Coupled with commissions for sales associates it also may be one of the causes associated with the company’s high employee turnover rate. While the automobile business and a few other business segments continue to negotiate sales, most retail businesses, particularly those with a national presence have found this practice to be detrimental to profits and a poor way to grow and sustain a business. Unlike some others, I have a perspective on the Guitar Center’s long-term success and growth. I managed the original Sunset Boulevard store from the mid 1960s until the mid 1970s. No one can deny their impressive growth. But as we saw while they were a publicly held company they struggled with profitability. Now that a venture capital firm owns them my guess is management will be expected to find ways to be more consistently profitable. That may mean re-evaluating their sales and commission policies. Whatever happens it will be interesting to watch as Best Buy moves into what has long been a difficult business to sustain long-term success. I have long enjoyed your publication and your editorial comments. Best regards, George Whalin president and CEO Retail Management Consultants

It was with much sadness that I learned of the death of Bill Davis. During his many years with Kaman Corporation, he traveled the world and was a wonderful ambassador for his Company and the USA musical instrument industry. He was shrewd, had integrity and honesty, and was a kind and friendly man with good humour. He will be sadly missed by all of us that knew him. Yours sincerely, John H. Skewes Chairman John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. OCTOBER 2008

UpfrontQ&A Fred Gretsch Discusses the Company’s 125th Anniversary The Gretsch Company has been marking its 125th anniversary all year long with a series of events, contests, and special commemorative products. MMR recently sat down with president Fred Gretsch III, who’s been at the helm for the past 23 years, and asked for his thoughts on the current state of the MI market, and his family business’ legacy and future.

MMR: Can you discuss some of the company’s plans to mark the 125th Anniversary? Fred Gretsch: We’re celebrating in a number of areas. We’ve released some great anniversary products in drums, guitars, and guitar amplifiers. We were able to look back at some of the things Gretsch did in ’58 [for the 75th anniversary] and in many cases we just did a 125th edition of the same thing. We also launched a search for the world’s hottest unsigned band: The Next Gretsch Greats Unsigned Artists Competition. From seven countries internationally, we had almost 900 bands upload their music since May. Starting the 15th of July we had online voting to give us the 10 finalists based on popular vote. The final decision was made by a panel of judges – Chuck Leavell, touring keyboardist with The Rolling Stones; Keith Scott, guitarist with Bryan Adams; and myself – with the grand prize being an opportunity to play at our 125th Anniversary Concert November 18th in New York City. [see UpFront item on page 18] Really the things we’re doing to celebrate – it’s a worldwide celebration. We did things in Anaheim last January, in Germany we 34 MMR

had a celebration in the big tent in the middle of Messe. On the 11th of August we had “Gretsch Day” at Berklee College. That date was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jimmy Webster, who was a legendary Gretsch marketing guy – he signed Chet Atkins. We established a scholarship in his honor to benefit a deserving student majoring in Music Business/Management. A lot of this is about the Gretsch past, but it’s very much a present thing. We view this 125th anniversary as the first year of our next 125th

MMR: Tell me a little bit about your own history with the company. FG: I came into the business full time in 1965. Right after the Beatles it was really boom times in the business. In the ‘50s it was about accordions and band instruments. When I first was exposed to the business, we had a bunch of accordion repairmen – its like ancient history at this point. In ‘67 my uncle sold the company to the Baldwin Company. He was 62 years old at that point and he felt that was the right thing to do. Baldwin was a powerhouse in the business, much like Steinway is today. I was certainly disappointed, but Baldwin had the money and I was a young man. Every year I talked to them

at the trade shows and said that I wanted to buy back the Gretsch name, but the answer was always “no.” In 1984, Baldwin United went bankrupt – They were sort of the Enron of the time. That was a good thing for the Gretsch people because the piano people bought back that portion of the business and wanted to sell everything else. In 1984 we signed a contract to buy back the Gretsch Company and in January of ‘85 we announced the purchase to the world. Since around ‘78 there had been no Gretsch guitars; just drums. Guitars really were out of production for a good many years and it took about four or five years [after the repurchase] to get it started again. We were fortunate enough to have some of the old management team, some of the old tooling. By the January NAMM show in 1990 we were back in the guitar business again.

MMR: Can you talk about the relationship with both Fender and Kaman? FG: Well first we struck up an alliance partnership with Kaman. They took over the worldwide marketing and distribution for the Gretsch drums. Through the expertise of Kaman they were able to vastly exOCTOBER 2008

pand the product line to introduce Gretsch products at other points in the price spectrum to where it’s eight or 10 times larger than before we partnered with Kaman. Six years ago we struck and alliance partnership with Fender, who took over manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. We license them and basically they had access to our brand, our designs, and our successful history our 50- and 60-year old recipes for the instruments. They’ve gone a very good job of expanding the business.

MMR: Looking back, what do you consider to be the most iconic of Gretsch’s offerings? FG: On the “drum side” of things, I’d say the Broadkaster drums of the 1930s. They really established a tradition. Anyone having those from the ‘30s and beyond… It’s like a fine aged wine or violin – truly an instrument to be treasured. We took those recipes forward and perfected them after World War II and continue to this day. The collaboration with Chet Atkins, which dates to 1954 and which resulted in the Nashville guitar and Country Gentleman guitar and the Tennessean Guitar, would be the most significant development on the “guitar side.” Those three are, again, original recipe Gretsch instruments from the foundation years of rock n roll and popularized by George Harrison, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Brian Setzer, and so many others.

MMR: Your wife is very involved in the company. Can you discuss Dinah’s role? FG: In business, quite often women do most of the work and get very little of the credit. In the Gretsch family, my great

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MMR: Do you have any expectations or hopes for any or all of your grandchildren to eventually enter the family business? FG: We now have six children and fourteen grandchildren, the two oldest of which graduated from high school this year. One’s a drummer, one’s a guitarist, and they’re really interested in the business. Actually, I was recently in the Sam Ash store in Atlanta for a grand reopening and I was there representing four generations with our oldest son, three grandchildren, and myself. OCTOBER 2008

grandfather, who started the business and had seven children, died tragically on a business trip at a young age. His oldest son, my grandfather, came into the business at 15 and certainly his mother must have been very heavily involved, though

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UpfrontQ&A it’s not well documented. In Dinah’s case, she’s a great organizer and good on the computer and accounting and has a wonderful grasp of the business, having been involved from the get go. She knows it as well as I do, if not a whole lot

better. She doesn’t get the kind of credit that goes to the company president.

MMR: As an industry veteran, what is your take on the state of the MI trade

Berklee College of Music joined with the Gretsch company to celebrate the firm’s 125th Anniversary. Participating in the all-day event were: John Palmer; Fred Gretsch, a direct fourth-generation descendant of the founder Freidrich Gretsch; grandson Will Gretsch; Joe Carducci, Gretsch guitar Marketing manager; and Bob Sabelicco, Gretsch clinician.

36 MMR

FG: I see a strong and continuing core demand for our products. That impresses me. Weak demand scares the heck out of me, but I don’t see that at all. I see people dedicated to continuing school programs. As far as the Gretsch family is concerned, the music business has been good to us and now we can give back. Through the Gretsch Foundation, we sponsor the Gretsch Institute, a music, art and dance camp for elemen-

tary and middle school youth and GuitarArt ( an art program where non-profit organizations receive used guitars and turn them into works of art that are then sold at auction. We’ve had a chance to encourage more people to be involved with music playing. I look at Rock Band and the incredible popularity of assimilated music playing experiences and believe that bodes well for increasing the number of music makers in the near future. [See Spotlight on page 46 – Ed]

MMR: Any final thoughts you’d like to share? FG: One thing that I’d like to be remembered for is as steward for the Gretsch business. Whenever anyone thinks of a high quality instrument we want him or her thinking of the Gretsch brand. Mrs. Gretsch and I plan to be at the 150th anniversary, though with others running things, and hope to see you covering it!



Attack of the Simulated Instrument Playing Video Games:

Opportunity or Hype? One Retailer Asks Some Tough Questions By Gary Gand


here has been a lot of talk – and a lot of hype – surrounding the latest video game fad where kids pretend to be rock stars. Many MI retailers want to incorporate some aspect of this into their business. But it causes me to ask some questions based on what the “big guys” are not doing … Should auto parts store sell Grand Theft Auto? Should the business schools sell The Sims in the campus bookstore? And how many kids play Halo, and then decide to enlist in the military? 40 MMR

In other words, does all this game playing really lead kids to actually follow the fantasy into a real life career? That is the question everyone in the music industry should be asking, instead of rationalizing why a simulation of the real thing is good news for the industry. The question is, in fact: does it go anywhere or are games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band just a substitute for developing real talent? Then the ugly question: are kids who have potential talent playing the games instead of participating in the real thing and, therefore, never finding themselves in the future pool of sports, business,

and (in our case) playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band? It’s hard to get excited about the music-playing game craze, as I suspect that the kid potato sitting on the couch will remain there. It is the path of least resistance. I think that music dealers that embrace video games may be deluding themselves by thinking it will lead to real instrument sales. Where’s the proof? I don’t have a problem with music dealers trying to stay in business by selling video games, t-shirts, posters, concert DVDs , or anything else – but don’t tell me that it leads to more instrument sales unless you can prove it with real numbers.

“Does it go anywhere or are games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band just a substitute for developing real talent?”


Ask the sporting goods industry. Have they figured out if these games are the enemy to live participation in sports? They are a much larger industry than we and must have some stats. They probably know a lot more than we in the music industry know. Perhaps they have discovered that it keeps kids in the house instead of on the field and that is bad for business (not that it is stopping them from selling video games, pinball machines, and even jukeboxes – hey that’s a music product!). Ten years ago, many who opened a music instrument store wished he or she had instead opened a Starbucks. Now those same people probably all wish they had opened a Gamestop. But I say if we keep allowing ourselves to get distracted, if we keep trying to be something we are not, the manufacturers will give up on us, like Apple did with computer retailers, and open their own stores. Then we’ll all be thinking back about the good old days when we had all

those great brand name musical instruments and products to sell… instead of organic biodegradable shoes or whatever the next fad is. Here is a facsimile of a conversation I had with a kid at a local Best Buy recently. This kid was at the Guitar Hero display and he was just wailing away on the controller at master level. “Hey, do you play real guitar?” I asked. “Oh, yeah,” he replied without skipping a beat. I fired back: “Then what are you doing here?” “It’s free.” “Do you have your own Hero rig at home?” “No way,” he replied. “This is for [dipsticks].” So there was a kid who really plays guitar telling me that kids that play Guitar Hero are dorks whose butts he could kick, outscoring every one of them. Maybe this industry of ours could convince kids that if they learned to play a real instrument,

their Hero and Rock Band scores would improve! Now there’s a good reason to buy a real guitar and take lessons ....

“I suspect that the kid potato sitting on the couch will remain there.”


Gary Gand owns Gand Music and Sound in the Chicago suburb of Northfield. He and his wife Joan host a regular blues jam at local clubs regularly where only people playing real instruments need apply.

MMR 41




EEWAY² R & HE T R TE F ! G IN O ' ¹7E´RE

NAMM Puts Music in the Spotlight NAMM Advocates at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions on Behalf of Music Education

Note from Joe Fred

(NAMM Member)

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Roll Up to Make a Reservation While it’s fun to GO GO GO during the NAMM Show in Anaheim, it’s also nice to have a quiet place all your own to return to each day. From luxurious high-rise hotels to small, inexpensive inns, NAMM and the Anaheim Housing and Visitors Bureau have arranged for you to get the lowest rates possible on your stay. Visit to reserve your rooms now.

NAMM Vice Chairman Tom Schmitt, Laura Schmitt and For mer Arkansas Governor Mik e Huckabee

ley leading a ation Richard Ri Secretary of Educ the arts at the DNC event on panel discussion

Let Your Voice Be Heard! Every opinion counts—and as a business owner and leader, you have one of the strongest voices in the crowd. NAMM Members are encouraged to meet with local political leaders, school board members, city and county leaders, and the local offices of your member of Congress to encourage formal support for music education. You can also ‘let your voice be heard’ with an e-mail, letter or phone call directly to your leaders in Congress via the NAMM Web site public affairs link at To make your case, you can find lots of music advocacy support materials at


October 2008

ws, aking industry ne on the latest bre keep up-to-date To am . @n MM tal NA igi by kd at playbac published al e-newsletter NAMM News is PLAYback Digit sign up for our

Anaheim, California January 15-18, 2009

Bestof theblog Every Wednesday an MMR staffer blogs about the industry. Here’s an excerpt by group publisher Sid Davis that was posted on August 28th. To read the entire blog, and to comment yourself, go to

Filling A Void


f one were to choose the merchant who made the greatest impact on the retail scene during the 20th Century many names would come to mind ranging from Frank Woolworth to James Cash Penney and Sam Walton. My vote would go to the West Coast supermarket manager who, tired of seeing his vegetables wilt and profits drain, decided to take the aging but still salable merchandise and sell it by the piece, thus was born the present day salad bar, saviour to many a supermarket and restaurant. As the old axiom goes, Necessity is the mother of invention... Just as the salad bar was designed to fi ll a void and preserve a profit, other retail operations have responded in similiar fashion. Garden shops and swimming pool supply houses fi lled their vacant space during the Fall months with holiday offerings and the billion dollar trim-a-tree category became a retail staple. McDonalds extended their hours and the Egg McMuffi n is as well known as the Big Mac, and in more recent times Starbucks decided to take advantage of the compact space afforded by the CD, and despite a recent pattern of declining interest in the album format, have brought to market several exclusive recordings, yielding a higher than average psf sales for the upscale coffee chain. A little more than one year ago Fred Bernardo, owner of the 35 year-old Fred’s Music Shop in Shilllington, Pa. decided to fill a space in the story, pursue a lifelong passion, and serve a need in the community by changing the name and direction of his business and thus Fred’s Music Shop added “And BBQ Supply.” The store has not lost its customer base, and it still sells its share of music products ranging from Fender and Shure to Hal Leonard Publishing and Seymour Duncan pickups. However … Continue to read this blog and others at

MMR Blogs about the MI industry every Wednesday. Go to to see what is “Off the Record” today. 44 MMR



Guitar Hero/Rock Band Video Games: MI Industry

Boon, or Mindless, DistractingFad?

There’s no shortage of opinions, and no hard data, but several ask: “How can this be bad?” The numbers are mind numbing. In January, Harmonix, owned by Viacom, reported Rock Band broke platinum, selling one million units. By May they had shipped a total of three million copies of the game. Also in January, Activision, maker of Guitar Hero, reported to have generated one billion dollars in sales in North America within 26 months. At the end of last year, that game had sold 7.5 million units. That number has moved over the 10 million mark. And counting – fast. Both these franchises are set to launch new versions of their games: Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band II are being released this month and, as the games are still smoldering hot, it’s safe to say that millions of these units are going to fly out of stores as well. 46 MMR

Of course these numbers are just units sold. Many more people are playing the games – the kids, their friends, brothers, sisters, and even parents are drawn to it. So why do we care? Some of us don’t. “We want nothing to do with them,” says MI retailer Stephanie Wilds, of Acoustic Corner, Black Mountain N.C. “They run counter to everything we’re trying to do.” [For more retailer comments, see page 64.] Some are very bullish on it, particularly MI manufacturers who have partnered with these games and either placed their product within the virtual world or are involved on a deeper level. “It goes back to the renewed interest in guitar-based rock,” says Clay Lyons, Fender’s business affairs manager. “The players have OCTOBER 2008

to be inspired to walk into a MI store and what has been inspiring to them lately? Not a lot! But these games are getting the music out. It’s a fantastic opportunity.” It’s permeating all aspects of the business, as many look for ways to make the most of the prospect. For example, in an industry that’s always placed a premium on artist endorsements or creating artist special edition models, how about Chris Chike? Haven’t heard of him? No, he has no albums out and plays with no band, but he’s the Guitar Player III world record holder and Peavey is coming out with a guitar controller that will have his name on it. He’s reached rock star status without ever really rocking.

MI Manufactures Got Game MI manufacturers have jumped in with both feet. The lineup of companies that gamers will be able to grab in-game sponsorship and gear from includes the following: Ampeg, Audio-Technica, EMG Pickups, Ernie Ball, Evans Drumheads, Guitar Center, Krank Amplification, Mackie, Marshall, Orange County Drum & Percussion, Pork Pie Percussion, Regal Tip, Sabian, Vox, and Zildjian, among others. Many are fans of the games on a personal level. OCTOBER 2008

“Oh yes, I’ve played both!” says Clay Lyons, Fender’s business affairs manager. “They are great fun. Both have a pretty quick learning curve, so anyone can plug in and play immediately. A lot of other games you have to play for hours to build up characters and speed … of course it’s worse if you actually know the song in the game on guitar!” he laughs. “When we set it up around here, it was perplexing to the true guitarists at first.” In Rock Band, Lyons says that the drumming aspect is the closest to actual music making, and that the bass guitar “is pretty close” to reality. But the guitar playing aspect suffers a bit. “I’ve seen plenty of people who are good guitarists and terrible at the game because it’s a right brain/left brain kind of thing.” Fender is exclusive to Rock Band. Zildjian is involved in both Guitar Hero and Rock Band. “We were in on the ground

floor of these games when they originally launched and our presence continues with the new releases,” says Brad Baker, vice president/ chief marketing officer. He says they are looking forward to getting additional brand exposure for those that might move “from playing the game to real music making.” “Ludwig’s involvement in the game was very organic,” says Grant Henry, general manager of Ludwig. “Certainly the Ludwig name appealed to Harmonix associates early on. Their need for a tremendous number of drum sticks was one reason. No other supplier could provide the quantities needed and we were glad for the opportunity to help them.” It’s all about a mutual beneficial relationship to Henry. For Ludwig, it was important that Rock Band have a level of sophistication that appeals to both gamers and drummers. (That’s why they have showcased the game in their booth at trade shows, which is always a popular draw.) Grant also points out that the drumming aspect of these games is unique. “If you play the game, you know that one controller is really a ‘GSO’ or ‘guitar-shaped-object.’ While the drum controller is not a drum, the patterns and hand coordination are exactly the same.” And the drumsticks are real sticks. “From our perspective, there is no other real option.” According to Mike Robinson, Evans and Percussion brand manager at D’Addario, Inc., they were proactive in reaching out to all the video game manufacturers and “while this was happening we were contacted by a company representing Guitar Hero,” he says. A complimentary deal was struck. “Evans products will be featured on all drums in Guitar Hero World Tour,” Robinson says. “You will see the Evans logo on all snare, tom, and bass drum heads as you play your way through the game. In addition, players can choose to put the Evans logo on their shirt. We are also working with Guitar Hero on promotions at PASIC and other areas including their Guitar Hero World Tour Bus Tour taking

“We’re talking about 10 million people buying the games. That’s ten million at least curious about the guitar. How can that be a bad thing?” –Brian Ball MMR 47

Guitar Center is “Selling Dreams” Guitar Center has had no qualms embracing the gaming phenomena. They’ve long stocked Guitar Hero, and it’s usually the first thing you see when you walk into one of their locations. Also gamers in the latest version “go inside” one of their stores – at least a virtual version. Clearly they believe in the power of it to create music makers. Executive vice president/chief marketing officer Norman Hajjar sat down with us recently to discuss the reasons, and the hopes, of such a partnership. MMR: When did GC decide to stock the game in their store, and why? Normal Hajjar: Guitar Center has been integrated into the actual game itself since Guitar Hero II launched. So it was only natural for us to take the product into the store, which we started last holiday season. And we did a brisk business last holiday. We sold everything we had. MMR: And now there’s virtual GC storefront in the latest version … NH: Our goal was to create something true to life. Guitar Center, as the official music store of Guitar Hero IV, we will be the destination for all gamers who seek to purchase new in-game instruments, customize their guitars, and upgrade existing gear. MMR: Who contacted whom about this? NH: The developer, Red Octane, contacted us during the development of Guitar Hero II. MMR: Has GC done any cross promotions between buying the game and getting involved with real instruments? NH: Last year we offered a discount on an actual guitar when you purchased the game. We are looking at

repeating this kind of activity. And we are developing specific tactics designed to get a real guitar in the hands of gamers. We want them to trade their game controllers to become rock and rollers this holiday season. MMR: What kind of in-store promotions have you done involving the game? NH: Not really Guitar Hero specific. We have an in-depth promo program that is all about helping musicians find their way forward, deepen their passions, and achieve their musical dreams. We commit millions to the effort. A couple quick examples: We have an incredible contest going now that gives a winning band a slot opening for Motley Crue for their 2009 tour plus a record and management deal. We are also celebrating the 20th year of our Drum-Off, which is the world’s largest drum competition. MMR: Do you have any proof that we’re converting gamers into music makers? NH: We are developing survey research right now to test our strong instinct that the Guitar Hero is helping develop our “future franchise” of guitar players. The anecdotal evidence we’ve seen is overwhelming.

Guitar Center sells dreams, the dream of stepping out of the shadows of obscurity and into the light before thousands of screaming fans. The dream of making music that people sing along with on the radio on their way to work. The dream of expressing yourself musically in a way that emotionally reaches other people. That dream is the fuel that drives the purchase of the gear in our stores. MMR: What is so special in your mind, about these games? NH: Most video games sell fantasy. Killing mythical beasts, conquering armies, flying spaceships, etc. These are fantasies that can’t realistically ever be achieved. But Guitar Hero, on the other hand, is selling a dream, not a fantasy — essentially the exact same dream we sell. It is a dream that can be realized. That’s how Guitar Hero drives our business: it plants an achievable goal in the heart of the player. We held an event at our Northridge, Calif. store last week with legendary rock guitarist, Slash. Slash has, like Guitar Center, been featured heavily in past games. He fully believes it is breeding a new generation of players. Here’s a final quote on the subject: “It’s a natural progression to want to do it for real.”

“Most video games sell fantasy. These are fantasies that can’t realistically ever be achieved. But Guitar Hero, on the other hand, is selling a dream, not a fantasy.” –Norman Hajjar

48 MMR



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“Anything that exposes music lovers to the act of being a part of an ensemble has the potential to make them more interested in learning a real instrument.” –Kurt Heiden

place this fall at college campuses around the country.” An electronic drum kit, by ION and built by Alesis, is featured in Rock Band 2. Featuring four pads, three cymbals and a pedal, the press release on it declares it is “designed to take a proper [Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer] Chad Smith-style beating.” The kit is not bundled with the game itself, and at $299.99, it’s either an inexpensive electronic drum kit or a fairly pricey game controller, depending on how one wants to look at it. “Anything that exposes music lovers to the act of being a part of an ensemble has the potential to make them more interested in learning a real instrument,” says

Kurt Heiden, marketing communications manager for the brand. “With Drum Rocker, nothing is faked. Players are playing a real electronic percussion kit that can be plugged into an Alesis DM5 drum module or Trigger I/O and they can play it just like a real drum kit.” He adds that in regards to drumming, the game does require musicianship on at least the level of playing rhythmically, and that’s an advantage the drums have over the other instruments in the game. “The lack of strings on the guitar puts many musicians off, but the drums and cymbals are no different musically than playing a real kit.”

Minding the (Virtual) Store In Guitar Hero, there’s a virtual Guitar Center store where gamers will find some products also found in their real-life counterparts [see sidebar Guitar Center interview]. “We are thrilled to a partner with Guitar Hero and Rock Band,” says Ernie Ball’s marketing director, Brian Ball. Ball is actually a long time player, and as an accomplished musician himself sums it up when he says: “It provides is the same feeling you get as you’re in a cover band.” Ernie Ball has a history with Guitar Hero. But now for the latest installment, they have a much higher profile. “As the gamer gets better, he or she will have the opportunity to be ‘sponsored’ by Ernie Ball,” Ball says, adding with a smile: “Ernie thinks if you shred, you should have a full sponsorship. Rock on!” Also, the products will be in the virtual Guitar Center store where

50 MMR

players can pick out what type of Ernie Ball strings they want. “It’s cool – there’s a huge variety of selection in the [virtual] store.” While the choice they make won’t affect on the sound, but Ball points out it’s a powerful form of product placement: “When you consider the millions of units the franchise has sold, it’s a lot of impressions.” But he knows that alone won’t turn players into customers. “If a consumer perceives a product is placed in a game solely for the sake of marketing, I don’t think it’s effective. Today we have intelligent consumers. If you’re pedaling burgers in a boxing game, it’s not going to feel authentic. This feels authentic to us.” Helping is Slash’s association with the Guitar Hero and Ernie Ball’s association with Slash – he’s been an endorser of theirs for 25 years. “We were extremely excited when we started talking with Activision about increasing our presence in Guitar Hero 4 with EMG pickups being an upgradeable option within the game,” says Scott Wunschel, EMG, Inc.’s National Sales manager. “Our relationship goes back to Guitar Hero II and it made sense for EMG to be the official guitar pickup for Guitar Hero 4. This brings with it a global branding opportunity that will only bring EMG closer to our current and future customer base. As an industry we need to reach out to new customers through various mediums and bring them into the musical instrument world. Guitar Hero 4 gives EMG and other manufacturers this opportunity. In addition, we are working with Activision to develop promotions that will bring customers into our dealer stores based around the Guitar Hero 4 game. Simply by playing the game, gamers will have the opportunity to find out what EMG pickups are all about. This is exactly the type of partnership that fits in with our direction in branding and marketing.”

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on board, creating controllers and even opening up their custom shop to customize the plastic guitar controllers. “Peavey’s always been a hardware company, creating the physical things you can put your hands on,” explains Tony Moscal, general manager business

development. “We wanted to create peripherals for the game.” He points out that the game’s goal is to create the “rock god” experience, but then you’re holding this tiny plastic toy guitar. “It’s not the real deal, and we decided to go ahead and complete the cycle.”

NAMM Supports Grant To Examine Effects of “Virtual Music Making” NAMM wants answers. The NAMM Foundation announced that it has awarded a grant to Drexel University, which will be conducting research on how video games that simulate music making, such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band, might serve as an inspiration or learning tool for middle-and-high-school students to develop musical skills. The proposed research will investigate the following questions regarding musical video games: Does game proficiency have a positive impact on musical skill devel-

the public school curriculum and in some areas has disappeared completely,” Kim said. “For students within school districts that provide little or no funding for fine arts programs, music video games may represent the foremost form of musical interaction to which these students are exposed. Consequently, it is crucial to understand the impact and the potential for these music games to serve as a learning tool—ranging from the amount of interest the games generate in making music and pursuing music education, to their

“For students within school districts that provide little or no funding for fine arts programs, music video games may represent the foremost form of musical interaction to which these students are exposed.”

Harris Musical Products 52 MMR

opment? Does avid game play lead to the pursuit of other music making outlets? Does interest and regular participation in the playing of music video games affect whether a student seeks additional formal music education? According to principal investor Youngmoo Kim, assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Drexel University, video games based on the premise of simulated music play are indicative of a strong demand within society for some form of musical experience and expression. “In particularly at-risk communities, true music education has been a lesser priority within

impact on actual musical skill development.” Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, said that the research being conducted at Drexel University supports the overall mission of the NAMM Foundation to encourage more people to get involved in playing music. “The ‘crossover’ potential of music video games to musical skill development and literacy has not been studied, and this technology has great appeal for all ages,” said Luehrsen. “This study has the potential to reveal important connections between technology and the innate drive to make music.” OCTOBER 2008

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Their first client was an unlikely one â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Coors Lite. They were taking the games to bars and public arenas, and wanted to have their customers get on stage with a real guitar. Jack Daniels, who they have already partnered with and put their logos on amps and guitars, were doing the same thing. But then for Peavey a controller made from a real guitar was not enough: they had to put together the Peavey Riffmaster Pro System that includes two guitars, a mic, a fully functional Peavey PA system housed in an â&#x20AC;&#x153;amp stackâ&#x20AC;? enclosure with four 10â&#x20AC;? speakers. The 150-watt â&#x20AC;&#x153;amp headâ&#x20AC;? sits on top and houses the gaming console in addition to powering the fullrange sound system. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not for the casual gamer, but marketed toward bars and clubs as that system runs $2,000. Their popular custom shop, which has long allowed for guitarists to put any image they want on a guitar, was opened up for gamers to do the same to their Peavey-made controllers, like a real guitar. The gamer can put a girlfriend, boyfriend, or even his or her kid on it, or any design or image they can supply in a 300 dpi image. But again, this is costing some money, with custom controllers costing upwards of $400. Who would do this? Moscal generously spells it out so everyone can understand, even those who might not be sure who Tony Hawk is, but for sure knows who Minnesota Fats was: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I score 3,000 points on one of these games, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m happy. But some of these kids are scoring 4,000 and 5,000. They then go to different places to play and enter contests. So think about the excellent pool player. Does he or she show up and just take a cue off the wall? No. They come in, open their case, and get out their custom cue. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the way it is with these.â&#x20AC;? Peavey is releasing a controller made from a real guitar for $179 that will be shipping this month. An Indianapolis company called Painted Axe, which mostly focuses on custom art design on guitars, recently announced it is offering four new custom OCTOBER 2008

Guitar Hero face plates inspired by Alice Cooper guitarist Keri Kelli. “We are incredibly excited and honored by Keri’s interest and confidence in Painted Axe,” said Michael Gauf of Painted Axe. “Keri’s notoriety and willingness to think outside the box is another positive step for Painted Axe. We want musicians to know Painted Axe provides unique opportunities for them to connect with fans and broaden their musical expression.” M&M Merchandisers is just now releasing their Guitar Controller Xtreme (GCX). The GCX controller is also a real electric guitar with a real guitar body with custom flame graphics, real tuning keys, whammy bar, and strum bar. The GCX also features a maple fretboard, covered tuners, chrome hardware, black single coil pickup cover, traditional bridge, bolt on neck, five colored fret buttons, toggle power switch, LED power indicator light, chrome select and start buttons, built-in tilt sensor,

accessible battery compartment, and includes a strap. And there are plenty of non-traditional MI manufacturers getting in the game. For example, The Ant Commandos, a provider of wireless video game music peripherals and accessories, is shipping its “Illuminated Drumsticks” Available in two “captivating” colors (flame red and electric blue), they are designed for “anyone bored playing with old-

fashioned wooden” – er, real – “drumsticks.” These drumsticks do require two standard AAA batteries, two more than traditional sticks require…

Creating Music in the Game Line 6 is also in the game, but it has its own studio, a studio where the players can “create” music. Activision actually approached Line 6 about an interesting proposal … “They wanted to allow gamers to actually create songs themselves,” says Erik Tarkiainen, Line 6’s vice president of marketing. The thinking goes like this: as gamers get better, more proficient at least in terms of rhythm and timing, they will then want to “create” their own music. Thus in the new Guitar Hero, there is a virtual studio that integrates Line 6’s guitar tone technology, enabling gamers to use amps, cabs and effects from the POD in the game’s Music Studio. The game’s studio lets players express their musical creativity by giving them access to a full complement of tools to compose, record, edit and share their own rock ‘n’ roll anthems.





MMR 55

Here they can mix and match basic sequences, lead riffs, and rhythms via the game controller to create their own “songs.” “They will of course be able to have access to our many different amp sounds, because as you know, the sound of the guitar can be as much a part of the composition as the notes you are playing,” Tarkiainen says. “Gamers will get to experience what real guitarists get to do.” He sees it as a bridge from the virtual world to the real music making one. “What’s exciting to us is that hopefully tens of millions of gamers will get excited about creating music, not just playing the game,” he adds. “With this, they can see if they have the inspiration to create their

56 MMR

own songs. It’s a great entry point. We are giving them a taste of what it’s like to be original.” For Tarkiainen, it’s one thing to “play” a classic rock song on the game and then want to learn an instrument so that song can be played on a real instrument; but if the game can inspire the player to take the leap and want to create his or her own music, that’s a greater motivating force to learn an instrument. “The payoff is that’s a huge motivator to learn guitar, drums, keyboard, or even go into music software. Up until now, we hope they’ve been playing a plastic guitar and then hope they want to play a real guitar. What I hope will happen is they walk into a music store and say to the clerk, ‘I want to make my own music.’ “You don’t have to spend years learning an instrument to express yourself. You can make music right away. It might not be great at first, but it’s yours.”

Creating Music Makers? But the question, quite literally the million-dollar question, remains: are these games creating music makers? Are kids who spend hours playing these games

getting their hands on real instruments, taking lessons, and forming bands? “These music games are absolutely a plus for the industry,” says Heiden of ION. “In a world full of iPods that only offer passive listening, these games offer a transitional vehicle that can lead to taking up an instrument. The industry should be embracing these games because they will result in future customers by way of those wanting to learn the real thing after mastering a Rock Band instrument. Those who master the Drum Rocker with Rock Band 2 will be well on their way to being ready to drum in a band.” Fender’s Lyons hesitates for a moment when asked if the games are creating musicians. “At this point, any data we have is largely anecdotal. Unless dealers could start asking every kid who buys a starter guitar pack if he or she was inspired by the games and kept tally, I don’t know how we’d know for sure… “But this is the way I look at it: these games are selling millions of copies, and kids are not only playing it, but they are listening to this great classic rock. How can that not help our industry? That’s what inspired us to play … that and thinking it would help us meet girls.


[Laughs] So this is really no different. They aren’t sitting in a beanbag chair staring at a stereo like we did, but they are participating on a bigger level. It’s really just one step closer.” Lyons points out that the game in general is at least better than the shoot-em-up and run-em-over games that are typically popular with the kids. “And parents are playing the game as well. Parents know the music, and now they have something in common with their kid. And the parents have the check book, and they are thinking, ‘guess who is getting a guitar for Christmas.’” Brian Ball has no doubts. “I’m a huge supporter, and I do think it’s good for

the industry. We’re talking about 10 million people buying the games. That’s ten million at least curious about the guitar. How can that be a bad thing? If even 10 percent of them are inspired and ask their Mom if they can play the guitar, that’s a lot of consumers. And I’m being conservative. I think it could be up to 30 percent to 40 percent of people interested in playing music because of these games.” “We really don’t know what the conversion rate is but we certainly believe that the potential is there,” states Zildjian’s Brad Baker.

For Robinson at Evans, this is an extremely important opportunity. “One of the biggest challenges in our industry is reaching potential music makers,” he says. “Exposure of our brand to these the games players is sure to help with our brand identity and credibility as a name that supports new music makers and those musicians who paved the way with the great music you hear throughout the game.” For Jodi Malone, the evidence is in. She runs, a Website that helps parents who home school get their children a music education. “I have big praise for Guitar Hero, and have

Hal Leonard Capitalizes on Popularity of Games “This is absolutely creating an awareness and interest, and we do think its turning gamers into playing guitar,” say Jeff Schroedl, vice president of Hal Leonard’s pop and standard publications. “You have to take a look at the game,” adds vice president of national sales, David Jahnke. “I love the way it mixes new styles with classic rock. It’s creating an awareness of guitar music, and that should lead to future musicians.” Like others, Jahnke stresses that even if one can’t make the leap from playing the game to playing an instrument, the power of the music will surely inspire. He tells the story of recently speaking with drummer/manager of Kansas, Phil Ehart. “I made the comment that I’ve been hearing ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’ a lot lately, which is featured in one of the games. He just laughed and shook his head,” Jahnke recalls. “He then told me that that is one of the main reasons the band was going out on tour last summer – because of the renewed interest in the band the game has brought them! Now they are back on tour playing to a whole new audience.” One of Hal Leonard’s main products related to the games are their Rock Band and Guitar Hero TAB books. They already had those songs in other books, so as soon as they realized how popular the games were, the company contacted the two game makers and licensed the art and name. Then the folios were easily compiled. OCTOBER 2008

It was just November of last year when they released their first book for Guitar Hero. With Rock Band, they had a little more advanced notice of the song list, says Schroedl. “Rock Band is unique because it has the vocal, bass, guitar, and drum parts, and that gave us the opportunity to expanding the product line,” Jahnke says. The book geared toward singers is an especially big hit. And they are able to weave it all into their popular Play Along series that include CDs, which allow the players to slow down the tracks without changing the key in addition to the usual features. They both acknowledged that the gamers doing well “playing” an Aerosmith guitar solo on the virtual stage, then goes out and buys one of the transcriptions, are not likely going to be able to play that solo on a real guitar right off the bat. But they are soon releasing a related guitar method that is built on sim-

plified versions of the songs from the game. Jahnke stresses again that the resurgence of “good” music is always good for the industry. “I remember the early 1990s when Clapton Unplugged came out,” he recalls. “Then rap and hip hop was good for the DJ and turntable markets, and created a new audience in another direction. But now these games are really giving young kids the greatest guitar music of all time.” Jahnke adds that they’ve been talking to a lot of stores since they first brought out the book, and they have been encouraging them to hold in store events. “One of our retailers partnered with the local Best Buy, who brought down all the gear to the store – big screen TV, the gear to play the game, etc. The event got over 100 kids in who received door prizes. But the winner won a year’s worth of guitar lessons. That was something substantial.”

“These games are really giving young kids the greatest guitar music of all time.”

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from their “Wanna Play?” program. “It was a huge success,” she says.

Retailers Score with Game

“What I hope will happen is they walk into a music store and say to the clerk, ‘I want to make my own music!” –Erik Tarkiainen

recently hosted a contest at the California Homeschool Network (CHW),” she says. The winners received a real guitar, and she followed up that event with free 15-minute guitar lessons. By the end of the event, she sold over $1,200 of guitars, books,

and accessories. She’s already been asked by the organizers of that show to hold another Guitar Hero contest at their next convention. Last summer she also sponsored a contest using all the NAMM materials

“I think MI retailers should absolutely stock the game,” Ball says. “If they don’t offer this, it only gives that consumer another reason to go to the big box. In this day and age, independent stores have to carry things of this magnitude. If you’re selling guitars, basses, strings, drums, or keyboards, you really should consider it.” Contests are a great way to drive people into the store, and he even floats the idea of a cross promotion: Buy Guitar Hero or Rock Band here, and when you want to buy a guitar it’s 10 percent off, or you get three free lessons. “They are already curious if they are buying the game.” Fender has had their dealers hold contests, and Lyons mentions a MI dealer Tom Lee Music in Vancouver who held a two-week long event that included preliminaries and then a final contest. Many MI retailers have been skeptical, even negative about the games. Then there’s Mom’s Music stores, which are owned by brothers Mark and Max Maxwell. Mark owns one in Jeffersonville, Ind., and Max

Independent Thought. “ACCESS makes high-quality bags and cases at extremely affordable prices. And we’re very competitive with the Big Boxes, thanks to their independents-only sales policy.” Louis Galper, McCabe’s Guitar Shop Santa Monica, CA

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owns one across the river in Louisville, Ky. Walk into their stores and you’ll see Rock Band set up in their store. “It’s a great thing,” says Max Maxwell. “I don’t know how many come in with their kids to play the game and then want to take lessons.” Maxwell said brother Mark first put up a Guitar Hero rig up in his store for people to play last year, and he thought he’d try Rock Band. “The kids are wearing it out. And if I could sell the games, I’d have them on my floor, but I’ve never really looked into that.” The Maxwells are convinced that it’s having a positive effect on the music industry. They do “Weekend Warrior” programs and he says all the parents have these games at home, and they like that there is a comfortable place for kids to play while they practice or shop. In general, it keeps the store active. “Anything you can do to keep kids in the store.” To naysayers he asserts: “I can’t believe why anybody would be bummed about kids playing music, even if it’s this way. It makes kids excited about the idea of playing [real instruments]. It’s been very powerful for us.” But there’s no shortage of healthy skepticism [see Gary Gands guest editorial, page 40]. Greg McVeigh of Guesthouse Projects, who represents Heil Microphones, has the game in his house, which he says his two young sons constantly fight over. But that’s better than the alternative: “I’m not going to enter their argument because I know that in a few minutes the stage will shift to Youtube viewing or which DVD will be watched this morning. Somewhere during the morning, Disney Channel will prevail and all will be well. All the while, a neat little Strat copy hangs on the wall begging to be called on to play with the kids.” As for MI product placement,“as a person who works in artist relations and who understands the power of product placement, I can see where a manufacturer would see value in associating itself with a game maker. But it is a short-term victory. Sure it is cool to know that millions are seeing your logo or digitized product. But in doing so, that same guitar manufacturer just showed kids that they don’t have to know how to play a real guitar. They don’t need to take lessons, learn to tune, figure out the chords to their favorite song, and most importantly, get to feel what it is like to play rock and roll in front of a crowd. Really play rock and roll. “But, these games are the way of the modern world, and manufacturers will OCTOBER 2008

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have to sort out the short term from the long term. I would hate to see the games take the place of real music.”

Games At Least Good for Rock Music Sales

The Future

National media is certainly giving the games even more exposure than it already has. CNN this summer did a feature titled “Guitar Hero saving rock music?” The report pointed out that only a few years ago, rock music was struggling on the charts. With hip-hop and teen pop ruling the day, rock was finding it hard to be

Asked how much further Fender is going to go with this, Lyons demurred, saying he wasn’t at liberty to speak about specifics, but they are working on some ideas. An entry line of products integrated into the game, with their artist participating will be part of it. Also they are excited that the makers of Rock Band will be exploring country and pop genres in future versions. “We are working with a third party controller company for a replica of our PBass, which gamers can use as a controller. Those will be available by Christmas.” Fender did a Rock Band Truck Tour getting kids in the truck, playing the game, surrounded by instruments. He said one thing he’s heard from the road is that kids are coming in and playing the game, saying they can spend up to four hours a day on it. “We point out that if they spent that kind of time on guitar, they would be pretty amazing players and be in a band.” But the kids too typically shrug as the game offers instant gratification that a real guitar can’t. “That’s the big obstacle – taking the weeks to get that first couple of chords down.” Ludwig’s Grant Henry: “We are working closely with the Harmonix people on new ways to enjoy the Rock Band experience. That’s about all we can say at this time.” “Very simply put, these ‘games’ are dream makers,” says Michael Farley of Farley’s Musical Essentials. “Those with a simple fascination will be weeded out, and the future Guitar Heroes will emerge. It is all about bringing attention to the instrument and industry.” He says the game is a great way to “preach the gospel of guitar,” and that it will instill in gamers a real sense of hunger for music. “I predict that you are seeing the future [of real] guitar heroes, now in their infancy, coming to maturation.” And how much crazier could it get? How about a movie? It was reported at the end of August that the director of X-Men and Rush Hour, Bret Ratner, has approached the Activision about doing a movie. He was quoted as saying, “I love Guitar Hero and I think it’s a part of pop culture. I would love to do a ‘Guitar Hero’ movie, if Activision would ever let me.” It probably will be at a movie theater near you. But will it drive people to a music instrument store near you? 60 MMR

Aerosmith experienced a 40-percent jump in album sales because of the game. heard, let alone played. But Guitar Hero and Rock Band have prompted kids born in the days of N’Sync to be exposed to musicians of the 1970s and 1980s such as Aerosmith, Kiss, AC/DC, Twisted Sister, Jimmy Buffett, and Pat Benatar. The games’ amazing popularity has spilled over and created success in other markets. Geoff Mayfield, senior analyst and director of charts for Billboard magazine, sees a direct cause-and-effect for some of the artists who have licensed their songs to Guitar Hero. “A few weeks ago, when the game featuring Aerosmith came out, there was more than a 40percent increase in their catalog sales. I expect you’ll see that again when Metallica gets the same kind of treatment in a few weeks,” The results have played out at such places as Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, where most teens have grown up on a steady diet of hip-hop and R&B. Recently, heavy metal blared from the school’s darkened auditorium as it sponsored a three-day Guitar Hero Face-Off. Spotlights illuminated the competitors, and an audience full of enthusiasts screamed wildly at the end of each song. Source: CNN OCTOBER 2008


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A Brief Chat with Harmonix Music Systems’ Daniel Sussman


s the developers of the original Guitar Hero games and now the driving force behind the Rock Band series, Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. is one of the key architects of the current music simulation video game phenomenon. Director of Hardware Development, Daniel Sussman has been with Harmonix since before the first end-user ever picked up one of those tiny plastic guitars and began playing along with the classic rock tracks featured in the first Guitar Hero.

“Huge Gateway Potential” “Harmonix has a history of trying to bridge the gap between technology and musical creation,” says Sussman. “A lot of our design stems from the idea of giving people the sensation of creating music; people who, for whatever reason have not had the opportunity to study music.” Does he feel that simulators such as Rock

Band and Guitar Hero lead to folks stepping away the gaming console and picking up an actual six-string? “There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence, but very little hard data that I’m aware of,” Daniel says. “We do get tons of gushing e-mails from fans who traded in their plastic guitar and drums for the real thing. I think that games like Rock Band are gateways to

“The fact is, music games offer a great outlet for exposure for MI companies.” 62 MMR

musicianship. They expose people to a powerful sensation and bring people into a pretty deep connection with the music. That’s the real value.” That deep connection and the staggering popularity of the games has been enough to convince a slew of heavyweight MI suppliers to jump on board – Rock Band 2 is partnered with Fender, Ludwig/ConnSelmer, DW, Pearl, Shure, Sennheiser, Zildjian, E-H, Ernie Ball, Gretsch Drums, Pro-Mark, Vater, Vic Firth, Roland, EMG, Z. Vex, and SJC Custom Drums. “Rock Band is not a music education tool, per se – we don’t actually teach you how to play guitar or drums – but we certainly plant the seed,” Sussman asserts. “That’s really the biggest sell to the MI companies when we talk about licensing arrangements. We make a mass-market product and sell it OCTOBER 2008

“I think that games like Rock Band are gateways to musicianship.”

primarily to non-musicians. That product, however, features music, music history, and musical instruments. The fact that the game-play is really addictive and the barrier to entry is low (i.e., absolutely anyone can play) makes that feature pretty strong. Early on, it was a hard sell, but I think that everyone saw the potential pretty quickly. The fact is, music games offer a great outlet for exposure for MI companies. A lot of people buying the games don’t really know they want to play music. These games have huge gateway potential.”

Made by Musicians, for... Future Musicians? When designing Rock Band, which offered a more true-to-life music making experience via its drum set peripheral, how much thought was put into whether or not such a change would be more likely to inspire gamers to consider taking up an actual instrument? Does something like that even come into play for the guys making these games? To hear Daniel tell it, the answer is an unqualified “yes” – and given that many of Harmonix’s founders and employees are, themselves, professional and semi-pro musicians (I’ve played on bills with at least eight “Harmonix bands” in Boston area clubs over the past few years - Ed.) the statement rings true: “We take authenticity really seriously as it applies to the game experience and all aspects of the game design and art direction. While the guitar is a pretty coarse simulation of real guitar playing, we figured out early on that there was no way we could OCTOBER 2008

make the drum game the same way. There was really no way we could make a drum game without teaching you the rudiments of drumming. Once we realized that, we got incredibly excited about the fact that we were bridging the gap between simulation and actual musicianship. “I’m totally supportive of using Rock Band to get people interested in music and as a platform to sell musical instruments. I am looking forward to working with the MI industry to come up with new ways to bring music and music creation to people. We’re all gear-hounds at Harmonix – it is kind of funny how exciting a thing it is for us to have the opportunity to work with the likes of Fender and Gretsch.”

Daniel Sussman of Harmonix Music Systems and MMR editor Christian Wissmuller. MMR 63


Guitar Hero/Rock Band Survey:

An Industry Divided C

ould there be more differences of opinion? Apparently not. Are the simulated music games “a gift,” as John Spinelli or Seminole Music & Sound thinks? And as Jeff Firestone of Keene, N.H. asks rhetorically: “How can this be bad?” Or, as Spike Klein of The Magic Flute so eloquently put it: “[The games] are like Dungeon & Dragons meets air guitar in Loser Land.” MMR asked MI retailers for their opinions of the video games that simulate music making and the affects – if any – they’re having on creating real music makers. The response was overwhelming. More people participated in this survey than any other in recent memory.

“The truth is that to be a ‘real’ Guitar Hero, it will take a very long time, lots of discipline, and practice, practice, practice!” Have you, yourself, played Guitar Hero or Rock Band?

Some MI manufacturers have created related MI products for this audience. Are you stocking these in your store?

No Comment




64 MMR








MI Retailers Sound off on the Games Not surprisingly, there are as many opinions about the success of the music simulator games as there are MI retailers. Here are just a few of the comments we received from our survey: “I love it!” Tim Kletti Music Go Round Minneapolis, Minn.

“I’m too old. And at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I am a little skeptical of the whole Guitar Hero deal. While I am very aware that they are immensely popular with the younger generation, I am not sure they are driving wannabes into my store. The truth is that to be a “real” Guitar Hero, it will take a very long time, lots of discipline, and practice, practice, practice! I may be missing something but I just can’t get that excited about Guitar Hero. Ray Guntren Ray’s Mid-Bell Music Sioux City, Iowa

“Being a part of this industry for so long, we sometimes forget what it’s like to not be a musician. The kids that play Guitar Hero and Rock Band are smart kids that have just never been exposed to anything musical until these games. Some of them had no interest in playing an instrument at all until these games. I certainly don’t feel that playing Guitar Hero is a prelude to a great musical career, but I think it’s a great step towards helping kids realize it is possible and fun to make music! On the fl ipside, our Guitar Hero competition brought a few kids that are very good Guitar Hero players, but are totally resistant to playing a real guitar ... but they came in, and they brought their parents, siblings, and friends with them. So, when little sister wants to play a flute in school, she’ll go, ‘Hey! I know where a music store is!’” Amy Osborne Arthur’s Music Store Indianapolis, Ind.

“We want nothing to do with them. They run counter to everything we’re trying to do.”

“My daughter, a good violin player, bought Rock Band three months ago. Our whole family is hooked and we sometimes stay up to the late hours playing. Also, we have X-Box live and play with a few regulars on a daily basis. Never thought I’d like such a game. But I have to admit, it’s cool.”

Stephanie Wilds Acoustic Corner Black Mountain, N.C.

John Pedersen Pedersen’s Band & Orchestra Burbank, Calif.

“It’s the best. We have Guitar Hero in the store for kids and parents to play.”

“I personally have Guitar Hero I, II, and III. Very enjoyable! “Our Guitar Hero III competition sponsored by NAMM’s Wanna Play Campaign was a success! It was a month long competition with about 75 entrants. About 30 percent of players had never been in the store, and had heard about the competition through word of mouth, or our advertising in video game stores.

Do you stock these games in your stores?

Clifford F. Lake III American Guitar & Band Maple Grove, Minn.

“I’m not into video games. I would rather spend my time studying music or playing the real thing. “But this is just one more attempt to fi nd the ‘shortcut’ to getting people interested in making music. Why not try

Have you held an in store event involving one or both of these games?

Yes 2% No,

and never will



No, but

thinking about it



and never will



19% No,

but thinking about it


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something revolutionary like using… let’s see… I’ve got it! An instrument. Let’s work with students and help them understand that this is a truly wonderful life-long endeavor and that there really are no shortcuts. Let’s educate people to understand and respect those that have invested the time to learn and value good, honest, true hard work.

Guitar Hero is probably a fi ne video game, but like most video games, they’re a waste of time. “Let’s spend time reading a book or, better yet, spend time studying how to play an instrument!” John Files Bass Emporium Austin, Texas

“I had to play – owing to my teenage children. But if my kids spent half the time playing an instrument that they did playing

Have you seen an increase in interest/sales that you can directly attribute to the game(s)? Yes – many gamers have come in and bought instruments and taken lessons. Yes – a few have come into the store because of the games. No – I don’t think I’ve sold a single instrument because of the game. Not sure.

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21% 46% 23%

What’s your overall opinion of the game(s)?

Best thing to happen in a long time – will create music makers. It’s good because it’s exposing kids to great classic rock, and creating interest in music making. It’s a fad that’s not really going to create music makers. No opinion.

9% 59% 25% 7%


games, they might actually learn to play music, instead of being wannabes!” Donald Zepp Zepp Country Music Wendell, N.C.

“Rock Band has been plugged into our 46-inch LCD TV in the living room for about two months now and I haven’t touched it one time. I would rather spend my time playing real instru-

What’s your overall opinion of the manufacturer’s creating products related to it or for it? It’s a great idea and I hope more take advantage of the opportunity It’s a good idea to get their name out, but won’t do any real good for the industry It’s a waste of time and money and they should be focused on other things that will work. No opinion.

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48% 30% 9% 13%

ments. The kids play it from time to time with no more interest in learning to play a real instrument than before. “How about putting that money, time, and effort into programs that help beginners start a real band with real instruments and put the focus on the independent dealer rather than more big box retailers?” John Bond Ken Stanton Music Atlanta, Ga.

“I don’t hate the games as much as I used to. Some kids actually want to learn how to actually play an instrument rather than pushing colored buttons. “What the Industry needs is for popular music that will make kids want to play live music. While the biggest musical sensation is ‘American Idol,’ kids aren’t too inspired to want to play. From Elvis to grunge, popular music excited young people to want to be in bands. Not so much any more.” Larry Gosch Encore Music Center Auburn, Calif.

“It’s a great game and a fun way to unwind. I think it can have a positive effect on the MI. I actually have made a few new students from these games who are looking to learn the real instruments.” Greg Allen Long Island Drum Center Nyack, N.Y.


“It’s a fun game, and has brought new beginners to our store, but it can be deceiving to young players. It can make them think playing the guitar will be easy! “My son gets excited about learning the songs from the game on ‘real’ guitar, now they are cool, not just Dad’s old music.”

“We have both Rock Band and Guitar Hero set up in our stores.” Max Maxwell Mom’s Music Louisville, Ky.

“I have played Guitar Hero 3 several times and I think it is a great learning tool for younger plays that want to get into the guitar.” Michael Roe Mojo Music Discount Bellingham, Wash.

Jake Biggerstaff Strings Attached Music West Plains, Mo.

“It’s fun, but not a replacement for the real thing.” Scott Karman Main Street Music Marinette, Wis.

“Starting younger kids out on something like this, having fun with it, is a great way to get them into playing a musical instrument.” Jeff Hashbarger Jeff’s Music Shop Kingsport, Tenn.

“Personally, no, I haven’t played them. However my store sponsored a Guitar Hero contest spanning 13 weeks with a big finale. It is a great traffic builder and generates synergy within our company.”

“Instant gratification. It seems so obvious. It has been a very good segue into the lesson program.”

Tony Leonard Playground Music Center Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Greg Maglione Tower Music Fenton, Mo.

“I could spend quite a bit of time with the game Grand Theft Auto, but really, it takes time to be a good criminal.”



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“Guitar Hero sounds like a fun game for guitar geeks and wannabes. I don’t see it impacting our business much but the old codger in me can’t help but be self-righteously amused. It’s like Dungeon & Dragons meets air guitar in Looser Land. Don’t call it musicianship. Don’t call those things guitars. They’re just joysticks, nothing more. “It’s possible that my opinion would change if I played either of these games, but I’m a musician. I spend my free time on my drums!” Spike Klein The Magic Flute San Rafael, Calif.

There is a shortage of iconic guitarists today and Guitar Hero has exposed people to guitar greats. “Problem: Everyone thinks that they should be able to play like they do on the game. ‘Practice’ is a four-letter word. We rely on great teachers to bring the excitement to the students!” Joe Fritz Ridglea Music Fort Worth, Texas

“It’s good because it’s exposing kids to great classic rock, and creating interest in music making.” Bill Sharrow Fretz Music Center Souderton, Pa.

“Nice toy.” Andy Eder Andy’s Guitars Tallahassee, Fla.

“It’s fun, and I like the selection of ‘real’ music they include.” Peter Sides Sides Family Music Center State College, Pa.

“It builds more visual acuity/motor coordination than actual musical proficiency.” Ralph Spoettle KBD Systems Virginia Beach, Va.

“We see several sides of the issue. We have had several students come in and want to take lessons because of Guitar Hero.

“I think this is great for music as a whole. This is why we do what we do, for the music. It’s not about us. “If a game can encourage kids and adults to think about playing music then I’m for it. Also look how many marketing dollars are spent on a couple of games that put the words Guitar Hero and Rock Band in the title. This is a gift if you ask me. And don’t

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“I have seen an up-tick of about five percent in music lessons that I can directly attribute to these games.” be surprised when the day comes that the question is asked, ‘How did you get started playing guitar?’ And the words ‘Guitar Hero’ comes out of the next ‘real life’ guitar hero’s mouth. My advice is, don’t fight it – but you don’t have to embrace it. It’s just a game to some and could be an inspiration to others.

“We’ve stocked the book, but the game’s easy compared to the book, which is hard. In order for the concept to drive new business the in-store product may need to be easier to allow customers to gain confidence in their new found abilities sooner.”

John Spinelli Seminole Music & Sound Seminole, Fla.

Nick Rail Nick Rail Music Santa Barbara, Calif.

“It’s a fad that’s not really going to create music makers.” Dan Yadesky Yadco Music New Versailles, Pa.

“How can this be bad?” Jeff Firestone Retromusic Keene, N.H.

“These products are toy-based. They do not develop new musicians and distract manufacturers from developing ‘useful’ products attractive to musicians.” Mike Rubin Prospect Music Cleveland, Ohio

“I have seen an up tick of about five percent in music lessons that I can directly attribute to these games. However, many of these new students drop out rather quickly when they realize that playing the actual instrument is quite a bit more demanding of time and effort, as opposed to a glorified joystick.” Dave Caldwell Cardwell Connection Whitestone, N.Y.

“It has the potential to increase receipts, so you may as well make hay while the sun shines!” Ralph Spoettle KBD Systems Virginia Beach, Va.

“Like anything which is ‘lightning in a bottle,’ this opportunity has the potential to do really good things for our industry. However, just like any previous opportunity, manufactures and retailers who don’t destroy the idea for a short-term gain will only realize the benefits. Whatever promotion or sponsorship you do has to be planned out to be beneficial for the long-term development of customers and musicians. Nothing wrecks a great idea faster than shortsighted exploitation.” Patrick Reed Funky Munky Music Shawnee, Kan.

“I don’t believe that shoe sales went up for athletic stores because of Madden Football. This is a game and does not mean that these kids will continue or even try a musical instrument. But if we can increase sales because of it I am all for it.” Peter Ellman Ellman’s Music Center Naperville, Ill.

“Students who play Guitar Hero a lot have a hard time taking lessons.” Dale Perkins Perkins Music House Skowhegan, Maine

“If the ‘new’ music makers go to Sam’s Club to get their fi rst guitar, we will lose more people than we will gain.” Eric Hanson Hanson Pro Music Port Huron, Mich. 72 MMR


“This trend is following the Tony Hawk model of years ago. The game at first distracts from the real thing, but a weird symbiosis eventually develops.” Gregg Conser Conser Music Fort Wayne, Ind.

they could not play a real guitar in 10 minutes or less. I could spend quite a bit of time with the game Grand Theft Auto, but really, it takes time to be a good criminal.”

“I have seen people doing it and I thought it was kinda silly. “The few people that have made it into my music shop after spending time with the game were put off by the fact

Rusty Olson Rockhaus Music Milwaukee, Wis.

MMR Blogs about the MI industry every Wednesday.

Go to to see what is “Off the Record” today.

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MMR 73


MIAC Show: Where Flat is Up Canadian MI Show Hangs Onto Attendance Number from Last Year – And Why That’s Good


here were a few more exhibitors to MIAC/PAL show in Toronto this year than last. But a closer look shows that the lower number of MI companies exhibiting was offset by an increase in those setting up booths in the Pro Audio and Lighting (PAL) half of the show, something MIAC executive director Al Kowalenko acknowledged. “Some U.S. based companies didn’t come because of the soft economy,” he said. (Obviously the weak U.S. dollar and comparatively strong Canadian one played a role as well.) He added that while the exact numbers aren’t in, overall attendance to the show was on par with last year – and he’ll take that as a “win.” 74 MMR

From Suzuki: what a $3,000 harmonica looks like. OCTOBER 2008

D’Addario Canada launches new line of accessories, Solutions.

Composite Acoustic’s guitar on ice with some of Canada’s finest beverage.

The Music Industry Association of Canada (MIAC) gathered on August 24 and 25, and friends shook hands, traded stories, and did some business. Expectations of some longtime manufacturers were kept low and they weren’t disappointed. As one major supplier checked into the hotel and was asked how he thought the show was going to go, the reply mustered was only a shrug and a sigh. Some changes were made this year to spice things up. The opening welcoming party seemed to be a hit. The “007 Casino Royale” theme featured gambling with “MIAC money,” with proceeds going to Coalition for Music Education in Can-

Griffiths of the reception. “Last year we had a jam, which is fun if you’re the one jamming. And if you wanted to talk, you

ada. Those that attended had fun, though it seems for many the opportunity to gamble for charity was not going to tempt them into becoming professionals. “The party was great,” Gemstone’s Bob Berheide said the next day. “For me it was a very exciting 45 seconds and then I lost all my ‘money.’ All it took was about three tries at the craps table ….” “I lasted only a few minutes longer at the roulette table,” cracked associate Allan Ash. Ash and Berheide confirmed that they were going to keep their day jobs, thank you very much. “It was a lot of fun,” said MIAC president and Garrison Guitar luthier, Chris

“The economy in general is hurt by the dollar, and then there is also the lack of tourism caused by the stricter passport restrictions. But housing here is not an issue here like it is in the U.S.”

Behringer’s Brian Maxwell and Michael Deblois OCTOBER 2008

JA Musik’s Phyllis Kohnlenberg and Sal Cardello

The Canadian Economy By the Numbers Z

Population: 33,223,840


Unemployment rate: 5.8 percent (a 33-year low).


Prime interest rate: 4.75 percent


Federal debt: one $467,268 million


GDP for the year: +2.7 percent


Real final domestic demand has risen 6.9 percent (an 11year high).


Residential investment has risen 2.4 percent


New construction activity is 5.4 percent, from 10.2 percent the previous quarter.


Spending on renovations rose 5.0 percent


Consumer price inflation is 1.8 percent

Source: Department of Finance Canada MMR 75

Fernand Lapierre and Doug McGarry (Roland), Ed Vodicka (Web Only Piano) and Pierre Circé (Roland)

Lilliana Urosevic of Saga

Peterson’s John Norris

had to walk out of the hall. This party allowed people to network and have fun.” So much fun was had that while it could have gone on longer, they had to fi nally shut the proceedings down at 11:00 p.m. The gala the next evening was well attended. The highlight of the evening came when MIAC presented its new Advocacy Award to Fran Herman from the Canadian Music Therapy Association. A longtime advocate for the healing power of music, Herman’s speech put her passion for music on display — it was both touching and inspiring.

Vaino Gennaro, Anne Joyce, and Charles Boisvert of Sennheiser

76 MMR

Chris Rausch and J. Hayes of Paul Reed Smith

Amber Carroll of Kjos

Charles Dumont’s Alan Ward with Mel Bay’s Denise Kantola and Jeff Ponte

Notation’s Mark Urmos

The Canadian Economy: All a Wash? Trying to get a handle on the Canadian economy brings to mind that old Indian legend: three blind men were asked to describe what an elephant is like: the one who was grabbing the trunk, said it was like a snake; the one who was grabbing the tusk, said it was like a spear… you get the idea. David Harvey, owner of Musician’s Choice in Toronto, said that the Canadian economy in general is just okay, solely because of the influence of the U.S. economy. “Canada is like an echo to the

Allan Ash and Bob Berheide of Gemstone

NAMM’s Eric Ebel

U.S., and whatever is going on there is felt here in some way.” His year was fine, but not great, and this was despite an amazing housing boom going on in Toronto, with hundreds of condos rising from the

What’s a trade show without a guy in a kilt? Jim Scott of Scott’s Highland Services entertains everyone in ear shot OCTOBER 2008

MIAC president Chris Griffiths at the MIAC gala dinner

downtown asphalt in a manner almost unimaginable in the U.S. “Canada is doing a lot better than the U.S. economically – not terrific, but better,” said Jim Scott of Scott Highland. “The U.S. market is very tough. We just did a Irish trade show in New Jersey and it had half the dealers as last year.” Scott owns the Ontario-based company that specializes in Irish and Scottish instruments and accessories, and he confirmed what many Canadian-based companies were saying: they were doing great in Europe and Australia, and that was making up for the loss of US sales. “Retailers in Canada are doing the same if not even well, but the same can’t be said for all the Canadian manufacturers,” said Larry Manford, Yamaha Canada Music. “The economy in general is hurt by the dollar, and then there is also the lack of tourism caused by the stricter passport restrictions. But housing here is not an issue like it is in the US, and there’s an oil boom in Alberta providence. In the west, they are benefiting from preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver.” He adds that the MI business in that area is doing especially well because of pro lighting and audio needs related to that big event. “And even the Saskatchewan area is benefiting beOCTOBER 2008

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Highlights from the “State of the Industry” Meeting Taking a well-worn page from NAMM’s playbook, MIAC this year instituted a “state of the industry” breakfast meeting for the morning of the first day of the show. A collection of respected industry members including Jeffrey Carman (Erickson Audio), Julio Costelleso (Steve’s Music), Jim Norris (publisher of Canadian Music Trades magazine), Sam Gair (Second Encore Music), Larry Manford (Yamaha Canada Music), and Jack Long (Long-McQuade and Yorkville Audio). “Interest in music has grown,” Long observed. “Another change is that the [new music makers] are older now. It used to be teenagers and people in their early 20s. Now we have lots of customers in virtually every age with the average age being much older than it used to be.” He added that the older person tends to have more money “and the money tends to be cash,” as opposed to music stores having to help the customer try to finance the purchase. Erickson’s Carman noted that the quality of products out of the China and the low prices are beneficial to the customer: “It used to be a pair of studio monitors were $1,200, but now you can get good ones for $399.” Specifically to Canada, he said the relatively strong, and that’s been a boon at least to the pro audio side of things: “They are spending money to improve infrastructures – courtrooms, for example, are getting new audio installation.” “In general, we are seeing the [U.S.] states struggling,” Yamaha’s Manford said. “Europe is progressive, markets in Asia are emerging, and that’s balancing the equation.” The weak U.S. dollar against the growing strength is “a huge challenge for everyone in this room, and it’s cost our company a substantial amount of revenue. We sell more quantity to maintain levels.” Long caused a lot of heads in the room to nod in agreement when he

later declared: “The U.S. is supposed to be in recession, but in music it’s not all bad. I think Canadian dealers are better – I think they are a little smarter. [laughs] Canadian dealers have a different approach to business and more success. The quality of the retailers in a lot of towns in the U.S. is weak.” Carman advised retailers to seek help from manufacturer’s representatives. “These guys can be a great ally for you. I see it everyday that dealers working closely with their reps get more help – it can be as simple as discussing co-ops, asking if terms can be changed, help with merchandising and marketing – a good rep can help you with all sorts of things.” Costelleso advised: “Stay focused on the products you know how to sell. Don’t get into selling things you don’t know about.” Manford urged that it’s not all “doom and gloom” and there’s “a lot of business out there.” He pointed out that the retailer who is sensitive to the ethnic makeup in the community, which is undoubtedly changing. “Immigrants, particularly the Chinese that are moving here, highly value music and music education.” Though the biggest applause line came from retailer Scott: “Pay suppliers on time.”

“I think Canadian dealers are better – I think they are a little smarter.”

78 MMR

MIAC’s executive director Al Kowalenko introduces the panel of retailers and suppliers at the “State of the Industry” breakfast. OCTOBER 2008

cause of the need for [the mineral] potash is in high demand. “But at the end of the day, it’s all a wash.” While Canada is not economically hurting, Manford points out that in good times or bad, MI business is always at least stable. He credits this in large part to the music advocacy groups, particularly the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, which Yamaha is very involved in supporting.

Hitting the Floor “Where are the people?” asked one manufacturer, exhibiting for the first time. “Why are we here?” laughed another. But Peter Stairs of Sabian reported a good show, and said that, to him, it seemed that attendance was up. “When you add all the people in the other hall at any given time, it’s a good crowd,” he said, adding: “But I can remember back when it was all in just one room.” The “100” aisle was particularly crowded throughout the show, as this was home to the majority of guitar makers.


Roland supplied great entertainment on the show floor.

For Composite Guitar, this was their first MIAC, and the company’s vice president of business development, Laurie Abshire, came prepared to catch the attention of the crowd: her booth featured a tub of Molson Canadian beer on ice. Sharing the tub with the fine lager was one of their guitars, buried in the ice, to make the point of the carbon fiber material used to make their instruments. “Canada needs our instruments!” she exclaimed. “With this weather, the abil-

ity for our guitars to stay in tune and withstand any elements would certainly be advantageous.” She was showing of their new “Xi” model, which she said she wrestled from her guys in R&D on the way out the door to MIAC. She also let it be known that at January’s Winter NAMM show, they will be showing off a new acoustic bass. Martin reported a good show, and Bruce Mariano explained that they use MIAC as an opportunity to show off new products

MMR 79

D’Addario booth gets a lot of interest for its new traveling instrument line.

Hal Leonard’s Brandon Mathieus and Luke Edstrom

that they debuted at Winter and Summer NAMM shows. On display and getting a lot of buzz was something big that came in a small package: to celebrate their 175th year,

they packaged three sets of strings with a T-shirt, only the T-shirt was compacted in a square so much it was barely bigger then the package that held the strings (the com-

Laurie Abshire of Composite Acoustic and the new CA Xi

Jim Scott of Scott’s Highland Services

80 MMR

Tim Bronson and Vincent Matino of Alfred

pany that did the packaging is appropriately called “Simply Smashing”). “It’s been a huge hit not just in North American but globally, and we’ve sold about 60,000 units,” Mariano said. “It’s been five or six times more successful then we even thought it would be, and might just be our best promotion in the history of the company.” Larrivee Guitar’s recent foray into creating electric guitars is going “better than expected,” said Larrivee’s Rick Thompson. Berthold Neidhardt of German The solid-body guitars are made with all high-end components, American Trading Co


Mark Owen and Keith Willis of Indie Guitar Company

Power’s Earl Johnson and Ron Larcombe

and are doing well for the dealers carrying them. From MIAC, Thompson said he’s off on a world-wind tour visiting all their dealers, including in the U.S., through the end of November. “It’s a big job ahead of us, but we’ve done this kind of thing before.” Power Group is continuing to bring out more guitars and basses under the Highland name, and president Ron Larcombe said they are doing well. “We design with familiar shapes in mind, but they come out unfamiliar,” he said. “Our headstocks at first glance look like any others, but on closer look, like no others. We like taking that approach with everything we do.” Larcombe said he’s proud that his Chinese-made instruments are of high quality yet coming in at price points that make them more accessible. A $3,000 arch top, for example, is not something that the average consumer does easily. “But with our Titan at $799, you don’t have to even think about [purchasing] it. You’re going to feel good about buying one of these instruments.” He adds that while others back away or hide the fact that their instruments in China, “we embrace it” because it’s allowing for better instruments at affordable prices. Larcombe, who last year was president of MIAC, said he’s been able to focus additional time on the company’s many lines, June Doyle and Arnold Davidson of D’Addarrio Canada

Larry Manford, Yosuke Nikami, and Robert Barge of Yamaha OCTOBER 2008

MMR 81

Breezy Ridge/John Pearse Strings: Spafford Lewis, Carol Long, Dave Voino, and Mary Faith Rhoads-Lewis

and will be attending Winter NAMM with a bigger booth to promote the Highland instruments to the US market.

World’s Most Expensive Harp? Arnold Davidson of D’Addario Canada smiles broadly when he shows off a pretty special Suzuki harmonica – it retails for $3,000. “We have harmonicas for

82 MMR

Mario Biferali, Robert Godin, and Gerald Da Sylva of Godin, with JeanPaul Yergeau of Le Palais de la Musique in St. Jean, Quebec

$9.95, and then this $3,000 … and with this one, I only have to sell one!” he jokes. Actually, it’s a serious high-end instrument that Stevie Wonder currently plays and, while the price point might raise an eyebrow at first, it actually can do well for a dealer if he or she stocks it. “If you stock it, you will sell it,” said the soft-spoken Davidson with a smile.

Also the D’Addario booth was abuzz with their newer Beaver Creek guitars, small travel instruments in bright colors priced attractively. These he hopes to introduce to the US market soon. D’Addario Canada has also launched a new line of accessory products called Solutions. These lower-end drumsticks, guitar bags, drum keys, et cetera are


Yorkville’s Shale Leech, Ken Kucharic, Ian McRae, Owen Connell, and Liette Comeau-Mercier

Martin’s Tony Manzi, Bruce Mariano, Tim McNair, and Duane Robar

aimed for those beginning to play, and the product line is doing well so far. Meinl’s Juan Berrios was defi nitely one of the more enthusiastic exhibitors at the show. “It’s a great show for us,” Berrios said. “But the last two years we’ve been up more than 30 percent, and so more retailers continue to become interested in trying our cymbals

and instruments, and once they do, they do well with them.” CE Distributions was another company exhibiting for the first time. The company deals in guitar parts and ships them all around the world. The Arizona-based company was hoping to take advantage of the weak US dollar and get his products in the hands of more Canadian dealers.

Larrivee’s Rick Thompson and Ben Thompson

SF Marketing celebrates their 30th Anniversary with a cake and a band.

Meinl: Adam Anderson and Juan Berrios

Levy: Bob Richards, Tom Levy, Frank Bresee, Harvey Levy, Jeff Bard, Amy Pitt, Glen Booth, and Jerrome MacPherson.


The company is the exclusive distributor of the Jensen Speakers and that alone was bringing many into his booth. At the Gemstone booth, the Brio lines of flutes were being well received, Ash and Berheide testified. Having Greg Pattillo, the extraordinary flutist who is one of YouTube’s biggest stars on board is helping to create high visibility for

James Warburton, professional musician, and brother Terry of Warburton Music Products, were on hand helping out Hunter’s Paul Chu.

MMR 83

Sabian: Kevin Laskey, Peter Stairs, Terry Ryan, Bob and Willi Zildjian, and MMR’s Kevin Mitchell

the instrument with young players, they confirmed. Ash was also showing off effective merchandising tools that help dealers explain to customers quickly and easier which instruments step-up students all the way up to professional. Peterson’s Body Beat garnered attention. “It’s like that teacher tapping the beats on your shoulder,” said John Norris of the body metronome. “And people think it’s just for drummers, but that’s only 30 percent of our market. All musicians are doing well with these, and teachers love them.” Harvey Levy of Levy’s Leather also confirmed it was a good show … how good? “Somebody else asked me that a while go,” Levy said when asked if this show was better than last year. “They all can blur together for me!” he laughed, then added: “But these shows are always good for us, and this one is no exception.”

Over in the PAL hall, things were buzzing the entire show. Sennheiser was reporting a great show, which director of marketing Anne Joyce attributes to the “new neighborhood.” “We used to be over there,” she said, motioning toward the MI hall. “But we felt we belonged in the PAL hall, and ever since we’ve moved here, it’s been great.” The Sennheiser booth was indeed hopping, and there was a great deal of interest in their showing ARRAY products, which are amazingly small speakers from Italy that pack a lot of punch. These products aren’t even available in the US yet. A highlight on Monday outside the convention center, SF Marketing celebrated its 30th anniversary with cake, a terrific band, and a beer tent. Suffice to say those in attendance at that party could agree the show certainly ended on a high note.

Larrivee’s electric guitars got a lot of show buzz.

Tri-Tech’s Andy Kamentz and James Patterson

“These shows are always good for us, and this one is no exception.”

84 MMR


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K&M Stands: German Quality, Earth Friendly While Most of Their Products Come In Black, It’s Really All “Green”

For K&M Stands, it’s first and foremost about being responsible.

Gabriela König

“Our production techniques and machines have been improved and refined specifically to provide for an economical handling of energy.” 86 MMR

It is in fact the very first thing K&M’s Gabriela König wants you to know about her company. And she encourages their position on this important issue be conveyed to the end user: “Our retailer can assure their customers that each K&M product is produced in a responsible way,” she says. “Furthermore our products are well known for their longevity and the first-class quality of the materials used. This quality provides not only for satisfied customers, but also for an effective use of raw materials, and therefore reduced environmental impact. A contributing factor is our long standing replacement service, which leads to products not being thrown away, but rather to be used further.”

History For almost 60 years, K&M has been one of the leading manufacturers of musical equipment.

The company’s history goes back to 1949 when Karl König and Erich Meyer founded the organization in Wertheim, Germany with 10 employees. Just two years later, business had grown to 60 employees, and was serving retailers beyond Germany’s borders. The company produced music stands and measuring instruments at that time. In the next few years microphone stands and instrument stands were developed. In 1968 Martin König succeeded his father, Karl, and at this point the business employed 160 workers. In 1969 a second factory was built where the production departments like punching, galvanizing, tool shop, powder coating, welding, and assembly are located. In the 1980s and 1990s K&M was growing, and more product groups were added like keyboard stands, 19” racks, speaker, and lighting stands. In 1998 they were awarded the EU environOCTOBER 2008

ment audit certificate emphasizing efforts taken to protect the environment. K&M celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1999 with a joint excursion by staff and management to the U.S. In 2004, a new powder coating plant and new galvanizing lines were built. In 2006, a laser for cutting tubes was put into operation which has opened new and more flexible manufacturing possibilities. In August 2005, a new managing team was formed. Gabriela König, daughter of Martin König, became responsible as managing director for sales, marketing, IT, and controlling. Heiko Wolz became managing director for production, and Martin stayed on as managing director for strategic tasks. Prior to joining K&M, Gabriela König worked for a state-owned research center, but was drawn to the family business and joined K&M in 1996. Today about 250 employees produce 1,500 products which are exported to more than 80 countries. Not surprising, she’s proud of the much-admired German engineering that goes into their products. “We maintain an uncompromising quality management according to ISO 9001, use firstclass materials, and offer high-precision workmanship,” she says. They also have in their catalog benches and drummer thrones, multimedia equipment, and music accessories. Most recently they are shipping their Spider Pro Keyboard Stand, Memphis Pro Guitar Stand, Jazz Sax Stand, and Gomezz drum throne, among others. New York-based Connolly & Company is K&M’s U.S. distributor, catering to over 500 retailers today. While it’s a competitive field, König says there are several ways that K&M sets itself apart from others. “We have the ability to service commercial and professional users with a premier brand which is oriented to value defi ned by function, innovation, durability, safety, and protection of the environment,” she says. “Small return ratios provide for both retailer and end customer satisfaction.” In times of ever shrinking margins, the products offer solid profitability for retailers. And their ability to offer spare part service is also something that is harder to come by these days. Not to say there aren’t challenges: “A soft U.S. dollar makes it a little difficult for us as the product gets more expensive OCTOBER 2008

for the customer,” she explains. “We try to absorb some of the price increases ourselves and work closely with our distributor to find solutions. Right now the dollar is getting stronger again which helps us with our export business.”

Green “We are convinced that a company can only be successful in the long run if it takes care on the environment and looks for every possibility to save energy and resources,” König says emphatically. German companies are in fact ahead of the U.S. on this issue primarily because the government there has been on the cutting edge of this movement long before many others even acknowledged it was important. Germany was one of the

first countries that supported renewable energies, for example. But the U.S. is “catching up” and one state is even emerging as a leader: “California has one of the world’s leading environmental programs,” she says. “A lot of new ‘green’ companies are founded there.” König is proud of the company’s accomplishments in this area. “Even when the issue was not mainstream, the consideration of environmental protection has played an important role for K&M early on.” In the 1970s, forward-thinking decisions were taken like the installation of a modern wastewater treatment plant. By means of technical and organizational measures, they reduced their water consumption by 94 percent within the last 26 years. The environmental impact of every action is taken under consideration in the plant. In fact, extra care is taken during the products’ design process so that parts are easily removable, and can be recycled when they have reached the end of their lifespan. “Through extensive measures over the past several years, we have succeeded in continually reducing the environmental effects of our operations.” Even how parts are cleaned is taken in consideration: They don’t use cleaning chemicals that contain CFC or CHC

MMR 87


John Pearse Fancy & Exotic Picks


agents. In the production of synthetic materials they exclusively use materials free of plasticizers. The varnishing of the components takes place in their modern powder-coating facility, which in comparison with a wet varnish process, is a much more efficient and environmentally friendly procedure. “Our production techniques and machines have been improved and refined specifically to provide for an economical handling of energy, notes Köenig. A stateof-the-art wood-heating installation has recently been added to the operation, and each building is optimally insulated.” Management doesn’t pretend to have all the answers either, and turn to their most valuable resource: the people who work with them. “We have something called the K&M Idea Initiative, which offers everyone an opportunity to submit suggestions for improvement measures,” König says. “This has been created to motivate our staff to engage directly in the improvement of the production procedures. Staff members even earn a fi nancial share of the economic benefits derived for K&M from their suggestions.” Despite all this, however, König & Meyer is by no means content to rest upon its laurels. “With the help of a consultant, we have built up a comprehensive health and safety management system in recent months as well as an action plan for worker safety. Among other things, several workstations will be ergonomically overhauled and a noise reduction program will be implemented in several departments. In autumn, we will strive for the certification of our health and safety management system by the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association with the quality seal Sicher mit System (‘Systematic Safety’).” 88 MMR

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Zelinsky Leaves Dean, Launches DBZ Guitars Entire New Line – Including Acoustics – Out By January

Dean Zelinsky, founder of Dean Guitars, has departed that organization and launched a new guitar company, DBZ Guitars. “It just wasn’t working any more,” Zelinsky said of his former company. “It’s time to move on. I wish them well, but I really needed to be CEO of a guitar company again and have total control over things.” Zelinsky, who has been making guitars since he was 18, had already left his own guitar company once before, in 1986. Current Dean Guitars presidint,

Elliot Rubinson lured him back to the fold in the late 1990s. In July Zelinsky left again, only this time he launched a new company. He already has a new model out under the moniker DBZ Guitars, and promises a full line of new six strings – including acoustics – to be shown at January’s NAMM. “I will continue to make heavy metal guitars, but we’re also going straight down the middle, and we will be making round guitars that compete with Gibson, Fender, and PRS.” Zelinsky promises that his new brand will be for, and only to, independent retailers. “The guitars won’t be in Guitar Centers,” he said.

“I have teamed up with Jeff because his proven business savvy is critical. Guitar brands are not built everyday.” Dean adds that he’s long been a personal fan of Diamond products before he met Jeff Diamant: “I was in a store one day literally trying to sell Dean guitars to dealer, when I just happened to pick a Diamond amp to play through. And not to diminish the guitar, but that amp sounded so good that anything could play through it and sound great!” A year ago the two spoke and started up a friendship that then turned into a partnership. “Dealers and distributors worldwide are already calling and vying for exclusive rights to DBZ/Diamond,” said Diamant. “Simply, together we can do more than we can apart. Diamond will not be changing its current vision or plan. We have a vision for DBZ and a vision for Diamond.”

“I really needed to be CEO of a

guitar company again and have total control over things.”

Partnering with Diamant

Dean Zelinsky 90 MMR

Zelinsky has partnered with Diamond Amplification owner Jeff Diamant, (who is now also president and COO of DBZ Guitars), and Diamant’s partner, Terry Martin. “Jeff and I share a vision for DBZ, and see eye-to-eye on how this industry should be serviced,” says Zelinsky.


Zelinsky says that while proud of his work with Dean, he felt too pigeon-holed in the heavy metal “pointy guitar” mode. “I embrace the metal world, but it just felt that I was limited,” he says. “DBZ will be in every category. And we won’t be the $99 guitar company. We’ll be more upscale.” Going forward also means reaching back: one of the new guitars coming out at the first of the year will be based on a design he’s wanted to do since the 1980s, he said. He’s aware of his challenges – not only in going up against his former company, but in bringing something new, but not “too” new to the players. “The guitar happens to be the single industry that resists technology the most,” he says. “It resists technology and change. It always comes down to a beautiful piece of wood, hot pickups, and some knobs. The challenge is to come up with technology for guitars that can be accepted by players and be marketable. “We are bringing a radical approach to every aspect of DBZ Guitars; guitar design, marketing, advertising and distribution, while retaining traditional and elegant styling and feel. This industry is stuck in the Dark Ages — it needs another shot in the arm.” Given that Dean guitars are so iconic, that you can spot one from across the floor the second you walk into a guitar shop, he was asked how much his new guitars will differ from that style and how much they will be similar. “Every time I’ve designed a guitar, it starts at a point of thinking about how I can improve on it,” he says. “I’ve been able to do it before, and also it’s not a big deal to start with a V stock for a guitar.” The first guitar from the company is in fact a

“V”-shaped one. DBZ Guitars will be based in Zelinsky’s hometown of Chicago, but will “have a presence” in Houston, home of Diamond Amps. The guitars will mostly OCTOBER 2008

“The minute we heard the CHIMERA we knew it was something special. You can drive the output hard and it takes it, while giving back a thick in-your-face tone. It’s so flexible, I wasn’t reaching for any EQ. I’ve never come across a pre this good on so many sources!” Brett Chassen, Engineer/Producer George Lynch, Tony Iommi, Billy Gibbons

Jeff Diamant

be made overseas, and he says they’ve already sourced a company to build there. “The production line is getting up and rolling,” he says. “The new guitars will have a great new design that will appeal to my fan base.” There will also be some USA made “custom shop” models made in his own facility as well. The DBZ Web site, currently revealing only a glimpse of the new line, also includes the “DBZ Guitar Forum” where Zelinsky will be interacting once again with his fans online. It remains to be the seen how much of the extensive fan base that Dean Guitars has built up, fans that are known for their fever for those “pointy” guitars, will make the transition to DBZ.

CHIMERA Single Channel Preamplifier / DI Box

Rubinson on Dean “There is only one true story, and that is that on May 2, Dean Zelinsky was let go,” says Elliott Rubinson, CEO of Armadillo Enterprises, which owns Dean Guitars. Rubinson emphasizes that the quality of Dean guitars are better than ever, as are the sales. “The fact is: sales of the guitars continue to grow every year, and it’s because the quality continues to get better and better. And we continue to enjoy a rising profile, as most recently Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Michael Schenker of MSG, and others have joined our artist roster. We see nothing but blue skies ahead of us.”

for a retailer near you, visit MMR 91


Anthem Music Group Offers High Margin Instruments “Freedom Pricing,” Strict Anti-Internet Policy Protects Dealers


t’s no secret that there are many wind and brass instrument dealers frustrated by ever-shrinking sales and margins. Many are even contemplating or looking into “private labeling” of China-made instruments. For those, there is now the Anthem Music Group. “It is very difficult for a retailer to reverse integrate into importing and manufacturing,” says Kilkenny, president of Anthem. “There is no ‘one-stop shopping’ in regard to manufacturers in China, and many of the good instrument makers do not go to the NAMM show or the Music Messe show. Successful importers have relationships with many different suppliers, and are able to travel overseas frequently to inspect shipments and view working conditions, understand the international business culture, and be able to communicate effectively. 92 MMR

“Having a team of technical experts to evaluate product is essential, and perhaps most importantly, an importer must offer the manufacturer some sort of volume. This is difficult to do for retailers on an individual basis.” With this knowledge, Kilkenny has launched the Anthem Music Group. Already, 20 retailers are on board and the instruments are a success. “Initially, we put the instruments in circulation for a full year,” in a test pilot program that had 500 of his products in Massachusetts students and band directors hands.

Not an OEM Operation Kilkenny stresses that they are not an OEM company just placing a name on a product line, but offer a line developed by retailers, technicians, and band directors alike, made by manufacturing partners that offer exclusive features to the Anthem Music Group. Anthem has created a full line of student instruments including flutes, clarinets, saxes, trumpets, trombones, as well as background instruments such as French horns, tubas, and euphoniums. All Anthem student products are packaged in custom ABS cases. At the request of their retailers, the company will be introducing their stepup flute and wooden clarinet this fall. “John Gill, our director of operations, specifically manages product quality and development,” he says. “John has a vast OCTOBER 2008

amount of industry experience and can evaluate instruments from the perspective of both retailers and manufacturers.” Industry veteran Jack Faas is also on board as a consultant and making sales calls for the new company. Anthem touts what it calls “Freedom Pricing,” which allows dealers to independently set their own retail price based on their respective market. For this to work, the company must offer a pledge of exclusivity, and that includes not allowing dealers to sell products on the Internet or in mail-order catalogs. “By providing protected territories, dealers will not have to price match with the Internet or the dealer across town,” Kilkenny says. “Dealers then have the choice to obtain a very attractive profit margin when the situation allows, or they can sell at low prices to help customers and increase overall sales.”

History Kilkenny is actually a drummer who studied and played professionally. He was vice president of sales and marketing and a part owner of Grover Pro Percus-

sion, before moving onto Sonaré Winds in August of 2002. He left his position as president of Sonaré Winds in 2007. He cites both companies as being great to work for and he gained valuable learning experiences at both places. “Upon leaving Sonaré, I knew that I wanted to remain in the music industry and was open to many different ideas,” he explains. “It wasn’t until I started receiving phone calls from various retailers that the idea for the Anthem Music Group developed. Dealers were asking me questions regarding the importation of instruments from China and asking if I would consult with them to create private label lines. My first two questions were, ‘Why are you looking for something different?’ and ‘What has your experience in China been thus far?’” He says he learned several things from the exchanges, including that many independent retailers were simply anxious to increase their profit margins. “Many mainstay manufacturers are already making instruments in China but apparently not passing on much of the savings,” Kilkenny

says. “Retailers profit margins seem to be shrinking to the point where dealers are no longer satisfied. They seem to be fed up with building brand names only to have the margins chiseled away at each year.” Kilkenny says he felt that there are many consumers who simply cannot afford the mainstay products on the market. “Over the past several years, instrument prices seem to be increasing at a greater rate than that of inflation and disposable income is rapidly eroding., Many families have difficulty affording $800 for a student flute or trumpet, or $1,300 for an alto sax.” This all pointed the way to the founding of Anthem Music Group. The business plan involved creating quality woodwind and brass product lines for student, stepup and background markets; creating in-

“By providing protected territories, dealers will not have to price match with the internet or the dealer across town.” OCTOBER 2008

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struments with good profit margins; and offering membership to the group on a very exclusive basis. “Anthem is dedicated to the success of independent retailers. Marketing the Anthem brand allows us to offer our pledge of dealer protection and exclusivity.” Dealers – and the band directors they serve – can be understandably skeptical when one hears the terms “quality instrument” and “China made” in the same sentence. But Kilkenny says that it’s all

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in the approach, and that it involves both keen analysis and good old-fashioned pavement pounding: “One factory might make a good flute but a sub par clarinet,” he explains. “We have built partnerships with the instrument makers that create the best instrument in their class.” Retailers, educators, and manufacturers have been involved in designing Anthem instruments for the U.S. market he says. They have partnered with the top instrument makers in China and we maintain a presence in each factory. “John [Gill] and I have spent a lot of time working with the craftspeople and spot-checking instruments. By maintaining a presence, our scrap rate goes down and our quality improves. Finally, we test and adjust each instrument at the Anthem headquarters before shipping.” There long-term plans include reaching out to band directors and end users,

but the new company is first and foremost focused on the retailers. “Our first step is to win over the retailers,” he says. “They are the ones who maintain the most influence over the school music teachers. By offering territory protection, quality product, and high margins, we are providing incentive for the retailers to pioneer our brand. So far, the response from the teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. Our prices allow band directors to extend their bid dollars to get more for their money.” “The price point on Anthem instruments has significantly improved our cash flow by allowing us to pay for our entire master order before Christmas and eliminating our long term debts,” says Todd Manning of Manning Music, who recently signed on with Anthem. “With Anthem’s Protected Territories, we get to work with a TEAM of other music stores, not compete against them. With Anthem’s Freedom Pricing, we are consistently realizing a true 100 percent markup.” Anthem Music Group can be reached at (978) 667-3224 or


Groundbreaking Bass Effects from the Legendary Name in Rock. Bass Big Muff The prodigy reborn with underworld instincts that come to life wielding the drive of the original Muff and the earthy support of a bass tailored design.

Bass Metaphors Your performance arsenal in a channel strip toolbox. A new distortion melds with carefully selected compression and bass specific EQ to add structure with a rock solid foundation.

Bass Blogger Finesse distortion with silky definition. Reinforce the twoway message with your drummer. Drive your rhythm section with voodoo authority.

Bass Microsynth Pure bass guitar synthesizer with all analog circuitry. Adjustable synth parameters deliver fat, sweet tone. Warm and soulful.

Steel Leather Dedicated attack expander allows your bass to cut through any live performance with razorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge control. Adjustable attack bleeds bite with suede.

Bassballs Twin tuned filters sweep your signal creating a unique vocal tone. The envelope follower for bass players who gotta be funky.

Supplierscene Epilog Laser Engraving Epilog’s Laser engraving system provides a fast and easy way to add initials, text, or even images to musical instruments and instrument accessories. Epilog’s Legend EXT is a large-scale laser engraver that combines a robust design with convenient features that make personalizing instru-

ments as easy as pressing the print button on your computer. Due to the large work area and powerful cutting capabilities of the EXT, users can create beautiful designs that add style and flair to the instrument of their choice.

Kluson Revives Super Guitar Machine Head Kluson returns the Super Guitar machine head to the marketplace. Also nicknamed the Waff leback or Radiatorback, these tuners were used on America’s most prestigious guitars as original equipment,

most notably Gibson and Martin. Even though they are exact reproductions in all cosmetic aspects, the Supers have received numerous upgrades in internal materials, gear ratio and design.

Washburn Rare Wood Series Washburn introduces the new Limited Edition Rare Wood Series. The new models include the D49SPK and the D49CESPK. Both feature spalted maple tops and spalted maple back and sides. The aesthetics furnishing the guitar are the abalone headstock logo and decorative ebony bridge pins. They feature rosewood fretboards, triangle MOP and abalone inlays, and Grover exclusive ebonite button tuners. The acoustic electric D49CESPK also features B-Band pre-amp electronics. Both limited edition guitars come with a certificate of authenticity.



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7  , 1- ° " 96 MMR


Rivera RM-1 Effects Switcher and Controller Rivera Amplification has released the Rivera RM-1 Effects Switcher and Controller. The RM-1 features a built in 9V power supply for four effects devices, eliminating the drain on batteries, or the need for an external power supply for those pedals. There is a built in signal buffer as well as an assignable level control for matching of levels between effects devices in the different loops. The RM-1 also features a MIDI Output, audio loop switching, and relay switching with TRS phone jacks. With a single tap of the toe, a musician can toggle many different functions in his signal processor and amplification system. Two RM-1 units can be linked together to create an eight loop system. Also available is the Wah-Pad accessory that allows a loop to be bypassed by just lifting the foot from a Wah-Wah or other pedal resting on the Wah- Pad. Each of the RM-1 foot switches are illuminated and color-coded so as to be easily found on a dark stage. Pro User Net is $499 and the RM-1 is available now. WahPad accessory is Pro User Net at $99.

rubber over-molded pull handle, and cushioned handle for carrying comfort. SKBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trigger release latching system, with TSA recognized and accepted recessed locking latches, enables users to securely lock their cases and still have them inspected by air-

line security personnel and safely checked as luggage. Additionally, SKB has designed the 4U and 6U Rolling Roto-Racks in such a way to make them stackable under their new 1SKB19-RSF4U Studio Flyer.

SKB Rolling Roto-Rack Designed as an upgrade and stronger alternative to SKBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing Rolling XRack cases, the new Rolling Roto-Racks feature industrial grade steel threaded rack rails, allowing non-destructive screw mount installation and removal with full access rear lids. An optional rear-rack rail add-on (RRK4 or RRK6 kit) allows enhanced load capacity and stability, ideal for heavy weight power amplifier units. The 1SKB-R4W and 1SKB-R6W Rolling Roto-Rack models are rotational, molded of high impact LLDPE Polyethylene, with in-line wheels supporting heavy loads, a nearly indestructible low-profile injection molded telescoping cushion grip OCTOBER 2008

MMR 97

High-end: The Future of the US Market Schimmel Pianos Offers Viewpoint The international piano market has changed rapidly in the last few years: Instruments from German manufacturers in the high-end segment have experienced some increase overall. The tendency for

beginners to fall back on digital products and pianos in the low-range segment from Asia has steadily been on the increase. Meanwhile the middle price range has decreased. Some German manufacturers ex-

Together over 15,000 backing tracks! Give your customers the chance to perform with a top notch band or orchestra. From Classical to Top 40 we have it all! Visit our websites to hear audio samples:

Also visit our dealer site for marketing tools and shipping specials:

Proud Distributors of MMO Hal Leonard • Pro Sing • Music Sales • Charles Dumont OSTW • Forsyth • Schott • Europa Music • Arpege Diffusion Proud Distributors of Pocket Songs Pro Sing • Atwood • East Coast • Ace • OSTW Singers Choice • KDS • Lynns • Forsyth • Karaoke Paris

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panded their lines to offer products for all target groups. But in the U.S. it is the highend sector, which is stable for Schimmel. Generally, German manufacturers have been struggling in the US market for the last two years. “But with good quality instruments and broad services we were able to increase our sales in high-end concert instruments against the common trend”, says Hannes Schimmel-Vogel, manager of Schimmel Pianos. “We raised our sales in 2008 by more than 20 percent. Our new model K230 is especially successful.” People have been worried by the economic woes. That is why Schimmel counts on a clear four-brand-marketing concept and individual consulting of dealers and customers: “Our professional and very close-knit network of dealers sustains the business and helps us to bring our Konzert Trilogy forward”, says Schimmel-Vogel. Exclusiveness or uniqueness is another trend Schimmel sees in the US-market: Modern design, handcrafted intarsia, and noteworthy style and color. With its new piano C 116 M Schimmel launched a model which has already won one of the most renowned international design competitions, the “Red Dot Award for Design 2008.” New production methods and materials – such as the aluminum elements which form a counterpart to the polished finish – and the absolute reduction to a minimum create the feeling of purism. Also, the grand piano V 177 Tradition Intarsie is a best seller among the Schimmel special editions. It contains more than 300 individual elements which form the artistic ornaments. “The noble character of the Vogel grand is what the people like”, says Schimmel-Vogel. With the success of the Konzert Trilogy in the U.S. Schimmel is optimistic about enhancing the high-end sector and strengthening its American piano business.

Guyatone’s Mighty Micro Series Godlyke lnc. announces the release of the new Guyatone mighty micro series of compact effect pedals. The mighty micros offer professional-grade features and sound quality in an ultra-compact, light98 MMR


weight chassis that is 33 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than the average stompbox. New features include: Lightweight, ultra-durable cast-alu• minum chassis Top-mounted, no-tools battery • compartment with “Smart Screw” and battery “Load Scope” Mechanical true bypass switching • Ultra-bright status LED is easily vis• ible on dark stages Professional-grade component se• lection offers improved sound quality

Cast aluminum “Stomp Guard” protects controls from damage or accidental adjustment • Adjustable input attenuators allow use with any instrument or input signal • Glow-in-the-dark washer for bypass switch offers improved visibility on dark stages • Additional controls with improved functionality provide greater tonal options • Top-mounted jacks save space on crowded pedalboards • 3-Year warranty

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The String Cleaner Awarded Best in Show at NAMM The String Cleaner™ was awarded “Best in Show” for “Company on the Rise” at this summer’s NAMM show. The String Cleaner utilizes a revolutionary 360-degree cleaning process to revitalize used, old, and damaged strings. The String Cleaner also, “extends the life and preserves the tone of guitar strings by up to four times compared to conven-

tional, untreated strings,” according to the company. Created with specially designed microfiber pads that remove and hold debris sans cleaning solution, The String Cleaner was created for longterm, lowmaintenance usage. The String Cleaner has a list price of $12.99.

The Andy Guitar The Andy is a three-quarter scale arch top electric guitar that is perfect for either travel or the serious youth guitarist. The guitar’s 23” neck scale features a solid carved spruce top and a solid carved maple back with laminated maple sides. The Andy incorporates the same design features of its big brothers with an ebony fingerboard, fin-

ger rest, tailpiece, and bridge. A mini-humbucking pickup, with volume and tone control, is built into the top. The Andy will be available in a traditional antique burst finish, or with a honey blonde top and espresso back, sides, and neck. The Andy comes with a fitted gig bag. Retail price is $2,475.

Versatile large-diaphragm studio condenser mic Wedge shape effectively reduces plosive sounds and wind/pop/breath noises Innovative free-standing design results in more open, detailed sound from any angle First stage circuit is located close to the capsule for improved sound quality Handcrafted in Latvia


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Supplierscene Dimebag Darrell Guitar Cable Ammo Pack Excetylene Pro Audio announces the release of a commemorative Dimebag Darrell Abbott Signature Series Ultra-Force Guitar Cable and Ammo Pack. The heavyduty cables are manufactured in the USA with Excetylene Ultra-Force instrument cable designed for maximum output at high-gain and finished in a durable military green nylon over-braid. Ultra-Force includes indestructible, hand machined aluminum housings treated with non-con-

ductive military green anodizing for optimum shielding and gold plated plugs. Dimebag’s trademark signature and silhouette are permanently engraved at each end. This Limited Edition Commemorative Dimebag Ammo Pack includes an authentic, one of a kind 30 caliber M-62 military

ammo box hand stamped with “DIMEBAG”(each box is unique as actually used in the field by American G.I.s), one 16’ Excetylene Dimebag Darrell Signature Series Ultra-Force Guitar Cable, a Dimebag Darrell Commemorative Military DogTag, several military patches, and a few other extra special party favors. Package retails for $149.95.

Madarozzo Gig Bags Martin Ritter has launched a new boutique range of gig bags. The Madarozzo boutique range is a collection of individually designed guitar and fretted instrument bags.

The Madarozzo range comprises more than 70 models in a wide variation of boutique designs, padding, price points, and is available in a range of three colors. The range offers bags for all kinds of fretted instruments, from all standard guitar shapes to the more unusual shapes such as Flying V, Explorer, Headless, and many more difficult to fi nd shapes. The range offers luggage grade 600D polyester, rugged zippers, soft nylon lining, comfortable designed backpacks, headstock, bridge, and endpin protection. 100 MMR


Córdoba La Playa and Fusion Series Córdoba Guitars and surf-rocker Donavon Frankenreiter have released La Playa, their beach and travel guitar line. The keystone model, Traveler, will be a half-sized cutaway, nylon-string guitar with an onboard pickup, tarpee insulated gig bag, and battery powered amp and cord. The La Playa Traveler is based on the half-sized Requinto model. Córdoba is also developing a special guitar bag patterned after surfboard travel packs, incorporating reflective tarpee insula-

tion into the design to protect the guitar from sun, surf, and sand. A small, lightweight, battery-powered amp will also be included in the pack for extra volume on the road. La Playa Traveler’s price will be friendly to most any wallet. Blending the acoustic bracing and tone of a traditional nylon string with the neck width and fast action of a steel string, the Fusion guitars are the ultimate acoustic hybrids. The new guitars feature radiused fretboards, 14 fret-to-body (22 total

frets) construction, and premium BBand A6T blended pickup systems. All models are handmade and available in a variety of wood options. Pro models will also be available with custom wood options. The Fusion Series Lineup: Fusion 12 “Jet” – MSRP $825 Fusion 14 “Jet” – MSRP $895 Fusion 14 RS – MSRP $1,075 Fusion 14 “Rose” – MSRP $1,125 Fusion 14 “Maple” – MSRP $1,145

LightWave Atlantis ElectroAcoustic Guitar LightWave Systems, Inc. announces the introduction of the LightWave Atlantis ElectroAcoustic Guitar. Featuring the Company’s proprietary LightWave Optical Pickup System, the Atlantis is the fi rst guitar to use infrared light technology to sense string vibration. The launch of the Atlantis joins the Saber Bass line that pioneered LightWave’s pickup technology. This infrared system ‘sees’ the vibration of the string without affecting string motion and faithfully senses the full, natural output of each string, from the fundamental to the most complex overtones. Atlantis affords the player accurate response with an exceptional acoustic tone, for live performance at any volume as well as clear and noise free recording. The LightWave Optical Pickup System harnesses the power of

light to deliver a rich amplified acoustic guitar sound without the feedback of mics or the harshness of piezos. Featuring a chambered mahogany single cutaway body, book matched flame maple

top or Spruce, mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard, the Atlantis is available in clear gloss finish at $1,995 MSRP and includes a deluxe ProTec gig bag.

Pedalflex V&R Remote introduces Pedalflex, an accessory that allows you to control your pedals and pedal boards from your microphone stand. The control unit simply clips to your mic stand and it works with any pedal or pedal board. Relatively inexpensive, a twochannel model is less than $100. The company plans to unveil a 4-channel model in the near future. OCTOBER 2008

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Life in Rhythm Twinkle’s Life in Rhythm series has released a selection of guitar-themed gift items. The guitar water globe has a decaled porcelain base and the scene in the globe rotates to the chorus of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”. The Life in Rhythm product lines feature creations that combine contemporary and classical art styles to showcase musical instruments and performance arts themes. This line includes musical water globes, wall art, music boxes, clocks, coasters, and stationary.

Resilient like your fingertip,

so it will not create tuning problems. • 707-876-3001

Guitar Controller Xtreme M&M Merchandisers introduces Guitar Controller Xtreme or GCX to their electronics line up. The GCX is a real guitar body with custom flame graphics, real tuning keys, whammy bar, and strum bar. The GCX also features a maple fretboard, covered tuners, chrome hardware, black single coil pickup cover, traditional bridge, bolt on neck, five colored fret buttons, toggle power switch, LED power indicator light, chrome select and start buttons, builtin tilt sensor for star power, accessible battery compartment, and includes a strap for easier playing. The GCX is compatible with PS2TM, Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero 2, and Guitar Hero 3. 102 MMR

Tune in profits with the OH-11 Clip-on Tuner

• • • • •

12 note full range chromatic tuner with back light Works by picking up vibrations, so it’s not affected by ambient noise Clips to most instruments Super compact size and price... easy sale Excellent dealer margin (A mark +)

Oasis, Inc.

410-772-5380/866-263-7965 OCTOBER 2008

Supplierscene Pro-Mark Releases “Anatomy of Feel” Posters Pro-Mark is releasing its “Anatomy of Feel” poster nationwide. The poster is expected to begin arriving at retail stores in late September or early October 2008. The company strongly encourages dealers to place Pro-Mark drumsticks in the bins so that the color coded packaging is clearly visible. They are also offering color coded bin

labels to dealers that request them. The bin labels are free of charge and fit all of Pro-Mark’s display units as well as most other display units commonly found in retail stores. The labels clearly show the model, type of wood,

and feature graphic representations of the tip shapes.

Airline Lap Steel from Eastwood Eastwood Guitars introduces their new Airline Lap Steel. This new model is a tribute to the late 1950’s National Lap Steel models with its distinctive body shape and art deco pickguard. The new lap steel features

the popular Airline Hot-Rail Humbucker pickup, volume and tone controls, fully adjustable Strat-style bridge, all mounted on a slab basswood body. The guitar also features the art deco pickguard and the

vintage raised metal Airline logo. The Airline weighs in at only seven pounds and is available in black, red or metallic blue. US MSRP is $449 and the street price is $349.

Cool Straps SHS International of Indianapolis has added 36 new models of guitar straps to the “Cool Straps” line. This brings the total number models to over 100 to choose from, and also a very “Cool” stand alone strap display that holds over 150 straps. The Cool Strap line offers a wide range of styles and patterns that range in list prices from $3.95 up to $49.95. OCTOBER 2008

MMR 103

AES 2008 The Audio Engineering Society (AES) will hold its 125th convention in San Francisco, Calif., October 2nd-5th. The AES conventions offer educational opportunities, including seminars and workshops covering current research and new concepts and applications. The primary feature of each convention is the wide-ranging exhibit of professional equipment.

Daking Mic Pre One TransAudio Group, the U.S. distributor for Geoffrey Daking and Company, Inc., announces the introduction of the high performance Daking Mic-Pre One singlechannel microphone/instrument preamplifier at the 125th AES Convention. Essentially a single channel of the Mic Pre IV, the Mic Pre One features switchable phase, 20dB mic input pad and +48V phantom power, plus a selectable 1/4–inch line/hi-z instrument input, all utilizing relays with gold bi-furcated contacts. Two large knurled aluminum knobs control the variable high-pass filter (0-200Hz) and continuously variable input gain, which is complemented by a full-width, twentysegment bi-color LED meter. The rear of

the unit offers a Jensen transformer-isolated mic input and fully-balanced XLR output, plus a 1/4–inch line output. A fourth connector introduces DC power from the external power supply to the unit. The Daking Mic Pre One has an MSRP of $850.

JZ Microphones Pop Filter JZ Microphones introduces a new pop fi lter design at the AES Convention. The pop fi lter offers a distinctive “curved cone” shape and employs two screens – one in front, one in back. The main benefit of this unique design is reduced reverberations and, therefore, improved fidelity to the original sound. This new accessory comes with the new Black Hole microphone shock mount—an advanced system devised for use in more complicated applications than included stand holder is able to carry. Both the pop fi lter and shock mount are patent pending, and will be available at a suggested retail price of USD $490.

Sennheiser’s Sound Academy

Find Breaking News in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, 104 MMR

Focusing on both RF wireless techniques and studio recording practices, Sennheiser’s Sound Academy sessions have visited nearly twenty cities throughout the U.S. thus far. All studio recording concepts and techniques are demonstrated on a comprehensive array of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones, all of which will be on display at AES 2008. During the course, attendees learn how to place the Sennheiser MKH 8000 series microphones to obtain the best musical sound, while also tuning in to the subtle nuances between each of the other models that make up Sennheiser’s MKH line. OCTOBER 2008

Classifieds Accessories

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Business Opportunities Piano Tuning LEARN AT HOME

with approved home study course.

American School of Piano Tuning 1-800-497-9793

Visit our website: Tools Included - Diploma Granted

For Classified Sales Call Maureen

800-964-5150 ext. 34

Guitar Show Operators 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

Business Opportunities

For Classified Sales Call Maureen â&#x20AC;˘ 800-964-5150 ext. 34 â&#x20AC;˘ OCTOBER 2008

MMR 105

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Business Opportunities

• 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

For Sale BIGGEST MUSIC SCHOOL in the HOUSTON AREA FOR SALE 25 Teachers; 500-plus students and 2-story bldg. in prime real estate location with music store and rental space! For more information Call broker at 281 359-2593 or Owner at 832 445-5668


Full line retail Music Store. Major brands. All inventory, furniture and xtures. Same ownership 26 years. Lesson studios, guitar repair, band instrument repair and rental program. High trafc, high visability downtown dist.. Turn key operation. Owner willing to train. $425K. Excellent localreputation and recognition. Building (5700 sq. ft.) also available for purchase or long term lease.

LIVE YOUR DREAM! Call 760-996-0198

For Classified Sales Call Maureen

800-964-5150 ext. 34 106 MMR

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 xtures included. Most major lines are represented. Established in 1979 $2,400,000 For info 808-870-5953

Help Wanted LOOKING FOR DISTRIBUTORS Throughout USA and Europe to promote our revolutionary Rick Rock Acoustic Guitar Pick Guards and Guitar Picks (Patent Pending). Both with Photo quality imprint in a transparent 3D dome covering. Picks provide brighter sound andtones with a longer durability. Email all inquiries to OCTOBER 2008

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Help Wanted

Merchandise CASES CASES CASES Factory Direct! Any ATA Case For $99 Mixers, Amps, Heads, or Keyboards


ACCORDIONS: All sizes —

over 100 in stock — new & used. Regular, Electronic, MIDI, etc. JOHN GAUNT, Distributor, 1248 S. Highland Ave., Clearwater, FL 33756, (727) 443-4113. 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

Wristies® fingerless gloves Warmth for hands-dexterity for fingers! Find out why so many musicians are wearing them for practice and performance. Wholesale, retail and quantity discounts available. 800-811-8290

HARD SHELL PLASTIC CASES great seconds & overruns Flute $9.00, Piccolo $6.00 Clarinet $10.00, Oboe $12.00 1-800-582-0319

Retail Yamaha Piano Manager

Regional Yamaha piano and Disklavier dealer is looking for candidate to manage piano store in major Northeast city. Candidate should have at least 5 years of piano sales experience. Commission based compensation plus comprehensive benets package including health insurance, 401k, etc. Please email resume and earnings history in condence to OCTOBER 2008

Piano Salesperson Position Want self motivated individual for piano sales. Steinway and Yamaha lines represented. Excellent pay structure,Benets. Email resume to:


CLASSIFIEDS on the MOVE! check for daily updates!

MMR 107

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Merchandise 300,000 Piano Lovers! That’s how many unique, piano loving people visit every month. Be smart, advertise your piano or music related business where your new customers are hanging out. Home of the world famous Piano Forums.

For more interesting statistics and advertising information:

Visit ... Now!



Asian High Quality No other supplier offers superior service before, during and after the sale. You get what you pay for!


1-800-782-2694 North American Music 11 Kay Fries Drive Stony Point, NY 10980 Fax: (845) 429-6920

FINANCING AVAILABLE For Classified Sales Call Maureen

800-964-5150 ext. 34 108 MMR

For Classified Sales Call Maureen 800-964-5150 ext. 34 OCTOBER 2008

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Merchandise Studios, Consoles, Spinets Lot Pricing: $195-$350 Solid, Reconditionable Pianos. Some have Benches. JAY-MART PIANO WHOLESALERS P.O. Box 21148 • Cleveland, OH • 44121


Fax: 216-382-3249 • Email:

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:

“The Piano Store For Piano Stores”

For Classified Sales Call Maureen

800-964-5150 ext. 34

Repair Tools

BOW REHAIRING Expert Bow Service

Order forms,Pricing and Shipping label at: 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” 467 Grant Avenue, Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076 Tel: 908-322-4469 Fax: 908 322-8613 e mail:

FAST TURN-AROUND ON STOCK REPAIRS NATIONWIDE NAPBIRT member, 26 Years Experience Contact: Dan Rieck, 801-733-4243

Miscellaneous 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

Sales Reps Wanted INDEPENDENT SALES REPS Sales Reps Wanted Band & Orchestra Instruments Most territories open A Great Job! AMERICA LONGXING

(718) 706-0828 Ask for Paul

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. OCTOBER 2008

Sales Representatives Wanted!!

For Classified Sales Call Maureen 800-964-5150 ext. 34

Michigan-based Brass, Woodwind and accessories line. Join a great new organization with an “artist-endorsed” product. Competitive Commissions with incentive. Contact: 734-384-1705

MMR 109

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Seeking Employment


Pianos/Digitals/Organs I Don’t Sell, You Don’t Pay Closer for hire! 20 years experience Outside promo specialist • 561-379-4718



with Lone Wolf Trucking

is a “grand” idea!

An independent, long-distance Mover specializing in coast-to-coast residential Relocation.


Vintage Instruments

Alamogordo, New Mexico. 88310

ICC MC-256289


(800) 222-2888

(310) 830-3362 (FAX) •

Wanted To Buy Used Instruments Clarinets and utes from $50 Alto Saxes from $250 Trumpets and Trombones from $100 French Horns and Baritones from $395 Clarinets and Flute repad $69 Alto Sax repad $149

Call Jimmy Hayes 800 559-4472

Used 4 Less Music Find Breaking News in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, 110 MMR

’re g e W in

y os u B ian P

We are buying grands — and smaller verticals Honest - Professional - We Sell Nationwide JAY-MART PIANO WHOLESALERS P.O. Box 21148 • Cleveland, OH • 44121


Fax: 216-382-3249 Email: “The Piano Store For Piano Stores”


WE, BUY, SELL, TRADE and ship worldwide. Written APPRAISALS available. GRUHN GUITARS, 400 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

(615) 256-2033

fax (615) 255-2021 OCTOBER 2008

Visit the Classifieds on the Web:

Classified Advertising

Please charge my:

To Advertise Call Toll Free 1-800-964-5150 Deadline: Fourth Friday of every month


PLACE YOUR AD BY MAIL OR FAX: Attention: Classified Ads MMR, 21 Highland Circle Ste. 1 Needham, MA 02494 FAX your ad copy to (781) 453-9389


AD RATES $20.00 per inch (1 inch minimum). 1 inch = 7 lines, 36 characters per line . $30.00 per inch if one color, logo or graphic added. Add $1.00 per bold face line, $5.00 for use of a box number. Display classified: $45 per inch. PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED IN ADVANCE.

__ Books __ Business Opportunities __ Distributors __ For Sale __ Help Wanted __ Instruction __ Lines Wanted __ Schools __ Luthiers __ Merchandise

__ Miscellaneous __ Repairs __ Services __ Sales Rep Source __ Schools __ Software __ Vintage __ Wanted to Buy __ Other ( )



Credit Card #: _________________________ Expires_____/_____ Authorized Signature: ___________________ Name:_________________________________ Company: _____________________________ Street: _________________________________ City: __________________________________ State: _________________________________ Zip Code: ______________________________ Telephone #:___________________________ Fax # _________________________________ Email Address: _________________________

Vintage Showcase WE, BUY, SELL, TRADE

Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s it worth? We buy, sell, trade, consign and appraise fine guitars, banjos and mandolins.

629 Forest Ave., S.I., N.Y. 10310 Phone (718) 981-8585

and ship worldwide. Written APPRAISALS available.

GRUHN GUITARS 400 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

(615) 256-2033 fax (615) 255-2021

Call Maureen Johan 800-964-5150, ext 34 or

for Special Offer Details! OCTOBER 2008

MMR 111



Access Bags and Cases Al Cass Allparts Amati’s Fine Instruments America Longxing Inc. American DJ Supply Inc. Anderson Silver Plating Anthem Music Group ASC Audio-Technica U.S.Inc.


Benedetto Guitars Breezy Ridge Instruments Ltd. Chem-Pak Inc. Chesbro Music Co. Collings Guitars Composite Acoustics


D’Addario & Co. D’Addario & Co. Direct Sound Headphones Dunlop Manufacturing Inc. Dusty Strings


E. & O. Mari Inc./La Bella Eastwood Guitars EMD Music Inc. EMG Inc. Epilog Laser Evets Corporation Flaxwood Guitars North America


Getm Getm Wear George L’s Glasser Bows Godlyke Inc. Good for the Goose Products Graph Tech Guitar Labs


98 88 82 38-39 103 79

28 44 54 59 94

112 MMR

61 77 23 55 73 5 cov 2

79 84 102 41 100 70



Levy’s Leathers Ltd. Light Wave Systems Lollar Guitars


C.F. Martin & Co. Inc. Metropolitan Music Co. Morley/Sound Enhancements Inc. Morrell Music Dist. Co.


NAMM National Educational Music Co. National Music Funding New Sensor Corp. Oasis Inc


P & D Wholesale Peace Musical Co. LLC Peterson Strobe Tuners Petrof USA Pocket Songs PRS Guitars (Paul Reed Smith)


Real de los Reyes Retail Up Rivera Research & Development


Saga Musical Instruments Samson Technologies Corp. Samson Technologies Corp. Sennheiser Electronics Seymour Duncan Pickups SHS International Shubb Co. SKB Corp. Sonic Distribution Sontronics Southland Music Distributors, Inc String Swing Mfg. Inc. Super-Sensitive Musical String Co.


Hal Leonard Harris Musical Products Inc. Hutchins Guitars of North America Irradiant Inc.

J. Bouvier JHS Jones-Fletcher Jupiter Band Instruments K&M Stands Kaman Music Corp. Ken Smith Basses Ltd. Keystone Electronics Kyser Musical Products Inc.

58 104 88 33 70 37 68 36 45 25




21 52 72 80

80 16 96 17 85 26 77 15 97

Tech 21 The Adolph Agency, Inc TKL Products Corp. ToneGear Tregan Guitars Tropical Music Corp. Twinkle Enterprises Ltd.


Vandoren Violet Design Visual Sound Voyage-air Guitar W.D. Music Products Inc. Walking Bird Repair Forms Wyman Pianonc. Yamaha Corp. of America


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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!

lead the transformation of the jazz education culture

Full Charter Individual Membership (18 and up) - $50

eJEN Charter Membership Levels:

(18 and up) - ($35/25)

Charter Partner Membership Levels:

Institutional - $300 • Corporate - $500

Affiliate - $25 Annual Fee + $10 per person/member 17 and under categories to be launched in the fall!


Join now at any membership level before December 31, 2008 and earn the distinction of becoming a CHARTER Member of the new Jazz Education Network for complete membership information/benefits please visit us at:

MMR October 2008  

MMr October 2008

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