A few notes of interest for players and fans of some well known brands!
D’Angelico Acquires Supro Guitars & Amps and Pigtronix Effects
I have to admit I didn’t see this coming or hear anyone talking about this until today. D’Angelico released this press release today announcing the acquisition of the Long Island, NY based brands Supro and Pigtronix, formerly run by Absara Audio. For the time being, Supro and Pigtronix will continue to produce their own line of products, despite this buyout apparently being planned prior to the Covid pandemic. Interestingly, Supro showed up at NAMM 2020 and released new guitar models, which was likely while this was coming together, so that should bode well for modern day Supro fans. D’Angelico did state that they would also be collaborating on future products.
Lastly, the brands will exist in a transitional period until a large restructuring plan is enacted in 2021, which could bring sweeping changes or potentially re-branding for some of these products?
On a personal note, Absara Audio has not exactly been the most active communicator in recent years and Supro guitars have continuously (almost yearly) been part of huge blow out sales for major retailers. Could this have been a sign of troubling times? Ehh that could be a stretch, but they certainly had some unique quirks that I noticed. Hey, at least D’Angelico returns my emails!
Peavey Electronics To Stop Making Guitars
People keep telling me that this is a known piece of news but as of this Spring, I had communicated with a PR rep about getting a guitar to review when their replenished stock arrived at the warehouse. New stock doesn’t sound like they stopped that long ago for it to be widespread news. Either way, they’ve been incredibly silent and were noticeably quiet at NAMM aside from an artist meetup. While I can confirm they have moved their focus to non-guitar avenues, I personally (just an opinion) have been really suspicious about their state of business for the better part of two years. They’re an exceptional company with a long history great products so I’m hoping this transition leads to a fruitful future for them!
Gibson Poised For A Fender-like Expansion?
More a proposition than straight news but something seems to be brewing at Gibson. The success of Gibson TV and the virtual guitar tech program has Gibson moving ever closer to a Fender Play-like state of guitar lifestyle existence. Fender has been lauded for using their affordable guitar lines and lesson website to leverage the beginner guitar market in their favor. Young players can now turn to Fender for content like lessons, artist interviews, gear demos, and more in addition to just purchasing gear. I believe Gibson is gearing up to follow this approach with their own touch of ingenuity. Perhaps a lesson site or app?
Also consider their recent re-investment in Kramer, who they are reportedly planning to push as another lifestyle brand. Pair that with the expansion of their Epiphone line and suddenly you can see how they would building up to a sort of re-birth of their image. Something that is both exciting and much needed after some major PR flops. And hey, while we’re making comparisons, it makes sense for Gibson to have a shred-ready line like Kramer to compete with Fender’s Charvel and Jackson products.
More Companies Moving Towards “Silent Production & Operation”
When a company doesn’t respond to my emails or calls, I’m not offended nor do I think that it indicates the company isn’t actively promoting their products. But every now and then, continued inaction across major publications, YouTube, Instagram, and magazines makes me think I’m not the only one stuck in their inbox.
More and more we’re seeing small to mid-size companies, generally making guitars overseas, move into “silent production”. “Silent production” essentially means they product guitars en masse overseas, sell them to dealers in tightly regulated contracts, and produce no content of their own. This means they produce no in house demos, don’t review units sent out to YouTubers for demos, and are basically quiet on social media aside from posting occasional stock photos.
Now this isn’t a judgement, just an observation. These companies may be incredibly successful and reserve the right to operate as they wish, I just think it is interesting that more and more companies are shifting to this practice. Noticeably Silvertone Guitars (owned by Samick), Hamer Guitars (owned by KMC Music), and a plethora of budget makers (SX, Austin, Dillon, Agile) have enacted this practice.
For overseas-based companies this does make sense. They may not want to spend the money to put into artist relations, PR, marketing, etc…but I’m curious if this will help or hurt them long term. YouTubers (which I am not) are becoming one of the major drivers of the guitar market, showing off cool instruments, no models, and honestly driving marketplaces. As guitar prices continue to rise, will these brands all by the wayside? It seems Hamer may already have despite boasting new models on their rarely updated website….