Peter Wolf on the Guitar Manufacturing Industry

It’s a hard life.  I came across this article on a music blog and although I’ve not come across Peter Wolf before, I was impressed – not so much by the interview but by the previous columns Wolf had written. 

Photo credit: Michael G. Stewart.

Peter WolfAfter a 19 year relationship with PRS (Paul Reed Smith Guitars), Wolf has recently established his own consultancy, Brandwolf Consulting, to help “music instrument makers with sales, marketing and related strategic concerns such as branding and distribution”.  What a cool role!Actually, what a tough market.  Guitar players are notoriously conservative.  The top-selling (electric) models remain the preserve of the two leading brands Fender and Gibson.  All of those models originated in the 1950s: Fender Telecaster (1950), Gibson Les Paul (1952), Fender Stratocaster (1954), Gibson 335 (1958).  Look at the Fender website today (as an example) and there are 57 distinct Fender Stratocaster models and 38 Telecasters.  In a recession, how do you convince the market to buy more of the same?  Hobby players and professionals alike will make do.  Arguably though PRS have been the most successful of the other makers, establishing their high-end models and original designs in the face of conservatism.

Interestingly, in counting up the models for this blog, I see that the much-lauded, innovative Roland computer-ready VG Stratocaster was discontinued earlier this year. 

It’s a tough market.

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About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (http://burningpine.com).
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