The older I get, the more I appreciate old stuff. I suppose that makes a certain amount of synergistic sense. When I was a kid, “new” was the thing. If some marketer prefixed their pitch with the magic word “new” – they had my attention. These days, I equate “new” with “not as good as what it replaced.” That’s not always true, of course – a new computer is better/faster/cheaper than an old one. But when it comes to things that require craftsmanship, pride, skill, taste, and durability, “old” beats “new” almost every time. Case in point, musical instruments. Continue reading The Value of Old.
Okay, here’s the deal. I’ve just returned from a music store today, where I had an experience that I can only describe as unreal. I saw a brand commit suicide, right before my very eyes. Allow me to explain.
In addition to being a marketing guy, I’m also a professional musician. One of the instruments I play is the acoustic guitar. My brand of choice is C.F. Martin. Now, understand, I grew up in the music business. I took up guitar in my early 20s – well after I turned pro, as a drummer. I quickly grew to love the guitar, and went from a pretty nice “starter” instrument (a Yairi) to a Guild (which turned out to be a complete piece of crap) to what became my “ultimate” guitar – a C.F. Martin. I’ve owned several Martins, in the time I’ve been playing. My current instrument is a beautiful HD-35, with herringbone trim, and a three-piece, bookmatched rosewood back. It is a truly wonderful instrument. In those days, Martin made guitars so well, that they used a fixed truss rod in the neck. It couldn’t be adjusted, because you never needed to adjust it. It just worked. Years later, Martin bowed to pressure from those that valued user control over craftsmanship, and began selling instruments with adjustable truss rods. I was sad to hear it, because it took away the edge that made Martin a brand apart. Continue reading Un-branding.