Gear4music was founded in 2003 by sound engineer Andrew Wass as a web-based UK retailer of own-brand beginner level musical instruments. Since then the group has grown consistently and launched a further 18 country specific websites covering much of Europe.
Georg Walther founded GEWA in 1925 in Adorf , Saxony, Germany an area with a long tradition of musical instrument manufacture, In the 1950s the company moved to another famous luthiery region - Mittenwald, Bavaria in the aftermath of World War II. Political changes with the reunification of Germany saw GEWA move their headquarters back to Adorf by 2010. Today, the GEWA company has subsidiaries in all important export markets but also holds substantial shares in Asian musical instruments factories. Circa 2017, GEWA GmbH employed more than 250 qualified members of staff in the areas of production, product management, sales, purchasing, administration, accounting, marketing and logistics.
C. Giant is a budget electric and acoustic guitar and accessory brand, made in China and widely distributed in Europe. These were sold in Aldi supermarkets from around 2008 as well as in Argos shops in the UK.
Bohemian Guitars was founded by South African brothers Adam and Shaun Lee. While growing up in Johannesburg, Shaun observed the resourcefulness of the musicians in local townships who would build their own instruments out of whatever was available. After moving to Atlanta, Georgia, Shaun began making instruments in this style, using scrap materials like old oil cans. Soon Adam was on board and in 2012 Bohemian Guitars was founded, selling oil can guitars first locally and then beyond. Bohemian Guitars embraced the use of social media to promote their instruments and expand their markets word wide.
Bohemian instruments are made using an extended tenon design, the neck extends to the end of the can. This helps balance this instrument. They have a removable back panel giving easy access to the interior. Bohemian Guitars use less wood than a traditional electric guitar - the company source their timber from sustainable forests or reclaimed wood.
Luthier Jason Burns (of King Doublebass) launched the Blast Cult brand in 2011 - intially as an upright bass brand for the alternative/rockabilly player. Blast-Cult products now include: upright bass, electric bass, electric guitar, strings, pickups and effects pedals.
In the 1940s, Paul A. Bigsby was a foreman at a machine shop in Los Angeles owned by Albert Crocker of the Crocker Motorcycle Company. Paul’s interest in motorcycles and Western music brought him into contact with Merle Travis and they became good friends. Merle brought his Gibson L-10 guitar to Bigsby for him to fix its worn out Kaufman vibrato. On seeing the problems with the Kaufman design Travis ended up designing a whole vibrato mechanism which worked much better. The new Bigsby design quickly became the vibrato of choice for most guitar manufacturers.
The Aquila brandname was associated with Favilla Guitars, Inc. of Long Island, who imported Japanese made Aquila guitars in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Favila brand name is now associated with the Italian Aquila Corde Armoniche company who make gut and synthetic strings.
The LeeHooker brand was established in 1998, by professional musicians who wanted to try building guitars. LeeHooker is based in the Czech Republic and offers a range of electric guitars, basses, effects pedals and guitar accessories. All LeeHooker guitars are custom boutique instruments (up to 90% handmade) all models are solely made in Czech Republic.
Currently LeeHooker offer two product lines: The Vintage Line and The Pro Line. The Vintage Line models are replicas of famous models from well known brands, The Pro Line models are LeeHooker original designs.
The D'Addario brand is best known for its range of instrument strings and Planet Waves guitar accessories - but it also produces percussion and woodwind accessories. The D'Addario company was founded by Rocco and Charles D’Addario who came from a family of farmers and string makers. The D'Addarios emigrated from Italy to Astoria, Queens, New York after an earthquake destroyed their home town of Salle in 1905.
British Music Strings Ltd began life in 1918 as a subsidiary company of Barnett Samuel & Sons. The London company were manufacturers of strings including the "Cathedral" and "Summit" Brands, for the Violin, Banjo, Mandoline, Guitar, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass, Jap Fiddle, Zither, Auto-Harp and Harp. At one stage they also offered strings for tennis rackets.
Ernie Ball Super Slinky stirngs have a tempered high carbon steel core wire with a hexagonal shape toensures the wrap wire is securely held in place through the length of the string. Precision crafted Swiss brass ball ends are attached with a triple lock twist.
Rotosound was originated by James How in 1958 in the United Kingdom. James How designed his own string winding machine and began manufacturing guitar strings in his shed. Originally he called the company Top Strings, but couldn’t copyright that name, so he changed it to Rotop and finally into Rotosound around 1965. This tied in nicely with the company’s flagship round wound bass string. Bass players found this new round wound sound cut through the mix with more definition than the traditional flatwound strings of that era.
The company is now run by Jason How, after the death of James How in 1994. The old string winding machines have been replaced by state of the art units, but the strings conform to the original specifications so the strings sound exactly as before except with higher quality. Rotosound still make their flat wound bass strings by hand.
Jimi Hendrix was a notable Rotosound users, he used their medium string set.
This is one of those How-It's-Made factory tour films, which shows how guitar strings are made in the D'Addario factory. It also shows the quality control procedures used to test that the strings are fit for their purpose. The strings are stretched and twisted in a medieval torture chamber until they break. I never knew there was such a thing as a ball-end-sorter. Even though its mostly mechanised, a human worker still has to start the wire wrapping process on each string by hand. And the final coiling, before they are put in bags, is also done by hand