|Ibanez Vintage Page Archieve|
Leader and NoahJames Innovations
It seems that most companies stopped thinking about how to make better guitars and got caught up in the We can sell it cheaper mode. So they jump from factory to factory looking for the best price. Have you compared the Big Brands with guitars made just 10 to 15 years ago? What happened?
I could not sit around and watch this happen so I spent the last 8 years of my life continuing where I left off at my last job, However in his case it is my company so I have no restrictions to stop me.
In 2004 we broke ground for a new factory in Weifang China, But not what most people would think for a factory in China, In our case we decided we will import 100% of all materials from outside of China and train the workers on how to build amazing guitars.
After Visiting many music stores I could see that all the guitars are being made in a few factories in China and Indonesia. I could tell that the products used standard parts available from Korean suppliers, i picked up some guitars and they had Sharp fret ends, twisted necks, Electronics that did not work, rusty frets and strings tarnished or worn hardware.
I checked the serial number and the guitars were no more than a few months old. But why did they look so bad, almost used.
So this was our starting point. How to make a better guitar that will look new in the store for at least one year. Keep the guitar and hardware from rusting and make sure that the wood does not twist, expand or shrink beyond the acceptable range of vintage instruments.
Looking at the guitar I could see the frets had changed color to a Yellow and had some black spots, they were no longer polished just dull. So we went to the fretwire manufactures and checked how they are making the frets, Check the hardness and materials available and made some samples of a harder fretwire using the same basic materials but changing the formula so it does not tarnish.
Next the hardware, Black Chrome, Nickle and Gold plating was always worn or pitted. This was just in the store but when a player sweats it will destroy the guitars plating. So in his case we worked with our parts suppliers and the plating company and we came up with a UV coating system that we cover the parts with so they are in destruct able, Black nickle, Nickle and Gold no longer will wear off. I give a 5 years Tarnish warranty on every guitar I sell no matter what the plating color is, Even gold 5 years no wear.
Next the wood materials, We import all our wood from North America for Maple, Ash, Alder. India for Rosewood and Ebony, Mahogany from Africa or the South pacific depending on the weight and purpose, We like to keep our set neck models with a lighter weight mahogany then the bodies.
I studied wood drying for years and we know that most wood is new growth so we invested in drying rooms for each wood species. So after we purchase the lumber we control the drying process ourselves instead of relying on an outside source that claims to know what they are doing. Each material needs a different moisture content or it will twist.
Everything was staring to come together, I worked with many pickup companies until I found the one that could be trusted to do what I needed, I do purchase from many US suppliers that make great pickups but getting lower cost pickups from Asia was not easy. We invested in Mold for bobbins and covers and tested all the types of wire wire available for making pickups, The most important thing for us is consistency if we make a good sounding pickup it needs to be consistently a good sounding pickup. The wire available was not acceptable so we worked with a manufacture to come up with a Enamel coated wire that sounds great.
The machine head companies we spent time working on the grease they use to make make the tuners react smooth also the gears need to be assembled with care. These are just some of the advances we made. For more details on what we did to make the standard guitar better click this link.