January 25th, 2010, 06:33 PM
Recently someone sent me an article by Dan Pearce, the founder and designer of Pearce Amps, a high-end solid state amp manufacturer from the 80's and 90's (he also helped design the Gibson Lab Series amps). A very interesting perspective on the business of small-shop guitar amps and the tube vs. solid-state debate.
I've posted it (it's eight pages long) here (http://web.me.com/travishartnett/Pearce_Amps/History_and_Trivia.html).
Or it's attached as a pdf here.
January 26th, 2010, 10:29 AM
Thanks so much for posting this. A very, very good read.
January 26th, 2010, 10:48 AM
There's a really good book that Keyboard magazine put out a few years ago, which was the history of a bunch of the small synth manufacturers (i.e. not Yamaha, Roland, Akai, etc.), and it was the same story over and over, and very similar to the Pearce one, except often with a slightly longer "good" period.
Success in inherently unlikely.
January 26th, 2010, 10:20 PM
He brings up many interesting points about marketing/sales. Like how one large supermarket has more yearly gross sales than the value of every amp sold in the USA! That'll put things in perspective.
November 28th, 2012, 04:55 PM
dan forgets that while the schindlers were there his company was in the black month-to-month for the first time in its history, and also had its first and only million-dollar year in sales.
he also neglects to mention that he was not a musician, spoke down to musicians, told musicians (including high-profile players) they were wrong when they had issues, and thumbed his nose at ALL tube amps and those that chose to play through them, alienating a big chunk of his potential market. his t-shirts (yes, there were t-shirts a plenty) pissed off tube players on multiple continents. they were his arrogance in apparel.
additionally, dan insisted on THE most expensive knobs, graphics, steel and more, and priced himself out of the market. that's why the company was far from profitable from the get-go. dan also insisted on offering locally-made speaker cabinets, which were a huge money loser.
in the case of dan's much-hyped b2p powered bass amp, he dictated a fixed-speed cooling fan that was so loud it got joel dibartolo ridiculed when he tried to use it on The Tonight Show set. THAT was an interesting phone call to take...
and, post-schindler, dan put out the epic fail that was the g3 combo, which had a single TUBE for distortion, at the urging of an employee the schindlers hired - now a wonderful boutique amp builder - named curt emery.
even the players that worked in his own factory did not believe in dan's designs, or, mostly, even gig with his gear. the bc1 bass pre-amp is the exception. that sucker is solid.
the schindlers did not have an easy time dealing with rand capital, either. and rand capital was dan's choice, not theirs. his company had failed to make a profit and bled rand's VC for 8 years before they entered the picture.
i'm pretty sure i only broke one or two coffee cups, and certainly because i had to talk to the players that dan had pissed off by talking down to them.
someone's bitter. and a bit deluded.