Since the late 1970s, musical instrument manufacturers have found success through combining business operations with other companies. Oftentimes part of these corporate pairings, the household handicraft industry has experienced comparable success upon entering the current capitalist economy through these convergences. Gibson itself became an affiliate of Norlin, while Fender became affiliated with CBS.
When I left the Yamaha Corporation, the then-president Genichi Kawakami dispersed private documentation announcing a “declaration of removal instruments” in hopes of preserving the company's feasibility.
Although this news was greatly saddening for lovers of musical instruments (myself included), it created a wonderful business opportunity for small factories hoping to create more of their own products.
Former woodworking shops were converted into guitar workshops, where a great number of people who had never touched guitars were soon building them. Due to the amount of labor and artistic skill that this new era of craftsmanship required, many factories were forced to relocate and restructure their business operations in order to cut costs, improve productivity, and increase efficiency. Not surprisingly, this trend led to an overall degradation in quality and the loss of QC, among other losses.
Manually building guitars is difficult. Wood is a dynamic material full of unique tensions, much like the hands of the craftsmen who work with it. As such, it is severely limited by the rigid technology used to mechanically manipulate, making it nearly impossible to achieve the same level of quality achieved through the knowledge, creativity, and skill of a craftsman. As such, quality continued to decrease even as the market expanded. Ultimately, however, instruments built from the mutual respect of musicians and craftsmen were soon industrially commercialized.
After leaving the Yamaha Corporation, I dedicated a lot of time towards researching the role and significance of musical instruments throughout history. I was especially interested in the societal roles of musical instruments, since musicians and their instruments have played vital roles in royal courts throughout history in both the east and west. During this time, I was approached by several major companies and musical instrument manufacturers hoping to expand their business practices through this research. Since then, I have been involved with the musical instrument industry (over 40 years).
Due to the popularity of anti-establishment sentiments during the 1970s, many young people felt driven to create music that reflected this attitude. Consequently, guitars fell into high demand almost immediately and the global supply of stringed instruments experienced an extreme decline during this time. Since the 1980s, there has been a tendency within the music industry to push music that promises to sell well, rather than music of high quality and performance. The commercialization of publishing rights that coincides with this era of poorly-constructed popular music is socially and culturally detrimental.
After traveling to several world-famous luthier studios and guitar factories, it seems as though the guitar has yet to be comparably measured to an instrument like the violin. The beauty and charm of the guitar lies in its graceful flexibility within an ensemble, it's brilliance as a solo instrument, and the ease with which it can be carried for travel. Like a piano, it can also be tastefully displayed and appreciated as an object. There is no instrument like it.
Guitars have been always been crafted with the concerns and passions of their musicians in mind. Since the dawn of history, we are the only species known to imagine and create instruments for the pure sake of enjoyment. In an era filled with distraction and commercialized entertainment, it is important more than ever before to examine our roots of authentic musical performance to more fully enjoy our precious time on this beautiful earth. With a deep love and appreciation for genuine musical instruments at the heart of my vision, I am excited to share the guitar studio by D'Angelico-trad with you.