Product innovation has always been the driving force of our business here at Saga. In the past forty years we have put together an amazing list of new twists on old ideas. In this Retail Music News we are introducing a new showcase for innovation that will allow additional products to be introduced in limited editions that might otherwise not see the light of day. Please refer to page 77 of this issue and take a look at the Limited Edition BR-65KCE Blueridge Guitar which was introduced at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville.
Blueridge Guitars are actively distributed and sold in more than 20 countries around the world. As you can image there are similarities across the board in the international market but there are differences, too. Three years ago I visited David Ham, our distributor in South Korea. Mr. Ham had developed a working relationship with many of the musicians involved in Worship Music in Korea and had some ideas based on his discussions with them. Worship Music in Korea is presented in very large concert halls and consists of mostly new material written specifically for live presentation. David Ham had a clear picture in his mind of the guitar that these musicians were seeking and as we went back and forth, I took detailed notes.
When I returned to San Francisco I got together with our Product Development Team and went though the long list of notes. From across the table Paul Shelasky our Product Specialist said cryptically, “I played a guitar like that twenty-five years ago.” So I asked him what kind of guitar it was or where the guitar was or how we could find it and he had no idea but then he said, “…but I traced the body shape.” An archaeological dig at his home that night produced the drawing from 25 years ago and away we went.
As we plunged into the project we realized that the requirements of Worship Musicians in Korea is quite similar to the secular Singer-Songwriters in this country. We also noticed that the guitar that we were developing from the tracing on the paper bag was remarkably similar in shape to instruments that used to be seen and heard on the old WLS (Chicago) Barn Dance program from the 1930s and ’40s by Patsy Montana and Arkie the Arkansas Woodchopper. Even Roy Rogers and Gene Autry favored Medium Jumbo guitars like this in their concert performances. So after three or four prototypes and numerous refinements we were not sure exactly what was coming. Is it a Singer-Songwriters dream come true, or a cowboy’s saddle mate…David Ham said he felt that there were elements of both the past and the future in this guitar…and clearly a strong dose of the Blueridge DNA!
The Medium Jumbo Blueridge Guitar BR-65KCE is a striking instrument both visually and tonally. The Koa back and sides produce a magical mixture of the power associated with rosewood and the warmth of mahogany.
One third of the total production has been sold since the NAMM Show so we do not expect this limited edition to be available long. We invite you to place an order for our first Blueridge Summer Session Limited Edition and let me know what you think.