Current Issue

Special Report

The selection of the right lighting can be a major contribution to retail sales. Lighting can establish a store’s image, lead customers inside, focus their attention, make the products attractive and visible, and in general encourage purchasing. “Energy Effective” lighting provides all these benefits for the lowest life-cycle cost, while saving energy, operating costs, and maintenance. This guide shows you how it is done, with sample layouts and specifications that are energy effective, and energy code compliant.

Retail lighting must have good color, contrast and balance between lighted surfaces. Other qualities are listed in the chart below. There is no single formula for all retail lighting. A professional lighting designer or retail designer may be able to create successful designs while breaking all the rules suggested here. However, this guide is intended to provide sound advice and simple techniques for consistently successful and “energy effective” retail lighting.

Read more: MI Store Lighting Know-How: Part I >>>


Hamilton Stands entered its 131st year in business this year with an eye towards the future and a blueprint for big changes. President Bill Carpenter brought their distribution in-house, brought in KMC/Fender veteran Bob Jespersen as director of sales and marketing, and appointed NAMM veteran Judy Dodds as manager of inside sales and customer service. Debuting at the NAMM Show in January were a dozen new products that include further expansion in the MI combo segment.

It all adds up to one of the most interesting years for the stand maker since Carpenter acquired the iconic company in 2006.

Read more: Hamilton Stands Expands, Takes Over Own Distribution >>>


Hopefully by now you’ve got your recycling program figured out.  What next? In retail, as in any other part of life, it’s a lot easier to call for everyone else to change than it is to change yourself.  But every store owner in the country can make a significant difference in the world with a few changes made right in his or her own shop. As a recent MIT study found, only nine percent of small businesses have so far embraced sustainability as a core value, citing challenges like landlords and budgets. But an environmentally-minded initiative doesn’t need to break the bank.

A righteous bid to help out with mother nature?  Sure. But there’s also plenty of business sense in these simple tips.

Read more: 10 Tips to Greenify Your Store >>>


At the end of the day, people will buy an instrument because it sounds good and performs well,” says Blackbird Guitars founder Joseph Luttwak. That’s the challenge facing a wide variety of guitar manufacturers stuck in a transitional period. On one side is an industry leaning on a shrinking supply of unsustainable woods. On the other? A market built on eco-friendly practices, stewarding the planet’s forests into a healthy future.

Some manufacturers are finding that playing to customers’ best “green” intentions isn’t often the best sell.

Read more: Green Guitars >>>

When judging a product as sustainable or not at first glance, it’s easy to wonder about a few obvious characteristics. Is it recyclable? Was it built using endangered wood? But there’s plenty more to this whole “eco-friendly” thing than what’s sitting on the shelf. While guitar companies have come under pressure to better vet their building materials, many suppliers in the rest of the MI industry have been busy looking for other ways to clean up their operations.

Read more: The Big Green Picture >>>

Last Word

Roland, the Japanese firm that designed the [TB-303], has spent three decades pretty much ignoring the calls for a proper reissue of this simple little instrument,” writes Jasper Hamill in a recent Tech article for Forbes regarding the sort-of reissue of Roland’s TB-303 synthesizer in the form of the Aira TB-3 (see MMR’s Product Spotlight of the Aira line on page 52 of this issue). The article goes on to discuss the evolution of the instrument’s cult status since its discontinuation only a few years after initial introduction in 1982 and also wonders if Roland waited too long for the 303’s reboot.

Time will tell the fate of the Aira TB-3, but certain larger topics and lessons pertaining to the notion of success via cultivating a “cult product” or special event are interesting to contemplate, both for MI retailers and suppliers.

Read more: The Tao of McRib >>>

We revisit the environmental/sustainability movement this issue, but I’ve got a different kind of green on my mind, and I can’t help wonder if some are seeing it when it really isn’t there.

Gordy Wilcher, owner of Owensboro Music Center, recently wrote on his Facebook page that he will stop carrying Fender in his store after a four-decade partnership because of its recent decision to sell direct. “Fender’s new strategy seems [to be aimed at] making it difficult for small stores like mine to continue to support and sell Fender products,” he wrote. “I only remind the powers that be that it’s all these locally owned stores that worked hard to build the Fender brand.”

Read more: Seeing Green >>>

Veteran Voices

Bob Moggio can’t be accused of moving his retail store because he no longer cared for the neighborhood. After all, he only moved it right next door.

In the college town of Edwardsville, Ill. (pop. 25,000), Mogggio has had Mojo's Muisc at the same address on Main Street for 13 years. “What happened was the lease was over in October [of 2013], and I was paying more than I wanted to pay,” he says. Enter serendipity: The men’s clothing store next door was losing and the 1938 building it was in was put on the market. The two neighbors wrote out the contract themselves, and the building was sold “as is.”

Read more: Mojo’s Music Move Offers Chance to Reset >>>

Show Report

With over 110,000 visitors and 2,242 exhibiting companies from 57 nations, it’s unquestionable that the annual Musikmesse gathering in Frankfurt – held this year from March 12-15 – remains a key event for many in the MI trade.

That said, numbers were down somewhat from last year (2,285 exhibitors and a record-setting 113,000 attendees) and many we spoke with commented on a perceived “slower pace” at the 2014 Musikmesse. “The show itself seemed much smaller to me,” notes Andy Morris of Dream Cymbals. “More than anything, I noticed that the abundance of very small independent suppliers, manufacturers, and inventors is gone, just as it is at NAMM.

Read more: Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound 2014 >>>

Product Spreads

Few figures in the guitar industry have been as involved in exploring issues of sustainability and the legality of existing rare tonewoods as Tom Bedell. His Bedell Guitars has made major strides in working out processes to ethically source tonewoods and build guitars in the spirit of the great instruments of early folk and rock ‘n’ roll scenes.

The super limited edition ‘Summer of Love’ dreadnaught guitar (limited to 12 copies) is maybe the company’s most potent symbol of this effort. As the company says, “During the summer of ‘67, if you could’ve had any guitar, it would’ve been an Adirondack/Brazilian dreadnought.” This guitar features Brazilian sidewood and an Adirondack Spruce top with a Honduran mahogany neck.

Read more: Bedell ‘Summer of Love’ Dreadnaught >>>

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