Do as I Say (Just Don’t Expect Me To…)

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Editorial
  • October 2018
• Created: October 3, 2018

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Within a number of past editorials, I’ve celebrated those who design and offer new, weird, innovative instruments and gear. I’ve encouraged dealers and others in the industry to welcome innovation and be open to new potential avenues for profit and growth.

Just this past June, I wrote the following: “With one of the major industry trade shows upon us, I’d advocate for paying serious attention to some of the smaller, lesser-known brands with booths (not that you should ignore the big names, of course)… offering appealing gear that isn’t available online or at the larger retailers is one solid strategy to distinguish your business and to not only survive in today’s market, but to thrive.”

Sounds reasonable. But do I take my own advice when it comes to giving “the new” a chance?

Since we launched our still-new(ish) reviews section, “Top Gear,” in the June issue (there’s that same issue rearing its head again!), I’ve handled penning some of the assessments for the instruments and products that I feel qualified to judge: guitars, amps, fretted accessories, effects, et cetera. One product that has been gathering dust for a few months, though, is the Roadie 2 – the evolution of a product originally borne out of a Kickstarter campaign. The item, itself, is an automatic guitar tuner and string winder. That’s pretty clearly “guitar related” and, therefore, up my alley. So why did it sit on my kitchen counter, along with other unopened mail (bills, financial statements, reminders to go to the dentist – who needs that stuff?) for two months?

I thought it seemed lame. I’ve been using my hands and ears to tune my guitars – and not just to “standard tuning;” plenty of alternate tunings (look at me!) – since I was 12. I don’t even use regular, plastic string winders (also “lame,” says judgmental, know-it-all me). Why would I want to use an automatic, robotic guitar tuner? I was amongst the many who pushed back when Gibson famously pushed its “robot tuner” system on consumers (I still think the company’s approach was heavy-handed and inappropriate, whatever the relative merits of the tuners, but that’s another topic), after all.

But, with this October issue, the time had come. Let’s give the Roadie 2 Automatic Guitar Tuner and String Winder (ugh…) a try and figure out how to get down a few non-venomous words about the product.

The thing is… it turns out this clearly lame product isn’t lame at all. After opening the box and sitting down to see what the Roadie 2 could do, I was having too much fun and taking too many notes about the features and design to pay attention to my intended task: mocking the gadget. I won’t get into the details of how the Roadie 2 works or why I think it’s cool (check out the review on page 40 for that), but the experience has certainly served to remind me to embrace the mindset that I so often ask MMR readers to adopt.

Give new things and ideas a shot. Blowing up preconceived notions can be educational and enjoyable.

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