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Trade Regrets: Rudi DeGaspari

Christian Wissmuller • Trade Regrets • November 6, 2023

MI veteran Rudi DeGaspari, longtime Hohner employee and later pivotal to the launch of Kala Brand Music Company, passed away on October 10.

In the early ’60s, DeGaspari moved from Austria to Switzerland. He was playing music in a band and started a job with Hohner/Switzerland, repairing and servicing Hohner Accordions.  His band was recruited to move to the USA, to be Ski Instructors and Musicians first in Maine, then Vermont and then Tahoe (Squaw Valley). Once DeGaspari reached the age of 30, he thought it would be wise to get regular work, and consequently was hired by Hohner USA, at their division in Santa Clara, CA. He started as a stringed instrument repair person, and quickly became Stringed Instrument Product Manager for Hohner USA. At Hohner’s West Coast office in Mountain View, CA (and later Santa Rosa, CA), he worked together with his wife, Ilse (who was the Sales and Office Manager), running the West Coast operation.  Soon after, Hohner promoted DeGaspari to International Guitar Product Manager. He travelled to Asia, overseeing production for over 30 years. Altogether, he was with Hohner for almost 40  years.

After leaving Hohner due to relocation of their Santa Rosa facility to Southern California, he briefly worked for Crafter USA, and finally, was instrumental in giving Kala Brand Music Company their start by securing production in Asia starting in 2005. DeGaspari again travelled many times to Asia, overseeing production.

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