Had the chance to chat with Vinnie Zummo yesterday. For those unaware of him he's got his own website:
Super nice guy and we talked about about guitars and music and 'bergers for close to an hour. He was an early notable and passionate adopter of Steinberger, and still relies heavily on his GL's to this day. If you listen to the clips he's got on his site most of them are played on his trusty GL. He's got several, but his main axe is an early GL with Type1 TT. Of note he swapped the EMG's for some custom DiMarzio's.
Main reason for our chat was that he's been testing a Synapse TranScale for 3-4 months now. Had some interesting observations, and definitely has postive options about it. Even some pleasant surprises. He uses it quite a bit for his projects now.
I'll be doing a formal Q & A to post. Vinnie's also agreed to record some sound samples and let us share those as well. Thought it'd be nice for guys to actually hear the guitar if they couldn't play it first (especially the piezo) and Vinnie was kind enough to offer.
Again look for this in the upcoming weeks. Will post here when it's up.
Posted by andyyak 1/26/2005 08:08:48 AM
Here's the first MusicYo update for '05:
HOLIDAYS -> The holiday season went well for them. Sales were at least the same, maybe a little better than last year. They luckily got most of their product in by Dec. 7th, as the second week of December is usually the busiest buying week by far. Sales were strong for both Steinberger and other Yo brands.
SPIRITS -> They seem to have good inventory on them and hope to do so for the near term future. No new news for the line.
USA -> Work continues to get the supply channel of bodies going. They admit that not having them has been the biggest hindrance to the USA stuff taking off in any meaningful way.
They've also been getting lots of requests from international distributors for USA built product. Some are prepared to buy as much as 50-60 units at a time. But since inventory has been sparse at best they've declined selling to dealers overseas. As they stated "we're just scratching the surface" for the USA line. Once inventory builds up they hope to open things up considerably overseas. It should be noted that in Steinberger's heyday 50% or more of the instruments were sold outside of the US. That kind of global skew is unusual for a USA built guitar and is something they'd like to capitalize on again.
PARTS -> They've got stock on more parts: TransTrems, S-Trems, R-Trems, trem arms for all, gearless tuners, bass jaws. Should be good for the near future on these.
SYNAPSE -> As everyone is aware, Musician's Friend will be the first online retailer to sell the new line. Prices are posted on their website which you can link to directly:
Though they list availability as mid Feb, chances are late Feb./early March is more realistic. Also the first batches will have relatively few instrument. Even if they show up early, don't be surprised if items go in and out of stock a lot in the first month or so. Be prepared to also start seeing major ads in the upcoming weeks.
I'd add that they will NOT be showing the Synapse instruments at NAMM, so don't expect to see or be able to play any on the show floor.
As always will post regular updates, especially when we get news of the Synapses actually arriving in stock.
Posted by andyyak 1/17/2005 03:56:40 PM
For those unaware, this past summer Amazon began kind of a co-op music store under it's banner. The items are listed on Amazon, but actually ship from other online and brick-and-mortar retailers. They do the same thing in other markets like electronics, toys, etc.
MusicYo is a part of this effort, so if you do a query you will see quite a variety of Steinberger instruments, notably the Spirit line. Inventory is not real-time - they usually update once every day or two. So even if you see something on the Amazon site, it's possible it's sold out at Yo. Click here for a see current Steinberger inventory on their site
Why do I mention this? Well, for international buyers MusicYo only ships to the US. They have a small network of supposed dealers set up, but they don't seem to stock anything and prices are horrible for locals. However it turns out that if you order through Amazon, the int'l restriction isn't imposed. And with the US Dollar a bit down, European buyers especially can get a great deal. With that shipping isn't too expensive either.
If you're outside of the US and want to buy a Steinberger, check out Amazon now.
Posted by andyyak 11/30/2004 07:16:51 PM
MusicYo posted a few new GLB's were posted in the last week, and I got an email notification from Yo yesterday of them being back in stock. Right now they've only got white. The few black ones they posted have already sold, but most of what was built out went overseas for int'l back orders.
Production is in the midst of a bit of rush to get some Epiphone things out before Christmas. A few more GLB's might get built out before them, but the bulk of the GLB assembly won't happen until after the holidays. More black GLB's bodies are on the way, and the Newburgh GM's and what I'll call the "Nashvile GM's" - the unbound mostly figured top ones - should be arriving shortly. Hope to see some XQ basses soon too.
As always I'll be trying to stay on top of this
Posted by andyyak 11/19/2004 10:54:41 AM
Followed up on current Plek prices with Joe Glaser in Nashville. They quote $129 for a Plek alone, which is analogous to a crown & polish. A full refret starts at $325 and can go higher depending on how much works needs to be done to level the neck. Most refret prices range from $325-$380.
For those unaware of the Plek system, it's a specialized CNC machine that optimizes fret jobs to within thousandths of an inch. Click here to link to their website.
For an original blend neck with no trussrod, this is an ideal way to get the action you want. Takes the guesswork out of it. I had an L2 done last year and the fret job was flawless. Definitely worth it. If you've never played with a really good fret job you owe it yourself to try it.
Posted by andyyak 11/15/2004 11:09:33 AM
Here's the latest from MusicYo:
USA -> They are still in the process of getting several vendors lined up for bodies. They won't be relying on one, but will likely split it up in terms of models: one will do the XQ's, another the GLB's, etc. That way if they run into problems with one supplier they won't be totally out. As was shared before they also have a top notch finisher (Wilkins Guitars) on board. They've received some prototype bodies which apparently are quite nice, but have yet to start actual production. They've got plenty of hardware and necks ready to go, they just need the bodies. This has been the case the last 6 months. I'm guessing a few more months at this pace and taking into account the holidays and NAMM.
SYNAPSE -> Several folks, including Ned, made a trip over to Asia a couple weeks back to help finalize things for production. Arrival has slipped entirely to next year. They will do a pre-production run around the first of the year, but these are just for testing and will not be sold. They'll be ready when they're ready I suppose. They admitted priority #1 is getting these out the door.
SPIRITS -> More are on the way for the holiday buying season. All should arrive before Yo's biggest buying week of December 6th. Delays have been out of their hands: trade deficit makes getting shipping containers more problematic, the increase in commerce has them competing with the Wal-Marts this time of year, and the ports can only handle so many goods.
Again there are two complete shipments of instruments and parts, and will probalby hit about 1-2 weeks apart. Yo will be sending emails out when they're ready for sale. I'll try to give a heads up on it as well.
WEBSITE -> After 5 years there will finally be a 'real' Steinberger website in early '05. I've seen some of the previews. Almost exclusively focused on the Synapse. Spirit and USA info is basically links to Yo. Nice pics and some blurbs about the Synapse, but not very comprehensive about the brand. Not as sales-ey as the Yo site - still kind of a bullet-point approach to it.
Will post when product is back in stock. Likely won't have another comprehensive update until after NAMM.
Posted by andyyak 11/12/2004 05:52:05 AM
Original L2 plug-in leg rests are available!
Finally got in the shipment of custom CNC posts from HAZ Labs. So I can now officially offer new L2 leg rest replacements for the first time in nearly 20 years! Click here to go to my PayPal order page.
Posted by andyyak 11/4/2004 06:37:19 PM
Been talking with some of the VintageKramer.com guys about maybe joining them again for their summer convention, as it's time to start making plans for it.
The first year ('03) they went for a small, informal type of gathering. This past year they tried taking it a step further, and planned a much larger event. But in all honestly most guys enjoyed how it ran the year before; it seemed a little more personable and less hectic. Less work that's for sure. So this year it's safe to say they'll be going a little more informal again, with the exhibits in the same space as the entertainment with far less structure or bands and more time for jams.
There's also some question as to where it would be best to hold it. NAMM is going on the road again for the summer show and will be in Indianapolis this year. So if we follow NAMM we'd be going to Indy too. However many of the Kramer guys are from the south, and it would be a far longer drive for some. NAMM seemed to be more of a diversion for some of their attendees.
Another idea is to keep it in Nashville, perhaps early in the summer. That would minimize NAMM conflicts and also encourage Epiphone involvement - both in terms of sponsorship and allowing all of their personnel to attend. We'd also be able to find better accommodations, since we wouldn't be competing for space with a big trade show. Some ideas thrown around are to go right downtown, and maybe try to team up with either the Gibson Cafe or the Hard Rock to host the big Saturday event.
Again this is all talk right know, but wanted to get a feel from the gang here what their inclinations are. I've created a poll on the site so please vote to help us come to some conclusions. To be honest we were very, very much in the minority last year. If we can't get some kind of growth from the Steinberger contingent, I'd almost prefer to stand aside and let them have their event to themselves. They've been kind enough to invite us again but don't want to be just a footnote again.
Please vote on the Yahoo! Group site to make your opinion heard.
Posted by andyyak 10/15/2004 04:04:42 PM
Epiphone has finally realized that trying to go through Gibson for bodies just isn't working. They tried, but it seems no one at Gibson wanted to bother and the timelines got longer while the quatities got smaller.
They also tried to get this place in Nashville to do both the CNCing and finishing for the XQ basses. Cutting was they're specialty but they aren't really a finisher. They tried but have had ongoing QC issues, so that wasn't working out either.
So now here's the latest scoop: The place in Nashville will be cutting the XQ bodies (like they did back in the 90's). Another place in CA will be be cutting the guitar bodies. Right now they're getting the GLB's and Newburgh GM's back up and running. I know the rough XQ bodies are good to go, and the first samples of unfinished guitar bodies looked good.
Both places will be sending the bodies to Wilkins Guitars in CA for finishing. This is very good news. Pat Wilkins name came up several times when I was trying to help USA staff source another body provider laste last year. He's also doing the finishing work on the Headless Horseman GM you've seen shots of. Not cheap, but does top notch work. Current clients include Tom Anderson & Sadowsky, so the guy's no slouch. How this affects the USA prices I'm not sure, but I think overall thbe market would support $50-$100 more on the price if buyers know they're getting a premium finish.
Again, many bodies are cut but to my knowledge the first batch have yet to be finished. That process should start shortly. Wilkins has a 2-4 week turnaround time (I called and talked to him in depth). Add about another 2-3 weeks shipping & build time in Nashville. There will still be a wait in the short term.
The upside is that all these vendors are capable of supplying a good steady stream of product, so we (hopefully) won't have this kind of roller coaster (actually mostly "out of stock) when it comes to inventory.
Posted by andyyak 10/9/2004 04:42:00 PM
Things have been rather quiet on the MusicYo front. Here's what's happening (or not yet happening as it were):
USA -> They are still working with several vendors to get around the body bottle-neck. Through 3rd party sources I've conirmed they've approached a respected vendor on the West Coast about doing the guitar bodies, while they're still working with the local place in Nashville on the XQ's. The XQ's should be available in Sept. if the current schedule holds. Guitar bodies are farther out to be sure, but they should be able to better keep these in stock once they do arrive.
SYNAPSE -> Things are still progressing with the new line and they are still hopeful for a holiday season roll-out. Therefore quantities may be limited at first. Confirmed 100% that these will not be sold thorugh MusicYo, but who will carry them is still not official. Still inclined to think it'll be online sites first.
Be prepared to see the guitars sold before the basses. Seems some tooling delays on the hardware might hold up the basses a little bit. They will utilize some of the Synapse designed hardware for the USA line, notably the non-piezo hardtail. Unsure if the pizeo systems will make it over. I reckon they'd like to keep those a
Synapse feature for a while.
SPIRIT -> They'd admittedly been far too low on stock for far too long. With the holiday season approaching they have two large shipments on order, both scheduled to arrive in October. The first will have GP2's, GT Pros, XP & XZ-DB bassses. The later one will have GU's (both Standard & Deluxe), more XZ's inlcuding 5 strings, and XT basses. They'll start posting to their once they get warehoused.
That's it for now. Until the Synapse liine actually shows up and the USA body suplliers get rampd up, things will admittedly be pretty quiet the next few months. As always I'll post any breaking news or updates.
Posted by andyyak 8/27/2004 10:55:23 AM
Click here to view the News Archive