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July 6, 2006

Filed under: music»business»instruments

NOS

Wired's on the cutting edge of instrument news with this article on copycat instrument makers.

No, wait a second. That's not news at all. It's an old, old story.

One of the most well-known and successful instrument makers on the market today, Ibanez, got their start in the 70's by making copies of then better-known guitars. They were good at it. A bit too good--the copies were cheaper than the originals, and often better quality. Gibson (the same company that was suing PRS for making a Les Paul singlecut copy--notice a pattern?) took them to court based on the headstock design. Today the copycat instruments are worth a decent amount of money on eBay.

Other than Gibson, the only other big manufacturer that still actively pursues copycats is Rickenbacker (as far as I know). But then, the Rick body shape and pickup design is radically different from anything else on the market. Both companies have profited from their mystique--you can't buy a Rickenbacker 4003 or an SG from anyone other than those two companies. But on the other hand, you can buy a knockoff of a Fender Strat from almost every company on the market, and it hasn't hurt their sales any. Musicians are still willing to pay more money for a real Fender, even if the only difference is the logo stamped onto the neck.

No offense, but musicians are kinda stupid that way.

The title for this post is the abbreviation for New Old Stock. You see it used when buying amplifier tubes a lot--it means that the parts in question are "new" in that they've never been used, but they're technically old parts.

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