The other day I was talking to Paul Riario, Guitar World’s gear editor. The subject came around to why women don’t buy more gear. My reply to Riario was, “You’re right. I would buy a new pair of shoes before I picked up a new guitar accessory.”
Eureka! I thought. There’s a great article for GuitarWorld.com: guitar accessories women might like. But sadly, as I began to research that article, a few truths became clear to me.
First, taking any piece of gear and making it in pink, and then saying this is now for girls and women just sucks. We don’t need it to be pink, we just need it to be cool. Well made, stylish, well thought out, and of course, it has to do what it supposed to do really, really well.
Good product design isn’t about changing the color, it’s about investigating what is appealing to your target consumer and then creating accordingly.
Second, there is a dearth of great product design for accessories in our industry, period. Yes, there are some very cool guitar straps from Jodi Head, Levy’s and lots of other makers. And some very clever tuners and lots of pick options. But what else?
How about a guitar cable in houndstooth with a built-in cable tie, or a really well made black guitar bag with leopard print piping and an accessory organizer pocket? Or a sleek, retro-looking, powder coated guitar stand with a built-in pick holder in vintage pastels. Really, how hard would it be to take the stuff that’s made right now and just make it a little bit cooler? I would pay a little more for something a bit sleeker, and I bet a lot of guitarists out there would too -– both women and men.
Look, I’m not saying there isn’t anything cool and well-designed out there. I’m just saying, in an industry that is largely centered on how cool you are today, we could do a little better.
Please, please, please, if you know of any accessories you think are particularly well designed, share them in the comment box below. And then maybe, one day, I can do the stylish accessories article that I set out to do in the first place.
P.S. I did come across two product lines that I thought hit the design mark square on the head. The first carries unique wall sculpture that hangs behind your guitar and frames your instrument. Then when you take your guitar down to play, it’s still a slick piece of art. A bit pricey, but the idea just rocks. Check it out at axetotem.com
... and then there's a sweet and extremely portable guitar stand for us regular guys (or gals) at cooperstand.com.
Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Acoustic Bass Amps, Agile Partners, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the lead singer for the rock band Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.