Oh, boy do I know the feeling of waiting for something to arrive. I’ve bought guitars online and tracked them with the eye of a hawk, paced the floor, watched my watch, and looked out the window longingly for my UPS driver to arrive. Then I’ve sat looking at the shipping box waiting for it to acclimate before I open it.
Now fast forward to today, waiting for 3 versions of the 265 Shari Ulrich Songbird, 3 new versions of the 216 Delta Po’Boy, the prototype of the 283 Le Belle Creole Resonator as well and my replenished stock of 327 Big Jakes and 350 JLS John Lawlor Signature guitars, I’ve worn ruts in my floors pacing. Things could have been a whole lot different.
I’ve had the chance to go dirt cheap. To stamp out guitars that could have been dumped on Amazon for peanuts and turned around from idea to warehouse conveyor belt shipping in 2 months. That’s not why I got into this.
I wanted my affordable vintage archtop during the covid crunch like many people. I hoped to find a quality guitar that I could afford that wouldn’t need an expensive trip to the luthier to make it playable. That’s when the value of the cheapest Sears catalog archtops from the 1960’s with twisted necks and craked bodies were going for premium prices. I couldn’t see myself paying $800 for a plywood Silvertone with questionable pickups and a violin bow neck. I began the vetting process to find my partner and manufacturer of my Craven Tenor Guitars and only one vendor could provide me with the quality, price point, and handcraft boutique quantities rather than mass-produced guitars that would be candidates for pawn shop walls. He’s now gone from being a supplier to a trusted partner.
Over the last year I’ve been offered substantial orders by significant retailers for our product line that always came with a clause; Increasing my retail pricing to reflect the premium nature of our guitars better ( aka increase their substantial markups). The benefit would have been consumers would have seen them in guitar box stores and for that benefit, been faced with a sticker shock increase of 14% or more. Our increase in sales would have pressed production and materials, stretching them, and for certain something would get lost along the way and fewer people would b able to afford a tenor guitar. That’s not my goal.
I’m all in favor of supporting small music stores that still sell instruments they love, provide teachers or tutors, and support your kids softball team when they need new gloves or gas money for a tournament. They may sell one of our guitars a month, maybe one a year but they deserve our support because they support your local communities. In this fashion, I can keep our pricing modest and honest, innovate and upgrade without overpricing and alienating folk who simply want to make music.
Im beyond honored that our guitars are played by professional musicians around the world and that Craven Tenror Guitars stand the test of performance on stage. I’m as equally honored by those who reach for their Craven and strum as they watch TV or gather with friends for impromptu jam sessions in basements, garages and fireside.
I want to take a moment to thank some of those around the world who have shared their enjoyment of our guitars and have allowed me to bring you their performances here, on Youtube, Tictok and other media platforms.
Ms. Shari Ulrich, 2 time Juno Award-winning songwriter, Singer, Performer, humanitarian
Mr. John Lawlor, Inductee to the Tenor Guitar Hall of Fame
Mr. Mark Evans, Member of the Brandon Campbell Trio, West Coast, U.S.A.
Mr. John Cotton, John Cotton Trio, East Coast, U.S.A.
Mr. Charlie Redman, Kitten and the Tonics, Michigan, U.S.A.
Mr. Michael Coury, Jass Mucisian Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Mr. Joan Pinose Sario, Sitga Spain, Jazz Musician, Jazz/music festival director
Ms. Mo Gunn, a passionate Craven Tenor guitar player and repeat customer in California, U.S.A.
Mr. Patrick Froelicher, a passionate Craven Tenor Guitar player and repeat customer in Germany
Ms. Danielle Greenberg, Bass player turned passionate Craven Tenor Guitar player, New Jersey, U.S.A.
These are just some of the incredible people who express themselves so beautifully with a Craven Tenor guitar.
Between now and May when our inventory is complete there’s a great deal going on behind the scenes. We will announce our European dealer who will be serving all of the continent and Ireland, very soon. The final work on our Student, Teacher, Music Therapy Support Program is being solidified. Our goal is to aid those who can benefit from support in their aspirations of learning (teaching) Tenor guitar music. We’ll continue to monitor pre-orders of all our instruments and keep those with special orders updated. I may even take a little time for a quick break to work on my outstanding honey-do list. Just know, I’m here, responding to emails ( firstname.lastname@example.org), phone calls and instant messages.
It’s been an incredible year of blessings and there’s so much more to look forward to in 2023.