supply chain

World War II was over, but this D-28—Martin’s highest model at the time—still got shipped with about the cheapest tuners you could imagine, with no bushings and black screws, because of supply chain issues.

It’s not a bait and switch. This year is a throwback to the post WWII-era of instrument manufacturing, for better or worse.

As we all remember, Covid hit the music industry hard in early 2020: music stores and concert venues were closed, guitar manufacturers shut down, and in-person instruction essentially disappeared almost overnight. Fortunately, lockdowns and the resulting surge of interest in playing music at home proved that even a pandemic couldn’t kill our love for the guitar. And thanks to YouTube tutorials and Zoom lessons, the number of hours that people actually played their instruments went from hardly-ever (for some) to all-the-time. Maybe you couldn’t find that new guitar model you’d been saving for, but at least you could play the guitar(s) you already had.

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CopperSound Pedals founder Alex Guaraldi's debut "State of the Stomp" outing looks at how compounding Covid woes are making life trickier for stompbox manufacturers.

In the winter and spring of 2021, I found myself staring at a computer screen overloaded by tabs in my internet browser. Each of these tabs displayed the same processor (colloquially referred to as a “chip”) and the current stock quantities for each of a dozen suppliers. The lingering scarcity of this particular processor had been foreshadowed in other industries, and when I found myself noticing the depleting stock—with my curated lists of suppliers at the ready—I began ordering whatever I could get my hands on. Diligent or obsessive? You decide. Perhaps a bit of both, but the preparation certainly paid off when packages of the scarce processors started arriving at the workshop.

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