Gear Pioneers

Explore the world of the innovators and craftspeople who help shape the music instruments and equipment on which we all depend. Our Gear Pioneer interviews get up close and personal with some of the most important music industry figures. Learn about what makes them tick and how they arrived at the innovations that have helped transform the way we perform and record music. The Makers interviews are in-depth profiles of the artisans from whose hands and minds come the instruments that define their categories. From master luthiers to brilliant technicians, we ask the questions that bring to life their quest to help musicians make better music.

Bob Taylor and Andy Powers of Taylor Guitars

The Makers: Bob Taylor and Andy Powers of Taylor Guitars

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Musician’s Friend Private Reserve Guitars recently spoke with Taylor Guitars co-founder Bob Taylor and his master luthier Andy Powers. Together, this pair drives a dynamic and innovative guitar-building juggernaut that continues to raise the bar in the world of modern luthiery.

A Conversation with Bob Heil

A Conversation with Bob Heil—the Master of Game-Changing Microphone Technology

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By Marty Paule

Highly opinionated and fiercely independent in his views about pro sound, Bob Heil builds mics and possesses a professional resume to back up his often out-of-the-box attitude. And speaking of boxes, it was Bob who invented one of the most memorable guitar effects of all time: the Heil Talk Box that made Peter Frampton a fixture on ‘70s album charts.

A Conversation with Fred Greene and Jeff Allen

A Conversation with Fred Greene and Jeff Allen

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On our recent trip to the Martin factory in Nazareth, Pa., the Musician's Friend Private Reserve Guitars team sat down with two of Martin's most influential leaders: Fred Greene, vice president/general manger of guitars, and Jeff Allen, general manager of the Martin Custom Shop.

The Wood Whisperer of DW Drums

The “Wood Whisperer” of DW Drums

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A Conversation with John Good

By Marty Paule

John Good is a self-confessed drum geek. He lives and breathes the infinite number of details that go into shaping the way a drum sounds and plays. From bearing edges to wood species to the concept of timbre-matching the fundamental tones of drum shells, John has spent decades refining the drum builder’s art and technology. Like so many of the Gear Pioneers we talk to, his curiosity is relentless. When his associates at DW Drums hear Good say, “What if…” they know something amazing is likely to develop, be it a new tonality or an eye-popping veneer that’ll set drummers to salivating. We spoke to John at DW Drums headquarters in Oxnard, California.

Gear Pioneer: Noel Lee of Monster Cable

Gear Pioneer: Noel Lee of Monster Cable

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Making all the right connections in the quest for audio clarity

Brian Vance and Brian Johnson of D’Addario: Building a Better Bass String

Brian Vance and Brian Johnson of D’Addario: Building a Better Bass String

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The brains behind FlexSteels talk about the genesis of a string that’s been winning more converts than a summer tent revival

A Conversation with Master Builder Dale Wilson

A Conversation with Master Builder Dale Wilson

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We talk to the Fender luthier about the extraordinary instruments he built for a Private Reserve Guitars project

This interview documents a unique series of guitars that Dave Carpenter of Private Reserve Guitars commissioned from Master Builder Dale Wilson of the Fender Custom Shop.

Infinite Curiosity and The Art of Sound

Infinite Curiosity and The Art of Sound

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A Conversation with Larry Fishman

By Marty Paule

We couldn’t have found a better subject for our kickoff Gear Pioneer interview. Larry Fishman is a prime example of an American entrepreneur who has harnessed an impressive skill set in staying at the forefront of music gear innovation for better than three decades. He initially staked out his territory in the realm of acoustic-instrument amplification, but he has gone far beyond that domain with a string of astonishing achievements that have taken him into cutting-edge disciplines including a new, game-changing wireless guitar synthesis system. We spoke to Larry in his office at Fishman Transducers, Inc.—the world-spanning business he began in his basement.

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