2014 Chicago Guitar Show Epilogue

Well the 2014 Chicago Guitar Show has come and gone and it was spectacle to be seen. Our booth was decked out in all of its regalia and we represented our brand quite well. We also proudly represented our partners that we team with to supply our hardware. We brought guitars loaded with Hipshot Hardware and FU Tone bridges as well as Nordstrand, Amalfitano, EMG and our own Pasquale Custom Pickups. We made a lot of new friends and a great time was had by all.

It was a huge accomplishment for us to even get to this show since we had to build and prep 14 guitars for our booth in less than 5 months. Our usual turn- around time for a guitar is 12 weeks so the challenge of building 14 guitars in 5 months was a big one.
Add to the fact that we set out to debut our new Metal Series Guitars at this show which is series of 6 brand new models each with custom hardware options and custom graphics. Throw into the mix a prototype of our brand new Revelator 7 seven string guitar and you can see how the challenges began to mount. But nonetheless, we were ready when set up time on Friday afternoon May 16th.

The Chicago Guitar Show is part of the Texas Guitar Show Circuit that runs nationally throughout the year. The vibe of the show is very much like a rock band on tour because most of the dealers travel with the show from town to town and rent same booths year after year. They do this hoping that they will be able to sell a 1957 Fender Stratocaster for $28,000 to the next Vince Gill, or buy a 1957 Fender Stratocaster for $2,000 from the last guy who thought he was the next Vince Gill.

At its heart, the Texas Guitar Show is a Vintage Gear Show. It is a place where people bring their classic guitars and amps to have them appraised or to show them off. Some people come to show off their vintage gear in hopes of getting that great offer for it that they can’t refuse. And of course there is always that one shifty guy walking around with a dusty Jackson Guitar without a case asking a mere $50 while constantly looking over his shoulder.
It was definitely a celebration of all things classic about guitars and for the most part it was business as usual for the Texas Guitar Show…and then we showed up.

One look at our booth and you knew there was nothing vintage about our guitars. The anxious look on the face of the guys across the aisle from us as we set up our guitars and rolled in the Egnater Amps showed that clearly something new was about to come to town. We tried our best to be respectful to all parties but at the end of the day you just can’t debut a Metal Series of guitars quietly.

We were stationed as the 2nd booth on the right hand side of the building as you entered into the double doors so we had a great flow of traffic and the eye catching appeal of our multiple colors and unique guitar designs definitely stopped people as soon as they came in the door. We got several compliments on all of our designs. Most of the comments that we got for the day were in regard to our neck contours and the smooth feel of our neck finishes which we do all by hand.  We even had a couple of guys from the Guitar Center booth stop by to comment on our stuff. I asked them how I could get some wall space in their Chicago stores so my stuff could compare to the “other guys” guitars. They told me that it was a corporate decision and that it was out of their hands. However, I was truly flattered when one of them approached me at the end of the show as I was loading all my gear out because he wanted me to build him a custom bass. He said he liked my neck profiles and could not find what he wanted anywhere else.

Our Metal Series Guitars were definitely the show stoppers. They would instantly attract the younger players and instantly repel the vintage guys at the same time. The younger players liked the new shapes, the custom graphics and the hot rodded hardware. The vintage players would walk by and make comments like “I don’t play pointy guitars!” to which I would respond “Then you better keep walkin’ grampa coz you’ll poke your eye out over here”.
One of the big highlights of the show was our Pasquale Revelator 7 seven string guitar which was a prototype design. It got a lot of interest and a lot of play. I set out to design a 7 string guitar that would appeal to both 6 and 7 string players and according to all response I nailed it because everybody loved that guitar. The prototype was at the show and it shall be immortalized at the shop as the standard by which all 7 string necks must be cut. It is perfect.

Another highlight of this year’s show was the introduction of the Dan Fastuca Signature Inferno Guitar. A super-sized version of our Pasquale Inferno Guitar that stands nearly 4 ½ feet tall. Dan is the guitarist and driving force behind Jet Black Racing and this guitar is sized to fit his 6’6” 260 pound frame. It looks huge on anyone except him. This design has been in the works for some time and was a huge highlight of this show.

Two other highlights of the show were Drew Creal and Roberto Navarra who were both on hand at the booth shredding.

Drew is a freelance musician who is currently living in Nashville and recording an instrumental album with his band Muir. He is a dear friend of mine and he is the very first PCG endorsing artist. I was grateful to him for making the trip from Nashville and for being my wingman for the show.
Roberto is a guitarist from Italy who is currently living in Chicago working on several musical projects. His musical endeavors range from playing Jazz/Tango music in dinner theaters at night to opening for Exodus on European festivals. We built him the very first Pasquale/Navarra guitar that will be used as a prototype for our Pasquale Fusion Guitar that will debut at next year’s show. He brought his guitar to the show and after a few beers at 10 in the morning he was shredding through some sick arpeggios.
All in all it was great fun, we got to meet a lot of new friends and we even managed to make nice with the old dudes across the aisle who constantly complained about the noise. There is a lot of interest in custom guitar work in Chicago and we will have the band saw and the router running for quite a while.
Hope to see ya there next year!

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