At first, I really kind of wondered why Gibson wanted me involved. There were long email strings about production issues, marketing plans, etc.; all of it seemed right on target, and my involvement was pretty much limited to “uh … looks good to me.” In fact, at one point I was about ready to send an email saying “Hey, you guys seem to have it together, so there’s no real point in having me consult. Good luck with the guitar, it looks really cool.” It’s not like I don’t have plenty of other things I could be doing! Fortunately, I got distracted and didn’t send it.
I might add that I was surprised at how well-oiled a machine was being put into place. Generally, music industry companies are fairly laid-back in their approach, but here there was massive coordination going on among multiple teams – Gibson’s in-house marketing and PR people, those responsible for designing and manufacturing the guitar itself, product launch events, Echo Electronics in California who were handling the interface, and Tronical in Hamburg, who were hard at work updating the tuning system but also had the responsibility of making the hex pickup fly.
The speed with which the team worked was also a surprise. With a launch date of December 15, there was no margin for error, and any wasted time on pursuing things that didn’t work would throw a serious monkey wrench into the machine. It definitely had the potential to be a real pressure-cooker situation, but I have to say people were on top of things – there was a “yes we can” type of attitude that was intense and purposeful. I kept checking my email for progress reports, and there was a nearly constant flow of updates and queries.
And then I found out why Gibson wanted me involved …