Batson GuitarsIt sounds like the start of a cruel joke, but it was a good day when someone stole Cory Batson’s guitar. Unable to afford the quality and features he wanted in a replacement, he set about building his own. Having built custom furniture for years, he started with good basic woodworking skills. But the real work began with his painstaking, year-long research into all elements of guitar construction, and his immersion in different manufacturers’ spec and design choices and their underlying rationale. But the guitar theft’s true silver lining appeared when, with plenty of encouragement from fellow musicians, the success of Cory Batson’s personal project inspired him to apply his vision to an instrument that would stand out in the commercial market.
With its sales “on fire,” manufacturer of unique guitars is
“ready for retailers”
Since the time Batson Guitars was founded in 1997, Cory has maintained a core goal: to create a uniquely featured, custom-sounding guitar—“without the custom guitar price tag.” That quest has been fully realized in the company’s three new Generation 2 acoustic-electric models. New features in the updated line include a gloss body finish (with the satin neck retained), adjusted intonation with a more accurate compensated saddle, and a nut made of camel bone, in Cory’s words, “the Holy Grail nut material.”
“Everything about these guitars is unique,” he says. Modeled after the grand concert size Batson Custom Shop guitars, they feature proprietary Batson Clear Voice UST piezo pickups, a cantilevered fretboard, lattice bracing, an armrest bevel, and the sure-fire conversation starter between consumers and retailers: a side sound port, which replaces the conventional top soundhole. “When a customer walks into a music store and sees 300 guitars hanging on the wall,” Cory explains, “only the Batson will look like a Batson—and it will get played.” That’s when the customer is struck by “how clearly and accurately he hears himself,” he continues. (A bonus effect, unforeseen during his initial R&D, is that a Batson guitar almost can’t be made to feed back.) Beyond its eye-catching look, this design maximizes the soundboard surface area, facilitating uninterrupted vibration and enhanced bass response.
All of a Batson guitar’s major design elements are interrelated contributors to the “signature Batson voice,” which Cory describes as “articulate” and “long-sustaining,” with an “ample bottom end”: Combined with its archtop-style tailpiece, which reduces the tension of the strings pulling on the soundboard by about 50%, the “uninterrupted” top allowed him to use lighter-weight lattice bracing, which distributes tension across the soundboard more evenly than other types, resulting in less inter-frequency cancelation.
For a year, the company tested the market by selling directly from its website “to make sure we didn’t run into any surprises.” The only real surprise was how quickly it sold. “Despite what some call an oversaturated market,” Cory says, “our sales are on fire.”
Acclaim for the upgraded line warranted expansion of the company’s executive team, prompting the appointment of International Sales Manager Rick Hall and USA Sales Manager Terry Dockrill. With the addition of these two seasoned industry pros, Batson guitars are now available throughout the world’s major markets. The company has also engaged a respected social media company, Squatch Creative, to drive new customers to its retail partner locations.
With the overwhelming response to the Generation 2 models and many consumers asking where they can try a Batson, the company is now ready to take on retail partners to satisfy the demand. Starting in October 2017, each Batson website direct sale will be passed along to its geographically closest retail dealer store. The company requires no minimum orders or yearly quotas, and it provides “excellent margins that any dealer will be excited about,” assures its founder and president. Rick Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org), Terry Dockrill (email@example.com), and Cory Batson (firstname.lastname@example.org) are now making appointments for 2018 NAMM, Booth 3904.
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