A Brief History of Brian Moore Guitars, iGuitar, Inc. & the iGuitar Workshop
1. Start up period
2. Custom Shop expansion period
3. iGuitar and i2000 expansion period
4. iGuitar and i1000 expansion period
5. Development of iGuitar.USB & iGuitar Workshop
Start up period
Brian Moore Guitars was founded in June of 1992 by Patrick Cummings, Brian Moore and Kevin Kalagher.
The first part of Brian Moore Guitars history begins in 1991, when Brian Moore, who was working as an assistant to Ned Steinberger, at Steinberger Sound, met Patrick Cummings, who was hired by Gibson Guitars, as General Manager of several Gibson divisions including Steinberger.
Brian Moore, (a non-guitarist), had began at Steinberger several years earlier after completing his education in Furniture Design. He began doing basic production work at Steinberger and gradually moved towards the 'manufacturing engineering' area of Steinberger, assisting Ned Steinberger in design and tooling projects.
Patrick Cummings was hired by Gibson Guitars in 1991 as General Manager of 'Gibson Labs' which included the Tobias, Oberheim and Impulse divisions as well as Steinberger. He is a skilled and versatile guitarist with a background in Electrical Engineering and Business Management.
The second part of Brian Moore Guitars history also occurs in 1991 when Patrick Cummings met Kevin Kalagher, who owned a successful commercial business in Connecticut who was doing printing work for Steinberger. In addittion to being a successful businessmen, Kevin Kalagher is also a bassist, guitarist and serious musical instrument collector. After doing several printing projects for Steinberger, Kevin Kalagher approached Patrick Cummings and wanted to 'buy' the Steinberger division from Gibson. Gibson was not interested. Later, when Gibson moved Steinberger from New York to Nashville, Brian Moore did not want to make the move, he spoke with Patrick about a building tooling for a "design concept" electirc guitar
Patrick called Kevin Kalagher about a start up opportunity. The next day, Patrick, Kevin and Brian met and discussed the idea. Patrick wrote a business plan. Kevin agreed to provide the start up capital. In addition to funding the company, Kevin Kalagher is a creative driving force behind the many innovations at Brian Moore Guitars. He inspired Brian and Patrick to 'create something new' in the guitar industry while pushing the company towards the 'high end custom market'. He is constantly asking the question "Why not?" and always said "There are no rules” and helped create a culture of innovation.
The first year and half of the companies existence was spent in the R&D and experimental phase, testing different composite materials and wood combinations. The goal was to find the perfect balance between wood and composites for a completely new instrument. Much time was spent to develop the specialized tools, jigs, fixtures and production methods for manufacturing.
The Company was originally conceived as a manufacturer of high end custom made electric guitars that blended the "strength and sustain" of advanced composite materials with "tone and beauty" of wood, specifically, highly figured wood tops.
The first instrument design was the MC/1, a joint design effort between Moore and Cummings, (hence the "MC" model name). Brian created an ergonomic neck thru 'form' made of advanced composite materials with a simple curved top. Kevin Kalagher continued to push the company towards the 'high end' guitar business. He encouraged to Patrick refine the design of the guitar for the most discriminating players. Only the highest figured tops were used and only using the finest components such as Seymour Duncan pickups, Sperzel tuners and Wilkinson vibratos. Other design refinements include the "innovative rear output jack" and "sculpted headstock".
After looking at a variety of guitars in the market, the original Brian Moore headstock design was lacking. After much discussion and experimentation, Patrick suggested to keep the original shape but 'create the illusion' of a different headstock by leaving a sculpted area of the natural wood showing on the face of the heartsick (just as it is done to create 'natural wood binding"). This resulted in the current trademark "sculpted" headstock design.
In September of 1993 the company tested their idea at a small guitar show in NYC. The original marketing plan was to sell direct to the consumer. The response from the players was great.
In October of 1993 the company attended a second guitar show in NYC. The response from the Dealers and International Distributors convinced them that they should attend the NAMM show in California, setting up a USA Dealer and International Distributor Network.
The company was officially launched at the 1994 NAMM show and began to build their Dealer and Distributor network. In mid 1994 the company hired production manager, luthier and inlay specialist Ray Memmel. Ray has created many 'original' inlay designs that are available in the "Custom Shop" to this day.
By mid 1995, dealers, who liked the MC/1design, began asking for an "all wood version" at lower prices points. Most guitarists are still very traditional and prefer the tone of an all wood instrument.
The company introduced the "all wood bolt-on" C-Series guitars at the 1996
NAMM show. The C-Series echo many of the innovative designs including the "comfort contoured top", "sculpted headstock" and innovative output jack location. The C-Series guitars quickly became over 80% of the companies sales.
Late in 1996 the company introduced the RMC Piezo and Polydrive system. This 13pin system uses the piezo pickups as the MIDI or hex pickup for use with the Roland type 13 pin guitar synths. This was the beginning of the 'technology direction' for Brian Moore Guitars.The customer response to the models with Piezo and 13 pin technology was fantastic.
In January of 1997 Patrick Cummings teamed up with luthier and musician Tom Doyle, (longtime associate, luthier and sound engineer for the legendary Les Paul) to create the DC/1 model, an elegant single cutaway design that blended some of Toms' design ideas with the comfort contoured top and sculpted headstock.
Also in January 1997, Patrick Cummings teamed up with world famous bass designer Michael Tobias to create the TC/4 and TC/5 bass models. In addition, in 1997 Left handed models were introduced on the C-Series guitars at no extra cost.
The Custom Shop bodies and necks are cut out on CNC machines with very exacting tolerances. Each guitar hand is made from that point on "the old fashioned way", each wood top is hand picked and only the highest figured tops are used. They each receive a hand rubbed stain to enhance the wood grain and make it 'pop'. Many hours are spent as the instruments are sprayed and sanded and buffed. There is a detailed checklist for each area of the production cycle specifically the final assembly and QC. areas. Each guitar receives a final setup including hand cutting the nut within 5/1000th of an inch for flawless intonation. Brian Moore has spent many years building their reputation for guitars that are set up and play incredibly well out of the box.
The "Custom Shop" continues to offer a wide variety of inlay guitars, "Fine Art" hand painted guitars, "Corporate Marketing" guitars and even "Special Graphic" designs.
As the company grew in 1998 and 1999, many retailers and customers who could not afford the custom shop guitar began to ask for a "more affordable or import" version of the Custom Shop designs.
The company was sued by Gibson over issues surrounding the origin of the curve top design Brian Moore claimed was his own original idea. The challenges of being an entrepreneur got more intense with this legal challenge and this, along with being a non-guitarist caused Brian Moore to leave the company in 1998.
The iGuitar and i2000 expansion period
The company continued to receive requests for a more affordable or import version of the Custom Shop designs.After evaluating samples from several Korean factories the company learned that there had been a lot of progress in the area of "precision manufacturing" and "quality control" on products manufactured in certain factories in Korea.
The company began to develop a truly versatile and affordable version of its' Custom Shop models with Piezo and 13pin capabilities.
The goal was to create a guitar with highly figured tops, excellent finishing and fret work, use 'real' Seymour Duncans, Sperzel tuners and target a price point at about 1/3 the price of Custom Shop guitars.
Patrick Cummings had a vision for the ultimate affordable 'technology based guitar' and thought "iGuitar" would be a great name. The company immediately filed for "iGuitar" trademark. (Many guitarists are still very traditional and shy away from guitars with technology. The iGuitar name seemed less threatening to the traditional guitarist, so they would be more likely to try one since it wasn't called the "MIDI-XYZ Guitar controller.) The company received the "iGuitar" trademark in USA, Japan and other countries. The affordable import guitars with piezo and 13pin capability would be called "iGuitar" or iGuitar.13. The standard models without piezo and 13pin would make up the rest of the i2000 Series.
Every i2000 and iGuitar include many of the features of the more expensive Custom Shop guitars including the "comfort contoured top", "sculpted headstock" and innovative rear output jack.The Seymour Duncan pickups are the pickups of choice and are the same as the Custom Shop models, neck: Alnico II humbucker, middle, Alnico II single, bridge, JB.
One of the major advantages of the i2000 series is very i2000 and iGuitar is inspected, set-up and shipped from the Custom Shop facility.
All the current i2000 models can be found here http://iguitarworkshop.com/i2000Series.aspx
The iGuitar.5 models originally featured true 5 pin midi system manufacture by Midiaxe but they were discontinued due to supply problems from Virtual DSP the manufacturers of the Midiaxe system who eventually went out of business in around 2001
Based on requests from many guitarists that were seeking an even more affordable 13pin type guitar, the company introduced model iGuitar88.13 at the 2000 Nashville NAMM show. This model is the based on the 8.13 but has a plain mahogany or solid black top, standard tuning machines and import magnetic pickups. It is designed for the player who wants all three systems of magnetic, piezo and 13 pin but is on a limited budget and can do without the fancy figured wood top, Duncans and Sperzels.
On the business side of things, in December of 1999, the company hired music industry veteran ( VP of Gibson, Washburn, Etc.) Larry G. Volland as executive VP of worldwide sales and marketing, to launch the i2000 guitars at the 2000 LA NAMM show.
The iGuitar and i1000 expansion period
The success of the affordable iGuitar inspired the company to create an entire line of guitars and the i1000 Series was created from an ISO 9002 certified factory in China.
With this affordable iGuitar model, the company grew its’ distribution to over 400 dealers and international distribution in over 20 countries.
In June of 2002, the company was fortunate to hire Brian Murphy away from Sam Ash after 13 years on 48th Street in NYC, as New York/Tri-State sales manager and eventually Eastern Regional Sales Manager. Brian was was responsible for our success at Mannys in NYC from our introduction in 1994.
In the Custom Shop the company introduced the iAcoustic ( USA model only)
Development of iGuitar.USB & iGuitar Workshop
While the 13pin synth systems gave guitarists great tonal versatility, it appeared that more and more music creation and recording was moving onto the computer.
Recognizing this, Patrick Cummings conceived an easy to use USB guitar and filed several patents. To accomplish the goal of creating a real USB, it would be necessary to raise capital. The company was successful in raising capital brought on several angel investors. With the new investors, the company restructured as iGuitar, Inc.
The company showed and early version of the USB guitar at the 2005 NAMM show. ‘Copy cat’ products had appeared from Asian factories later in 2006 and in 2007 the company lost partial support of the new investors because the patents had not been issued in time to stop these infringers.
The company decided to focus all resources on the patents intellectual property and during this period switched to selling factory direct.
Over the period from 2008 though 2011 the company has operated factory direct, continuing to sell Brian Moore and iGuitar models.
As most people are aware, overall guitar sales took a hit during the very challenging recession period from 2008 through 2010. The company began adding iGuitar technology upgrades to other brands of guitars during this period as way of serving guitarists who found purchasing a new iGuitar too expensive.
As of 2011, with the “iGuitar Workshop”, in addition to our factory direct web sales, the company now offers a full range of guitar repairs and upgrades on all types and brands of stringed instruments.