Did you know that two of the most prominent figures in modern guitar manufacturing launched personal blogs this year to directly communicate with the guitar-buying public? Below, we run down Bob Blog (Bob Taylor, founder of Taylor Guitars) and 4Henry (Henry Juskiewicz, CEO of
Gibson Guitars). Sometimes self-serving (understandably), but always interesting, we dig reading what these guys have to say. To Paul Reed Smith and
Chris Martin IV—we’re waiting!
A section of Taylor Guitars’ official blog, Bob Blog is an outlet for Bob
Taylor to talk about things he’s doing, riff on his interests, and answer
reader questions. The top of the blog features a portrait of Bob casually
strumming one of his creations with the explanation, “Bob Taylor riffs on
guitars, traveling, food, artists and whatever else is on his mind.” Because
the official Taylor blog covers the promotional bits about what’s going on
at Taylor (an interesting read by themselves for Taylor devotees), Bob Blog
is free to address, well, basically whatever Bob wants to talk about. Lately,
that’s been primarily reader questions.
Bob Taylor started his blog in April documenting traveling the Middle
East with the Zac Brown Band. The five posts, along with the next series of
posts that span the summer—touching on topics ranging from his memorial day activities to his affinity for high-end knives (that resulted in a line
of swanky Taylor money clips) to visiting Hurley’s corporate headquarters—
paints a picture of a friendly and intelligent guitar maker.
However, since August, Taylor’s blog posts have been focused on “Ask
Bob” questions, which are equally engagingly written, but eschew some
of the personality for useful tidbits of information. In the posts, Taylor
has addressed what happens to the company’s NAMM models (some are
returned to stock and sold, others are sold as blem units), Brazilian rosewood travel regulations, Hawaiian tonewoods, and humidifier care.
The posts are regular, but not too frequent—usually two to four weeks
between posts—and answer real reader questions. Taylor is a smart businessman, meaning you won’t find anything controversial or any company
secrets in his posts. But if you’re a Taylor fan, or have a general interest in
acoustic guitars, Bob Blog is worth adding to your RSS reader.
Gibson has a blog roll a mile long, ranging from product-centric blogs
on specific branches of the company (Gibson Acoustic, USA, Custom,
Pro Audio) to instructional blogs from Arlen Roth. However, Gibson
CEO Henry Juskiewicz’s blog, 4Henry, is tucked away on its own domain
and not easily accessible from the main site or forums. In short, if you
want to read it, you have to know it’s there. In the blog, Juskiewicz shares
thoughtful posts on marketing and business, peppered with Gibson news
announcements. That doesn’t mean that they’re devoid of personality,
however. Like Bob Blog, 4Henry gives you insight into the personality of
the polarizing Mr. Juskiewicz.
4Henry was launched in May to give updates on Gibson, as well as
present parts of a book he’s in the process of writing. The blog operates
on Posterous, a system that allows Juskiewicz to post via email or text.
The launch of the blog coincided with Gibson’s Nashville facilities preparing to reopen after the flood, resulting in very personal and insightful posts ranging from photos of the rebuilding progress to a short post
about a duo of geese that had called the plant home—named Leslie and
Paul by factory workers.
The variety and information presented in Juskiewicz’s feel surprisingly
personal. From his quick “review” of Office 2010 (“Underwhelmed. Not
much different really.”) to the full guest list for Jeff Beck’s Iridium Les Paul
Tribute (John McEnroe, plus one!), Juskiewicz is less guarded than Taylor.
Though at press time Juskiewicz hadn’t posted in nearly a month,
he had previously been averaging about a post per week. If Juskiewicz
resumes regular posting, the 4Henry blog is an insightful read that’s
particularly recommended for anyone with an interest in business and
for the growing online community of guitarists very verbally demanding
more from Gibson.