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2nd Sep 2015
When an OEM manufacturer decides an innovation is “too good to give away”
Some innovations seem to come from out of nowhere. The greater their break from long-observed convention, the greater our surprise. To fully appreciate the design elegance and engineering brilliance of Access Products Group’s Triad-Orbit stands and accessories line, try one. Work its articulated adjustments, fit it where other stands falter, and all will be obvious. But to grasp the real cost of originality and staking a claim in a teeming marketplace, peel back the purposely preserved obscurity of the line’s OEM origins. Reveal the vision, talent, and tireless diligence that coalesced over decades to make its invention possible. Such products’ long journey from “nowhere” may reflect the best of what our industry has to offer.
The creative ground for the Triad-Orbit system was laid when Herschel Blankenship, now Access Products Group’s managing director, co-founded Schecter Guitars back in the early 1970s. Starting in a garage in Van Nuys, California, Dave Schecter, Tom Anderson, and Blankenship set out to correct issues associated with then-CBS-owned Fender guitar company and to hot-rod and otherwise “customise” the instruments’ components. Within five years, Schecter’s catalog included more than 900 products that retrofit original instruments or were modified to help new instruments play and sound better. Eventually, the scope of that operation gave birth to a full-blown guitar company. With vertical integration exceeding that of many of today’s leading manufacturers, Schecter produced all the parts and, excluding only plating, did all the work in-house: metal, wood, electronics, painting and finishes, and assembly. As Blankenship learned to work with all the different materials, he also began to explore “how the industry works”—the various business processes of raw material sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, distribution, global sales, product training, packaging, etc.