Guitars, Paramedics, Linux, and Me

April 12, 2013

Cornford Amplification & Krank Amps no more: Mesa Boogie Drops Guitar Center?

Filed under: Guitars,Music,News — S. Kindley @ 12:39 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Krank Amps Closes Doors?

I just read this post on Facebook from Andy Fuchs of Fuchs Audio Technology that was posted on April 12, 2013 around noon time:

“Interesting and busy week in the guitar amp business: Guitar Center and Mesa Boogie have apparently parted ways, and another amp maker has apparently Kranked out their last amp.”

One can see the post on the Fuchs Audio Facebook page.

I quickly flipped open a new browser tab and pulled up Krank’s website. I clicked around for about 20 minutes and found no references to closing or going out of business. The Krank forums appear to be gone now. However I did read that another Facebook follower posted this reply to Andy:

“My last band was endorsed through Krank.  My fellow guitarist just found a post on a forum that Krank closed their doors on March 22nd.”

 

Cornford too?

It appears that Cornford Amplification has also come to the end of it’s road. While I see no “official” notification on the Cornford website I did find a thread in the official Cornford forums, dated March 27, 2013 that indicate this is more than just a rumor. There was also a statement dated March 27, 2013 from Andertons Music in the UK that seems to suggest Cornford is history.

I must admit I am not very familiar with Krank amplifiers. I’ve seen ’em in stores but I’ve never plugged into one or know anyone else who has. I am familiar with Cornford to a small degree. I seriously considered buying a Cornford Hellcat after plugging into one and noodling for about an hour. I think I spent about two weeks checking out their amp line after that and finally went a different direction due to the cost of the Hellcat. I bet the Cornford’s will retain a small following among guitarists long after they fade out of the scene.

I suspect more people will be interested in the “news” about Guitar Center and Mesa Boogie though …

Mesa Boogie and Guitar Center/Musician’s Friend part ways?

I’ve been unable to locate any “official” statement from either party regarding this development. I do think that when one considers some of the financial problems GC/MF has been reported to have this doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to believe (that’s another post for another day).

But … hop on over to the Guitar Center, or Musician’s Friend, website and browse by brands and you’ll quickly discover that Mesa Boogie or Mesa Engineering is no longer listed! I also navigated to the Mesa Boogie dealer search page and clicked on the North American dealer listing page and selected every state, one by one, and found that neither Guitar Center nor Musician’s Friend was listed.

I think those two indications speak volumes about the availability of new Mesa Boogie products for sale in a Guitar Center or the Musician’s Friend website.

For now I think I would have to leave this as a rumor since there is no other “official” statement regarding this. I would point out that I consider Andy Fuchs, of Fuchs Audio Technology, an industry insider and his word is good enough for me. But you can decide for yourself.

So what does that mean to the Mesa Boogie customer?

Probably nothing … but potentially a headache. Depending on where one lives getting to a Mesa dealer to check out their products may indicate a longer drive. Even some bigger markets don’t have much more than “big box” retailers like GC or Sam Ash.

People who really want a Boogie will get one regardless. But for those on the fence about buying one, or don’t know anything about them, finding one to plug into may become more difficult.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

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4 Comments »

  1. Mesa/Boogies have been directly marketed since the beginning. There is a Boogie in every market on a stage in a club. Go see someone playing one. Also, if you need one repaired and it’s out of warrantee, any decent tech can repair it. Or do like Boogie recommends, send it to them for repair. They don’t need Guitar Center. Sorry to hear about the Krank amps though.

    Comment by Ken Zuercher — April 15, 2013 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

    • I must point out that going to “see someone playing one” is not the same as “plugging into one” and generally insufficient to properly evaluate whether any instrument will meet one’s needs, especially if they have never plugged into one before. I agree with you that Mesa doesn’t need Guitar Center, but they do need a wider dealer presence.

      Comment by S. Kindley — April 16, 2013 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  2. Essentially GC is dropping Mesa because they are tired of the extremely binding restrictions Mesa requires in order to carry their product line. GC cannot offer any discounts on Mesa product, making shop-worn items difficult to move, among other things. Similarly, lots of customers want to play Mesa products (hence the shop-wear), but very few actually buy them because a) the price point is too high, and b) the amps are often too complex for the average player and can intimidate some customers. GC basically got sick of putting a bunch of money into amps that don’t sell and have too many vendor-dictated requirements. Having worked for GC for the better part of a decade, I’ve seen it and I ultimately agree that it is a good move on GC’s part.

    Comment by captainsavory — April 17, 2013 @ 11:49 am | Reply

    • I appreciate your comment. I like having a GC perspective among the comments. I would also point out that regardless of what a vendor does or doesn’t require management of one’s own business practices requires skill and responsible growth planning. I’ll refer those interested to these two links (One is from a Reuters article with a direct copy of S&P downgrade info concerning GC and another with 2011 information on GC debt).

      Here is the first link:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/08/idUSWNA678920120508

      The summary is that GC and it’s other brands owe 1.6 Billion dollar’s in debt to outside entities … including vendors. There annual “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), estimated at $170 million, is insufficient to cover its interest burden, and that “operating performance will only modestly improve” as published in the second link.

      Here is the second link:

      http://www.onlinedigeditions.com/article/Guitar+Center+Works+To+Delay+Debt+Repayments/709973/0/article.html

      I have a high index of suspicion that vendor requirements have very little to do with what the GC family of brands will carry and what they don’t. I have a feeling that some companies with higher quality product lines and historic brand name recognition simply refuse to rollover for GC and extend more credit to them via product stock. GC doesn’t pay for it’s stock up front with cash so the risk is generally shouldered by the vendor “floating” the note … so-to-speak.

      Comment by S. Kindley — April 17, 2013 @ 3:27 pm | Reply


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