Music Trades June 2011 : Page 1

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Little Stuff That Makes Big Bucks

RETAILERS PICK OUT THE OFFBEAT, UNUSUAL, AND INNOVATIVE SMALL GOODS THAT DRIVE BUSINESS IN ANY ECONOMY

HOT SELLING ACCESSORIES!

Aguitar string is obviously an accessory. So are cases, drumsticks, and cables. But what about a digital recorder or a ukulele? Are they accessories too? Rather than wade into a debate about what is and what isn't an accessory, we took the easy way out and asked a cross section retailers from around the country to single out some of the top-selling products with a selling price of less than $200. In the following pages, we highlight the products they selected, which is by no means a comprehensive list. Due to space limitations, we intentionally excluded staples like guitar strings, drumsticks, drumheads, and microphones, and focused instead on items that may not be in every accessory counter, but have sizable market appeal.

What the following product gallery shows is the extraordinary ingenuity that has been deployed to solve basic musician problems, from staying in tune to protecting instruments from the ravages of a low humidity climate. The product sampling also illustrates the tremendous scope of accessory items available. There truly is something for every type of musician. The following products also represent an unquestionable retail profit opportunity.

GATOR COMMANDER GIG BAG

At $159, the Gator gig bag is at the high end of accessory items, but with its heavyduty zippers, military grade weather resistant exterior, high quality foam padding, and ample pocket space–there's room for cables, strings, and even a laptop–it offers a compelling value. Retailers like it because it's an easy way to trade up the dollar value of a gig bag sale and create a satisfied customer at the same time. www.gatorcases.com

THE GIBRALTAR DRUM KEY

Drummers are constantly irritated at losing drum keys. However annoying this "losability" factor is, it creates a recurring sales opportunity for retailers. Smart dealers sell drum keys in packages of three or six to increase the ticket size, while offering customers a sense of convenience. Individually or in groups, Gibraltar's key is a staple that sells all year long.

SKB POWERED PEDAL BOARD

How many pedals does a guitarist need? The most common answer is "just a few more." This insatiable desire for pedals makes the SKB powered pedal board pretty irresistible. Made from durable eco-friendly styrene, it features eight built-in 9 volt DC outlets, powered by an external transformer. The 19" x 12" surface securely holds eight standard pedals, and the snap-on top makes it perfect for hauling pedals to and from the gig. Retail price is around $100, making it an ideal add-on with any pedal sale. www.skbcases.com

K&M TRUMPET STAND

German engineering at its best, the K&M trumpet stand provides a sturdy base for a trumpet, and then collapses into a slick little package that fits in the bell for easy transport. It keeps instruments secure onstage and it's easy to transport, making it a high demand item for brass players. As an added appeal, it's manufactured in Germany in one of the world's greenest factories and is made out of recycled materials. It also carries a five-year warranty. www.k-m.de/en www.connollymusic.com

PEAVEY CT-10 CABLE TESTER

It's a well-known fact that the closer you get to the start of a live gig, the more likely things are going to malfunction. That's where the Peavey cable tester comes in. It's a quick and easy way to check for opens, damaging shorts, or cables wired out of phase. It's also ideal for checking cables outfitted with XLR, RCA, banana plug, and Speakon connectors. For under $50, it's a must-have for anyone who per`forms live. www.peavey.com

PLANET WAVES HEADSTAND

Chances are, anyone who owns a guitar will spend some time doing maintenance: changing strings, adjusting pickups, or tweaking the tremolo. The Headstand securely cradles the instrument in a sturdy, padded tripod, making any service job easier. It also collapses into a portable package that will fit in the outside pocket of any gig bag. At $10, it is a must-have for guitarists. www.daddario.com

ERNIE BALL VOLUME PEDAL

Compact, durable, and well designed, the Ernie Ball volume pedal is useful to anyone with an amplified instrument. Guitarists will particularly appreciate its small footprint that doesn't hog space on the floor. A micro taper switch accesses two distinct swell rates. A tuner output provides silent tuning in the heel-down pedal position. Available either with a 250 ohm resistance suitable for passive instruments or a 25 ohm resistance, suitable for 25k ohm resistance for active instruments (anything that needs a battery), the pedal retails for less than $100. www.ernieball.com

SUPERSLICK CARE KITS

Care kits are a surefire way to generate plus business and earn the good will of band directors, who appreciate anything that helps their students keep their horns in playing shape. American Way Marketing offers care kits for just about every wind instrument under the SuperSlick brand name. The company also will tailor care kits to meet the specific needs of individual band directors. www.americanwaymktg.com

LEVY'S LEATHERS GUITAR STRAPS

Basic black is always in fashion. Although Levy's produces guitar straps in a nearly infinite number of styles, their basic black leather number remains a retail favorite. It's easy to understand why. Supple top-grade leather makes it comfortable, durable, and stylish, and the basic black is suitable for every genre from punk to country. At around $40, it's affordable and the perfect upsell for any guitar. www.levysleathers.com

DENIS WICK POLISHING CLOTHS

Owners of gleaming horns like to keep them looking great, which explains the popularity of Denis Wick polishing cloths. Last year, including saxophones, more than 300,000 brass instruments were sold, and every one of them could benefit from a polishing cloth. It's the low-tech, high-turn, high-margin accessory that is always in demand. www.deniswick.com www.dansr.com

REUNION VALVE GUARD & MOUTHPIECE POUCHES

Reunion Blues has earned a reputation for finely crafted leather instrument cases. The company has also applied its leatherworking expertise to some highly appealing smaller accessory items. The leather valve guard is an elegant and effective way to protect a fine trumpet from naturally occurring corrosion, and the leather mouthpiece pouches are a classy way to carry an extra mouthpiece. Both items have gift appeal as well. www.reunionblues.com

SNARK TUNER

In this day and age, no one can have too many tuners; many players buy one for every guitar. Given this huge demand–there are more than 15 million guitars in circulation– Snark tuners are guaranteed to turn quickly. With a distinctive look, an easy-toread display, and an easyon- the pocketbook price of just $19.95, retailers report that they "sell themselves" when placed near the checkout counter. Retailers also appreciate the product's generous gross margin. www..snarktuners.com

FARLEY'S GUITAR TOOL

This is the ultimate tool for setting up a guitar. Made of hardened steel, with a "Swiss Army Knife" design, the Guitar Tool includes a bridge pin puller, three Allen wrenches, a string cutter, screwdrivers, and just about everything else you need to get your guitar in top playing shape. Every guitarist needs one, and they usually buy one once they see it. Typical retail price is less than $30.

SHUBB C-SERIES CAPO

Shubb capos have been on the market since 1980, and the product's continued popularity reflects its tremendous utility. A single lever locks the capo securely in place, and the resilient rubber capo bar works like a fingertip, eliminating tuning problems. Precisely machined from brass, the capos are also extremely durable. Anyone with a guitar is a customer. www.shubb.com

ULTRA PURE OILS

Regardless of ability level, sticky valves are the bane of brass players everywhere. That's why Ultra Pure oils deserve a place on every accessory counter. A two ounce bottle of the synthetic stuff retails for under $7 and carries a good margin. And, if it's not always in stock, it undercuts the credibility of "full service" claims. www.ultrapureoils.com

ONBOARD CAPO TUNER

For most guitarists, you can't have too many tuners and you can't have too many capos. That's why the Onboard CT-1 capo tuner has such broad appeal. Combining a tuner with an easy-to-read backlit display, a highly functional capo, and a lifetime warranty, it's a reliable conversation starter at the counter. Retail price is around $40. www.tuners.com

THE PLANET WAVES DYNAFLEX

Hand fitness has never been easier than with the gyro motion Dynaflex. Rotate the spinning gyro for a complete lowimpact workout of your hands, wrists, and forearms. Regular users report improved speed and endurance. The cool look draws attention and facilitates sales. www.daddario.com

HOHNER HARMONICA HOLDER

If you're selling harmonicas and you don't have a few Hohner Harmonica holders in stock, chances are you're missing some easy sales. As timeless as Bob Dylan, this simple device remains an invaluable tool for all those who double on guitar and harmonica. Millions of harmonicas are sold each year, providing a rich potential market. www.hohnerusa.com

FLOYD ROSE TREMOLO

Ever since Eddie Van Halen burst onto the scene with his Floyd Rose, the original locking tremolo has been in demand. Used by more players than any other, the tremolo is a cost-effective way to upgrade any guitar, and deserves a place in all accessory counters. www.floydrose.com

GORGOMYTE CLEANING CLOTH

The frets and fingerboard of a guitar get more handson use than any other area of the instrument. The fine wood gets gummed up with finger oils and dirt. Enter the GHS Gorgomyte Fret and Fingerboard Cleaning and Conditioning Cloth, the perfect solution. The cloth makes the job a snap and is gaining fans worldwide. www.ghsstrings.com

THE KYSER CAPO

Kyser's Quick Change Capo is a perfect fit for any acoustic guitar, and parks easily on the headstock when not in use. A new "Camo" version expands the appeal of a proven seller. www.kyser.com

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.sheridan.com/article/Little+Stuff+That+Makes+Big+Bucks/736060/85039/article.html.

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