Its the same with football boots, golf clubs and cars, the right endorsement from a famous expert can propel the brand to success. Nowhere is this more visible than the world of music, where getting a top selling artist associated with your instrument is a potential goldmine. Read on to find out how musical legends have turned ordinary instruments into music icons.
Hofner were already pretty famous in Germany for their range of guitars. However, their products were considered premium, and cutomers needed a good reason to pay the higher prices they were charging. In 1956, Walter Hofner designed a semi-acoustic bass guitar, which he named the 500/1. This violin shaped bass was far more symmetrical than most other guitars, which appealed to a young, left-handed, Paul McCartney.
McCartney adopted the Hofner 500/1 as his primary guitar, owning two versions of the model, both of which appeared in countless music videos, and were used to record some of the Beatles' most successful albums. The 500/1 even became known as the 'Beatle Bass', becoming the ultimate must-have guitar for any Beatles wannabe. Hofner have had similar success with Richie Blackmore, of Deep Purple and Rainbow, who learnt to play on a Hofner Club 50 Guitar, before switching to a Fender Stratocaster.
The most iconic guitar manufacturer has produced instruments for a huge number of music's greatest ever names. One of Fender's most popular guitars, the Stratocaster has been favoured by musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, George Harrison, John Lennon, Mark Knopfler, Hank Marvin, Ritchie Valens, Ronnie Wood, Kurt Cobain and Pete Townshend. With so many rock legends using their guitars, it's no wonder so many people consider Fender to be the best guitar manufacturer.
Fender has taken advantage of the adoption of their instruments by music's top guitarists by creating signature editions. Those artists who can afford it often choose to have their Fender custom made. Occasionally Fender create replicas of these custom builds as a signature edition. Notable signature editions have been created for Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. This tactic has further built the connection between the company and succesful artists.
Sometimes one person can be responsible for the success of an entire instrument. The banjolele has the body of a traditional banjo, but the fretted neck of a ukulele, and was relatively unknown at the start of the 20th century. This was until George Formby, a British comedian began to use the instrument in his comedy songs.
Formby experienced huge success with hits such as 'When I'm Cleaning Windows', 'Leaning on a Lamp Post' and others which were full of double entendre and other comical elements. These hits helped propel the banjolele into its golden era of success in the 1920's and 1930's. In the late 1930's, Formby was Britains most succesful movie star with a huge fan base, many of whom looked to imitate his playing style, causing the instrument to sell in huge numbers.
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