Over the past few years, I have become somewhat infatuated with the idea of perfecting electric guitars. From meticulous setups to completely replacing and upgrading most of the components, I firmly believe that a guitar is only as cool as you make it and can almost always be improved.
At the NAMM show earlier this year, I discovered the .strandberg* booth and my entire scope of what was important in an electric guitar shifted. I realized that yes, you can upgrade and customize any traditional electric guitar to your heart’s content, but you will still be working around a number of inherent design issues. The .strandberg* guitars were fundamentally different and every design improvement just made complete sense, both from a technical and ergonomic perspective.
Ola Strandberg took it upon himself to reimagine the electric guitar, transforming the instrument’s weight, shape and feel. He has been building the .strandberg* brand over the past several years, bringing it from a hobby he started for fun to the multi-national presence that it is in today’s modern guitar industry. Just this year, Ola was able to introduce .strandberg*’s first production guitars,, the OS line, which was made possible by his connection with Ed Yoon. In this interview, we will talk with both Ola and Ed about their backgrounds, how .strandberg* began, current innovations and scaling up.
CL: As .strandberg* guitars became more popular, it was time to scale up manufacturing and distribution beyond Made to Measure builds and the Custom Shop. I’m guessing this is where Ed comes in?
Ola Strandberg: Certainly, setting up actual serial production was the key to establishing the brand and building a viable business. It was getting this third component up and running that finally made me quit my day job. We’re still finding our way in terms of distribution trying to reach a balance between direct sales and support vs working through distributors or dealers in countries where we don’t have direct representation.
Ed and I met at the NAMM Show and just started talking. This was at a time when we were still in the planning stages of scaling up, and it didn’t take long before Ed was back at the booth a second time, now with an R&D person from one of the bigger manufacturers. So, he clearly proved a potential value very quickly! We kept talking and discussing during the following year, and when it was time to launch the Boden OS line, it was natural to ask Ed if he would consider becoming the US representative. He’s a workaholic, so adding a new job on top of his industry day job, rock band manager job, and consulting gig was not a problem… He’s joining full time from January 2016 and will take over a lot of the operational aspects, with the intention of freeing me up to do more R&D. Ed’s experience from Fender, Tone Merchants, Suhr, etc., is invaluable since I actually don’t have any experience at all from the music industry. Although I think this has sometimes been an advantage, we’re now getting to a point where we have to “play by the rules” and behave predictably.