Company Hits the Right Chord With Red McCombs -- Austin
Entrepreneur Teams Up With McCombs to Sell Guitars on the
Red McCombs, the San
Antonio billionaire who's been involved in everything from
cars to radio stations, now wants into the guitar business.
McCombs is backing JR Beck Music Products LLC, a new guitar
brand that plans to sell its products direct to customers
over the Internet. The venture might best be described as
Michael Dell does guitars.
AUSTIN, TX (PRWEB) –- McCombs Enterprises and J. R. Beck
Music Products, L.L.C. today announced a partnership to
market high quality guitars directly to consumers via the
Internet. “The bottom line is everyone wants to get a good
deal,” said Red McCombs, CEO, McCombs Enterprises. “We’re
selling cars via the Internet now. J.R. Beck’s guitars are a
great example of the advantage technology can provide for
consumers. By cutting out the middle man, we can offer very
high quality guitars at a substantial savings.”
According to Lance W. Bledsoe, CEO, J. R. Beck Music
Products, L.L.C., the company will provide the kind of
quality instruments musicians look for – from Fender and
Gibson – at about half the price by dealing directly with
the same manufacturers.
“Insiders know that some of the very best guitars are made
by a few companies in Korea and China,” said Bledsoe. “We
have partnered with these companies so their expert
craftsmen hand make each and every instrument we sell. In
many cases what we sell is exactly what other companies sell
but at half the price.”
The company has already sold hundreds of guitars through
test market efforts and sees online sales as the new
distribution channel for high quality instruments.
“We’re in the same place the PC industry was in the late
‘80s,” said Bledsoe, who worked for both Compaq and Dell.
“Companies like Compaq were selling through stores like
Computerland which is now out of business. Then Dell started
selling their computers online. Everyone said you can’t sell
computers that way, but Dell did it and now owns half of the
Wanting to start his own business, Bledsoe, who has played
guitar since his teenage years, began thinking about the
concept of selling guitars online.
“The only company doing anything like what J.R. Beck is
doing focuses on selling to people who live where there are
no music stores, and sells to them at music store prices,”
said Bledsoe. “I was looking at the Dell model which focused
on selling at a substantially reduced price. In the
beginning, they sold PCs equal in quality at less than half
the Compaq price — and people liked the idea of buying
directly from Dell because most dealers weren’t that
technically knowledgeable. I helped set up the Compaq dealer
support program and understand that process. That told me
that selling a product you know something about and
providing what customers want via the Internet at a
significant savings should work.”
Some people see not being able to try out an instrument as a
major drawback to online purchases of guitars, however.
“They said that in the computer industry, too,” said
Bledsoe. “And, guitars have been around for awhile, so
musicians know the different types of guitars available
already — there’s not a lot of room for major differences in
design anymore. We have a money-back guarantee, and even
though you can try out a specific type of guitar in a store,
you don’t generally get to try the actual guitar you’re
going to take home. To evaluate how a guitar is going to
sound you really need to try it in the same environment you
play in, through the same amplifier and effects set-up, etc.
“There’s some empirical number that will drive people to
accept some risk or inconvenience to realize substantial
savings,” said Bledsoe. “If you want to buy a certain car
and you see it advertised for substantially less at a
McCombs dealership, you’ll probably go out of your way to
buy it there, won’t you? So, if you want a top end Epiphone
Les Paul, and the cheapest one you can find online is $900,
but we guarantee ours is essentially the same for $550, then
most people think that’s enough of a savings to try buying
it from us. Of the hundreds we’ve already sold, there’s only
been one refund. We’ll do whatever it takes to keep our
The goal isn’t just to sell a Fender or Gibson model for
less money, however, Bledsoe also wants to sell J.R. Beck
branded products to build quality brand awareness. Referring
to the Dell situation, Bledsoe explains that their PCs now
cost almost as much as Compaq, but people buy Dell computers
now as much for the quality of the product as they do
because of the price advantage and easy purchase process
online. In addition to the classic designs like Les Paul,
Gibson 335, or Fender Stratocaster, the company has some of
its own guitar designs and they are made by the same company
that makes some of the most expensive guitars sold by
Gibson, for example. A high-end Les Paul branded as an
Epiphone would be sold by Gibson for $1200 to $1300 — with
volume discounters selling them for about $900, but J.R.
Beck sells the same model for under $600.
“All guitars vary a little bit from one to another, but our
guitars of a certain style are lying next to a Gibson or
Fender of a certain style, on the same assembly line, with
parts from the same bins — they’re functionally the same
with the same quality materials,” said Bledsoe. “They just
have a different headstock, but our guitar is as much an
Epiphone Les Paul as a GMC Suburban is a Chevy Suburban.”
According to Bledsoe, J.R. Beck will target college and baby
boomer musicians who already purchase products online, and
know that Chinese and Korean craftsmen make the guitars for
a lot of well known brands.
Red McCombs is the owner of Red McCombs Automotive Group and
the Minnesota Vikings, co-founder of Clear Channel
Communications, and an investor in J.R. Beck Music Products,
Lance W. Bledsoe is the chairman, CEO and president of J.R.
Beck Music Products, L.L.C., an online sales music products
company based in Austin, Texas, the "Live Music Capital of
the World." The company is committed to offering the finest
instruments available anywhere for the money through direct
Internet sales. Working directly with manufacturers, J.R.
Beck provides superior guitars made by the world’s finest
luthiers and passes savings on to customers. For more
information on J.R. Beck Music Products, L.L.C. see
www.jrbeck.com or call 1-888-4JRBECK (1-888-457-2325.)
DUBLIN & ASSOCIATES, INC.
1017 NORTH MAIN, SUITE 201
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 78212-4721
FAX (210) 227-6634
For more information, contact Rose Marie Eash, Dublin &
Associates — 210-227-0221.
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