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Thread: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    This just popped up on my FB feed, I'm assuming it's timely news:

    https://bourgeoisguitars.net/our-new...ana-bourgeois/
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Production shifting off shore? as it was only the Bourgeoisie could afford them ...
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Looks like the Northfield model is attracting other firms.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    From the article I suspect the high end models stay in Maine and new lower end models that look like the high end models are imported. It's probably more like the pre-two old hippies model at Breedlove.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Production shifting off shore? as it was only the Bourgeoisie could afford them ...
    That's kind of what he says in the article as to why they are doing this. The majority of players can't afford his guitars. I think it's a good business move.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Wonder if the mandolins will just be rebadged Eastman’s.
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    It’s not clear to me that Dana Bourgeois was/is the majority owner. It appears they were reorganized in 2000 and again in 2015. It looks more like the majority owners have changed their business model, perhaps like Northfield as I alluded before. An article ‘my first 90 days of guitar making by the CEO is interesting’, on LinkedIn. Quality of work doesn’t guarantee financial success.

    Good luck to them.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBeerGoCubs View Post
    Wonder if the mandolins will just be rebadged Eastman’s.
    You look at what they shipped, and None of them are mandolins All are guitars..
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    It’s not clear to me that Dana Bourgeois was/is the majority owner. It appears they were reorganized in 2000 and again in 2015. It looks more like the majority owners have changed their business model, perhaps like Northfield as I alluded before. An article ‘my first 90 days of guitar making by the CEO is interesting’, on LinkedIn. Quality of work doesn’t guarantee financial success.

    Good luck to them.
    From the message:

    As you may or may not know, I’ve always had partners. Years ago Bourgeois Guitars merged with Pantheon Guitars to produce acoustic steel-string instruments under the Bourgeois name. In a nutshell, I have simply traded my former partners for Eastman. Moving forward, I will retain an ownership interest in Bourgeois Guitars and will remain as CEO. Our entire team will continue to produce acoustic guitars of the highest quality in our Lewiston, Maine, workshop. US distribution will continue to be handled through our Lewiston office. Eventually, overseas distribution will be managed by Eastman.
    Confusing at best. He owns part of it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Back in the late 90s or very early 00s, Dana made a deal with Akai (if I remember correctly) and they tried to take the company over from him, he nearly lost the right to use his own name. That was when Pantheon Guitars came about, some folks came in with money to bail Dana out.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Theyíve had a variety of financial partners since 2000. After Pantheonís principal owner, Patrick Theimer exited there was a local Portland money man named John Karp. Itís my understanding that he had some serious health issues and bowed out around 2017. Dana is in his mid-sixties. This is a good way for the company to get a cash infusion, and maybe for them to create a viable succession plan.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Eastman gets the rights to market guitars under the Bourgeois name. It would be hard to encroach on the Collings/Martin segment with the Eastman brand. So they get access to the $3-5k segment. The Bourgeois as we know it will be labeled as the prestige line, or the diamond line or some such. Dana gets to retire someday. Those $3-5k guitars will be very like the Northfield business model.
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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Not sure how you could do the “Northfield Model” without Adrian...

    But then again I am not really sure what is meant by the “Northfield Model” in this context, except awesome instruments (and yes, I have been to the Northfield shop and know generally how they function)

    I only mention this because I think Adrian worked hard to build his company up and establish the quality that gives them the reputation they have earned, you can’t just copy their import model and expect success
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Not a clue what makes this like Northfield but Breedlove took this approach. They had an American company producing different model guitars. They found a company in Korea and had them build Breedlove guitars, very similar models with the design being done in Bend, Oregon, the building being done in Korea but the quality control, building process, and finish process controlled in Bend. The instruments came into Bend and were inspected and setup and sent out from there. What they ended up with was a cheaper version of their US made models. I'm not going to say they were the same, they were not but they were decent instruments sold at a lower price than the US made models. To the untrained eye they look the same basically. To anyone that knows instruments they can be identified as imports immediately.

    Dana said in his press release:

    We have always held great concern that, at an average street price of about $6500, a Bourgeois guitar is beyond the reach of 95% of all guitar players. Plans are underway to remedy this situation with the introduction of a new series of acoustic guitars co-produced by Bourgeois and Eastman. Bourgeois will be responsible for design, materials selection, voicing, setup, and quality control, and Eastman will contribute efficient manufacturing and sourcing capabilities and expertise in global distribution
    Sounds pretty similar to what Breedlove has done.

    Northfield on the other hand looks to me as a company that is marketing their products as the same quality product no matter where it's made. The source doesn't matter, the products does. They don't appear to draw lines with the origin. That's actually the sign of a true international manufacturer.

    It doesn't look like Bourgeois is doing that, it looks like they are planning to market a less expensive product made overseas.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Am I the only one who thinks that if Dana makes a guitar then it is called a Bourgeois guitar?

    I'm pretty disgusted by the greed and corporate assumption of someone's reputation. (And if Dana has been part of it, then I've just lost a hero to the dark side...).
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    ...........So they get access to the $3-5k segment........Those $3-5k guitars will be very like the Northfield business model.
    hmmmm......I have lived long enough that $3K is now what a "cheap" guitar costs.........

    I better stick with the pawn shops and yard sales, I guess..........

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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Working capital is always first and foremost with any business. Without sufficient capital, a business cannot grow or be competitive. Costs of manufacturing steadily increase; so do costs of distribution and marketing. Research and development is not free; neither is tooling. However, consumers balk and complain when price increases are implemented to at least maintain parity with these costs.

    Without sufficient capital a business can stall and lose their significance in the market. And the business can even fail.

    So, frequently businesses look for investors or go public. They need that infusion of capital to make it to the next level. However, this is a decision that is not taken lightly. Whenever taking on a “partner,” whether an investor or a stockholder, decision making is diluted. And business decisions all too often defer to the wishes of the one who holds the money.

    That said, we don’t know who approached whom. Did Bourgeois approach Eastman looking for an investor as well as a means to grow the company in a fashion that would allow it to compete in larger and more varied consumer segments? Or did Eastman approach Bourgeois to gain the company’s name, prestige, and intellectual properties? At this point, most of what we “know” is simply based on conjecture. However, it is important to note that Dana Bourgeois did not state that he is majority owner and CEO. His statement is that he retains an “ownership interest” and will remain as CEO.

    In recent decades, we’ve seen quite a few ownership changes within the stringed musical instrument business. Speaking for myself, I was surprised at some and dismayed by others. Some seemingly have worked out well, though. Yet, quite a few, not so much. And there remain a handful whose eventual outcome remains to be seen.

    But such is the way of business. Any business. Change is inevitable. Business owners do what they must to be viable. We can only hope that whatever changes are made will be beneficial for our musical aspirations.

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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Looks like the Northfield model is attracting other firms.
    Northfield and this arrangement are not even close enough to be apples and oranges. They're two entirely separate models.

  21. #19

    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    hmmmm......I have lived long enough that $3K is now what a "cheap" guitar costs.........

    I better stick with the pawn shops and yard sales, I guess..........
    Well I remember getting a comic book and a coke for 25 cents. But really, it would be exceedingly difficult to sell an Eastman guitar for four grand. They have just done too good a job identifying themselves as an affordable alternative. But with the Bourgeois design ability there is no reason to think they can’t build a fine guitar. They do pretty good at that already. Marketing, marketing, marketing. perceived value and all that. That someone can sell their name in return for a comfortable retirement on their own terms, well, more power to them. And yes, look for an upscale line of mandolins too. Maximize investment and all that.

    I’m not too thrilled that there are plywood and Formica Martins either. Current Bourgeois owners will just have to get over the fact their exclusive brand will be used on cheaper guitars.
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Northfield and this arrangement are not even close enough to be apples and oranges. They're two entirely separate models.
    Does anyone know more about Pono ukele / octave mandolin business arrangements? I believe they are made in Indonesia.
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    I'm just glad that I got my Maine-made Bourgeois Country Boy Deluxe back when they were cheap....!

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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
    ...

  26. #23

    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Northfield and this arrangement are not even close enough to be apples and oranges. They're two entirely separate models.

    Plenty of similarities to my eye in this new line for Bourgeois. “Bourgeois will be responsible for design, materials selection, voicing, setup, and quality control, and Eastman will contribute efficient manufacturing and sourcing capabilities and expertise in global distribution.” My understanding of the original Northfield model is:

    1. Design in US,
    2. Woods sourced in US
    3. Manufacture and finish in overseas shop.
    4. Setup and QC in Michigan plant.

    For the present, Bourgeois will continue to run its Maine facility, so that's a difference. And Northfield does some production entirely in Michigan. So yeah, not a perfect match, but there are plenty of similarities in this new venture. There's also a big difference in the corporatism of Eastman/Bourgeois and Northfield but that's different from the manufacturing approach. I'm not looking at the warm and fuzzy bits, just the manufacturing model.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    I hope this works out for Mr. Bourgeois. If the Maine location can continue to turn out high-end instruments and Eastman can expand the penetration into a lower-end market, I see this as a win-win. Once in a while, these things can work out for everybody including consumers. I hope this is one of those times.

    I know nothing of Mr. Bourgeois' situation, so I won't pretend to. But as I am an aging small business owner making a boutique product, I understand the desire to monetize the business assets and to try to secure a future for the business I have built. If this is, in fact, what Mr. Bourgeois is doing, I wish him all the best. I have great respect for the quality of Eastman instruments and believe they represent really good value. If this is a way for them to set themselves apart in the market on a special line of instruments, good for them.

    Really, I am hopeful that this will turn out well, but I tend to have an optimistic outlook. Only time will tell.
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  28. #25

    Default Re: Bourgeois Guitars Partners with Eastman

    The #1 factor driving the Breedlove move to produce overseas instruments was simple: a decade of horrible business practices & multiple bankruptcies that led to almost A million dollars in debt. It was a last ditch effort to float a sinking ship. Surprising to everyone involved, it worked long enough for them to sell to Two Old Hippies. There are many former Breedlove employees that lurk here....
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