sábado, 12 de mayo de 2012
Knowing the Creator, Jim Walker interview (by intruder)
The designer of the Epiphone Genesis talks about the creative process and much more.
After years of searching I have finally been able to cross a few words with Jim Walker the designer of the Epiphone Genesis. First of all I thank you kindly answer some questions and i must say i found a very humble and nice person.
Jim Walker began his career in the world of guitars with his friend John Montgomery building guitars in his basement workshop for the Guitar shop owned by Paul Hamer and Jol Dantzig, the guitars they built was the first units of the glorious Hamer guitars. The pioneer in the world of the "boutique" guitars.
John Montgomery and Jim Walker built together the exquisite guitars that gave fame to the Hamer brand. As we all know the Hamer guitars were constructed entirely hand-made with the most finest materials and trying to capture the spirit of vintage guitars from the 50s, and guitarists of major bands like Cheap Trick, Jethro Tull, The Police, and Gary Moore were his main customers. This is how Jim Walker started , building guitars of the most exquisite quality.
In 1977 Jim Walker start to work for Gibson Guitar Corporation as Director of Marketing and was during that period he designed the Epiphone Genesis Series.
Tell me some words about the Geni, the design process...
what do you looking for?
I designed this series roughly around the same time that I designed the Presentation series. I was looking to upgrade the entire Epiphone to something more contemporary and functional.
you have some inspiration?
A part of the inspiration was that sales on the entire line were falling off, particularly the bolt-on neck FT series of acoustics, which had served the company well for many, many years, but their time had come. I wanted the line to regain the respect that it once had.
What do you mean this guitar for you?
The Genesis series is one that I will always have a warm feeling about. I tried at the time to put a lot of thought into it , and make it something that would begin to build a bridge for Epiphone into a new era.
Ever imagine that 30 years after being discontinued would be something of a "cult" guitar for some people?
Never in my wildest dreams. It’s very heartwarming.
What do you feel about?
I wish I had one. I had two of the prototypes, one bass and one guitar, which were in storage for a period of time, and they were both stolen.
where it was designed?
I designed Genesis at a dear friend’s guitar shop Jhon Montgomery.
Before I came to Gibson/Epiphone, he and I worked there together, building the very first Hamer guitars.
The 1st prototype (the original one) where it was built?
I built the first 4 prototypes, 3 guitars and 1 bass in that same guitar shop.
Some people says that all the Genesis guitars was built in Taiwan, other people (like me) think the very first was built in Japan, what do you know about this?
I sent the blueprints, which were rendered at the Gibson-Kalamazoo plant from the prototypes, for all the Genesis series first to Shiro Arai. (Aria guitars Japan )
I got back some really wonderful samples,
They were gorgeous! I also sent blueprints to Nanyo Boeki.(Nagoya Japan)
However, because of the really turbulent Yen/Dollar exchange rate at the time, we couldn’t proceed with that plan. So, the Genesis series went into production at the Pearl factory in Taichung, Taiwan.
One of the reasons that was possible is because Pearl had brought in a good deal of Japanese production equipment. They were also held to basically Gibson quality standards.
I had also recently opened up a quality control facility in the Seattle area for the entire Epiphone line, where all instruments were received, and QC’d one more time before shipment to our retailers. This significantly reduced returns for the entire line.
The low sales was the real reason to discountinue the model? or the yen crisis 81/82 was the real reason?
It was really a combination of the two … bad timing in a way. There was a period of time when we were adjusting prices for the entire Epiphone line on a regular 3-6 month basis, which was not very retailer-friendly to say the least.
Tell me about you, what was doing JIm Walker today.
What you have done after the epiphone genesis?
Since leaving Gibson/Epiphone, I have not been in the music industry. My career has been spent in marketing and communications in a number of different industries. Today, I have my own business that provides these kinds of services on a project basis. I have enjoyed continuing to learn along the way. Almost everything that I do for a client, I do entirely myself: music, graphics, video, layout, editing … everything. I like keeping my hands on it.
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