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Supro guitars. Will we ever see them again?

billboneys

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
801
Since D'Angelico purchased the Supro brand it sadly feels like they are just going to focus on amps. I can't seem to find any reference to guitars anymore. Customer support said they would be back but seems weird that they would remove all reference to the previous models, even in the legacy products section. I tried to purchase some pickups from them as well and they arent available either. I have a Sahara and a Coronado reissue and I think they're pretty great. Does anyone here work for Bond Audio that might know if we will see these guitars back in production again? Thanks.
 
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Benz2112

Memba?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,879
If you search, there was a member here who was involved when the new company was put together, he gives some insights on the management issues that bring us to the present day. There are some great deals out there for used reissues, and although the company has promised to bring a lineup of guitars back, I think the brand currently reeks of blowout clearance pricing. I have one of the reissue amps, and not only does it capture that rough around the edges mojo, it has a great tremolo circuit, and the aesthetics are really well done. Unfortunately, I foresee the brand going exclusively to pedals eventually.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
11,399
If there is enough demand for them, they will reappear in the market. Right now, there is apparently not enough demand to warrant resuming production for the foreseeable future. While there are folks who remember that Supro once made guitars decades ago, their amps have always been more famous.
 

1973Marshall

Member
Messages
6,879
Supro reissues from the last few years were both the greatest thing and the most confusing rollout of a brand I've ever seen.

Nothing was clear. Price versus quality and construction, where they fit in the sonic spectrum or musician's toolkit, whether they were desirable (they were the "blowout" sale guitar time and again).

Such a shame because I adored my Westbury and Martinique. Relating to the concerns above I ended up with a Gretsch 6118 PE that was similar enough to the Martinique tonal "space" that the Martinique had to go to raise cash.

Then the Westbury was always sort of a brilliant new design but got taken out in a "herd thinning" - so it didn't quite become the goto guitar I'd hoped. Felt great but didn't quite punch enough esp on recordings. There wasn't enough love there to spend money on mods and new pickups so I let it go.

Both were really difficult to sell and sat on CL for a long time.

Hard to imagine how D'Angelico will bring these to life when there's too much going on with their own lineup and already a lot of confusion. Let's hope this doesn't become like Guild in the 90s.
 

billboneys

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
801
If you search, there was a member here who was involved when the new company was put together, he gives some insights on the management issues that bring us to the present day. There are some great deals out there for used reissues, and although the company has promised to bring a lineup of guitars back, I think the brand currently reeks of blowout clearance pricing. I have one of the reissue amps, and not only does it capture that rough around the edges mojo, it has a great tremolo circuit, and the aesthetics are really well done. Unfortunately, I foresee the brand going exclusively to pedals eventually.
I had no idea about all of this. I have a Supro Saturn that I dig but hope to eventually swap for a Black Magick. I’m mostly bummed because I need a trem arm for my Coronado and I wanted some pickups for a custom build.
 

billboneys

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
801
Ken made my favorite Tele pickups, too. I love my Supro with his goldfoils in it. Wish I knew what happened to him.

-Mark
It was my understanding that he had started making pickups exclusively for Supro prior to the sale but that may be wrong
 

billboneys

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
801
Which Supro reissue guitars were standouts?
The Sahara is light and really fun to play. Great neck for my hands. I also have a Coronado II that is pretty heavy but I really do like the trem on it. I had a Westbury too that was also a nice guitar but has since moved on. I got all of them at sale prices though. I think the MSRP was off on these although all were nicely made.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,567
I think it's always really risky to try bring back a brand when the originals are out there at similar prices as you can make them for.

The thing with pricing on old stuff is it's set by supply and demand, so if more people want them than there are guitars available the prices go up which mean less people but them because fewer are willing to pay the higher price, so demand drops and at the point where the number of people willing to pay the current asking price matches the available number of guitars the prices stop climbing. If a vintage guitar is affordable today it's because the market has settled at a fairly low price and there are plenty of them out the relative to the market.

When you enter that market with new version of an old product, you have the advantage of seeing what your market is likely to be, and in Supro's case that market isn't very big, even before you subtract everybody who's only interested in vintage - what you're counting on is how many people might be out there who like the idea of vintage but doesn't want to deal with the issues that come with 50 year old budget gear, and whether you can grow the demand for the guitars once you have them on the market.

The alternative approach is to use the originals as starting points but being them up to date with features the originals didn't have, so you're benefiting from the heritage but not competing for customers against your own original models. That's a good idea in principal but it's really difficult to retain enough character to appeal to the old fans whilst creating something unique, and once you're not offering a clone of something specific you're suddenly in an incredibly crowded market with a lot of very big fish chasing the same business.

I think also, certainly going off the UK versions, they're were just too expensive for the market - there's already two strong competitors in that very niche market, Eastwood and Italia, and Supro didn't offer enough extra to justify being a higher price point. All the extra money went on details like recreating old hardware designs, which the casual fans didn't really care about and the hardcore fans are buying old ones, so I think they pitched it wrong in that respect. If they'd gone in with a Danelectro style affordable and fun reissue I think they would have sold better.
 

wmachine

Member
Messages
1,296
If there is enough demand for them, they will reappear in the market. Right now, there is apparently not enough demand to warrant resuming production for the foreseeable future. While there are folks who remember that Supro once made guitars decades ago, their amps have always been more famous.
I would think that pretty well sums it up. They can't create demand. I bought a new sunburst Westbury when they came out cheap and with a free case. A decent guitar. Indonesian made and on par with better Korean guitars. But not exceptional. It really has no real brand appeal for me, and it doesn't give me anything I don't have with other guitars I have, so I'll will sell it. No bad, just not a keeper for me.
 

DrumBob

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,754
Verne Andru is the guy who acted as a consultant to David Koltai and his partner when they formed Supro. There was another thread exactly like this several months ago. I hope Verne chimes in. He can tell you how Koltai and his deep pockets partner screwed up the entire operation. Absara Audio is finished. Koltai was given a job in R&D with Bond. Don't know if he's still there or not. I know Absara's phones are disconnected.

I worked with Supro on a couple of guitar reviews for VG, and bought a white Holiday model direct from Absara. I had to do over $200+ worth of work on it just so it would stay in tune and play right, and I may still have to change the tuners. I recently bought a one pickup Jamesport that I like that is much better quality.

David Koltai tried to create a niche market for Supro guitars based upon absolutely nothing. Outside of David Bowie and Rory Gallagher, who liked the old Dual Tone model, there were very few guitarists of any note who used them. Supro guitars were cheaply made catalog instruments back in the day. They were not quality guitars to begin with, although my '58 Belmont is a pretty cool slide guitar, now that it's been modded and updated. The reissues were made in China, also very cheaply, and they were overpriced from the getgo. The guitars are basically retro kitsch that flopped, because players just didn't want them. No wonder dealers were blowing them out for cost a couple years ago. Absara couldn't give them away. The Island series guitars from Indonesia are much better made instruments. Mine stays in tune great and plays well.

I'm sure some of the Supro vintage reissue models were decent instruments, but not the ones I've played.

With the amps, Koltai tried to base an entire marketing campaign on the fact that Jimmy Page used one in the studio. Talk about a flimsy marketing strategy. The amps did better than the guitars did, but still, they're made in China and were grossly overpriced from the start. Bond's new marketing plan emphasizes the smaller, low watt amps, and not the bigger ones. Probably a smart move.

Verne Andru can fill in the blanks.

Verne, are you out there?
 
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billboneys

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
801
Verne Andru is the guy who acted as a consultant to David Koltai and his partner when they formed Supro. There was another thread exactly like this several months ago. I hope Verne chimes in. He can tell you how Koltai and his deep pockets partner screwed up the entire operation. Absara Audio is finished. Koltai was given a job in R&D with Bond. Don't know if he's still there or not. I know Absara's phones are disconnected.

I worked with Supro on a couple of guitar reviews for VG, and bought a white Holiday model direct from Absara. I had to do over $200+ worth of work on it just so it would stay in tune and play right, and I may still have to change the tuners. I recently bought a one pickup Jamesport that I like that is much better quality.

David Koltai tried to create a niche market for Supro guitars based upon absolutely nothing. Outside of David Bowie and Rory Gallagher, who liked the old Dual Tone model, there were very few guitarists of any note who used them. Supro guitars were cheaply made catalog instruments back in the day. They were not quality guitars to begin with, although my '58 Belmont is a pretty cool slide guitar, now that it's been modded and updated. The reissues were made in China, also very cheaply, and they were overpriced from the getgo. The guitars are basically retro kitsch that flopped, because players just didn't want them. No wonder dealers were blowing them out for cost a couple years ago. Absara couldn't give them away. The Island series guitars from Indonesia are much better made instruments. Mine stays in tune great and plays well.

I'm sure some of the Supro vintage reissue models were decent instruments, but not the ones I've played.

With the amps, Koltai tried to base an entire marketing campaign on the fact that Jimmy Page used one in the studio. Talk about a flimsy marketing strategy. The amps did better than the guitars did, but still, they're made in China and were grossly overpriced from the start. Bond's new marketing plan emphasizes the smaller, low watt amps, and not the bigger ones. Probably a smart move.

Verne Andru can fill in the blanks.

Verne, are you out there?
Thanks for all the info. If anyone finds the link to the other thread please post it here. Thanks.
 




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