Hell goes to the dogs!

Portrait of ZeroDot and friend. Photo by Mr. Muzz Murray

…Well to the dog anyway!

This photo is thanks to our friend, Muzz Murray. Muzz is a singer/songwriter based in Italy and performs regularly at clubs in Italy and beyond. I absolutely love this photo! The dog has the old RCA Victor thing going on and Muzz’s ZeroDot matches the sofa nicely.

You can check out more about Muzz and what he’s up to here: http://muzzmurray.jimdo.com/

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Get ’em while they’re hot!

Wings of Desire…

This is a special announcement for all Hell Guitars owners. I would like to send you a free pack of our Super Blacks guitar picks. To get them, please send me an email with your address (not in the comments section of this blog please!).

I’m sorry I have been absent of late. A combination of a higher volume of orders than usual and an illness have sort of gotten in my way. I’ll try to pick things up however and not be such a stranger (thanks, Nick for the kind prodding…).

Unrelated, but perhaps worth sharing, is a new truss rod cover and switch washer design. Should start with the manufacturing on Mon. or Tues. of next week. The image is above.

See you soon and be sure to send me your address for some free swag!

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NAMM Details

Hell Guitars at NAMM

Me and the booth. This was just before the opening. The banner got hiked up a bit afterwards…

Well I have been back a week and came home to a lot of emails and much work to do. I did want to share some of my experience exhibiting at NAMM for the first time. It was overall an excellent show for us in many ways.

First of all the show behind the show was really quite impressive. It is very well organized from the NAMM front office to (especially) Freemanco who is the agent primarily charged with getting display materials/products in and out of the venue. I can’t imagine all of the logistics involved in pulling something like this off but the Freeman folks seemed quite calm (and very efficient) about it. I guess they must’ve done this a few times.

Hell booth close-up

Everything we sell- designed by Hell!

The show itself was a definite success for Hell on many levels. We met with lots of good people including distributors, dealers and lots of players from all over the world. We enjoyed a fair amount of interest in our products and I was pleased to see that there wasn’t really anyone doing what we are. Seems if folks weren’t interested in the guitars they were into the accessories or vice-versa or then again, sometimes both. We also made friends with some of the other people exhibiting and as a result, we may be cooperating with some of them in the near future. By exhibiting I got a very good picture of where we stand in the industry. Very low to be sure but with definite things going for us.

Robert Renman and the Enigma

Robert Renman of Master Guitar Academy and The Enigma

I was accompanied  each day of the show by the lovely and talented Robert Renman who demoed our guitars and was a great help all-around. Robert had dozens of people come to the booth just to shake his hand and thank him for all the great lessons he has created. My brother, John, also helped out for the last two days of the event and was his always reliable and supportive self. Was also pleased to have the assistance of my old friend and neighbor, Mark. We grew up together in Redondo Beach, California but we’ve not been in touch for years. He used to play professionally and was a very handy fellow to have around. We may be working together on getting some distribution going in N. America to help cut down on shipping costs.

The one very big hit was our Super Blacks guitar picks. Nearly everyone who tried them loved them and we had people who had tried them from someone else, come down to our booth to get some for themselves. I am told to expect some reviews of them coming up. When it is confirmed, I will let you know where to find them. I honestly believe that these are the best picks I’ve ever played (which you would expect to hear from me wouldn’t you?) and we also had some pros stop by who said things similar. Very interesting business methinks…

The only negative was all of the salespeople (not actual exhibitors) roaming the hall who would come to the booth, feign interest in our stuff, engage me in conversation for 10 minutes only to reveal that they were there to sell to me! Web optimization, online advertizing, printing- you name it. Probably 3 percent of the visits to our booth were of this nature. It became tiring very quickly. But all in all, a terrific show. We should have a lot more good things to report in its aftermath. Stay tuned!

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The Enigma stopped by.


Our friend, The Enigma, stopped by today for pictures and to pick up his new Hell Guitar. The Enigma is a true artist and a very generous soul. We had a lot of fun as folks walking by crowded around taking their photos with the man, the enigma. We will be posting more including photos and video of our encounter after we return from Japan. The Enigma and his wife , Serana Rose, tour as The Show Devils. More on that too later…

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The day before!


I’m laying awake at 3:30 in the morning due to jetlag and worries that I might over sleep. got to get up in 2 hours so I can miss the traffic to the first day of the NAMM show. Photo is of our not quite completed booth. The talented and photogenic Robert Renman joined us yesterday. Good man that Robert! More to come. wish us luck!

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Banner Masala (click to enlarge).

I ordered a ‘9 x ‘7 banner of the above design for the back of our booth a few days ago from a company in the state of Georgia (in the USA). I received notice 2 days after ordering that our banner had been shipped and UPS tracking info was included. Well, I checked the tracking and was quite surprised to see that the banner shipped from Mumbai, India! I wonder if I have a problem with the banner and need to call support which country gets the call?

In other news, everything is coming together for the show (for the most part). Except… for a tooth… Started having pain 2 days ago and went to the dentist. After a root canal the pain was worse than before. Seems there is a wisdom tooth that needs to go but they can’t deal with it until the swelling goes down which won’t be before my flight! So I will have to go to the show with a tooth with a gaping hole and nothing but antibiotics and painkillers to deal with it. Not my ideal way to go, that’s for sure…

So if there are any dentists (licensed, please!) in the Southern California area out there who will work for a guitar, please shoot me a line. Otherwise I don’t fancy paying US rates for dental care without insurance. As I remember it, US dental care with insurance wasn’t exactly cheap…

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Super Blacks Guitar Picks!

Fast and Ugly. You NEED these picks! (click to enlarge)

Tonight I’ve been designing postcards for NAMM.

The postcard above is for our new Super Blacks guitar picks. I am very proud of these picks. When it comes to picks I am notoriously fickle. I’ll find one that I like quite a lot however 2 or 3 weeks later I invariably find something about them that bothers me. But not these guys…They are exactly what I have been looking for in a guitar pick! They fit my fingers, are easy to hold on to, are faster than any pick I’ve played with and sound terrific.Sound like sales talk? Well I’m sure it appears that way as I am indeed selling them but all of the above is no less true.

Up until now, the picks I’ve stuck with the most have been V-Picks from Vinni Smith. If you haven’t tried them I do recommend them. They’re not cheap but they’re quite unique in both the materials they use and for their especially FAT picks. I always liked how fast they played and I have good control with them. But two things always sort of left me sort of wanting. One was the grip. V-Picks are completely rigid which I really like (don’t like them floppy picks), however I always found the hard/flat surface made the grip a little difficult when playing rhythm. They’re great for lead playing though. The other issue was the sound. I have found, to varying degrees, V-Picks give a noticeable “tick” – “tick” – “tick”-ing sound when they hit the strings. Rather pronounced to my ear. All things considered however, V-Picks have been my usual pick for a few years now. Ever since Vinni gave me my first V-Pick at NAMM some years back. Really nice picks and a very good fellow, that Vinni.

A few months ago, I ran into a pick manufacturer at a trade show who manufactures mostly your run of the mill type picks. But they did have a series of picks that I found interesting. They were made of textured Delrin and came in thicknesses from 1mm to 5mm. They wouldn’t give or sell me just one but told me I could buy a box of 300 picks. Now I only wanted to try one out to see how it played but I had a good feeling about them so I actually wound up buying 2 boxes. When I got them home I generally liked how they played although the texture posed some problems. Also the grip wasn’t quite right either. Anyway, I started playing around with the picks. I polished them smooth and re-shaped them a bit until I came up with what are, for me, the Ugliest, Fastest and Best Sounding Guitar Picks I have EVER played. This is completely straight. If they sucked or were “ok” I would have given them out to customers as an extra and not tried to market them. But these picks are AMAZING! I spent a bit developing them making special molds and opting for hand polishing which really has a terrific feel.

Anyway, this post has gotten long. In summary, Super Blacks are ugly and fantastic. They will be available from our website after the NAMM show. I’ll be sending out some samples to those of you out there (that would be most of you, I think) who are Hell Guitar owners. When I get back I’ll put up a post asking Hell owners to send their mailing address to my email so I can get some out to you. I see it as kind of like a drug pusher giving prospective customers their first hit for free. Of course picks are a very personal thing but I’m pretty confident that these will make a splash. So stay tuned…

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Catalog Back Cover.

Duck! (please click to enlarge).

Here’s a look at the back cover of the catalog. Must say, I’m pleased with it but what do you all think?

I found the German, wind-up, tricycling, prop-headed duck in a local shop recently, thinking it might work for some future purpose. Decided to put it on the catalog to add a slightly twisted sense of fun. Personally I think the duck is a bit creepy with his intense gaze and peculiar anthropomorphism. But only a bit. In fact I think that old toy characters are often on the creepy side. It’s actually something I rather like though not exactly sure why. Perhaps due to some supressed childhood trauma…

The rocket is a new truss rod cover that we just finished. A little departure from our usual looks so I wonder if it will find an audience or not. I’m rather fond of it myself (of course). Kind of that Buck Rogers, future that never was kind of thing.

The catalog is finally in production as I approved the proof today. Hope they do a good job. Using a print shop I’ve never used before.

In other news, I leave for Southern California for the NAMM show in just over a week. Still tons to do but after getting some of the more time sensitive stuff out of the way, the stress is becoming manageable. I really have no idea what to expect from the show in terms of what it will mean for the business. Hopefully something good!

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Catalog Cover

Hell Guitars 2013 Catalog cover! (Please click to enlarge)

I just finished doing the layout for our new catalog. I’ve got to get the rest of it finished in the next 2 days to be able to have them ready for the NAMM show. So much to do and almost no time left. Stress is starting to rise…

In other news got a ton of new guitarshit in. I’ll post when I can though it may not be until after the show. I will try to blog daily from show floor however. Stay tuned!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS! (and a very happy emperor’s birthday…)

Merry Christmas from Hell!
















Well, here in Japan our official (Dec. 25) Christmas Day is nearly over. I am spending the last hour or so in the company of a nice glass of scotch (thanks to my friend Don) with thoughts of peace, joy and more than a little gratitude for another year and another Christmas.

We actually celebrated Christmas yesterday, the 24th, as it was a national holiday, The Emperor’s birthday. The 25th is a work day here so we decided to take our celebration early, thanks to the emperor (blessed be his name, whatever it is…). Of course we did also celebrate some more today in-between work so it worked out quite well really. As I hope it is also working out for any and all who are reading this. May you have a Merry Christmas or otherwise Happy Holidays. May you enjoy at least one day of peace and joy (and hopefully much more than that) wherever you may be!

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