Why we’re the biggest dealer world-wide...and bloody proud of it!
In this blog post, I go into detail about our relationship with the Aussie-made guitar brand Cole Clark and take a deeper look into what makes these guitars so special. I’ll also delve into how our humble guitar stores on the NSW south coast came sell more of these guitars than any other music store in the world.
From then til now...
Ten years ago, with the brand still quite unknown to the general population, mentioning the name ‘Cole Clark’ to customers in store would often be met with blank stares and head scratches but these days every man and his dog seem to know Cole Clark Guitars and the quality instruments they make out of their factory in Bayswater, Victoria.
Over the last decade or so, Cole Clark has become widely recognised as a quality Australian Made acoustic guitar brand and are now not only a best-selling brand for our stores, but also a top brand for many international music stores as well.
In fact, Cole Clark have just signed a distribution deal with Korg USA Inc. which is the largest distribution deal in the history of the Australian Guitar Industry with Korg USA Inc. now exclusively representing Cole Clark Guitars in all export business to the states.
This is massive news for the Australian guitar industry and it’s amazing to see this Aussie Guitar Company doing so well not just across Australia but now overseas as well.
You only have to take a look at some of the national and international artists who are using Cole Clark Guitars now to see the impact these instruments are having on the entire music industry. Artists such as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Angus and Julia Stone, The Living End, Sublime with Rome, Karnivool, Bruce Mathiske, Ash Grunwald, Alex Lloyd, Pete Murray, Tex Perkins, Mars Volta, Birds of Tokyo, Tim Rogers of You Am I, Daniel Champagne and Lloyd Spiegel as well as Wollongong’s favourite and our good mate Cyrus Villanueva.
What has been the secret ingredient to Cole Clark’s massive success in recent years? Well if you ask me, I’ll tell you I think a big part of the reason is the company’s CEO Miles Jackson. Miles came on board right about the time when Cole Clark started to really hit their stride and over the years we’ve come to know Miles quite well and can safely say that this company is in good hands. There are so many great things to like about this company and the direction Miles is steering it towards...
What we love about Cole Clark Guitars...
- Made in our backyard
I’ll start with the obvious....three little words....Made in Australia.
According to Wikipedia, Manufacturing in Australia peaked in the 1960’s at 25% of the country’s GDP but has now dropped below 10%. With so much of our manufacturing now heading overseas, spending our dollars on something that has actually been made in Australia these days seems rarer than winning the Powerball. It’s great to be able to support a guitar brand that helps to support Aussie workers and their families.
Also, the fact that we buy direct from the factory means that the value is transferred onto the end-user. You’ll often notice that Cole Clark guitars sit in a price-point well below many of their international competitors due to this reason.
- Australian Sustainable Timbers
With guitar tone-woods such as rosewood and mahogany becoming rarer and rarer over the years, Cole Clark have sourced locally grown timbers to use on their guitars which are also environmentally sustainable timbers, unlike other common guitar timbers.
Not only are these Aussie-grown timbers environmentally sustainable, but they also sound amazing and are visually stunning. One such timber is Californian Redwood, which is grown in Victoria and sounds incredible as a timber for the top of their guitars and has a gorgeous reddish brown colour often with a white sap-line. Other quality Australian woods used in Cole Clark Guitars are Queensland Maple, Victorian and Tasmanian Blackwood, Blackbean, Spalted Maple and Satin Box.
Cole Clark have named this series of guitar their Australian Eco Series and now the majority of their manufacturing is completed with Australian-grown timbers.
- The Pick-up System
If you’ve ever plugged in a Cole Clark Guitar you know what I’m talking about. The two-way and three-way pickup system made by Cole Clark is hands-down one of the best sounding pickups on the market today. It sounds crisp and clean and projects with an incredible clarity. The two-way pickup system uses a under-saddle piezo pickup paired with face sensors while the three-way pickup adds in a condenser microphone for the extra bit of shimmer to the tone.
Seriously....if you haven’t plugged in one of these guitars, do yourself a favour and test out the pickup system and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
- Solid Timbers Only
Every Cole Clark Acoustic Guitar comes with solid timber on the top, back and sides of the guitar as opposed to laminated or plywood timber. Solid timber creates a better tone when used on acoustic guitars and as the guitar ages, the tone actually improves, unlike laminated timber.
The fact that every guitar in the Cole Clark range comes standard with solid timber is just another reason why we love this brand so much.
- Plek’d for Your Playing Pleasure
Every Cole Clark Guitar comes Plek’d and setup from the factory so that when we receive it, the frets are completely even and the action feels fast and effortless to play. Recently I took a trip down to the factory to meet their Plek machine operator John who walked us through their setup process which involves every guitar being run through the Plek machine and then being worked on by hand to ensure the best setup possible before shipping.
I not only love this setup process from our point of view as a reseller, but I also love this from our customer’s point of view as it means that their guitar has been professionally setup and checked both at Cole Clark HQ and at Haworth Guitars before they get their hands on it.
- Nitro Cellulose Finishing
One thing I loved seeing up close at our recent factory visit was the way that Cole Clark finish their instruments. Every guitar gets taken through a thorough finishing process which takes a number of days where many coats of Nitro Cellulose lacquer are applied to the instrument over time. This process takes longer and is more expensive than your standard poly urethane type finishes but as Miles told us, it’s well worth it for the quality tone which results from the Nitro finishing.
Miles went on to tell us that the timber vibrates more freely and ages much better from Nitro Cellulose finishing than on the other more common types of finishes and I tend to agree with him.
- Custom Shop without Custom Shop Prices
Here is what I love about these guys, you can order a Cole Clark Guitar with your preferred timber combination and specifications and they will build it to order without charging an arm and a leg. Not only are there a wide range of timber options within each individual model for you to choose from, but you also have the option of choosing your own timber combination to suit your own personal specifications. Like I said, it’s like a Custom Shop without Custom Shop Prices.
- Innovation - Little Lady, Long Lady and more
I could go on all day about what I love about Cole Clark Guitars and their amazing operation but for time sake I will wrap up this section on this point. They are a company who are always moving forward with their research and development and their impressive resolve for wanting to improve the way things are done.
During our factory tour, Miles took us up to see their R and D department where the team work on improvements to timber selection, electronics, etc.
It was great to see how much thought actually goes into the design of a Cole Clark musical instrument. This is a point I know all too well when we were waiting to receive our first shipment of Cole Clark Little Lady Guitars, but Miles would not let them out into stores yet until the pickup system was 100% perfect. It’s a similar story with the Cole Clark Long Lady bass guitars which have taken years to perfect.
These guys are always moving forward with the types of timbers they use, the pickup systems and their product lines. It’s this sort of innovative drive that keeps Cole Clark on top of their game with their competitors chasing them. The new Cole Clark Kennedy Bass is just simply amazing with it’s thru-neck design and natural timber finishes and the Cole Clark Little Lady has been an awesome addition to their line and has proven to be an incredibly popular smaller-sized acoustic guitar in our stores.
That leads me to talk about the exciting part of this post....the main range of Cole Clark Guitars and Basses we keep in our stores.
Cole Clark make three main body shapes in their line of acoustic guitars;
The Fat Lady (Dreadnought)
The Angel (Grand Auditorium Size)
The Little Lady (Smaller Size)
The Fat Lady range offers a big bold-sounding dreadnought body shape which projects strongly in the bass and mid-range and sounds great for strumming and rhythm playing but can also be used for finger-picking. This series comes in the Fat Lady 1, Fat Lady 2 or Fat Lady 3 models with the grade of timber and the pickup system improving from the 1 Series to the 2 and 3 Series.
The Angel range has a tighter waist section and has a bright treble range as well as a responsive bass range. The Angel body shape is great for finger-picking and lead playing but also sounds great when strummed. Similar to the Fat Lady range, the Angel range comes in the Angel 1, Angel 2 or Angel 3 models with the timbers and pickups improving as you progress through the range.
The Little Lady is a mini-acoustic which is great for taking on the road and travelling with and is also great for smaller-sized humans who find full-sized acoustics a bit too cumbersome. The little lady guitar sounds amazing for a smaller-sized acoustic, with it’s solid timbers and big booty, the sound really projects! This where the Cole Clark pickup system really shines too, by plugging in the Little Lady you’d swear it was a full-sized guitar by the sound that comes out! The Little Lady comes in the Little Lady 1 and the Little Lady 2 with the timbers and pickup improving from the LL1 to LL2.
The Long Lady Kennedy Bass Guitars are Cole Clark’s latest edition to the range and man are we excited to have these Bass Guitars in our stores. With through-neck construction adding strength and sustain and punchy Aguilar pickups, these basses rock! Their natural timbers with satin finishes give these bass guitars that natural earthy look and feel which suits the Cole Clark name to a tee. For all the bassists out there, these are definitely worth checking out asap!
At the end of the day...
Well I think I’ve rabbited on enough about Cole Clark for one day, now all that’s left for you to do is to make up your own mind about these guitars and basses. At Haworth’s, we are here to answer any questions you might have about the Cole Clark range so just shoot us an email or have a chat via our Live Chat option or call us or better yet, drop in for a visit so we can walk you through the range in person!
Thanks for reading guys and happy playing!