2016 was a big year for Perth’s Ormsby Guitars. That was the year Ormsby made the leap from custom shop to full production via the highly respected World Musical Instruments in South Korea - the same factory known for their high-quality instruments made for brands such as LTD, PRS SE, Dean and many more. The GTR range consists of a number of different and very distinctive models, and they’ve led the charge in the sudden popularity of multiscale guitars - luthier Perry Ormsby has long been a pioneer in the multiscale field. A strong showing at the 2016 Winter NAMM Show and again at NAMM this past January helped to put the company on the map.
“It was fantastic,” says Ormsby. “We went last year and it was really positive. It cost a lot of money but we felt that we got value from it, although we didn’t necessarily pay ourselves back. But it did lead to other things throughout the year that made it absolutely worthwhile.
“This year we took the entire crew and had more product there. All of that kind of thing adds to the costs so it was substantially more expensive, but the returns from going to NAMM have been amazing this time. We’ve signed on three new distributors, new stores, we’re in talks with a bunch more people at the moment about bringing our guitars into other countries.
“Last year it was just myself and my friend Jon, from Sully Guitars, helping me out, and there were periods where we couldn’t talk to everyone because there were so many people in the stand,” says Ormsby. “That’s why we took all the staff this year, it was also a bit of a bonus for a good year. And I wanted to be able to stand back a little bit, go and talk to some of our vendors, negotiate deals and that sort of thing. There were times where we had five of us minimum on the stand, sometimes seven, even then we couldn’t talk to everyone.
“Normally before we leave for a show I can pick which ones will get people’s attention,” he says of the products they took to NAMM. “This year though, we had our little selection of guitars we thought were the peak three or four and they’re the ones nobody looked at. We had one that had a 24-carat gold top, and it kinda got passed over. Maybe it was because of where we’d placed them - on the back we had all our copper-top guitars, our new headless models and a new design we call the Futura.
“I thought that would be a model that would just sort of supplement the range and might not really be a huge part of our business, just one more model to add to the mix, but almost constantly there was one of those plugged into an amp throughout the whole four days,” says Ormsby. “That was something I’d spent time working on and designing, and to see the response was really cool. Usually it takes a bit of time for a new model to catch on, but people went nuts for the Futura and the new Goliath headless model. Those were the first ones to sell - as soon as we announced that we were selling our NAMM guitars, those ones went straight away.
“I have so many models I thought about and put in the memory bank to do some day,” says Ormsby of what’s next for the GTR models. “We have a lot of custom clients and they all want their own thing, so we don’t always necessarily get to do what we want to do. The good thing about the GTR series is it allows us to do things we want to do for ourselves. We’ve always wanted to do an SX Shark edition and that’s what we’re currently offering, and that’s been received really, really well.
“When it comes to colours we’ve got so many more that we still want to release. We’ve got another four shapes at least that we want to release in the GTR series, but you can’t come out with everything all at once. We’ve got to drip-feed it and we have a plan for the next year or 18 months,” says Ormsby.
“Being community driven, we allow the clients to have a say in what goes to production. If we like what the results are, we run with them and we add in a colour or two that we really like as well, then put it into production. And over the next six months we’ll start re-releasing popular colours. We’ve got stores around the world signing on and they want to have what everybody else has, so for every second production run we do, we’ll repeat some previous runs to make them more of a standard thing.”
For more information visit ormsbyguitars.com.