Defunct Musical Instrument Manufacturers - D & E

Defunct Musical Instrument Manufacturers - D & E

D’Alegria Custom Basses & Guitars

Brazilian company originally founded in Rio de Janeiro, in January 2003 by Daniel Alegria and Rodrigo Werneck. The two had met when studying at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and later worked together as telecom engineers but shared an interest in playing and building basses, this lead to the formation of the company which initially specialised in custom manufacturing electric basses. During the first year the company’s products got good reviews in the local forums for their sound and in particular for their playability, but received some negative comments for their finishing but in the image conscious Brazilian market a the furniture class finish we see in Northern European/American musical instruments is simply not considered good enough.

By 2004 D’Alegria had managed to overcome this and their basses started to get a bit of interest internationally, one factor in this was simply the close relationship the company had with the growers and harvesters of legal hardwood, but Brazilian supplies of legal hardwood are still relatively plentiful but the problem for instrument builders of the world is that while the wood is fairly inexpensive to begin with it has by the time it reaches them been through the hands of 2 to 4 middlemen, D’Alegria on the other hand had access to exotic woods directly from source at much keener prices and thus could offer basses at considerably lower cost than western makers, they also used local substitutes for endangered hardwoods such as Andriroba and Marupá that are simply unknown in the west as furniture or musical instrument woods. It was not unusual to see instruments from the company being offered in Europe offered for under 2000 euros which was about half you expect to pay local builders for a similar instrument, if you got it direct from Brazil the savings were even greater.

It should be noted that the company remained a builder of custom instruments, while they did have specific models and lines they only made instruments to order, and never stocked specific models and thus therefore there are few instruments out there that are completely identical. D’Alegria basically had 2 different line-ups with one being called basic while the more expensive line referred to as the Signature, of these the most interesting ones were the Dragon bass from the Basic range which is a sharkfin shaped instrument offered in 4 to 7 string variants, all of their instruments feature active pre-amps designed and made by the company. In 2006 the company added a couple of guitars to their line-up but that never became but a small part of their operation with only one model being offered in both basic and Signature variants. The company disappears in 2010/11 and their phone number is now answered by a restaurant but since it is recently gone it is possible that some of their former distributors such as Sleek Elite in Japan and Carrothers Productions in the USA have some remaining stocks. Note that the homepage listed is their now dormant Myspace page.

Dallas Music See --> J. E. Dallas & Sons

Dana Bourgeois Guitars

Company founded in 1991 as Grieg Inc. and was based in Lewiston, Maine, USA, owner and namesake Dana Bourgeois had prior to founding the company been a partner with The Music Emporium in building Schoenberg Guitars. Manufactured high end acoustic steel string guitars under the Bourgeois and C. Fox brands in addition to designing acoustic guitars for other companies such as Paul Reed Smith Guitars and Washburn, although it is believed that the PRS models were never released.

By 1993 the company was making 70 guitars a year and decided to change its name to “Dana Bourgeois Guitars Inc.”, in 1996 the company branched out into the manufacture of archtop guitars (Jazz guitars) with the release of the A-500, DBG is by then manufacturing 375 guitars per year. In 1997 the company loses the rights to the C. Fox brand when Charles Fox decides to start his own C. Fox Guitars company, by 1999 the company is building 525 guitars a year but has cash flow problems and is out of business by the end of the year with the total number of instuments being built during its lifetime being 1975 units. Mr Bourgeois went on to form Pine State Music in early 2000.

D'Aquisto String Manufacturing Co.

Company founded in 1971 in New York, USA and was originally called DAQ Musical Distributors Inc. and started selling guitar accessories and consumables such as plectrums and strings, primarily under the "D'Aquisto" brand. Changed its name to "D'Aquisto String Mfg Co." in 1977 but faded out in the early mid/80's and was out of business by 1986. Although I have not been able to ascertain this for sure it appears that the company only did limited if any manufacturing of its own and appears to have been primarily a re-branding operation.

D'Aquisto Strings Inc.

A company founded in 1991 in New York, USA by Theodore E. Krause but with permission from noted NY instrument builder James D’Aquisto to use his name as branding. The company manufactured strings for banjos, mandolins, electric and acoustic guitars and basses and in fact made the machinery to make the strings as well.

The company went out of business in early 2011 but the factory was taken over by.

David Hite Inc.
Company founded in 1979 by husband and wife team of Jean Ann Knox and David Hite and based in Columbus, Ohio, USA. The company serviced woodwind instruments and manufactured high end mouthpieces for clarinets and saxophones under the David Hite brand, these were supposedly hand made compression moulded vulcanised rubber units and were meant to be made to order to a customers specifications and needs, the minor problem with that sort of business plan being that Columbus was a considerable distance from the centre of the music world, and even though the mouthpieces had been well received by the clarinet community in particular the pair decided to in 1983 to remedy that by moving the company to New York.

Mr. Hite was already relatively well known in the clarinet community for his work on clarinet literature, especially his practice books that were popular and also for his compositions for the instrument, his wife was also a clarinettist as well so with some promotion from them both his mouthpieces first became known in that community and had by the mid 80's a very good reputation in the USA in particular were it gained something of a legendary status, the saxophone community did not initially respond as well but that changed when the company started in 1985 to sell a line of budget/student mouthpieces called the Premiere line that was made out of injection moulded plastic rather than rubber but appeared at a price point just above a beginners mouthpiece and this model proved to be popular with the saxophone community as well. After the introduction of the Premier line the pro line of mouthpieces was sometimes referred to as the Artist line.

In 1986 the company moved again, this time to Estero in Florida and more or less stopped customising mouthpieces and had already stopped servicing instruments and instead concentrated on the production of the Premiere line even though customisations were still offered for "professional musicians". At around that time the company also started to brand their products as J & D Hite rather than David Hite or just Hite, and in 1990 they added ligatures to the product line. The product line of the company was never expanded into less common variants of the clarinets and saxes simply because the company actually did not make the mouthpieces but bought semi finished in the case of the pro line and finished from in the case of the Premiere line, in both cases from the J.J. Babbit company and thus could only offer what Babbitt would offer them, in the case of the Premier mouthpiece the company only did "micro-finishing" while the more expensive pro-line Artist series was faced by Hite's using purpose built machines.

Mr. Hite passed away in 2004 and his widow eiither unable or unwilling to continue on her own and decided to sell the brand to the Babbit company a month later but it seems that Babbit was as interested in the customer list as the brand since David Hite Inc had been much more aggressive in getting distributors while Babbit was pretty much still primarily an OEM. The Babbit company still manufacture most of the J&D Hite lineup.

Resources : -- Souther Music Orbituary.

Design Engineering (Wokingham) Ltd.

Small UK company based in Wokingham in Berkshire and was founded on February the fifth 1964, but there is some evidence to suggest that the owner Brian Baily had been going for a year or 2 earlier as a sole trader. It is not really known what the company did during its first few years although old brochures from the company strongly imply that they were doing something involving music electronics but we have not actually been able to find anything older than the late 60’s with their name on it.

Around 1970 the company was already supplying synthesiser “kits” that they called Project-X and selling them mostly through the back page small ads section of electronics and music instrument magazines. These were not kits in the common understanding of the word but rather pre build modules of synth components such as oscillators, filters and so on, that had been potted with the necessary wires hanging out of them, you then hooked them up in the case of your choice and added the needed potentiometers power supplies and so on and you had a synthesiser or a signal processor if you wanted. In addition to the modules the company had some unusual accessories such as a budget patch matrix that was an alternative to patch cords.

By this time the company usually advertised using its initials, or as D. E. W. Ltd. and was using the brandname Dewtron for their products, in addition to the Project-X modules and synthesisers based on them such as the Apollo and Gipsy that they appear to have supplied both built and as kits, the company was also supplying effect modules such as ring modulators and distortion units (the “Fuzzorama”) primarily intended for guitars, in addition to some specialised units like the
Mister Bassman. bass synthesiser pedals. For some reason synthesizer modules had no printing on them (or at the least the ones we have seen) but the effect modules quite often have the Dewtron trademark and name printed on the potting, implying that the potted modules were intended to be used instead of casing, in addition these effect units were available as either as potted synth modules or completely built with pots, plug sockets and battery.

The quality of the Dewtron modules are often described in wholly negative terms but that is a bit unfair, the circuits are Hz/V rather than exponential response and the modules are done on Vero board rather than properly designed PCB's, but it should be noted that when they were originally designed in the late 60’s it was simply technically impossible to design cheap modules that performed adequately with linear response and perfect waveforms, in that respects they are reminiscent of early PAIA Electronics and Buchla modules. Much the same can be said about the effects processors, the early pedals were simple affairs and while the Dewtron modules have somewhat suspect build quality at times they are no different from an electronic design perspective to anything else available at the time, or for that matter some of the boutique pedals available nowadays.

The only 3 groups we can remember ever having admitted to using Dewtron products were early versions of Genesis (“Mister Bassman” bass pedals), the first incarnation of Human League (Project X module based synth) and Cabaret Voltaire while they were still a trio (Project-X modules, not a full synth) and in addition to that Led Zeppelin bought an Apollo but it does not appear to show up on any recordings. One funny thing, the company always made it clear in their brochures that the name Dewtron was a registered trademark, even giving the “registered trademark” bit the same typeface size as the trademark itself in some instances, but in actual fact they never registered the mark. The company later moved to the Ferndown area in Dorset (near Wimborne Minster) and in addition to shipping some synth modules from that location and possibly some related product disappears not long thereafter, rumour has it Mr. Baily later went on to became a paranormal researcher but there has been no evidence to back it up.

Dixie (Folk instruments) See --> Grover-Trophy Music Company

Drum Clinic (Drums & percussion) See --> Grover-Trophy Music Company

Duranite (Recorders) See --> Grover-Trophy Music Company

Early Development See --> Shar Products (Classical string instruments for beginners & childrens - 80's & 90's)

Eaton Audio
British company based in St. Neots, Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. During the mid-70’s it was the main supplier of kits of the P.E. Minisonic synth but it is not known if the company was connected to the designer G. D. Shaw.

Ed. Seiler (Pianos) See --> Seiler

E. Dupree (Classical string instrument bows) See --> Metropolitan Music Company

Electro See --> Rickenbacker (USA - Slide guitars and amplidiers - 1930's)

Evolution See --> Avid

Excelsior (Accordions & consertinas) See --> A. H. Wilkinson & Co. Ltd.

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© 1993 - 2013 Ólafur Gunnlaugsson, all rights reserved.

The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am