Stage Electronics Company formed in the early 1990’s by Vince Michaels and located in Depew, New York, USA. Designed a analogue synthesiser that was built around an interesting concept, basically it was a 1U 19” module that contained a monophonic synthesiser voice similar to the one in a MiniMoog with a few extensions, a separate control panel that could either be used as a table-top module or a 4U rack module controlled in turn controlled the 1U synth voice or a multitudes of voices turning it into a modular polyphonic instrument. The company was poised to deliver its product in May 1994 but ran out of money and in the end only one synthesiser was fully assembled, however when the company was liquidated a number of finished PCB´s were sold so it is possible that there are a few examples of this synth floating around that have been finished by a third party.
Actually 2 different companies, both based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and both having the same name and the same principal owner, one Ted Stevenson, first one is a private business founded in 2000 and dissolved in 2003 and the latter is an incorporated (i.e. share) company that takes over the operation in 2003 but goes dormant in 2007. Note also that since this is a Quebec company the name was sometimes given out in official documents as “Guitares Stevenson”.
The earliest instruments we see from the company are from 2001 and are copies or closely modelled on classic American electric guitars but have high end hardware such as Gotoh and Floyd Rose tremolos & bridges alongside Sperzel tuners and were offered with a variety of pickups as options, all mated with a on board pre-amp made by the company itself. Prices were surprisingly modest compared to some other custom shops offering similar quality of finishes and hardware, or ranging from RRP of USD 1695 for the “Classic” model (Strat type guitar) to USD 2495 for the top of the range “Deluxe”, although optional extras or custom finishes did up that price considerably and by 2004 the prices were considerably higher, especially for the lower priced models, the “Classic” retailed by then for 2195 USD and Stevenson has started offering their own pickups as standard although they are still also making available pickup products from other companies as well.
By 2006 the company is no longer making just guitars but has branched into the manufacture of guitar amplifiers in addition to offering as separate products the guitar and bass pickups and pickup pre-amplifiers they had hereto only made available integrated into their guitars & basses.
The company appears to hit some problems in 2006 and stops shipping out products but later that year Mr Stevenson is running Painting with Electrons from a new location, initially with more or less the same line-up of guitars and amplifiers as Stevenson Guitars offered.
Trading company founded in 1986 by classical guitarists and composer Charles Dana Stringer and was based in Warren, New Jersey, USA. Initially specialised in importing European musical instrument products and accessories such as strings but by the early 90’s decided to focus on the more lucrative rock side business and started to sell products mainly intended for the electric guitar and focusing on distributing guitar strings, picks and other accessories including Rotosound
Shortly thereafter the company started distributing under his own brand names, in a somewhat cynical move the names chosen for those were intended to be “edgy” or cause a mild sense of outrage to fit in with the supposed rock ethos, but also to allow for guerrilla marketing tactics. The names initially used included Snarling Dogs used on guitar stings & picks, Tazzmanian Buff Master Filth Repellent that was used on cleaning products and Kit Shickers used on folk instrument strings but a couple of other names were tried as well, the owner even tried selling under his own name with the Charlie Stinger’s brand, at the same time the company started to use innovative but inexpensive advertising campaigns such as placing adverts in the toilets of music clubs and even inside of urinals and the owner started to portray a larger than life character at trade shows.
By the mid 90’s the company had stopped using all brands except Snarling Dogs although they retained Kit Shickers as a model name and the only product they were by then distributing under their original names were a couple of brands of budget Asian guitar pedals, but when the boutique pedal fad started to take off in the latter half of the 90’s the company jumped onto that bandwagon and started issuing boutique style but serially manufactured pedals under their own Snarling Dogs brand and by the latter half of 1998 the company only sold products under the Snarling Dogs name and had ceased distribution of other brands altogether. The move into boutique style pedals was easily explainable, those could easily be sold for more than twice what the normal ones would typically retail for even though the OEM costs were similar.
Sadly Mr. Stringer passed away before his time on may the second 1999 at only 48 years of age and although the company claimed it would continue as before, it disappeared from view in 2000. The Snarling Dog trademark ended up with D'Andrea in 2002.
Strobel See --> GTRC Services (USA - Student level classical instruments - ca 1980's to 00's)
Sunset Custom Guitars A company based on the Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, USA and set up alongside 48th Street Custom Guitars in the early 80’s by ESP Co. to replicate the success of their Japanese guitar custom shops in the USA. In addition to retailing guitars the company took advantage of ESP’s ownership of a luthier school in Japan and imported a number of Japanese craftsmen that had been given further training at the ESP factory, this meant that the company made custom guitars both customised guitars made from ESP to peoples specifications to instruments made from scratch at their workshop. Unlike their sister company 48th Street, Sunset had stronger branding and all instruments we have seen from them are marked with their name either on the front or back of headstock although it is possible that some early instruments were unmarked, they also absorbed local staff more quickly even though the master builders remained Japanese.
The Company was merged into another ESP owned operation Schecter Guitar Research in 1996 and Michael Ciravolo the head of SCG was made the president of Schecter.