A Birmingham-based guitar manufacturer famous for producing guitars for Brian May, Oasis and UB40 has struck the right chord by developing a new instrument in collaboration with a local design team.
Jewellery Quarter-based Patrick Eggle Guitars, which has been producing highquality electric guitars to an international market for nearly 15 years, has teamed up with the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) to develop a low-cost, high-volume guitar for the US.
Employing a small team of highly-skilled craftsmen to produce handmade, woodenbodied instruments, Patrick Eggle has established itself as a premium brand in the US music market.
On the back of this, distributors advised them that the market would respond well to an economy model if it was priced at around half that of their original range.
After years of producing hand-made wooden guitar bodies, managing director and chief designer Gordon Tilley realised it would be too costly to produce this new model by traditional methods.
He turned to the West Midlands Manufacturing Advisory Service, which introduced him to a TIC design team.
Part of the University of Central England, the TIC team, led by Steve Webb, worked closely with the staff at Patrick Eggle to develop a mould for a new polymer material.
The initial prototype went through a number of market tests over the past two years and was launched this year at the 2005 British Music Show.
Mr Tilley said: "The collaboration helped to turn our idea into a market-ready product.
"We now have a a new lower-cost instrument for a relatively low level of investment and we are now expecting hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of export sales to follow in the near future." The collaboration between Patrick Eggle and TIC has been entered into the BDI Industry and Genius Awards which take place at the IMAX Theatre, Millennium Point, on November 24.
Hosted by Grand Design's Kevin McCloud and sponsored by Birmingham City Council, The Birmingham Post and Calthorpe Estates, the awards seek to highlight and celebrate collaboration between designers based in Birmingham and industry.
In a bid to encourage more partnerships between Birmingham's creative designers and local manufacturers Birmingham City Council has launched BIG Marketplace scheme.
Developed by the city council's Planning and Regeneration Service, BIG ( Birmingham Industry and Genius) provides free online registration and showcases for creative talent.
The website also offer information, networking and business opportunities for designers and traditional manufacturers in the wider West Midlands region.
For more information visit www.bigmarketplace.co.uk.