It seems almost obligatory to take stock around new year; look back at the last year and forward to the next.
With that in mind:
What went well for Haze Guitars in 2015?
Lots actually. I had a lot of new customers, and just as importantly, I saw a lot of familiar faces. Thank you, everyone. I really, really appreciate it. I know that it’s important to trust your guitar-repairer and it means a lot that you guys have chosen me.
A couple of specific things I’m quite proud of this year are:
Easier Scheduling and Faster Turnaround
This is a biggie. I trialled this for a while and it’s worked out really well.
Book your own appointment AND get your guitar back quickly.
- You book an appointment online (all of my availability is on the calendar—just pick a day and time that suits).
- You get an email to confirm that date (and another the day before your appointment so you don’t forget).
- You bring your guitar on the arranged day and I work on it almost immediately.
Most jobs can be turned around in just a day or two which is unusual in this field and it's fantastic (for me too).
When you book an appointment, I schedule time to work on your guitar almost straight away. It’s sort of a ‘just-in-time’ scheduling. I don’t need your guitar sitting here with me until it works through the pipeline. You bring it on your appointment day, I work on it, and most jobs are done super-quickly.
The Haze Guitars Email Newsletter and Blog
Wow. I’m so grateful for my newsletter readers.
I get some fantastic feedback and, if I can stray into techie metrics, some levels of engagement that are well above average for similar newsletters. I hope this means people are enjoying it and getting something useful from it.
Thank you so much.
I’m trying to keep up a level of quality in the stuff I publish there. I want to give readers some useful advice as well as some perspective that might not be what they’re used to.
This is difficult and, at times, scary—I get nervous thinking of some of the names I recognise from my list reading the stuff I write. ;-)
It’s great though. I love it. Cheers. Sign up if you want to be on the team.
On the blog end, lately, I’ve been trying to be more consistent there and it’s working so far. Hope you like it.
I released a setup guide aimed at Stratocaster owners. Sketchy Setups #1 is completely hand-drawn and hand-written (although it’s then digitised and available as a download).
I didn’t do much promotion but have still managed to get a very decent number of sales and a lot of nice emails from readers (thank you for that).
More Sketchy Setup guides will follow for other instruments.
Which, sort of, leads on to:
What didn’t go well?
I didn’t finish the other blasted book. Complete Guitar Wiring was supposed to be finished in 2015 but I kept pushing the date out.
Turns out writing a book—and more importantly making a lot of illustrations for it—is a lot of work. I’m fortunate enough to be very busy with my ‘day job’ of repairing guitars. The only drawback is that this leaves less time for the extra-curricular work of writing books. Sketchy Setups was done in a crazy blitz but CGW is too involved to get done in this way. At least solely in this way.
And that thought is a good segue to:
What’s Planned for 2016?
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men*…
Complete Guitar Wiring
It will be finished. Oh, yes. It will be finished. I’m taking the bull by the horns on this one and assuming that a public deadline is the best way to keep me honest. Therefore:
I will have all text and all drawings for Complete Guitar Wiring finished by end of quarter 1.
During quarter 2, I will re-draft the content as necessary, lay it out and—if I’m publishing as a paper copy (still to be decided)—I will have the necessary arrangements in place.
I will launch Complete Guitar Wiring in July, 2016.
There! I’ve done it now.
More Sketchy Setups
I promised that this was the start of a series and I meant it.
And it makes more sense as a series. I always intended this to be an easy way in—individual guides tailored towards particular instruments rather than one general, higher-level, reference.
More will come. Promise.
I’ve had a weirdly large number of people ask me about video. Even people that know what I look like and should understand that I have no place on a screen.
And, despite my reluctance to have a camera pointed in my direction, I appreciate how useful video can be when you’re trying to communicate the sort of information I try to communicate.
There’s a bit of work and outlay involved in doing this well and, while I don’t have definite plans yet, it’s something I’ll be thinking about and playing with over the next while.
The Day Job
I can’t (and don’t) forget that all of the stuff above is not what I primarily do.
I repair your guitars and basses. I fix them, and set them up, and glue them back together, and make them sound and play as well as possible.
And I’m grateful you continue to trust me to do so.
I look forward to doing more of that next year.
*Robert Burns seemed appropriate around Hogmanay