That all sounds pretty complicated, but it's the kind of thinking you might expect from Seal, who left a lucrative position with Martin-Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) to start CA with his brother-in-law, Lafayette attorney Barry Sallinger.
"Ellis had been tinkering," says Sallinger
...Seal and Sallinger formed CA Guitars and approached Peavey, one of the nation's largest instrument and instrument amplification manufacturers, about making a deal to build the guitars.
Part of the deal would have included moving the manufacturing of CA guitars overseas, however, which both Seal and Sallinger
agreed was something their consciences couldn't bear.
"What we've seen," says Sallinger
, "is that there's a considerable interest from all walks of life in the music world in terms of technology.When it comes to the technology, everyone has his
own choice of application.Cases and closure systems, lighting trusses, support for necks, tailpieces, snares, djembe.But the hardest thing to do is make a guitar.A carbon guitar doesn't want to have a soul.You have to put that in.Once that's done, it makes people step back and really start thinking about the potential for further applications."
Instead of making a product that would appeal merely to amateur guitarists, Sallinger
team have headed straight to hardest sell in the business: bluegrass flatpickers.
Of all the groups of people who play acoustic guitars (songwriters, fingerpickers, Christian rockers, etc.), flatpickers are the most notoriously demanding.They're also the most snobby and traditionalist as far as instrument choice goes.In the world of bluegrass, guitars of Indian rosewood built in the 1930s are the most sought after, and the whole industry of high-end guitar building caters to this by building instruments that are meant to look and sound like those built before World War II.The famous "Pre-War" Martins routinely sell for upwards of $50,000, and small builders and large manufacturers alike offer new guitars that mimic specific pre-war models.
According to Sallinger
and Seal, guitar and resophonic parts might only be the tip of the iceberg for CA. Plans are in place to expand the operation drastically within the next five years.
"I really think," says Sallinger
, "that with some help, we could have Lafayette serve as a base for composite materials manufacturing in the music business."Sallinger
envisions that, within five years, CA could employ several hundred people building 2,000 guitars a year, as well as whatever other applications might be in the works by then.