Korg Brings LÂG to America
“We think LÂG is the perfect compliment to our brands,” noted Korg USA’s Mitch Colby at a reception held in Nantes, France this past November, where a partnership between the U.S. distribution giant and the European guitar supplier was announced. Korg’s president Joe Castronovo agreed, noting that, “LÂG is a big name in the European market and now we’re bringing the guitars to the U.S.”
During a whirlwind three-and-a-half-day jaunt (Boston-Paris-Nantes-Montpelier-Bedarieux AND… back again. Jetlag, anyone?), MMR joined other members of the press to meet with representatives from all parties involved in this major collaboration to tour the relevant factories and workshops, and to hear details of the forthcoming product introductions into the American market. In between innumerable decadent meals (merci, Korg folks!) and occasional brief tours of the countryside, we also were able to get a true feel for the passion that both the LÂG and Korg teams brings to this new project.
A Real Opportunity
As of January 2010, Korg will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for LÂG acoustic and acoustic/electric guitars. “LÂG is already enormously successful in Europe and we’re going to bring that to the U.S.,” Colby said. “The acoustic market is faring very well, so we think this relationship presents a real opportunity for us and our dealers.”
Deriving its name from a seasonal wind in the Occitania region of France, the LÂG Tramontane (Trah-mon-tahn) line includes both steel string and nylon guitar models. The Standard series instruments are aimed towards the beginning player, the Stage Series is comprised of premium guitars for novice players, while the Master Series models are geared towards a higher-end, professional user.
Capturing the Romance
While the Master Series features enhanced attention to detail and finer materials, master luthier Michel Lâg Chavarria is quick to note that even the Standard guitars feature the same workmanship and care that characterizes all LÂG instruments: “Many people, when they play the instrument, don’t believe that it’s an entry-level guitar because of the attention to detail. It’s ‘entry level’ in name, but it’s a real guitar.”
The acoustic/electric models available in the U.S. make use of LÂG’s proprietary electronics systems, including unique preamps, developed with Shadow Electronics – most of which offer a wide variety of sound possibilities through user-friendly presets – as well as magnetic and piezo pickups, varying in nature, depending on the individual model selected.
Algam – a powerhouse MI distributor in France (handling nearly 100 major international brands, including LÂG Guitars) – will be working to support Korg’s launch of LÂG Guitars. “This has been a great collaboration between ourselves and the LÂG and Algam teams,” observed Mike Bradley, marketing director for Korg USA, while the group toured LÂG’s workshop facilities in Bedarieux, France. The sentiment was echoed the previous night by Algam president, Gerard Garnier: “We know there are a lot of acoustic guitars in the U.S. market, but we believe we have something unique. We have to capture the romance of LAG guitars and Korg is the perfect partner to help us achieve that goal.”
“We plan to launch a major marketing campaign to support this product line,” added Castronovo. “We’re very happy to have partnered with LÂG. The products represent a nice complement to our Marshall, Korg, and VOX lines.”
Korg USA will begin offering the Standard and Stage ranges in the LÂG Tramontane guitar line in the U.S. as of the NAMM show in Anaheim. The Master range will be available in the spring/summer of 2010.