Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Jim Daddario visits the Music Spot

The Music Spot was honoured to have a visit from Jim D'addario on Friday. It was a pleasure to get to know him and here about where Daddario is heading into the future. Below is a brief history of the D'addario company.

In 1918, Charles D’Addario began manufacturing his strings stateside in a tiny garage shop behind the family home  in Astoria. As this was a family business, most of its members learned the trade and worked in the shop.. Even the children were recruited to help during busy periods, doing such chores as labeling, packaging and sorting the strings. Charles personally marketed his strings to violin makers and musicians, never hesitating to travel to make demonstrations. He was obsessed with the quality of his product and often sought the advice and opinions of the great musicians of the time.

Beginning in 1936 , John D’Addario Sr., Charles and his wife, , would work side-by-side with his father. At that time the company was renamed C. D’Addario & Son, and it would be John’s interest in alternative synthetic substitutes for the unreliable and messy animal gut that would mark another considerable milestone for the trade. 

John, Sr. was anxious to include other instruments beyond the classical guitar strings that they made to order, but Charles was reluctant to expand the family business. In 1956, with his father’s blessing, John, Sr. entered into a partnership to produce steel strings and electric strings for the guitar and bass. The new company would be named Archaic Musical String Manufacturing Co. and would be run by John D’Addario, Sr., Albert Morante, and his brother-in-law, Gino Burelli.

For some time the two companies, C. D’Addario & Son and Archaic Musical String Mfg Co., would operate separately,  When Charles retired in 1962, John, Sr. decided to merge the two companies together under a new name, Darco Music Strings, Inc. By now, the guitar was the single most popular instrument in the country, and its impact on the changing world was unmistakable.

Darco grew quickly due to innovations and breakthroughs led by John D’Addario, Sr. The company would lead the industry with the first automated equipment to wind strings, the first round wound electric bass strings, and many other innovations still in use today by manufacturers around the world.

The late 1960s brought another generation of D’Addarios into the family business, with John D’Addario, Jr. the first addition to the fold. John D’Addario Sr.’s five children were no strangers to the string business. 

Under the ever-present guidance and experience of their father, John, Jr. and James would bring nothing but success to Darco. As the company grew more and more successful, the D'Addarios were eventually approached by premier guitar manufacturer C.F. Martin & Co., Inc. to pool resources and share development efforts. The two companies merged, and after a few profitable years together, the D’Addarios decided it was time for them to separate from Martin to develop their own product under the name that would endure until today, D’Addario & Company, Inc. After eight generations of string making, the first strings bearing the D’Addario brand name were introduced; the year was 1974.


D’Addario's first factory was in Lynbrook, New York, and the initial staff consisted of only five employees. As always, it was a real family operation with John, Sr., John, Jr. and James leading the company's growth and business plans

The brothers embarked on a rigorous program of research and development. They created a world-renowned line of products in the field, establishing D’Addario as a premier manufacturer of bowed instrument strings. D’Addario’s guitar and bass strings were already a great success. The brand was continually gaining in popularity and securing a sizeable share of the market.

In 1984, the company relocated to a larger facility to handle the increased demand for their product, and the production staff ballooned to 150 employees. This would not be the last time the company would find itself busting at the seams of its factory space. Operations have expanded on several occasions since, with the largest expansion in 1994, when the company relocated to a new 110,000-square foot facility in Farmingdale. Today D’Addario & Company, Inc. occupies a total of 190,000-square feet at its Farmingdale headquarters, an additional 51,000-square feet at the Rico manufacturing facility in California, and employs more than 900 people, each one of them making an invaluable contribution to what has always been a family business. A distribution center in California handles shipments to the West, and satellite offices in Chicago and Los Angeles cater to musicians across the nation. D’Addario Canada is a third distribution center, providing D’Addario products to Canada, while satellite sales offices in Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and France help service the rest of D'Addario's global customer base.

The research and development arm of D’Addario is one of its strongest assets. Headed by James, the engineering department has accumulated many important manufacturing and product patents in the field. The company prides itself on identifying problems in their production and implementing solutions. This includes the work they’ve done on their newest product line additions, such as Evans Drumheads (1995) Planet Waves, an accessory line (1998), HQ Practice Products, drum silencing and silent practice products (2004) and Rico Reeds (2004).


The theory of keeping as much “in house” as possible has served the D'Addario family well.  But D’Addario’s unbounded success is also due in part to its worldwide distribution and dealer networks. The company markets its products in the United States through wholesale distributors and over 5,400 retail music stores. In addition, the export markets are handled by 120 distributors in 101 countries.

The Music Spot proudly supports D'Addario and has a large range of D'addario strings, Planet Wave products, Evans heads and Pro Mark sticks.    

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