How Clef Began





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How Clef Began

                              Dreams and aspirations are fueled by many things, and the inspirations and influences doing the fueling can come from hundreds of sources.  Owner and founder of Clef Guitars, Bob Zide, is no stranger to those inspirations and their sources as he’s had quite a few.  A fulltime player in the music industry for more than 25 years playing many styles of music showed the need for a versatile instrument.  It also has trained his ear to know what good sound is.  Having a guitar in hand for more than 40 hours a week for 25 years also taught him the importance of comfort and the need to have a guitar work with you instead of against you.

                             As a guitar tech with Earth, Wind & Fire in 1988, and Reba McEntire in 1989, he became deeply grounded into the needs of the professional musician.  The professional wants what he wants when he wants it, and more importantly, needs what he needs when he needs it.  And it was Bob’s desire to fill those needs and to go beyond what the job called for.

                             The next position was by far the most influential.  His nearly 22-year employment with Jerry Jones Guitars enhanced and honed his skills tenfold.  Bob says, “Jerry’s just plain brilliant!  Being around him, observing his skill and talent, and gleaning from his knowledge has catapulted me much further than I could have gotten on my own.  Thanks Jerry!”

                             It was, in fact, Jerry’s design for his Neptune series of guitars that inspired Bob to put pencil to graph paper around the year 2000, to conceive Clef Guitars.  The Neptune’s angular shape of body and headstock both intrigued and inspired Bob to explore the use of angles and facets.  This has spawned a new signature look that has a fresh visual appeal without spilling over into the wacky.                

                             With pencil in hand, he agonized for months hovering over the large graph paper creating three body styles and two headstock shapes designed to appeal to any player.

                              As compelling as the shape of an instrument might be, it’s equally important how it sounds, how reliable it is, and ultimately how it plays.  Because of his long playing career, he knew the importance of having an instrument he could rely on night after night to give him everything he needed to perform consistently.

                             Even while on the road playing, his reputation for guitar work spread.  Musicians, when they knew he was in town, would bring their instruments to him for setups and various minor repairs. In fact, he actually made three different guitars while on the road in his hotel rooms, and he played them on stage every night.  His own desire for an instrument to play like butter made him want to give that same experience to everyone.  This “desire” has spurred him to study the mechanics of the guitar.  His slogan is, “If you get the mechanics right, it’s right.”  He also says, “There’s no voodoo magic to a guitar, it’s just wood, metal, and occasional plastic for the most part.  Put them together rightly, and they’ll be right.”

                             It’s been Clef’s goal to be that “right” guitar, and by “right” we mean, nothing missing.  Every element present, and all working together so musicians can more fully express themselves.