Blueberry Jam

Welcome to the Blueberry Jam for July, 2008

A monthly newsletter about Blueberry Guitars.

Hello to all of you This is Danny Fonfeder founder of Blueberry Guitars.  I hope that you are having a nice summer. Welcome to the first newsletter for Blueberry Guitars. First of all, you are on this list for one of the following reasons:

  1. You purchased a Blueberry Guitar or expressed interest in buying one.
  2. You are a friend, family member, songwriter, artist or jealous competitor posing as a potential customer.
  3. You did not write to us expressly asking not to be on this list.

Blueberry Jam - image 1If any of you reading this would like to be removed from the BLUEBERRY JAM newsletter, please click here - you will be automatically removed.

If you have obtained a copy of this newsletter and would like to be on our mailing list please click here.

To visit our website and learn who we are, go to

We are calling this newsletter the "Blueberry Jam" because we would like it to be a free style interactive newsletter, sort of like a Jam Session, where anyone who is interested can ask questions about Blueberry Guitars, give suggestions or just talk about music and life in general. Unless you ask us otherwise, each month we will print out all (or most) of your letters with our responses in a section of the newsletter called "Jam Sessions". So - to write to the Jam Session, please send us an email with your comments to:

Starting in December, we will be giving out prizes for the best suggestions and comments and also funniest music related joke sent to us by a Blueberry Jam member. The prizes will include guitars, guitar straps, guitar stands and assorted goodies and eventually, if we ever sell enough guitars to allow it, trips to Bali.

So - here is the format that we are starting with, we will be changing and modifying this each month based on your comments and suggestions

Blueberry History

Blueberry Jam - image 2But first, some history: Since this is our first newsletter, I am going to write all of the stuff I would have put into various newsletters over the past 10 months to catch you all up. WARNING: THIS IS GOING TO BE LONG AND POSSIBLY VERY BORING If after a few lines you find this to be the case, please scroll down to "WHATS NEW"

After years of trying to figure out the best strategy for getting people to know about us and our guitars, we finally came upon what we think is a fair and workable business model. Our goal has always been to create the most beautiful and best sounding guitars in the world using the best techniques for guitar building as well as showcasing the skills of the most artistic and talented wood carvers on the planet, the Balinese woodcarvers. We are also very interested in new acoustic concepts and ways to enhance acoustic capabilities of traditional acoustic guitars.

The vision was clear from the beginning as to what we wanted to create, but the marketing of this idea and the business model was murky and unproven. Personally, I was fixated on the "if you build it, they will come" concept. The "If you build it" part took 2 ½ years and more money than I had ever dreamed of investing.

At the end of April 2007, almost two years after the project started, our partner and master Luthier George Morris, founder of the Vermont Instruments School for Guitar  Building conceded  that we were  producing guitars in our Bali workshop that were acoustically and structurally sound enough to be sold as Blueberry Guitars - the first Blueberry Guitar with a registration number was GC0704241 completed on April 24th 2007 - it is a grand concert eagle design with a Spruce top and Walnut back and sides - we are not quite sure where it is today - if any of you have it, please let us know because  we have no record of sale for this guitar, which is quite strange because our record keeping is usually quite meticulous.

So - we built it - and they didn't come - at least not at first.

We had to figure out a way to get people to know about us. In the spring of 2007 Mark Goldman, our director of operations went to Nashville where he had some contacts in the music business. There we showed out guitars to Dino Bradley, who had played on a number of gold and platinum albums with the Hank Williams Junior band. Dino loved the sound of and playability of the Blueberry Guitars and was the first to endorse us - you can see some video of him and some other Nashville musicians on our website in the Audio / Video section.

We then decided to go to a Guitar trade show in Nashville where many attendees were musicians and musical instrument store owners as well as collectors of vintage guitars. I was honestly expecting our guitars to take off immediately - the sound was great - they looked amazing - they were priced lower than a regular handmade guitar and less than a factory Taylor or Martin. As a musician and songwriter, I felt that a guitar that played well and looked beautiful would be something that most songwriters, musicians and performers would want - I failed to realize that traditionally, in order for a guitar to get to a guitar player, it would have to be sold to a dealer or music store owner, who already carries hundreds of other guitars from dozens of companies all vying for his business.  In addition to that, the North American economy was heading downwards and many dealers were concerned about moving their existing high end guitar inventory and were not interested in buying a new line of guitars from a new company based in Canada with guitars that are made in Bali - an Island without any history of making guitars.

At first, our main goal was to try to sell our guitars to as  many music stores across Canada and USA as we could, after many disappointing sales calls, we  learned the hard way that in this difficult economy, many dealers need to move inventory to cover expenses and overhead and  they also need to meet quotas in order to keep their distributorship of big brand name guitars - in a nutshell, it was clear that the dealers were not jumping at the opportunity to carry Blueberry Guitars. Note that the next time you are in a music store and you find a salesman gently directing you to a certain brand of guitar and away from another one, remember that often quotas need to me met by dealers in order for them to receive rebates or even keep the product lines.  SPECIAL NOTE: There are many dealers on this mailing list and I am being completely open and honest about  what we  have experienced  - obviously, this is not true of all dealers - we have met and associated with many dealers who are musician owned and live to provide great instruments to their customers and have the needs of their customers as their primary concern  - we are honored to have good relationships with some excellent dealers who took a chance on us when nobody else would, to all of you, we thank you for your support.

Blueberry Jam - image 3By the winter of 2007 we were at the verge of giving up. George and Wayan had worked hard to fix all the problems and eliminate all excuses that dealers were giving us for not buying our guitars - extra attention was given to the finishing, the inside glue, smoothing out frets etc - things that were valid when selling guitars that were going to be compared to the top of the line Martin's and Taylor's.

I would like to go on record as saying the following: Our Goal is 100% acoustic and Artistic perfection. Understand, that these are carefully handmade instruments that may sometimes show some inconsistencies in finishing. Although we always try our best, Blueberry customers need to know that while "Big Brand" Guitars are produced by the tens of thousands in an automated factory where all the finishing is sprayed on by computer. Each Blueberry Guitar is totally hand made - there are no computers - every layer of finishing was applied layer after layer by hand by a craftsman. We do our best and we are constantly trying to improve our processes, but it is safe to say that a handmade Blueberry Guitar is never going to be perfectly finished to the same degree that a Brand Name factory produced guitar will be - the process of hand polishing does not allow for the "candy apple finish" that factories can produce.  If you demand that sort of perfection please buy a Martin. What Blueberry Guitars lack in finishing perfection, we make up for in overall beauty, sound and the soul of the carvers who have put in months of their lives to create a magical instrument just for you.

Ebay StoreBy January 2008 although we had a nice website, testimonials and endorsements from top American and Canadian performers, we had less than 5 guitars sold and over 50 guitars in stock. It was getting to the point that we could no longer cover the expenses of our factory with our 45 wood carvers without having income from the sales of our guitars. In our darkest hour, I was talking with a friend of mine, Steve Ackerman, who makes his living selling website advertising. He suggested that we try to sell our guitars on EBay. I was very skeptical but I really felt we had nothing to lose.

I had never bought or sold anything on EBay and neither did Steve but we took a Sunday afternoon and put a guitar up for auction - it was a floral guitar and we put a reserve of $700.00 on it. Much to our shock, joy and surprise it sold very quickly to a customer who lives about an hour from our offices in Montreal, Quebec. We delivered the guitar promptly - and received the following EBAY feedback. "AA+" very simple - but it seems the customer was pleased. A few weeks later, we received our first official "fan letter". The customer wrote to us and told us that he was very pleased with the guitar, loved the sound and was getting many compliments when he played it in public - something that he did every week at the local club. We were thrilled!!! This is what is was all about for us - a paying customer who loved our instrument and was playing it often. We had done it.

We put up more guitars on EBAY auctions - we got more positive Feedback - we got more fan mail. To my utter shock and amazement, musicians and collectors started buying their second, third and even fourth Blueberry Guitars within months or receiving their first guitars (special thanks to LK here!!!). We started getting positive reviews on Blogs on the internet and local and international media started interviewing us because they liked the Blueberry "story". Some really good dealers (you can find them on our website) started expressing interest in our guitars - these are dealers who have discerning customers who they know well and knew would appreciate our guitars We went to the Namm show in January 2008 in California - we were a big hit. We sold more guitars on Ebay - we received more positive feedback and got more fan mail. 

We then started advertising in Acoustic Guitar magazine and we began getting calls and emails from potential customers who wanted to know what guitars we had available. After much thought, we decided to put up an EBAY store where our entire inventory would be listed.  Three times each month, we decided to auction at no reserve, two or three guitars that are either early models, demos or brand new models never before seen.

Blueberry Jam - image 4So far, we have been getting about 2500 viewers every 10 days for our "no reserve" auctions which allows musicians who could not otherwise afford get a chance to own and play our guitars, it is also great publicity for us and brings us the attention and traffic that we need to survive. We are now putting all new Blueberry arrivals on our online store for all to see and interested dealers can contact us at any time and are able to get a fair dealer discount that allows them to offer Blueberry Guitars to their local customers at prices equivalent to our online store. We also established a "take a Blueberry Guitar for a test drive" program which you can read about further in this newsletter.

About our prices: Presently we employ 52 people - 47 of them in our Bali workshop and 5 in our North American offices - we can now produce about 20 guitars each month. One does not need to be an accountant to realize that we are not making a lot of money when we sell a guitar on an eBay auction for $1200.00. While Balinese skilled labor costs less than North American wage standards, we pay all our artists and carvers well and they all earn far more than the standard wages paid in Bali.

Although I did not get into this project to make a fortune, we do need to be profitable in order to survive. I would ask a favor of all of you on this list. Whether you bought your Blueberry Guitar at a no reserve auction for $800.00 or paid $5,000.00 for a singular masterpiece in a music store or on our online store – you own an individual piece of art and history - there is only one - a skilled carver and deeply devoted human being who put a minimum of two months of his time into your instrument - these guitars are precious to us and to our carvers as well as to you. Whatever you paid - this project can not continue without your support. Please understand - we never mean to overcharge any of you and if someone got a similar Blueberry guitar to yours for less money one way or another, that is just the way it is, please accept it.

I first came up with the idea of hand made and hand carved Guitars in August 2005 in Bali - I still have the original receipt that our partner Wayan Tuges, the brilliant Master wood carver gave me from the first time that I met him and asked him to build me a guitar. It has been a strange and difficult journey but here we are. I think we are now on the right track. To any of you who have taken the time to read this entire essay, thank you for your endurance.

Danny Fonfeder July 2nd 2008

What's New

Blueberry Zodiac Guitars

Blueberry Jam - image 5Recently we introduced a new series of Blueberry Guitars called the ZODIAC series. The idea is to have a guitar that is very personal and relates to the musician and artist's Zodiac sign. As we plan to do often, the first guitar available to be sold in a new Blueberry Series may be offered on Ebay without reserve. The first Zodiac Guitar was LEO was sold on June 16th on EBAY and the second Leo was sold at the Namm show to a singer song writer. There will be some more coming soon.  Presently, you can see and see  PISCES, SAGITTARIUS and AQUARIUS on our online store:

Coming soon will be LIBRA - over the next 18 months we intend to have guitars for  all the 12 Zodiac signs (note to collectors "collect all 12!!!)

The Blueberry Groove Guitar

Blueberry Jam - image 6Based on our experience with Top Carving, we recently introduced the first Blueberry Groove guitar - by adding hundreds of carved grooves in various acoustic panels on the front and the back of the guitar, we have found that the resonance is incredible and the guitar feels alive when it is being played - in addition to this innovation , we have carved light grooves on the back of the neck at frets 3-5-7-9 allowing players to become intimate with the fret board  without having to look at it - we have started the process of patenting both the Groove concept and the carving on the back of the neck concept. Dozens of guitarists from all over the USA tried the first Blueberry Groove guitar at our booth in NAMM - and we could not get them to put it down. To see the full page ad of the GROOVE that we will be running in the September edition of Acoustic Guitar Magazine, go to our website

Blueberry Singular Masterpiece Guitar

Very rarely, brilliant carver and artist Wayan Tuges will have the inspiration to create a Singular Masterpiece guitar. There are no restrictions and no time limit or budget for these creations and so far we have received just one of them. It can be seen on the link below - it is sensational and we have no idea when we will receive another Singular Masterpiece or what its theme will be - when the inspiration comes to Wayan the work begins. This particular Singular Masterpiece took Wayan Tuges four months to complete.

Butterfly Themed Guitars

Over the past few months many of you have suggested a BUTTERFLY themed guitar - well - the first one has just arrived and it is very colorful and beautiful - it is up on our online store now - it is a grand concert model GC0806241

Grooved Fret Indicators

Blueberry Jam - image 7A few months ago, we came up with an idea to have a Dragon designed guitar with the Fret board Inlay of the Dragon wrapped all around the fret board - the tail of the Dragon wrap around the neck. The guitar itself was gorgeous with the Dragons head brightly color on the headstock. We showed this guitar to a Montreal musician that came to our offices and he remarked that he really liked the carved tail of the dragon on the back of the neck because he could FEEL where he was on the fretboard and become familiar with where his fingers were without having to look. Although we had not intended it, a design idea turned into a functional idea and we thought that adding subtle grooves on the back of our guitars necks at frets 3-5-7-9 would be useful to musicians who were playing in a dark room or were tired or even drunk. Previous to this innovation, the back of the neck was sacred ground to most luthiers and was supposed to be as smooth as possible to as not to disrupt the player movement on the fretboard, but we have now shown this to hundreds of musicians who have played our Groove Guitar and the response has been that 95 % love it - and the remaining 5% either are not bothered by it or dislike it. The "Wrap Around" Dragon was sold to a collector who saw it on the first day that it was displayed at the NEWPORT GUITAR FESTIVAL in Miami a few months ago - but you can see a photo of it on our website. We have just received another Wrap around Dragon and it will be on our online store shortly. You can see an example of our GROOVED FRET INDICATORS when you look at the photo of the new GROOVE guitar on our website

Custom Guitar Orders

In the past few months, a number of our customers have ordered "CUSTOM" Blueberry Guitars and we have developed a process for having this done. Our wood carvers and inlay artists are extremely talented and we all look forward to the challenge of creating the individual guitar of your dreams. Here is how it works. You contact us with your basic idea - and possibly provide us with drawings or photos of what you would like to have. We will provide you at no cost with a set of counter drawings by our artists based on the information you have given us and we will also give you a price quotation and choice of available woods. If you approve of the price, we will ask for payment of 50% of the total in order to start the project and we will then send you as many drawings as it takes for you to give final approval of the design. Once we have that approval the process begins - and can take between 12 to 16 weeks for delivery. We will send you photos all through the process but once the carving starts there can be no turning back. Once your guitar arrives to Montreal, we will contact you and ask for the balance of payment and delivery charges and your guitar will be delivered with a hard case, humidifier and warrantee about seven days later. So far we have taken custom orders for nature themes and religious themes but we can and will do our best to create a beautiful artistic instrument by working closely with you. Prices for custom guitars start at $2500.00 and can go up to $10,000.00

Summer Namm In Nashville

Blueberry Jam - image 8BLUEBERRY GUITARS exhibited at the SUMMER NAMM Musical Instrument show in Nashville two weeks ago. We were honored to have best selling country band "LITTLE TEXAS"  endorse our Guitars - they performed an acoustic set with out guitars at the Wildhorse Saloon on Friday night July 18th and performed again at our booth at the show on Sunday July 20th - they were fantastic.

Also playing our guitars on stage at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville on Saturday night July 19th were the John Szeleta and Rick Monroe of the Rick Monroe band. Country singer and songwriter Charlotte Medley came buy our booth and fell in love with our guitars as did Will Snyder, winner of the CAN YOU DUET / AMERICAN IDOL contest.

We did extensive interviews on camera with PREMIERE GUITAR Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine and BANDFIND.Com. We also exhibited our first "SINGULAR MASTERPIECE" Floral guitar and our brand new "GROOVE" guitar which was extremely popular with everybody that came into our booth. For photos and Video of us at the NAMM SHOW, go to

Take a Blueberry out for a Test Drive

Blueberry Jam - image 8Many people are understandably nervous about buying a guitar on the internet. This is why we have recently come up with the Blueberry Guitar Test Drive Program. The details are as follows: If any of you have been on the fence as to if you should buy a Blueberry Guitar or not, we invite you to try out this program as it appears on our online store:

If you are unsure about buying a Blueberry Guitar and would like to play and hear one first, we can send you a demo Blueberry Guitar in either a Grand Concert, Dreadnought or Classical model to try it for 3 days and then return it to us. We would charge you $75.00 to partially cover our shipping costs. Should you decide to purchase a new Blueberry Guitar, we would credit the $75.00 towards the price of your new guitar.

This offer only applies to customers in USA or Canada.

A $500.00 security deposit would be required. The deposit is refunded when the guitar is returned to us in good shape.


Blueberry 12 String guitar:

This is expected to arrive in the first two weeks of July - we are very excited to see it - we may or may not put it on Ebay without reserve - it depends on our mood (and cash flow)

Blueberry Parlor Guitar:

this is expected to arrive early September or earlier - there have been many requests for this smaller 00 series guitar

Blueberry Groove Hybrid

We are planning to introduce guitars that use our new "GROOVE" concept mixed with the ornamental carvings that we have become known for - the first Groove Hybrid will be an Eagle called the Groovy Eagle - available sometime in July 2008.

New Woods:

We have been experimenting with 3 new types of wood that have never been used for Guitars before. These woods are presently in Bali being in our specially built drying room to remove the humidity and moisture. We are very excited to see the results of BLUEBERRY KOA, BLUEBERRY TEMPLE WOOD and BLUEBERRY ROSEWOOD. According to Wayan, who has been working with wood for his entire life, each of these woods possess the qualities needed to make  excellent acoustic guitars - he has personally searched out each of these new woods from the forests in Bali and neighboring Indonesian islands. You will all see how these new woods will look in future editions of this newsletter and also on our website.

What Fuzzy Images are on the Horizon

  1. Blueberry Wooden Guitar Straps
  2. Blueberry Carved Guitar Stands
  3. Lenticular and Holographic designs
  4. Blueberry Electric Guitars
  5. Tours of the Blueberry Guitar Workshop in Bali

Current Events and Upcoming Events:

Blueberry Jam - image 10We will be exhibiting at the Musical Instrument Association of Canada show in Toronto Show at the International Center on August 24th and 25th 2008.

Blueberry Guitars will be advertising each month in Acoustic Guitar and Premier Guitar Magazines

OK - that's all for now - I'll write again next month - remember - if you have any comments or suggestions or jokes that are somehow related to music or musicians,  that you would like to share with all of the people on this list please write to us at

Best regards to all of you.

Danny Fonfeder
Blueberry Guitars