As founder and president of Fishman, Larry Fishman knows something about the design and manufacture of pickups, amplification, and other products for acoustic and electric musicians.
Which is why Apple recently invited him to speak to its designers, engineers, and product managers. Fishman delivered a presentation entitled “Inspiring Tools for Musicians: A Confluence of Engineering and Art” to a standing-room only audience.
Not surprisingly, almost all in attendance raised their hand when he asked, “How many of you are engineers?” When he then asked, “How many of you are musicians?” an equal number responded.
“At that point I knew I was among friends," Fishman says. "My own background with a Mechanical Engineering degree and years as a performing bassist has allowed me to seamlessly move between creative endeavors. Sometimes I’m playing my bass; sometimes I’m ‘playing’ my computer CAD system; at all times I’m creating.”
Fishman took the audience through his concept of creativity and how the engineering arts relate to and co-exist with the “fine” arts in terms of individuals and companies. He went on to explain how the Fishman culture of inspiration, rejecting institutional bias and “untying knots” has helped build an award winning, profitable, and acknowledged leader in the MI industry over the past 33 years.
In addition to the lecture, music was used to reinforce key points and illustrate the end results of Fishman’s process. Performances featuring musicians Greg Koch, Roscoe Beck, and Ritchie Fliegler were woven throughout the program.
Specific products were included such as Fishman’s first pickup design for upright bass along with his early relationship with guitar makers, which ultimately led to the development of the industry-standard Matrix pickup. Fishman spoke of his experience creating Parker Guitars with Ken Parker, and many of the challenges he faced with a radical new design that challenged the sensibilities of the conservative guitar market.
Aura Acoustic Imaging Technology, Loudbox acoustic amplifiers, and Fluence Multi-Voice electric guitar pickups were also used as examples to illustrate the Fishman creative technology process. Of particular interest to the Apple audience was the TriplePlay Wireless MIDI Guitar Controller and how it integrates with iOS and OS X software.
“At this point, Apple’s mark on product technology and design are indisputable," Fishman says. "That they would invite me to speak to them as a peer is quite an honor. Being given the opportunity to share my views on product development to a receptive audience at Apple was an amazingly inspiring and humbling experience.
“Also, the fact that many of the attendees stayed and chatted well after the presentation was over definitely made my day. We could really relate to each other, as in, ‘If you’re a computer company, why are you making a phone?’ It’s not that much different from our expansion into digital processing, electric guitar pickups, and amps. Ultimately, we all agreed the object is to bring value, something truly unique to people.”
For more information about Fishman, click here.