At the last Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California we were surprised when we discovered a full-sized exhibit emblazoned with our Hottie® logo above it – AND loaded with Hottie-branded, Chinese-built, electric and acoustic guitars. The booth was filled with dealers and other NAMM attendees. We were stunned by the brazenness of the exhibitor, Zunyi Shenqu Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co. from Guanzhou, China. In addition to the booth header, our Hottie logo was printed on the firm’s business cards, product guides, guitars, and even guitar tuners.
We confronted Shenqu staff, informing them that we own the Hottie® brand and all associated U.S. trademarks (electric, amps, acoustic), that they were selling counterfeit guitars that could be confiscated by the U.S. government, and that we were within our rights to ask NAMM to close their booth. Hoping we could eventually come to a positive resolution, we pursued no further action at the show.
Upon our return from NAMM, we sent Shenqu Guitar a cease and desist letter. In response, Shenqu agreed to stop selling the line in the U.S. but intended to move forward with our Hottie® brand and logo internationally. This is extremely disappointing to us. It seems that they are within their rights to do so as we hold no foreign trademarks, only U.S. trademarks.
We launched Hottie Inc. in 2005. Our goal was to develop a high-end, exclusive boutique brand. Since then our American-made amps and electric guitars have been reviewed and promoted extensively in Premier Guitar, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Music Trades, ABC’s Nashville, etc. We’re confident that people who visited Shenqu’s booth at Winter NAMM recognized our brand. In those cases, Shenqu’s counterfeit brand was elevated and ours, to an equal degree, was devalued.
Today we find our logo throughout Shenqu’s website (www.shenquguitar.com). The site also indicates that Shenqu is an OEM supplier for ESP Guitars and BC Rich, though top executives from both companies claim no affiliation with Shenqu. Tom Petty graces the cover of the Shenqu catalog and Joe Bonamassa is pictured inside. Amazing.
We’d like to engage Hottie® owners, musicians, and U.S. guitar and amp dealers, and let them know that all genuine Hottie® products are made in the United States. Hottie Amps® are made in our Portland Oregon workshop. Hottie Guitars® are handmade by Master Luthier Saul Koll in his Portland Oregon workshop. We share no affiliation with Shenqu Guitar. We do not manufacture overseas.
We hope this experience will serve as a lesson to other boutique builders and entrepreneurs. It’s quite expensive to take your ideas to market. At that point, the beginning of your journey, that last thing you’re thinking about is “Someone might co-opt my brand.” In most cases your brand doesn’t even exist then. You haven’t made your first dollar. You are years away from breaking even or, if it ever comes, profitability. Your company is just a dream. And it’s very hard to justify spending real money to protect a dream. Our cautionary tale: invest in trademarks – today.
Look for our new Hottie Radio Amps, coming Fall 2017.
We’re Hottie®. We Update, Innovate, Hot-Rod, and Mod.
(Chloe Escudié, Owner Hottie Electrics)
Under new ownership, Chloe Escudié, daughter of Hottie® founder Jean-Claude Escudié, will lead the company with new products to be introduced late 2017.
Founded in 2005, Hottie Electrics is an American manufacturer of hand-made high-end electric guitars and amplifiers. All Hottie® products are proudly Made in America.
We’re Hottie. We Update, Innovate, Hot-Rod, and Mod.
The Wedding Band, a group of guys who dream of the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame but for now are escaping everyday life by performing in a wedding band. Anchored by lifelong best friends – Tommy, a perennial bachelor and Eddie, a married father of two – the guys are weekend rockstars. Only they’re not crashing their way into the best parties – they’re paid to perform at them. The groupies are bridesmaids, the drinks are free and the dream is still alive. The band will stop at nothing to make every wedding, birthday or bar mitzvah a concert to remember…
Wedding Band is produced by Emmy® award-winning producer Mike Tollin (Smallville, One Tree Hill, Wild Hogs), created and Executive Produced by writers Josh Lobis & Darin Moiselle (South Park) and stars Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills 90210, Smallville), Harold Perrineau (Lost, The Matrix Reloaded), Peter Cambor (NCIS: Los Angeles, Pushing Daisies) Derek Miller (Secret Girlfriend, Transformers 3) and Melora Hardin (The Office, Monk).
Take sneak peek at the all new Hottie 383 double-cutaway electric guitar on our Facebook and Flickr pages. Coming Summer 2013!
When Eddie Van Halen stripped his guitar’s electronics down to the bare essentials (a single humbucker and volume control), he proved that the best way to get the biggest, boldest tone is to keep things simple. The Hottie 429 confirms this philosophy, but it also shows that simple doesn’t need to mean no frills. Featuring high-quality materials and construction, the Hottie 429 looks classy and elegant with its nitrocellulose lacquer finish, numberless volume and tone knobs, inlay-free fretboard and metallic finish (my test model was a stunning Malibu Goldtop). But it also delivers incredibly versatile performance courtesy of a single “Bettie” high-output bridge humbucker, TonePros Tune-o-matic bridge and Bigsby vibrato. Despite having a single humbucker (two-pickup model also available), the 429 can summon pretty much any tone you need, thanks to its tone circuit and coil-splitting capability. When the tone control is rolled down, the pickup produces the fat, singing midrange honk usually associated with a neck pickup. Pulling up the tone knob splits the coils to deliver bright, sparkling single-coil spank. The intonation, setup and playability of my example were spot on right out of the box. With its exceptional tonal range and incredibly comfortable feel, the Hottie 429 is a guitar you’ll want to rock with all night and day. —Chris Gill
Be sure to check out the video review: http://www.
Electrified: The Art of the Contemporary Electric Guitar offers a visually stunning selection of guitars by the finest builders at work today, showcasing instruments by 125 master artisans and custom shops from fifteen different countries. More than 250 spectacular color photographs, many of them full page, of killer guitars by luthiers who have custom-built instruments for the likes of George Benson, Eric Clapton, Billy F. Gibbons, Kirk Hammett, Steve Miller, Keith Richards, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. All but a handful of the guitars in the book have been built within the last few years, so it offers a spectacular overview of the current scene. A must for every guitarist, this is a substantial presentation of today’s finest boutique guitars.
We’re extremely pleased to announce that Hottie Guitars® are now available at select Guitar Center locations. Customized Hottie 327, 429, and Limited Edition 454 models will be stocked at Guitar Center’s Hollywood, Nashville, and Manhattan stores. Hottie Guitars® will also be available at www.gcplatinum.com All Hottie products are proudly handmade in the U.S.A.
Portland-based Hottie is not the first guitar company to use cars as an inspiration for instruments. But where most builders employ a simple hot-rod-style finish with a rally stripe or cool graphics, Hottie guitars are more a melding of guitars and cars, with elegant body shapes, smooth contours, and clean, stripped-down look.
Hottie instruments are designed by Jean-Claude Escudie and hand-built (using no CNC) by luthier Saul Koll. They boast outstanding attention to detail that complements their custom/hot-rod vibe – from the glass-like flawless finish, meticulously finished frets, recessed jack plate, precisely fitted components, and hand-cut Corian pickup ring all make this guitar look fast and muscular.
The Hottie 429 has a one-piece bound Honduran mahogany body, carved maple top with a nitrocellulose lacquer finish over Daytona Blue paint, a hand-carved set mahogany neck with a soft V profile (C profile also an option), a 12″ radius ebony fret board with side markers only (no inlays), 1/16″ bone nut and TonePros nickel hardware.
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Date & Time: June 5th 2011