CMG. Ring any bells? Of course! – Chipotle Mexican Grill!
Stop! You’re making me hungry. Let’s stick to guitars – CMG Guitars, to be specific. As in “Chris Mitchell Guitars”, out of Statesboro, GA, USA.
A customer brought one in the other day for a string change and tune-up. “Odd beast”, I thought to myself (never denigrate a customer’s guitar – lesson learned decades ago!)
With all the ultra-cheap, high-quality guitars being made overseas (IYV, FireFly, etc.), why would anybody state-side waste their effort and money trying to compete? Well, let’s see..
I measured a 24-1/2″ scale length. A full inch less than Telecaster. A quarter inch shorter even than Gibson style guitars. I figure the short length justifies ten gauge strings but my customer supplied elevens. The guitar took them well – relief seems steady and intonation was a dream with the compensated saddles.
It had Grover tuners, a bone nut, perfectly level frets with nicely rounded fret ends. The fit between the bolt-on neck and body was tight as can be.
I did have to tweak the truss rod setting for the heavier strings. The spoke wheel truss adjuster made this job so easy!
But how was it to play? The body contour cutout made it way more comfortable than your standard Telecaster, but that wasn’t the only reason – it also had an arm cutout. If I play this thing very long, I may not want to go back to my 335-style guitar!
Alright, so let’s plug it into an amp for the final test. Again – the CMG passed with flying colors – a really great, clean sound. I play 60s country & folk, so I don’t do effects, but it’d probably be great for that style also.
CMG Guitars has been around for ten years. So why haven’t you heard of them? While they rank well for a few selected search phrases, it appears that no attempt has been made to expand the keywords & landing pages for a larger number of search terms.
And marketing/distribution apparently hasn’t been a focus of CMG. For instance, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to contact you, but CMG’s web page requires multiple clicks and pages before you get to the “Send” button. I stopped after the second page.
Distribution? I clicked the “Where to Buy” button and found the dealer closest to me…
So I surf on over to Carlton Music’s website and browse through their first few pages of electric guitars (4 dozen guitars) and not a single CMG guitar.
Then I used Carlton’s “Search” feature to find a CMG guitar and I got this..
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.” ? Well, it’s one of the biggest lies ever told!
Product quality IS an important factor, but marketing is MORE important.
CMG’s website says they’ve sold 800 guitars in their ten years. That’s an average of 80 guitars each year. Even if they could net $200 per guitar, that represents Walmart Greeters’ wages!
It’s a shame that such quality and attention to detail, such beautiful guitars, aren’t better rewarded in the marketplace. If you can find a dealer who actually carries CMG guitars, I recommend that you go check them out.