Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 85

A Taxi prototype in suitable yellow, along
with a Cobra and a Spitfire. (BELOW) The
Taxi's gig bag - highly portable, by design.

Street's first commercial product - the
Deadringer drum muff ler, for which
Hardy received a patent.
Hardy had a fertile mind when it came
to developing musical products; he was
ultimately granted 10 patents for various
guitar and drum-related pieces, but relied
on business expertise provided by his
brother, Craig, who operated several small
businesses near their boyhood hometown
of Shelby, Michigan. In June, 1981, Silver
Street Incorporated (named for the street
Bruce lived on in Elkhart) was formed to
handle manufacturing and marketing of
Bruce's musical inventions, and before
long, electric-guitar designs.
Other Silver Street products eventually
included the Pick-Clip, Cable-Clip, the
Headmaster (a plastic tray to safely hold
snacks and drinks on an amp), and other,
mostly drum-related accessories. Silver
Street got a boost from pickup guru Larry
DiMarzio, who gave them access to his
independent sales reps and allowed them
to put product sheets in their binders.

HAIL A CAB
Silver Street's move to guitar production
was the result of a trip to the Musik Messe
trade show in Germany, where in June
of '81 they displayed accessories. Among
the products Bruce encountered were
increasingly popular small guitars like
the Steinberger and the Chiquita travel
guitar. Bruce imagined a guitar that would
make it easier for big-city musicians to
carry in a taxicab. He conceived it having
a full-scale neck on a compact body, and
on the flight home sketched ideas that led
to a model called the Taxi.
In 1981, Gibson was nearly finished
relocating from its longtime home in
Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Nashville.
While Nashville was emerging as "Music
City," the move also reflected a broader
move by manufacturers from unionized
Northern states to "right to work" states
where joining a union was not required
and labor costs were substantially lower.

ON YOUR MARK
In '81, Hardy drove to Kalamazoo,
where he met with J.P. Moats and Marv
Land, Gibson employees who later stayed
in Kalamazoo to found Heritage Guitars.
They introduced Hardy to Jim Deurloo,
manager of Gibson's wood shop who in turn
put him in touch with Richard Schneider,
a luthier who in the mid '70s worked with
Michael Kasha to produce Gibson's radical

Mark Series acoustics. Schneider agreed
to build four prototype Taxi guitars along
with one bass. They were completed in
'82 and had Gibson-style "sandwich"
bodies with two pieces of wood pancaked
over a thin, dark slice in the center. The
March 2018

85

VINTAGE GUITAR

necks were shaped like a Les Paul's and
had rosewood fingerboards; the earliest
even had a volute. Headstocks were given
a distinct, small shape. Bruce had a friend
named Marty (who airbrushed conversion
vans) finish the guitars in a bright yellow,


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 5
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 6
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 7
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 8
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 9
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 11
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 12
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 13
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 14
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