First Act

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First Act Inc.
Type Private
Industry Musical instruments
Founded 1997
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people Bernard Chiu (Chairman, CEO)
Mark Izen (President, COO)
Ronald Izen (Vice chairman)
Employees 150 (2007)
Website http://firstact.com
References: [1][2]
Volkswagen First Act Guitar

First Act is a musical instrument manufacturer, which produces guitars, bass guitars, guitar and bass accessories, drum sets, percussion instruments, and amplifiers. First Act's drum sets come in a variety of styles, ranging from simple, beginner sets, to eight-piece medial sets. The company also manufactures products for children's musical education which at one time included a line of student-line clarinets, saxophones, and trumpets.

First Act has offices in Boston, Bentonville, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The company also makes limited edition guitars, which are made by hand by luthiers in a custom shop in Somerville, MA.

In 2010 The Music Trades Magazine ranked First Act at 53rd in the The World's Top 225 Music & Audio Firms with an estimated annual revenue of $ 68 million.[3]

First Act Discovery[edit]

First Act Discovery[4] is a line of musical products for children ages 3 to 9. This line consists of many plastic music-making products including acoustic guitars, drums, electronic drum pads, tambourines, recorders, keyboards and electronic button controlled guitars. The line also has some novel plastic microphone products. Many of these products are also available with licensed sounds and graphics from Disney and Nickelodeon including characters from Toy Story, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Disney Fairies, Disney Princesses, SpongeBob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer.

222 by First Act[edit]

In 2008 First Act partnered with Maroon 5's lead vocalist and guitarist, Adam Levine, to produce 222 by First Act.[5] The line comprises 22 music products, the signature product being the custom electric guitar designed by Adam Levine, engraved with his lucky number: 222.[6] The whole line is sold through a partnership with Target.[7]

Video Games and Apps[edit]

In 2010, a video game division of First Act, Seven45 Studios, released a title called Power Gig: Rise of the SixString. Peripherals include a functional electric guitar with controller buttons which can be plugged into amplifiers, a microphone, and a motion sensor system to simulate drums. Seven45 has since released a number of music-based iOS apps.

In 2011 First Act released an iOS app for iPad and iPhone for Karaoke under the Disney license called "Disney Spotlight Karaoke" It includes sing-a-longs with songs from Disney Channel stars and the ability to record and upload a video. First Act also released a line of Disney-themed microphones designed to work with the app.

In 2012 First Act released an iOS app for iPhone and iPad called "Notes to Grow On" which is a companion educational app for the Discovery line of instruments.

BlueFlame Technologies[edit]

In October of 2012 First Act launched a line of consumer electronics including charging, music and audio interfaces for iPods, iPads, and iPhones under the name of BlueFlame Technologies.

Special Edition Guitars[edit]

The special edition guitars, "Lola", "Sheena", and "Delia", are known to be played by artists such as: Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, Rusty Anderson from Paul McCartney, Matt Pike from High on Fire, Lyn-Z from Mindless Self Indulgence, Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher from Mastodon, Nick Zinner from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Al Berry from Avril Lavigne, Nick McCarthy from Franz Ferdinand, Lee Malia from Bring Me The Horizon, Dave Knudson from Minus the Bear, Anders Björler of At The Gates, Adam Gardner of Guster, Tim McTague and James Smith of Underoath and Serj Tankian of System of a Down. First Act also made a Paul Westerberg Signature electric guitar.

Volkswagen First Act[edit]

Volkswagen initiated a campaign in 2006 in which the company gave away special edition First Act guitars along with a special series car. The guitar features a 9-volt powered, built-in pre-amplifier allowing it to be played through any stereo system's auxiliary input to simulate the sound output of a proper guitar amplifier. With the pre-amplifier switched off, the guitar may be played through a traditional guitar amp. An accompanying ad campaign featured guitarists Slash, John Mayer, and Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap playing First Act guitars through the sound systems of Volkswagen automobiles.[8]

Custom Shop[edit]

The First Act Custom Shop in Boston, Massachusetts is where First Act manufactures custom guitars. Chief Luthier "Machine Gun" Kelly Butler has an apprentice program that provides mentoring and guidance to recent graduates from accredited Luthiery schools. The custom shop has made one-of-a-kind guitars and basses for over 130 artists including Cheap Trick, Franz Ferdinand, System of a Down and Mastodon.

Criticism[edit]

The company has received much criticism from music educators who claim that First Act band instruments, targeted at beginning students, are of incredibly low quality, are irreparable, and that replacement parts are difficult to acquire. In 2003, First Act instruments filed a lawsuit against music retailer Brook Mays, who published a list of instrument brand names, including First Act, they perceived to be low quality, calling them "Instrument Shaped Objects." The lawsuit was settled with First Act receiving $16.7 million.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hoover's Company Records (2008-08-12). First Act Inc. (FY 2007). Hoover's Inc. 
  2. ^ "Management Team". First Act. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  3. ^ http://onlinedigeditions.com/display_article.php?id=898285
  4. ^ http://www.firstactdiscovery.com/
  5. ^ http://www.firstact.com/AboutFirstAct/Press/10_2008_222_by_FirstAct.aspx
  6. ^ http://www.top40-charts.com/news.php?nid=43289
  7. ^ http://www.target.com/gp/search/602-8421271-7347009?ie=UTF8&index=target&field-browse=1038576&ref=sr_bx_1_1&field-keywords=first%20act%20222
  8. ^ http://www.motortrend.com/features/112_0703_first_act_vw_garagemaster_guitar/index.html
  9. ^ PR Newswire Article on Lawsuit

External links[edit]