About String Swing USA
In 1983, Paul Thieman and Anne Tainter were running a small dairy farm in Elroy, Wisconsin. Thieman, who played guitar in a local band, envisioned a guitar hanger that would enable him to keep his guitar out of the case, properly supported and ready to play in a moment, yet safe from damage. But because there was no such product marketed for home use at the time, he made his own out of spare parts from around the farm. The invention worked perfectly, keeping his guitar accessible any time he wanted to work on a song. Three years later, when he and Tainter were going over their finances—“or lack thereof”—they decided to make more guitar hangers and sell them commercially. In 1987 they founded String Swing, which produced not only the first mass-distributed guitar hanger but more than 1,400 other stands, hanging devices, and display modules for musical instruments of all types.
String Swing’s most successful product is still its first; the CC01 Home and Studio Guitar Hanger. Elegantly simple in construction, the CC01 consists of an adjustable yoke to cradle the guitar, mounted to a hardwood block that anchors to the wall. During its first year in business, after an initial trickle of distributor orders for the CC01, String Swing received its first “large order”—of 30 units. Compared to the order quantities we receive now, that was very small, but that day was still a very exciting one for the company.
Music retailers, with their stocks of fretted instruments in need of wall display, quickly became some of String Swing’s most enthusiastic customers. At about this time in the late ’80s, slat wall was becoming a popular fixture for retailers, so String Swing began manufacturing guitar hangers to fit the slat wall. This was the start of a profitable back-and-forth between the company and its customers that continues to this day. Many of our original product designs were hand-crafted on the requests of music industry dealers, it’s not uncommon for retailers to call and ask, ‘Do you have this?’ or ‘Can you make that?’ And quite often we will say "Yes."
Since the beginning, String Swing’s product line has multiplied into a vast range of display solutions for every product category. The original CC01 guitar hanger has been refreshed with an updated model—the CC01K: Guitar Keeper. The Guitar Keeper has a deep-cradle design to ensure that the guitar rests securely in its grasp. Its pivoting, width-adjustable yoke, lined with padding to protect the guitar’s finish, accommodates many sizes and shapes of headstocks. In addition, String Swing’s catalog now covers stands and hangers for all manners of fretted instruments, band instruments, bowed instruments, keyboards, mixers, amps, drums and percussion—along with a wide variety of displays made specifically for retailers.
As the maker of a low-cost product that customers need in good times and bad, String Swing has kept a remarkably even keel during the economic strife of the past few years. Sales hit record levels last year. Accessories seem to be strong when some customers cannot afford the big ticket items. Then again, when the guitar market was great, our business was booming too. Now sold in countries around the globe, String Swing’s entire product line is still manufactured in Wisconsin. The quality is what brings in customers. Operating a business in America is expensive, but we believe that it is worth the cost to have a hands-on manufacturing facility, where we have the flexibility and control to create new products, make changes, and maintain great quality. Ultimately our goal is to never be satisfied with where our company is now. We always look to grow and adapt to what our market demands.