IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Brands like Fender, Gibson, and Taylor reign supreme in the guitar industry.
Despite not being a house name, Teton Guitars is starting to make its mark in the music industry. Developed and designed in Idaho Falls, Chesbro Music Company first began production of the brand over ten years ago.
Their goal was simple. Develop an instrument that’ll make artists feel confident, independent, and perhaps most importantly, original.
Since its conception back in 2010, Teton Guitars has grown to a point where you can find them in various music stores across North America. Developers are even working with companies overseas to help expand their brands worldwide.
Production & Development Specialist, Mark Brookshier, has been with Teton Guitars since day one. For him, seeing the Teton brand expand to this level, is overwhelming.
“I can’t put into words really the excitement we felt when we developed this brand,” Brookshier said. “We’ve played instruments from all the major brands, we’re all fans of them. But this is ours, this is our baby,
“And we’re still on that high. We’re still on that roller coaster up and it’s just been amazing.”
So what is it that makes a Teton Guitar so special?
Brookshier says the first, and to him, the most obvious reason is the sound.
“It’s the core,” Brookshier said. “When we design a guitar it has to have what we call in-house, the Teton Sound,
“Which is basically a very voluminous sound…. you can hear the different woods interacting with each other. Whether you’re playing a spruce top with mahogany back inside or an all-mahogany guitar, it has to have that sound.”
Seconding the motion that the sound plays a role in the success of the brand, is the Chesbro Store Manager Chris Kasper.
Kasper claims he doesn’t need a sales pitch to sell the Tetons because he lets the guitars do the talking.
“What we try to do is just get the guitar in their hands,” Kasper says. “Once they have it in their hands and can play it, these guitars basically sell themselves.”
While sound is a key factor in choosing a guitar, another factor could be the upkeep of the instrument.
According to Chesbro repair and inspection specialist, Dale Cress, the Teton’s low maintenance cost and durability could be another factor in the brand’s rise in popularity.
“Teton Guitars are pretty consistent,” Cress said. “They’re quality and everything I need to do with them is usually the same, and I don’t see many of them in the shop, and if I do it’s usually never anything major.”
Even if a new brand can achieve quality sound and durability, competing with name brands that have been established for generations is still challenging.
So if you can pay the bills by selling name brands, why risk losing money by developing your own brand?
Chesbro owner and President, Tana Sthan had one word for that answer. Trademark.
Trademarks represent consumer recognition and goodwill and can be extremely valuable… if you have the right people working with you.
“We’ve found that you have to have your own trademarks in this industry, and not just distribute everyone else’s products,” Stahn said.
But Stahn says the Teton brand wouldn’t be where it is today by just trademarking the guitar. It was a team effort.
“I like to surround myself with people who are smart in their field and can help take Chesbro to the next level,” Stahn said.
Chesbro has signed over 27 artists to the Teton Guitar brand and has sold thousands of guitars across the world.
An idea starting in the shadow of the Teton Mountain range has now grown into a brand that has a bright future of becoming an instrumental part of the music industry.