SAVANNAH, Ga., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The world's foremost archtop guitar-maker, Robert Benedetto, no longer affiliated with Fender Musical Instruments Corporation of Corona, CA as of March 2006, will locate his new headquarters and manufacturing operation to Savannah this year. Benedetto guitars are internationally renowned for their exquisite design and craftsmanship. They represent the highest class of jazz guitar, already part of the Smithsonian's collection. Last December, master jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli donated one of his famous seven-string guitars -- made for him by master craftsman Bob Benedetto -- to the Smithsonian. On April 26, they will celebrate the generosity of this jazz icon with a concert. Benedetto Guitars will be leasing 15 - 20,000 sq. ft. in Savannah and is expected to initially employ eighteen individuals -- from master guitar makers to purchasing and sales professionals. They expect to produce 60 instruments per month after 15 months, and 110 per month after 36 months. The diverse product line will range from one-of-a-kind custom instruments priced at $45,000+ to their professional line priced from $3,000. Operations are set to begin with the identification of a facility and financial coordination. While Benedetto himself continues to carve out the future of his product line, local musician and former Chatham Steel executive Howard Paul will focus full time on the daily operation of the business as president. Benedetto Guitars will continue to offer flagship models, such as the Manhattan and Fratello, and will also focus on new, competitively priced models. "With its culture, enthusiasm and charm, Savannah is the perfect fit," said Bob Benedetto. The impressive and diverse board of directors includes Jerry Sims, President, Sims Music; Percy Leaper, Chairman/CEO Alta Technologies; David Miner, President, Miner Vineyard; and Randall Kremer, Director of Public Affairs, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. (Bios included in media kit.) Once again, the Savannah Economic Development Authority and The Creative Coast Initiative partnered successfully to land this unique project and showcase the local assets that make Savannah the best fit for Benedetto's company. In their search, company officials met with economic development officials in Nashville and Atlanta. With the addition of Benedetto Guitars to the area, Savannah is further building on its reputation as a creative hotspot for a growing cluster of exceptional instrument and furniture craftsmen. In excellent company, Benedetto will join Randy Woods Guitars, Gretsch Guitars, Guenther Wood Group and Harry Lane Banjos. Currently, Benedetto guitars can be purchased in Savannah through their exclusive local distributor, Annie's Guitars. There are other Savannah connections, too. In 2000, the Savannah College of Art and Design featured the Benedetto Players Concert and Blue Guitar Exhibit. And, a 2004 Savannah Music Festival production in Trustees Theater showcased the extraordinary Benedetto guitars. Residents and festival-goers can expect more of such musical opportunities in the future! Note to editors: Robert Benedetto is widely acknowledged as today's foremost maker of archtop guitars. Over a prolific four-decade career, he has personally handcrafted nearly 800 instruments, including 500 archtops. In 2006, Benedetto joined forces with Howard Paul to bring Benedetto Guitars to the next level, manufacturing a broad line of more affordable professional instruments without compromising the unparalleled Benedetto worldwide reputation for singular quality. The company, to be located in Savannah, Georgia, will play a part in both the business and cultural communities. For more information visit www.benedettoguitars.com. The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) works to improve the standard of living for all citizens of Chatham County by stimulating the economy through the attraction of new investment, the creation of jobs and the support of established businesses in the area. In 2005, SEDA was involved in the creation of 1,434 new jobs at build-out and the generation of $269,200,000 in new investment in Chatham County. For more information visit www.seda.org. The Creative Coast Initiative (TCCi), www.thecreativecoast.org, is designed to grow and attract knowledge businesses to add to Savannah's growing higher-wage economic capacity. Since its inception two years ago, TCCi has been instrumental in assisting fourteen companies to locate in Savannah and hire employees in the area.
SOURCE Savannah Economic Development Authority; The Creative Coast