I've got no gripe about a big company buying up a successful smaller company to give it better stability & marketing reach. What bugs me is when the big company comes in to stifle a competitor. Look at what FMIC's clout has done for Hamer, Guild, Jackson, Charvel, Sunn, Tacoma, LP, Ovation, Genz Benz, Gibraltar, Takamine...
On the sales end, they dangle the "Official Fender Dealer" carrot, then demand you buy specific models, often at less discount than you get for other brands while offering deep cuts to the Big Box stores that already beat up on the mom-&-pops. And you can't even advertise your USED Fender selection because that might compete with some other store's NEW selection.
Ain't it cool how the "free-market" actually operates?
Washburn certainly has a low hurdle to clear!! All they really have to do is get their corporate butt off the bench & into the race -- preferably BEFORE the field is packed.
Sorry to repeat myself, but I am adamant in my analysis.
The full Classic Idol line can beat up on Epi LPs & even many of the Gibbo versions, while the X Family carves out chunks of Squier -- ramp up Lyon & go toe-to-toe with Affinity models.
There's thousands of shellshocked Hamer fans wandering around who'd LOVE another reissue of the Stage & Wing series.
Oh, yeh: STOP putting out generic $100 "Randall" crapbox amps, & STOP diluting your (paid) endorsers' market value. THE KH15 IS NOT FOOLING ANYONE.
At least the NB15 makes an effort to LOOK unique. If your intent is to cash in on the "beginner" & "fanboy" niches, then follow Fender & Marshall: put out a line of cool-looking TOY "mini" amps that also happen to be decent-sounding practice amps/preamps/overdrives. But that is ALL -- after that, minimum buy-in should be
(FWIW, there's an RT-50H sitting about twenty feet away from me this very moment, & I'll eventually get an older "redline" combo.)
Do a better job of putting "Washburn" & "Randall" into the same thought. Good HEAVENS, but there's already Nuno & Ola, & there was Dimebag before!! Make a few more Washburn Custom Shop models, then order two tiers of import version for the fans, kinda like the WI14 was to the WI64 (or even the WI64 to the WI66).
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS -- though Washburn(& randall) make GREAT all-round gear, the FACT is that they've already got cachet in METAL. Here's just a few (hundred!!) places you could scour to build brand reach --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heavy_metal_festivals