Do you have a product that you'd like to submit to Shubb Capos?

Many of our products are of our own design, but others have been submitted to us in various stages of development. We are always open and receptive to adding new products to our line, if we think they are unique, appealing, practical, and marketable. Here are some considerations:

  How far have you developed your concept?

An Idea. If all you have is an idea, that's not much to bring to the table. Many people have the false impression that if they just get a good idea, they can make money from it. This is not the case, at least not in our industry. The concept is only the beginning; what is rewarded is the particular expertise to make it cost effective, and the ingenuity and persistence to see it through to completion.

So if you have a concept that you'd like to see developed, we'd be happy to hear about it, but don't expect to be rewarded for just that. If you are prepared to become an expert on how it could best be manufactured, or if you already have special knowledge of sources of materials, production techniques, etc. then we could consider collaborating on its development.

A Prototype and/or Patent. These are both helpful. A few words about patents are in order here. While a patent can be a comfort, it is also an expense. One should realistically question whether the potential market for a product justifies the expense of patenting, and weigh that against the likelihood of knockoffs. Sometimes the answer is yes, go for the patent. But it's not automatic. That said, if you already have obtained a patent on your concept, or have applied for a patent, then you have more to offer us in the way of a collaboration on your product idea.

Already in production. If you have already developed your product, have established the best means of manufacturing, and are either prepared to market or already marketing your product, then we are in a good position to work out a deal for us to add your product to our line; that is, assume marketing and perhaps production.

Even in cases such as the last, we often like to add our own design touches to a product, or even revise it entirely ...within the bounds of your approval, of course.


Have you contracted with an "inventors' help" service company, (such as Invent-Tech) to protect and help market your idea? If you haven't, then do not. In my experience, these services are more of a hindrance than a help, and I am unwilling to run their gauntlet to look at an idea.



  What are your expectations?

If you expect to get rich without working, then look elsewhere. My trade does not include that potential. Believe me. The Shubb Capo is one of the great success stories in the history of music accessories. I’m not complaining, mind you — I have a good life and can afford nice things — but I have to keep working hard all the time to keep that happening. There may be some people around who are living high off an idea they once had, but not in the music accessory business.

If you expect to make a living from your product, you still are likely to be disappointed, unless your product is wildly successful, and your expectation also includes working full time to support that product.

Many guitarist-inventors' reasoning works like this: there are millions of guitar players in the world, and most of them are going to want my invention. My gadget will sell for $20 ...times, say, 10 million, that's $200 million. As the inventor, I should see a pretty big chunk of that. Easy street, here I come.

Wrong on most counts. Yes, there are a lot of guitar players, but they're shopping among thousands of products, and most of them don't have much to spend. The percentage of them who must have your gadget is far less than you believe. And the sales chain eats up most of the profit, leaving very little for the manufacturer and inventor. I won't tell you what I make from every Shubb Capo, but it's less than you'd guess. And I'm Shubb, for heaven's sake!

  Trust and collaboration

I've talked and exchanged emails with many people who have had ideas for products, and most have had concerns about security; some have been so fearful that they never did share their idea. But if you seek a working relationship, a creative collaboration, or simply advice, then you're going to have to trust somebody sooner or later. It may as well be me. I've been in this business since 1974 and I value my reputation; I'm not going to rip you off. I'm willing to sign nondisclosure documents, although I regard them as unnecessary.

There is also a sort of flip-side of a nondisclosure agreement, and that is an acknowledgment of the possibility of independent, coincidental invention. It can be a cause of misunderstanding, and it is more than a remote possibility. In other words, if you tell me about an idea, and I've already thought of it, or considered developing it, then where are we? All I can tell you is this: if your idea is either obvious or I've already thought of it, and if I feel that your contribution does not significantly advance my concept, I will be honest with you, and tell you that right away. In such a case, I'd expect you to believe me, and not feel as though I'd ripped you off in the event that I should eventually develop the concept into a product.


Discouraged? If not, then please contact me and share your idea that might improve the lives of musicians.