Member Highlight: Tom Bedell of Two Old Hippies
When Tom Bedell resurrected Bedell Guitars decades after he founded the business, he had a surprising new outlook on doing business, including how to make the best musical instrument possible without impacting the environment.
At Summer NAMM, we sat down with Tom Bedell, owner of Two Old Hippies in Nashville, TN and Vice Chairman of The NAMM Foundation Board of Directors, to talk about how he got started, tips for business success and his undeniable passion for the guitar-making process.
A passion is born
Ever since he was gifted his first Fender Stratocaster when he was 11, Tom Bedell’s life was changed forever. Music impacted his life deeply and he started giving guitar lessons at the young age of 13.
He realized during his lessons, that he didn’t have any guitars to rent out to his students so he asked his dad for his guitar manufacturer contact in Japan, saved up his money and bought 50 samples. He created a logo with his sister and that logo has stayed the same all these decades later.
A respect for the environment
In 1968, he was the youngest person to ever exhibit at The NAMM Show at age 18, as the owner of Bedell Guitars. When he resurrected Bedell Guitars decades later, he had a surprising new outlook on doing business, including how to make the best musical instrument possible without impacting the environment. That’s when he moved his entire operation to Bend, Oregon.
“We consider lifestyle as an important part of what we convey,” he said, “It [Bedell Guitars] needs to stand for something and I’d like to think that it does.”
This passion for nature is very evident as Bedell explains how much he loves pieces of wood. He loves thinking through the life of the wood and what the instrument is going to be. He designs the instrument and is a very close part of the crafting process with a very specific vision of the sound he wants. These creations are so much a part of him, that he even compares each guitar to the birth of a child—the elation he feels when he holds it for the very first time.
The NAMM connection
For Bedell’s business to continue to grow, he believes it’s critical to be at the NAMM Shows and to talk to his dealers and their customers. The face-to-face connection really enables him to train dealers on the story and pitch for Bedell Guitars, highlighting what makes them different.
Without the shows, he wouldn’t have the opportunity to communicate this story effectively, and reinforce all that Bedell is about—more than just beautifully crafted guitars, his company is about respecting people and respecting the earth.
To join the community and ensure your business is on the fast-track to growth, we invite you to renew your NAMM membership or join the association today to take advantage of all that NAMM and its worldwide community of music and sound professionals have to offer your business.