The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #45714   Message #677453
Posted By: Rick Fielding
27-Mar-02 - 12:38 PM
Thread Name: Fielding Banjo Mute
Subject: RE: Fielding Banjo Mute
I love this! Two good belly laughs from a technical thread! Thanks Sharon.

Actually the Roti that Steve brought over yesterday IS still in place.....somewhere between my esophagus and spleen. A gastronomical gift that just keeps giving.

Steve has written me a couple of good PMs asking why I haven't patented the mute and tried to market I thought I might respond here. I certainly appreciate that folks really have liked the device over the last couple of years, and that it flat out works. ...but...

Bob (who helped putting these things together) and I DID go to a patent office (at his suggestion). The cost would have been prohibitive (over 10,000) and it was pointed out that we'd only be protected if we DID go to court to try and prevent someone else from marketing the thing EXACTLY as we made it. I've also spoken extensively with Rick Shubb (THE great capo inventor) and he told me that despite having a serious company and all the paperwork done..his idea is CONSTANTLY being pirated. Simply put...if you've got a good idea that someone else can market more cheaply...they will....and get away with it. Go to ANY "Everything for a Buck" store in North America and you'll see nothing BUT good little inventions selling for a fraction of what 'the real thing' costs in specialty stores.

But there's another reason why I would never want to take this any further than keeping a few in my case and selling them to anyone interested...usually at a Festival or club, or to a student with babies who are trying to sleep while daddy or mommy practices. I simply chose (about 15 years ago) to never submit to un-needed and self-imposed stress again...even when it means I might lose some money. That means being highly self-indulgent on a daily basis. If I went into the "mute marketing" business seriously, I'd have to cut out some of my "music playing", Mudcat-hobbying, Leather-carving, and teaching. These things bring me enough dough to survive on and are generally stress-free fun. If I had to deal with Lawyers or distributors as part of my daily routine...I'd be back in the emotional soup I left almost twenty years ago...and I'd be even less able to deal with it now, than I was then.

By the way Steve, I may have given you the prototype by accident. It doesn't really matter but the rest are much better cosmetically. I'll trade you when I next see you get the neat little package with the banjo logo that says 'Fielding/Cutler improved banjo mute'.