For years, China has established itself as the manufacturing mecca of the world. The words “Made in China” are almost guaranteed to be stamped on a product in your immediate vicinity while products that boast they’re designed in China are much more elusive. However, many creators in China are eager to make the distinction and prove that the Middle Kingdom is also a country of innovation. Among those committed to this task is ALP Guitar, a Hangzhou-based guitar brand who recently invited us to take a behind-the-scenes look at how their instruments, which are all proudly designed and manufactured in China, are made.
All of ALP Guitar’s products have one unifying trait: portability. Although there are existing Western brands that sell portable guitars, they mostly produce acoustic and classical guitars; options for high-quality, travel-friendly electric guitars are far and few and ALP aimed to fill this niche back in 2015. Despite being highly portable, their ingenious design doesn’t compromise the functionality or playability of the instrument. The smart designs features a headless neck and collapsible body, but still retains many functions normally reserved for regular-sized guitars, such as their inclusion of a vibrato system. In addition, the foldable and adjustable body allows musicians to hold it at a height that they can comfortably strum. “Our mission is for music to be easily accessible and taken anywhere you go,” says Lin Zunyi, the founder of ALP Guitar. “We want our brand and instruments to embody the passion for music.”
所有的 ALP 吉他都有一个特质——便携性。虽然现在也有欧美品牌制作便携式的吉他，但它们大多只生产原声吉他和古典吉他；而高品质的便携电吉他的选择则少之又少，而 ALP 吉他早在2015年就立志要填补这一部分的市场。ALP 吉他不仅十分便捷，同时通过巧妙的设计，确保了吉他的表现或手感。ALP 吉他采用无头琴颈和折叠式琴体的巧妙设计，保留了颤音系统等常规吉他的许多功能。此外，折叠式和可调节的琴体允许弹奏者把吉他放在自己舒适的高度进行弹奏。ALP吉他的创始人林遵义说：“我们的使命是让音乐随手可及，跟着你去往任何地方。我们希望我们的品牌和吉他能体现出对音乐的热情。”
Although ALP Guitar was officially launched in 2015, the first iteration of their portable guitar was actually completed in 1998 by Zunyi’s father – the idea was unfortunately scrapped at the time due to technological and financial limitations. After his father’s retirement in 2013, the idea was revived and brought to life. It was unveiled in the same year at Shanghai’s Music China, a music instrument trade expo dubbed as the largest in Asia.“At the time, our product was actually still quite rough and difficult to pluck,” Zunyi recalls. “But my father was adamant in showing it to the public. To our surprise, many people took notice and expressed interest. The overwhelming support motivated us to continue and to refine the guitar.”
Following the positive reception at the trade show, they launched a successful crowdfunding campaign on Taobao Zhongchou and were subsequently invited to participate in the Taobao Maker Festival. They’ve now also expanded beyond their initial focus on electric guitars, currently boasting nine different products of four different models, including a bass guitar and a classical guitar, all of which employ similarly ingenious foldable designs. Looking over one of their newly packaged guitars, Zunyi says, “Eventually, we hope that people’s preconceived notions of Chinese products being inferior can be dispelled.”