At stake was the very future of vacuum tubes, revered by musicians and audiophiles for the radiant warmth of their sound. The Electro-Harmonix factory in Saratov, Russia, responsible for the majority of the global supply of vacuum tubes, was under mortal attack. The villain: a gang of thugs and the corrupt corporate conglomerate they serve. Standing up to them: a scrappy band of music freaks and geeks from New York City along with the nearly nine hundred employess of our Saratov factory, who work damn hard to produce the world's best vacuum tubes.
Check out this 2006 MSNBC video report (below) produced when the fate of vacuum tubes was looking very grim:
Above, MSNBC interviews Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews, including clips of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Led Zeppelin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow, and supporting interviews with guitar great Peter Stroud and top Russian band Aria.
Our adversary, Samara Business World (SBW), wanted to use the Russian court to force us to hand over the property upon which our tube factory stands. During the trial, SBW even presented a forged letter from US Ambassador William Burns (to see the forged letter, scroll down this page, and for the US Embassy response, see here) which characterized Electro-Harmonix' Mike Matthews as a US spy engaged in "subversive activities." Ok, granted, we enjoy some "subversive activities" from time to time, but certainly not of the spy-vs-spy variety. In court, the forgery proved to be an obvious fake because it was dated after Ambassador Burns had been assigned to a new post! We promptly won. But SBW just filed more lawsuits.
Electro-Harmonix Goes to Russia, 1979
Back in 1979, Electro-Harmonix was one of the few Western businesses invited to attend the very first commercial trade show in the still-Communist USSR (we blogged about that here). So we've seen quite a lot of, um, "red" tape over the years. We know that the old culture of corruption dies hard, and we weren't entirely optimistic.
But a new round of favorable rulings from bold judges has effectively rejected SBW's claims. So, if you're a fan of the warm sound of tubes, today you can breath a sigh of relief!
Our new EHX Strings Electro-Harmonix electric guitar strings are custom-designed to our specifications and made in the USA by a premiere string manufacturer. Each wound string is precision wrapped with round nickel-plated steel onto a high carbon, hexagon-shaped steel core. The plain strings are made from the same high carbon steel as the hex cores. The high quality steel and computer controlled winding process results in strings that intonate accurately, are better at staying in tune and vibrate evenly for maximum sustain.
Did you know that Electro-Harmonix makes many of the world's greatest vacuum tubes? The next time you need to re-tube your guitar, bass, or hi-fi amp, be sure to insist on getting authentic Electro-Harmonix tubes.