After closing its factory for four weeks at the start of the UK’s lockdown, Britain’s biggest manufacturer of music strings and MIA member, Rotosound, has since brought production staff back from furlough, actively employed more string makers and will be increasing production back to and above pre-Covid sales levels.
After initial concern for the future of the musical instrument industry, public demand for music strings and instrument accessories in fact increased as more people took up the hobby while self-isolating. Paying close attention to this spike in sales, Rotosound rapidly put in place Covid-secure measures to allow production to continue in a safe manner. The company’s in-house workshop was given the task of creating plexiglass screens to shield employees on the factory floor and initiatives such as staggered break times and a one-way system were put in place.
Chairman, Jason How, touches on this unanticipated time in the 62-year-old company’s history:
“I was taken aback by the number of orders we were receiving so soon after closing the factory and as I saw our stock levels rapidly decrease I knew that we had to begin ramping up our production again. It felt fantastic to bring back our employees from furlough and thanks to their hard work we have pulled through and are now able to meet the global demand for our products.”
The factory closure at the start of lockdown allowed Jason to progress with building a number of brand new string making machines. These new machines, designed and built by Jason at the Rotosound factory in Sevenoaks, will be the company’s most efficient machines and allow them to produce many more music strings to meet the fervent demand.
Started in 1958 by James How, an engineer who made strings for his own instruments, Rotosound became known around the world for its superior quality products and famous endorsees such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Queen to name just a few. The Who’s John Entwistle started a long partnership with James and helped develop the Swing Bass roundwound strings which have become the industry standard.
Gathering the most prominent artists over the following decades from Jaco Pastorius to The Edge, Oasis to Guthrie Govan, Rotosound has been the go-to string for every music generation.