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RBI Music was founded as Rhythm Band Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas in 1961. While RBI specialized in products for elementary music education, a sister company, International Music Company, was founded in the early 1970’s to begin manufacturing and distributing more mainstream music products such as acoustic and electric guitars, amplifiers, and accessories. With brands such as Hondo Guitars, Ross Amps, and Black Diamond strings, IMC established itself as one of the premier music distributors in the United States. During the same period, company owner Tommy Moore, and president, Jerry Freed, developed a network of foreign factories in Japan and South Korea and IMC became the largest OEM provider of guitars in North America. In 1985 IMC purchased a small custom guitar shop in Southern California from respected guitar builder, Grover Jackson. For nearly 18 years, current RBI Music president Brad Kirkpatrick was a key part of the team that manufactured and sold the premium Grover Jackson designed guitars worldwide.
As a direct result of this history in the guitar industry, in 2014 U.K music products distributor, John Hornby Skewes Co., Ltd. approached Brad to distribute their successful Vintage® brand and innovative Fret King® brand guitars in the United States. The involvement of guitar guru Trev Wilkinson and a long relationship with Skewes management was reason enough to trust that this could be a successful venture in an already crowded guitar market. With that, RBI was able to lure the product manager and chief engineer of the Silvertone guitar line, Rick Taylor, to RBI Music. Rick worked at the time for one of the largest guitar manufacturers in the world, and has considerable experience as a Nashville session player. Meaning, he is dialed in to what musicians want and expect from an instrument. Both Brad and Rick were excited, and confident that players would understand and appreciate that the advantages inherent in Vintage® Guitars — Genuine Wilkinson Hardware, two piece American Alder Bodies and Canadian hard rock maple necks are features typically reserved for much more expensive guitars. With strict factory oversight from the U.K brand owner and 100% setup and QC by RBI Music staff, every Vintage® Guitar shipped comes with a level of quality and value that no other comparably priced instrument is able to match.