To tell you about the Sire Company, we need to go back 16 years.
“Sire” used to be my band name. We had Joe, a drummer ; June, a guitar player and me (Kyle) a bass player. Together we formed a daydreamer band. Joe and June are still with me, and they are crucial members of Sire guitars. Our story is like a fairy tale, and this is how it goes.
We were a group of poor young guys with no money. We couldn’t even dream of getting expensive instruments. What we could afford was couple of EMG pickups and some instructional books of making guitars. And all night long we made our own guitars. We were a band that played self-made instruments. But they sounded good, and other fellow musicians wanted us to make guitars for them too. And that’s how guitar making began.
First Guitar Shop
In May 1998, we opened our first guitar shop in my basement, and we started selling guitars online. Within ten years, we became the number one guitar company in Korea! We were confident, proud and fearless. And since there is no competition in Korea, we wanted to expand and knock on the doors of the international market.
But the walls were high and going international was not easy as we thought. From USA, Europe, and Japan we received praise and affirmation from top distributors and shops on how amazing our instruments were, but they offered ridiculous terms and conditions. I was shocked and asked why the offer is so low. Their response was that because SIRE is a Korean company and brand that nobody knows about in the international market, there’re not going to be many buyers. Also since SIRE did not have any internationally famous musician as an endorsee the chance of getting attention will be very low as well.
I guess I was naive to think that a good priced, great quality guitar will sell well wherever it is sold.
I was very upset at their bias and ridiculous offers and began pondering about what choices I have for distribution. I wanted to succeed and prove to them that they were wrong and make them regret. But I gained a valuable lesson from that experience. Through this experience I gained a passion to create a company that does not take all the benefits, but a brand that gives the benefit back to the players.
In my mind I promised myself three things.
1. That I will make a brand that gives the benefit back to the players.
2. That I will start a company in United States
3. That I will find a world class musician who will share my ideals.
And now we have opened Sire Guitars in United States and opened a factory that exclusively manufactures Sire guitars and basses. I found Marcus Miller whom we saw eye to eye on this concept of giving back to the players. Together we developed premium quality guitars at very affordable prices; it took us two years because Marcus is a perfectionist.
Oh ! Marcus Miller !
Marcus Miller was different! In every way he was a distinguished person with amazing mind.
That’s why I love and respect him. When I said, “I want to create a brand that gives the benefit of breakthrough in production to the average players”, everyone thought I was a daydreamer.
But Marcus Miller was genuinely interested in my idea. He sincerely listened to what I said and agreed with me. ‘Oh my God!” Having him agreeing with me and my vision, was absolutely amazing! Like, Decalcomanie, we thought alike.
Even though I could only offer minimal guarantee, Marcus Miller liked the idea of giving back to the players and took part in this revolutionary project with deeper affection. At times he even put me in a difficult position because he wanted to make the instruments even more affordable than it already is! He was determined to give back the joy of playing music to the average players.
It took us two years for sound tuning. Marcus Miller was a perfectionist when it comes to bass. “I want mid to be more fat”, “I want more high on the low” (What does that mean?!) That sounds easier said than done, doesn’t it? He asked for perfection in everything that I brought back. From choosing tone wood, hardware, he tested everything with brutal scrutiny. He always made time to do this again and again even though he was extremely busy with his impossible tour and show schedules. I think he was crazier than I was with this project. But I understand why. He wanted to make the perfect bass that will bear his name. After all, the bass will have his name on it. And over time, we were able to come up with the bass that he was satisfied. That is worthy to bear his name.
If you ask me to describe him in simple words, I would say that he is the “justice guy” This is the quality you find in someone of his stature. I truly respect him!