We took some time to sit down with Periphery guitarist, Misha Mansoor to discuss his creative process in developing new gear. Misha has a personal hand in the development of gear. In this interview, Misha speaks on his past experiences that have helped set the path for how he addresses the development of new gear in the future, including customer feedback, combining his passion for gear with his passion for music, and more.

Definitely check this out if you’re interested in the relationship between the music industry and the instrument industry!

Wired Guitarist: You’ve promoted a lot of great gear for basically your entire career. What have you learned in all that time?

Misha Mansoor: I’ve definitely learned to just focus on the gear that really makes a difference. Anyone can slap their name on just about anything to make money. I’m interested in personal investment and getting things out there that I know people will really enjoy.

I’m only using gear that I can stand 100% behind. I’m really proud of that. No one has time to waste promoting things they don’t like.

WG: Moving those lessons forward: what’s most important when you’re involved with a piece of gear now?

M: Spending the time to make sure it’s right the first time. Putting in the effort to have a good team of dedicated people who are good at what they do. One thing that a lot of people look over is my relationship with the team and company. That has to be a positive and healthy relationship, or it just won’t work. I have had to learn some of these lessons the hard way in the past, but now I know it’s just better to ensure everything is in it’s right place instead of rushing something out just to have it be out there.

WG: What sort of involvement do you have in companies you’re working with these days, then?

M: I’m almost surprised I haven’t driven all my companies a little crazy! I need to be involved in everything, as I always have a clear vision for what I want. The Jackson Juggernaut took over 2.5 years to design, test and refine, though Jackson were incredibly gracious and patient with me and respected the process. That dynamic is very important.

WG: At some point it becomes more hands-off though, right? You can’t be there all the time, watching every instrument that goes out.

M: At a certain point, you do need to trust the people you work with, and I do. I’m hands on with the things that I have control over, but ultimately the trust has to be there, or I would go crazy worrying about every trivial aspect. With that said, I frequently follow up with dealers, and the guitar playing community as well to ensure everything is going smoothly.

I should add that it’s actually nice to get customer feedback as well. That totally has helped with some of the changes and tweaks that have been made to the various products I have put out.

Even if you have a great product at launch: is it going to be the best thing around a year from now, and do you have that support for your customers to back that up? That’s why I keep my ear to the ground for peoples’ feedback.

WG: To sort of bring this all full circle: it definitely seems as though you’ve learned what you like and dislike about gear and the industry that surrounds it. It’s obviously something you’re passionate about. Do you see yourself transferring into a more technical role and career in the future, or is the music always the paramount focus?

M: Well without the music, none of this would exist. It wouldn’t matter. I do this because I love holding a guitar. I love writing music. I know the same can be said for everyone in my band too.

That being said, if you like both sides of it, the gear/business and the music, you should definitely pursue both. I have always been a gear nerd, so this is just another way of expressing myself.

WG: It’s great to hear you like it so much! So, how exactly have your current projects been going? I know GetGood Drums launched recently.

M: GGD has been awesome! The response has been extremely positive, and we have gotten some awesome and useful feedback. In fact we have a rather large update on the horizon that I think will make existing and future customers very happy!

With GGD we finally got the chance to make the drum library we always wished we had, and although there are some fantastic choices out there, we had a vision of what we considered the best drum sounds and the best way to set it up and script it, and I can’t believe how well our first attempt came out!

Working with Matt and Nolly was fantastic. Obviously we work well together to begin with, but they share the same drive and perfectionist attitude. Like I said earlier, it’s all about surrounding yourself with people as committed as you are, people who are on the same wavelength as you. Once you do that, things are much more likely to move forward smoothly and efficiently.

WG: That seems to be the crux, then: not doing it alone. Making sure you’re working with good people on any given project.

M: I wouldn’t even have Periphery today if I were doing it alone. I started it with the end goal being to find a group of people that could take the project to the next level.

Ideally a good team allows you to focus on your strengths, because the rest of the team’s strengths happen to be the things you might be weaker at. This way, everyone is pulling their weight, and doing their fair share of work, rather than it all falling on one person. But that is the key, making sure you have the right people. I’m probably repeating myself a little now, and this all sounds a bit rhetorical and cliche, but it also happens to be the thing that matters the most. If you don’t have a good group of people, you will have trouble making any headway. And if you choose to do it alone, it will mean that much more work for you, so you likely won’t have time to focus on other things. With a well balanced group, it’s a win/win. Of course, the hard part is finding that group, and perhaps having the insight to know what you are looking for in the people you work with. That is something that I have definitely learned and honed over time.

As you can see, Misha is very dedicated to the gear that he helps engineer. We think it’s really cool, not only because it’s all too easy to just slap your name on anything these days, but also because he’s found a great way to pair music with gear for a career (something we think is important to new musicians trying to make a living). We have seen some great things from Misha in the past and look forward to whatever he does in the future.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some more. We upload articles, review, guides, and more every day!


Photo Credit: Alex Press Play

About The Author