‘Genius’ Lyme Regis musician tipped to make millions

richard smith
Richard Smith, right, with his “genius” gadget in Nashville with Chris Condon, guitarist with country superstar Billy Ray Cyrus (photo by Lars Mullen)

A LYME Regis musician is set to earn a million after inventing a new gadget which removes every guitarists’ nightmare of the howling feedback which was first created by John Lennon almost half a century ago.

Renowned harmonica player Richard Smith has been hailed by the guitar industry as a “genius” for inventing a new system, which means that guitar superstars all around the world will no longer suffer the 40-year fear of the screech of feedback ruining their performance.

Although The Beatles were the first to record the distinctive electronic distortion to hit effect at the start of their 1964 chart-topper ‘I Feel Fine’, ever since then the occasional and unintended howling has been the bane of rock stars’ shows.

But now top guitarists like Eric Clapton and Keith Richards are tipped to switch to an inexpensive device invented by Richard, which guarantees that all concerts can be feedback-free and quick to set up.

Such is the demand for the product that before it was even officially launched sales topped £50,000.

Up until now, in order to get a clear and balanced concert sound, electric guitarists have had to rig up a microphone in front of their amplifier, a process that takes hours to find the right ‘sweet spot’ and risks picking up all other stage sounds played through a PA.

But the steering wheel-shaped Samsystems IM12 gadget invented by Richard, a long-time member of Lyme’s Guitars On The Beach house band, simply fits a guitar mic inside the amplifier in minutes, so that it is always in the right place and ready to go.

Now the guitar industry is raving about the new invention and demand for the product is rushing in from around the world. The musicians’ bible, Guitarist Magazine, has hailed the gadget as “gear of the year” and is calling Richard “a genius”.

“It’s an idea which is so clever yet so simple that you wish you’d thought of it yourself, a tidy and effective solution that helps reduce both set-up time and feedback problems to boot, genius,” raved the magazine.

And as the product only costs about £110, orders are flooding in from around the globe.

Richard, a retired Royal Navy engineer who plays harmonica in many West County blues bands, sold 500 of the gadgets before it even officially launched in January, and has seen orders rushing in from Germany, Holland, the US, Australia, Greece and across the UK.

“Robbie McIntosh, Paul McCartney’s ex-guitarist who lives at Weymouth, loves the system and he has already bought two,” said Richard.

“Guitarists like it because it works. I’m hoping that one day all guitarists will be using it, we’re aiming to make it a piece of industry standard kit.

“It only took me 20 minutes at my kitchen table to get the idea but it’s taken five years of development. We took it to guitar trade shows in Nashville and Frankfurt and everybody loved it, and it’s now being manufactured by a company in China.”

Following the launch earlier this year, orders for the product are tipped by the music industry to reach tens of thousands as every concert guitarist will want the new product, setting Richard on his way to becoming a millionaire, albeit a humble one.

“It’s nice to be called a genius but when I hear that I think they must be talking about somebody else, I was just lucky to get a simple idea.

“But I would like to think I could become a millionaire from this, the response has been overwhelming and it’s very exciting,” he said.

Woodmead Halls
About Geoff Baker 10 Articles
Born and educated in Lyme Regis, Geoff Baker trained as a journalist at the Express & Echo in Exeter and graduated to Fleet Street – via the Sidmouth Herald and the Birmingham Post – where he became chief of the entertainment desk at the Daily Star. He quickly gained a reputation for breaking exclusive showbiz stories and was often a guest on national TV. After setting up an agency handling news for Fleet Street, Geoff worked as Paul McCartney’s PR guru for 15 years, accompanying the former Beatle on his worldwide tours. Geoff returned to his home for a less hectic lifestyle to write a much-awaited novel

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