Beginning in 1936 and excluding only his time spent as an enlisted man in WWII, John D’Addario Sr., Charles and his wife, Anna’s, only son and youngest of five children, would work side-by-side with his father. At that time the company was renamed C. D’Addario & Son, and it would be John’s interest in alternative synthetic substitutes for the unreliable and messy animal gut that would mark another considerable milestone for the trade. The war had brought with it many technological advances, and it was Dupont™ that developed the first nylon monofilament for things like hair and toothbrushes, brooms., etc. In 1947, when Dupont™ shipped a sample to the D’Addario shop, Charles and John, Sr. immediately began working with it and found the diameter of the early nylon was perfect for treble harp strings.
As was his growing tradition, Charles consulted his friend, the world famous harpist Carlos Salzedo, for his opinion of the synthetic substitute. Mr. Salzedo was very encouraging and so the D’Addarios began developing ways to apply this new material to more and more instruments. John, Sr. was responsible for developing a method to polish the nylon, which would allow him to reduce the diameter, thus making the nylon useful for a greater variety of instruments, such as the lute and classical guitar. Most of the guitar strings that C. D’Addario & Son manufactured were made to order for musicians or private labels.
John, Sr. was very encouraged by the growing popularity of the guitar, which had been on a steady incline from the 1930s through the war with bands like The Glen Miller Orchestra and Tommy Dorsey. The guitar was being used in rhythm sections, a clear hint of things to come, things like Elvis Presley and The Beatles to be specific.
John, Sr. was anxious to include this burgeoning instrument beyond the classical guitar strings that they made to order, but Charles was reluctant to expand the family business. In 1956, with his father’s blessing, John, Sr. entered into a partnership to produce steel strings and electric strings for the guitar and bass. The new company would be named Archaic Musical String Manufacturing Co. and would be run by John D’Addario, Sr., Albert Morante, and his brother-in-law, Gino Burelli.
For some time the two companies, C. D’Addario & Son and Archaic Musical String Mfg Co., would operate separately, with Archaic manufacturing strings for such companies as Gretsch, D’Angelico, Martin, and Guild, as well as C. D’Addario & Son. When Charles retired in 1962, John, Sr. decided to merge the two companies together under a new name, Darco Music Strings, Inc. By now, the guitar was the single most popular instrument in the country, and its impact on the changing world was unmistakable.
In 1994, Howard and Robert Silagy started a small guitar strap company in Hicksville, New York. Their shop was called Planet Waves, and their approach to business was simple: make attractive, durable straps using high-quality materials and the demand will come. Over the next four years, Planet Waves grew in size, with sales skyrocketing due to the popularity of their innovative designs.
By 1998, D’Addario & Co. acquired Planet Waves to be part of their world-renowned portfolio of music accessory brands. D’Addario envisioned the line to be more than just straps, but rather accessories of all kinds. In the 20 years since, the line has expanded to include tuners, cables, picks, humidity control, capos, instrument care, and more.
Over the last five years, Planet Waves officially migrated to the family name of D’Addario Accessories.
Around the same time, D’Addario Accessories launched a major initiative to transition as many products as possible to eco-friendly packaging. Removing most of the plastic packages and using only recycled materials has not only reduced the brand’s carbon footprint, but has attracted like-minded players who are also committed to caring for the planet.
Undoubtedly, at its core, D’Addario Accessories is a brand that puts innovation first, and refuses to flood the market with “me too” products. It carefully considers the needs of players of all genres and strives to offer unique and unexpected solutions. Everyone working behind the scenes, from engineer to product manager, ensures that the brand remains groundbreaking and future-facing.
Today, the D’Addario Accessories brand has reached enormous success and has been awarded many patents for its innovative designs. It is this tireless dedication to serving players that makes D’Addario Accessories one of the leading music brands in the world -- a brand that continues to drive the industry forward one innovation at a time.