Then in '92 the design company I was running with my partner, Shelly Lutgen,
was pretty hard hit by the recession. Our clients were hurting and they passed the feeling along to us. So we
looked in our "Inventions" file for something we could ride through the storm and, after throwing out the ones
that required exotic materials like Nonobtainium, significant forays into future technologies or over a thousand
bucks in tooling, I was again gazing at the bud vase.
Since there was a NAMM (National Association of Music merchants) trade show
scheduled only a few miles from our design studio, we decided to get a booth, make a bunch of heart shaped
slides, and see what happens. The BigHeart Slide Company was born. The first version of the BigHeart Slide was
in aluminum and it sounded great. While we were choosing anodizing colors, the color
samples came in the form of one inch diameter aluminum tubes, which made great slides, so we made a bunch of
those, too. We named them Queen Bees because the sound they made was this
fantastic, intense BUZZ, and in honor of Ms. T-Berd, who at the time was billing herself as the QueenBee (or the
Queen-2-Bee, depending on her mood and sense of ascension).
Before we got to the show we started thinking that since the only product we
were going to make was guitar slides, maybe we should see if there were more traditional designs that we could
make as well. The most obvious choice was a Real Bottleneck. After a few cases of
burlesque experimentation we were able to cut the necks off and polish them without maiming ourselves, burning
down the building or spending two hours on each slide. So they went to the show too.