The Hipshot Story: Born in the USA!
Hipshot Products was founded by Dave Borisoff in 1983 in a small shop in Van Nuys, California, owned by his father (and founding partner) Bob Borisoff. Raised in LA, Dave was a natural born stringster. He taught himself - and then others - banjo at the age of 15, and at the time he founded the company, was playing Pedal Steel in the country band Red Rock Ramblers along with his late wife Kate McDonald who sang and played guitar and fiddle. Dave was only 30 years old but knew that life on the road and playing in bars was no way to raise a family. His first invention was a string bender for telecasters and similar guitars, but Gene Parsons held the trademark on the name so Kate suggested "Hipshot," named for the lever that made the whole thing work. (Later Gene, his wife Meridian, and Dave became good friends and today Hipshot Products manufactures both the Parsons String Bender and the Hipshot String Bender.)
Within a year Dave came up with another great idea, the D-tuner for bass guitar, but not knowing how it would sell, he put it on the last page of his products pamphlet. Then he met Billy Sheehan at a NAMM show and Billy loved the D-tuner and wasn't afraid to lend his name to advertise it. The rest is history... in no time the D-tuner started outselling the Hipshot and today it remains a perennial favorite among both professional and amateur players.
In the beginning, Dave was buying tuning machines from Schaller (Germany) to convert into D-tuners, but due to popular demand, Schaller couldn't supply them fast enough. So Hipshot Products began manufacturing their own bass tuners in 1985. These products were just the beginning of a whole STRING of great Hipshot Products...
In 1994 Dave moved the company to the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY where Kate had grown up. Now the father of two sons, Josh and Jason, He bought a building in Interlaken, about 20 miles North of Ithaca, NY, and purchased his first CNC. He began designing and manufacturing bass bridges for boutique companies like Tobias, Sadowsky, Lakeland, Roscoe and others (check out our links page) and grew from a small, 2-man operation to today's 25 employees.
Contracts from big companies like Peavey, Fender, Cort and Yamaha have also helped to make Hipshot a serious contender in the global marketplace. In the early days he remembers the thrill of selling 50 string benders to a Skandanavian guitar company. Today he ships parts all over the world: France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, Australia. Korea and others.
Yet Hipshot is one of the last remaining companies that not only designs, but manufactures guitar hardware in the USA. The Hipshot booth is a permanent fixture each year at 5735 hall B of the Anaheim NAMM show where you can stop by and find some of the best guitarists in the land checking out Dave's latest invention. Some of his most recent include the new bearing tremolo system, the Trilogy, and the Rickenbacker replacement bridge. Despite Hipshot's success, the size and feel of the company is still "Small is Beautiful." (Check out our online mini-tour of Hipshot" below.) Dave often takes time out of his busy schedule to personally answer many of his customers' questions via email or phone or meet the occasional visitor. There's more to come so STAY TUNED and if you are ever on the Finger Lakes wine trail, stumble in!