Photo By: Diego Abeloos/Town Crier
Doug Wright, founder and president of Sonoma Wire Works, plays his guitar using GuitarJack, which allows musicians to connect their instruments to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Class of 1990 Los Altos High graduates Doug and Michelle (Reynolds) Wright have a simple goal in mind: to provide musicians with the convenience and ability to play, record and share music simply by reaching into their pockets or turning on a tablet.
The couple – former high school sweethearts – started Sonoma Wire Works in 2003 while residing in Sonoma County. They moved back to their hometown in 2008, steadily developing a wide range of music software products among the way.
Doug, the company’s president, noted that the company’s overarching aim is “to make products that allow musicians to capture music themselves – less of an engineer’s tool and more of a musician’s tool.”
With this in mind, he pointed to products like GuitarJack, an iOS audio input and output interface that enables musicians to connect guitars, keyboards, microphones and other hardware to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The product is ideal for recording chunks of music – guitar chords or lyrics – whenever inspiration strikes, Doug said.
“For me, I never really ever have a whole song. I just have a new riff that I want to record,” he said. “It’s just super fast and super intuitive.”
When coupled with one of the company’s multitrack recording apps – FourTrack for the iPhone or StudioTrack for the iPad – GuitarJack also serves as an easy-to-use amplifier and recording studio on a mobile device, he added.
Other products, like RiffWorks, a Windows and Mac compatible guitar recording software program, and DrumCore, the company’s extensive drum loop library, provide customers with low-cost, do-it-yourself alternatives to traditional – and pricey – recording studio sessions, Doug said.
“We have more than 20 different well-known, A-list drummers and 45 gigabytes of content, which is just thousands and thousands of loops,” Doug said of DrumCore, which features former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, former Carlos Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, percussionist Luis Conte and more.
The inspiration behind the products stems from an unfilled personal need he recognized as a musician. As a member of rock bands in his early days, Doug recalled being tasked with the dual roles of guitarist and audio engineer during studio recording sessions.
He quickly discovered that the combination of using his technical know-how while simultaneously attempting to engage in the process of creating music was stifling.
“If you look at almost anyone in the music industry making products, we’re all musicians and we’re all doing it because we want the products as much as the customers do,” said Doug, whose products are available on Amazon, through distributors and dealers worldwide and locally at Present, 162 Main St. “We’re very in touch with the needs and desires of our customers because we are them.”
The company is also dedicated to making products locally, added Michelle, vice president of marketing. Hardware manufacturing for GuitarJack, for instance, is done in San Jose.
“We’re trying to do as much American-made as we can,” she said.
As for the future, Doug noted that the company plans to focus on converging its mobile and desktop products.
“Tablets are getting so powerful,” said Doug, who also teaches courses in audio software programming locally at Cogswell College.
“They can basically do anything that the desktops I originally programmed Riffworks on could do. You’ll start to see less difference between the desktop software we make and the mobile software … but all (fulfilling) the original purpose of making recording music easier and more accessible to musicians.”
For more information, visit www.sonomawireworks.com.