In 1994, Howard and Robert Silagy started a small guitar strap company in Hicksville, N.Y. Their approach to business was simple: make attractive, durable straps using high-quality materials and people will buy them. Over the next four years, the company grew, with sales skyrocketing because of the growing popularity of Planet Waves' colorful, attractive designs and the line's thick, heavy-duty leather tabs.
In 1998, D'Addario & Company, Inc. acquired the Planet Waves line and it joined D'Addario's world-renowned family of musical instrument accessory brands. D'Addario envisioned the line as more than just accessories for guitarists, but for musicians as a whole.
D'Addario's first major venture outside guitar-only accessories with the Planet Waves line was to design and develop a line of cables that would be truly transparent signal-transmitting devices, and virtually eliminate tonal alterations. D'Addario's Planet Waves team studied the industry's cable-making procedures and identified that most suppliers were simply purchasing and assembling stock cables and connectors. Additional investigations found that suppliers had given little or no thought to the specific needs of each different cable application. After extensive testing, the Planet Waves team discovered that many of these stock cables had serious limitations. As a result, the lab began studying and researching the various causes of signal loss and degradation, microphonics (triboelectric noise), and mechanical connection failures.
After more than two and a half years of intense research and product development, Planet Waves had come up with a cable with conductors that actually short unwanted triboelectric currents to the ground as they occur. A new connector was developed with a series of compression springs along the ground sleeve that ensure the plug makes a firm connection into the jack ground; gold-plated contact points were added for better connectivity and reduced oxidation. Add an almost indestructible strain-relief design with common-sense features like color-coded O-rings for easy identification, packaging that explains how Planet Waves solved problems, and a lifetime guarantee, and the Planet Waves cable line was on the road to success.
Under the close watch and creativity of Jim D'Addario, the Planet Waves cable line has now grown to include more than 50 custom-designed connectors and multiple lines of Cables, Connectors and Power Chords, Musician's Gear, Smart Tools, and Instrument Care products. Recent line extensions include, MIDI, fiber-optic, s-video, USB, and custom DJ cable offerings. This commitment to research, testing, and ingenuity has reached beyond Planet Waves cables and has been applied to all of the Planet Waves product lines.