Get To Know Us: Max Gutnik
Meet Max Gutnik. Max is our Senior Vice President of New Products and Chief Revenue Officer. He’s also a heck of a guitarist and if you ever visit us at our Santa Barbara HQ, chances are good that you’ll hear Max shredding away in his inimitable style. Max has a long history of music innovation (ever plugged into an Eleven Rack or Helix? Max played key roles in their development), and he has a players’ understanding of and respect for great guitar tone.
“My main guitars right now are a pair of American Elite mahogany Strats with Cool Rails in the neck and middle positions and a Duncan Custom Trembucker in the bridge,” Max says. “In my three Ibanez Roadstar IIs I have a set of Duality Actives, a set of Saturday Night Specials and a set of Custom Shop 78s. I also have four other American Standard Strats with an Antiquity Texas Hot set, Psychedelic Strat set, 6/6/9 Set (STK-6 in neck and middle and STK-9 in the bridge) and an Everything Axe set, so I’m kind of all over the place.”
Max is leading the charge on our pedal development with an emphasis on sound quality and innovation. “It’s a passion of mine to bring new ideas and solutions into the market that really make a difference for guitarists and musicians alike,” he says. “When designing pedals, we don’t just want to replicate something that already exists. We start by identifying a problem that needs to be solved and try to create an innovative solution that meets four unshakable criteria: It sounds amazing, it’s meaningful to the customer, meets our high quality standards and provides great value.”
The Palladium Gain Stage is a pedal that Max holds particularly close to his heart. “A lot of people didn’t believe creating an authentic amp replacement in a pedal was possible until Palladium,” Max says. “Creating Palladium was first and foremost about knowing what to listen for and how the product was supposed to “feel,” then creating an innovative architecture with unique characteristics to bring it to life.” Max and the engineering team at Seymour Duncan have expertise far beyond pedal design that provides a broad perspective when it comes to creating products. “Our collective experience designing amplifiers and speaker cabinets played a key role in Palladium’s development, and it’s exciting to see how it has opened the door to huge possibilities for guitarists.”
Max brings a great deal of expertise and experience developing digital products and technology to Seymour Duncan. When it comes to the age old analog vs. digital argument Max bring a unique perspective. “I have a deep affection for both,” he says. “For me, it’s definitely about having the right tool for the job. Every digital product contains an analog section, so to do great digital, you have to do amazing analog, and we have that in spades at Seymour Duncan. Ultimately, the better you are at listening, the better the products.”
As for the future, Max can’t tell us what they’re working on yet but rest assured that everything he and his team does will be designed to make guitarists’ lives easier and their tone better and more personalized. “While some companies might be into rehashing the same stuff over and over, there’s a lot more exploration left in the pedal space,” Max says. “One of the core tenets of Seymour Duncan is to bring true innovation in this space. I think we are actually proving we can and I’m personally looking forward to the next big things we’re working on!”