Behind the Scenes of the Wall Chart
The response to the music theory wall chart has been off the charts, so to speak! I calculated that since the chart went up for pre-sale on April 1st 2017, we fulfilled hundreds of orders in house, shipping to
- 42 different US States and
- 17 countries worldwide, including Hungary, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, UK, Austria and the list goes on.
WOW! Thank you! There are a lot of happy walls all over the world now!
Pre-sales help made it possible to undertake such a monumental and team-intensive effort, so I am not at all exaggerating when I say without pre-sale orders none of this would have been possible. And we have received hundreds of emails, thank you notes and praise about the wall chart, saying that they appreciated the chart as an overview and synopsis of the book and as a practice tool.
The sad news might be…
that the Wall Chart may be limited to this current printing. Read the Story of the Wall Chart below to find out why or skip to the end.
The Saga of the Off-the-wall-awesome Wall Chart
I thought it would be fun (now that it’s over and turned out great!) to give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes insight into our wall chart pre-sale in the beginning of this year. It is amazing how much can go wrong and still all coming out right in the end.
First Phase of Saga: Conception
For about four months (December to March) we
- Tinker with various concepts, thinking we will be done by the end of the week
- Testing. All looks great! Let’s design it.
- Ari creates first sketches.
- Lots of editing, fixings, and hair pulling to make it fit (Charylu and Ari)
- Carlo, our graphics wiz, gets it next, with the assignment to make it look great.
- Something goes wrong with the files, so Graphic wiz (who is a non-musician) redesigns the entire thing. Seriously impressed!
- Carlo applies his magic. Beginning to look totally great.
- Testing (now 1 month in). Finding errors.
- More editing. Now we can’t fit some things anymore.
- Redesigning again. Ari needs chocolate.
- Finding more details to do more better. Also more chocolate.
- Redesigning again. Charylu and Carlo, our designers, rock. Lots of extra chocolate for them. (9 weeks in)
- Ordering test prints. Nice!! Let’ sleep over it!
- We like it but don’t love it yet. Also, weird errors returned.
- Edit more and drink lots of coffee. Discovery of the day: You can take 85% Lindt chocolate and dissolve it in coffee.
- Redesigning again. Lots and lots of chocolate for everyone!
- More test prints! (at this point entering week 12)
- We love this version!!!!
- Let’s sleep it over!
- We still love it and we haven’t even had coffee yet!
- This is it.
- Wait!!! Found another error!
- Now, this is it!
- What?? – that dot – it moved!! (luckily the printer received that phone call just in time!)
- We are happy with it!
Second Phase of Saga: Print, Produce, Ship
We put it out there for the world to see – the wall chart is officially available! We do extensive research on printers, shipping materials, shipping software, postage, postage labels and carriers and all the stuff they call “handling”. Various test tubes arrive. (Ari gets obsessed with shipping tubes). Taking everything into account we attach a deadline to ship within five weeks of pre-orders. This should be a pretty safe deadline, we think, and go to sleep happily that night. But then lots of stuff starts going wrong.
Here is a short list of things that didn’t quite go as planned:
- The printer sends the big order and they are the wrong paper! Who knew that 100# is actually thinner than 80#? Well, the 100# was “text” and the 80# was “cover”. They left that crucial detail out. So, these stacks and stacks of posters are a bit thin. Still okay but we really like the thicker test prints and we decide to redo the entire order with a new printer. Ouch! And now we better do a rush order. Double ouch!!
- Ari gets sick with some cough fever thing.
- Then the new printer sends beautiful 10 point card stock! Yey (on pulling out the first poster and feeling the thickness)!!! and then: Oh no!!! They are not cut correctly! Too long!
- Coughing fits and frantic phone calls!
- We find a local print shop who can cut them off correctly. “Just bring em by and we do it right away”. Well, that is a lot of posters for our little Toyota Matrix! Ari sick and Wolf a hero. Thank you, my local Sir Speedy, for dropping everything and fitting us in!
- Phone message incoming: “I am the truck who has a huge shipment of tubes for you, but I cannot get to your house because of trees and branches and because I could never turn around on top of that hill. Please call me.” After a few days of massive phone tag, we finally meet at the bottom of the hill with me taking our Matrix and doing drives up the hill for several carloads. Something for the movies, you can’t make this stuff up! Titus the big truck man and coughing me are besties now, though. Nothing as bonding as loading and unloading boxes on the side of a cozy ‘hood- street from a gigantic truck into a small car. Lucky for me he wasn’t in a terrible rush and jokes were flying. A first for him, too. Thank you, Titus, for being super cool!
- Boxes with tubes pile up on the porch and in the house. Scary looking!
- Caps! Ari falls in love with those little white caps at the end of the tubes. Cap putting on caps. Seems fitting…
- Rolling!! Now we are – finally and very literally – on a roll! Posters are super crisp quality; we are rolling, rolling, rolling them up nicely.
- Shipping labels! Print, print, print.
- We happily fill box after box when we suddenly share that it is peculiar that some of the tubes seem to close much harder than others. As if something was pushing against them. We double check – and sure enough – the caps are damaging the rolled up posters sitting so cozily in their tubes. How can this be? They had sent us a tube sample and it fit perfectly! They are advertised as “18-inch usable length”! That is what the posters are 18 wide!
- Except, that only about half of the tubes actually are as long as advertised. 18-inch usable length means 19 inches total, but as we measure the tubes, many are shorter. And that means damaged posters! Panic: All these boxes filled with posters ready to go – how many may have been damaged? We open every single tube again – on both ends! – to make sure to not ship damaged posters. They had been labeled and had been all ready to go. We find about 40% of them need redoing. A pile of damaged posters is a sad view. A pile of labeled useless tubes… equally sad. You know it, there is only one remedy – chocolate!
- Phone calls. Chocolate. No, “just me sending back the short ones” will not do, and yes, I do want to speak with a manager. Okay, he turns out to be a bass player. All is instantly better. And he gets it. And he makes good. At least as good as he can with a new rush shipment and fair credits. Some calculations of tube sizes influenced the pricing of the wall chart, though, so this is a problem, but he does undo the damage he can undo. And sends the new ones in a small truck by the next day!
- Wolf tries to get the label off the bad tubes with steam. Most end up having to be reprinted! New long tubes. Capping. Rolling new posters.Labelling. A glitch in the matrix: De-Ja-vous all over again.
- The whole house and porch are filled with tubes, boxes, posters. It is hard to navigate the premises; the cats – who usually have a ball with boxes – have fled the scene.
- Several trips to the post office. Yey. High Five. Until the lady there tells me that they have to be labeled and shipped the same day. Well, we did try but because of the tube issue, a few have an older date. Please, please would you accept them? I must have looked desperate. She says yes, okay, this one time. Yey! Whew! Chocolate!
Current Status – Grab Them While You Can
Sadly, the future of the wall chart is up in the air as of the moment of this writing.
If your wall is in the US: Right now the chart is available on amazon.com, so, order it here while supplies last! If you have Amazon Prime, you get free shipping along with it. Because of the tube length issue (and resulting higher Amazon storage fees) we may not be able to continue sales of the wall chart on Amazon.
International wall-starers: we have partners in the Netherlands and in Austria where you can buy the charts directly. Or check here to order directly from us – your country’s shipping rates will be calculated at check out and they are unfortunately quite high for some countries. What some people do is buddy up with a fellow bass player who has a wall in their country and share the shipping cost. Up to five posters ship for the price of one.
For now we are also still fulfilling direct international orders via the paypal button on the bottom of this page. All those caps, tubes, labels and boxes are not a permanent solution though, especially for the cats, who really have made it very clear that boxes are supposed to be empty for their enjoyment and not full of tubes and definitely not stacked all over their favorite spots in the house!
Once we run out of posters we may not do a reprint – unless we find more sustainable solutions.
Reviews and thank you emails have been rolling in steadily and they are all off the charts wonderful! That is the very best reward for it all! We have also received quite a few wall chart photos from all over the world. Take a peek here at a small selection.
Thank you for coming along on this truly adventurous journey! To everyone who pre-ordered: sincere thanks as you helped make this possible!
Also, super thanks to the A-Team: Charylu, Carlo, Wolf, Heather CoMo and the web crew – you totally rock! Thanks to Lindt Chocolatiers – your stuff is stronger than coffee!
The workflow – I can’t figure out why, but somehow I feel like a honey bee…
after this post went live the chart sold out on AMAZON. We still have some stock via direct order Please scroll to the bottom and hit the yellow button on the left.
Latest Update (12-28-17) – Amazon has them back in stock.