History of Victor Musical Instruments

Victor Musical Instruments, LLC was founded in 2011 as Zeta Music Systems, LLC (inspired by but not to be confused with defunct Zeta Music Systems INC, here referred to as ZMS, INC) in 2011 by musician, businessman, and technologist, Mike Gende in Lockport, Illinois.

Gende initially noticed in 2010 that ZMS, INC was closed, or at least it sure seemed that way. The president of Sam Ash Music, nice enough to call back to someone seeking information about ZMS, noted that numbers he called for the company were not answered. Having some work done on Mike's violin at Seaman's Music in Skokie, Illinois, it was said that service or any other type of contact with ZMS had "fallen off the earth." All assumed ZMS, INC had folded. An employee remarked, "You know, someone should try to restart that or at least use the name." Gende's own GenDesign Corporation - a successful technology company - was closing the next year after a twenty year run. The remark set off an idea and Mike began trying to find the legitimate owners of the "late" ZMS, INC. This turned out to be a year-long adventure.

Gende decided to try to attract attention as he was simultaneously trying to find anyone associated with ZMS, INC. A website was created, production facilities sought, and business plans made, in hopes of impressing whomever actually had legal rights to whatever remained of the ZMS, INC that this was a serious effort. The new company was called ZMS, LLC and it was registered in Illinois in 2011. The idea being to build on a legacy but make it clear that the two were not the same physical business.

It took some time, but things started to happen. Contacts were made with former suppliers and distributors of ZMS, INC. Mike finally spoke with legal representatives of ZMS, INC, all three presidents of the company, and two of their head lutheirs. A deal was brokered via the first president (I leave out names as I have not asked anyone's permission) but it was not accepted by the international financier who truly owned ZMS, INC's name. Feeling he had nothing to lose, Gende began negotiating directly with this individual. He turned out to be someone who had invested heavily and for a long period of time in ZMS, INC, wanted "out" and expected some kind of reasonable compensation.

Good faith negotiations continued for Gende to purchase any remaining intellectual property of ZMS,INC, including the classic logo. Further research showed that a CNC machine, the name/logo, and various parts and pieces in the closed Tempe, AZ production facility were all that remained of the company. There was also a sizable debt.

Feeling there was still a potential business plan to be enacted, Gende continued to make various proffers for the next several months. However, ultimately no deal would take place. The two sides parted on good terms, agreeing to disagree.

Still having a passion for electric strings and having learned much in that year-long Due Diligence effort, it was decided to move ahead with a bowed strings company. The name Zeta Music Systems, LLC was no longer appropriate, but everything else seemed sound. It was a kind of miracle meeting and partnering with former 1/3rd owner of Kansas City's K&C Strings, Rick Williams, where Gende found the means of production, computer software modeling, CNC facilities, and years of violin/viola/cello/bass making that breathed new life into the project. This exceeded anything that would have been possible had the former plan taken shape.

With the passing of Mike's dad in 2012, a meaningful new name for the company as well as a means to honor Gende's father was found. Now, we are in the process of creating new and classic instruments and exploring technologies that we trust will benefit the modern bowed string player. Gende is a long-time, bowed-string player, and provides insights from experience.

History is still being written, so we will try to update this page with major events. It may even be re-typed with much more detail (and there's a LOT more detail, believe us) and name some names here. All told, it's a book. We'll see, stay tuned.