The "problem" with the RT line as a starting point for this endeavour is that, though they were great, they were always affordable guitars (hardly a problem I agree, but you ll se my point). So trying to market them as a very high end instrument meant to compete with Suhr, would be hard. People remember them. They could do un upscale version of them, with real figured tops, rounded fret ends, but people would still say, it's just an RT with a nicer top. Since they go for 300/500 in the used market, it would be hard to sell them for 2/2.5k
If they are going to go through with this, they need to try something new, or something that is forgotten and that they can pass up as new.
May be reintroduce the tension free neck or offer it an option? Titanium saddles in the bridge, steel frets with rounded tips, really good tops (not just flamed maple), made in USA with made in USA hardware is probably a food idea. An ugly headstock and a baked maple neck won't cut it. Then, at a later time, (3/5 years after the new line is installed and becomes an aspirational thing, they could launch a Premium version of them).
And I agree, they should have them made in USA. Ideally set up shop there. There's a market for this, and they are missing out.
Another thing is, they miss the point when it comes to new endorsers. Even in that demo. Suhr made a killing endorsing "fusion" "jazzrock" (whatever you want to call Guthrie, Fedor Dosumov, Tom Qualye, and the other 2000 thousend look/sound alike players). You already have Steve Vai, Andy TImmons, Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. I like Marco Sfogli, and the guy in the video is OK, but they play in the same instrumental rock style. That is a music and a style of playing you associate with RGs. You need othe people. Unfortnately Martin Miller and Jess Lewis are not the best examples, but I guess it's step in the right direction.
The finally woke up to a good (though rather obvious idea/market), but they are implementing it wrong, and they will fail miserably.
I'd like to see them go all in with this, and succeed, but those samples/trial ballons out there, are a flop.
Rich Lasner was the best designer they ever hard. I don't know why the let him go. They owe most of the brand success to his designs (jem/RG, saber, Radius/JS
) and they guy went on to do other very good designs (Yamaha Pacifica among many others). Someone like him, or the man himself, would be a welcome addition if they intend to seriously commit to reinventing the brand, or launching an entirely new line with a new concept.
Suhr's are over rated, and expensive for what they are (a flat top, bolt on guitar, with dot inlays). They are really well put together, have nice (5mm) tops, with nice paint jobs. I had a couple. They should be able to come up with something at least as good. A Modern with a figured top cost around 2.8/3.5k in the USD. At that price point, they are probably making a killing with margin they make on every guitar.
They probably should come up with a new version of the logo, they need to be somewhat a departure from what they are currently doing.
If they won't commit, they'd rather keep doing what they are doing. They are successful at it.