RANGER AGAINST WAR: Bye, Bye Miss American Pie <

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

Turn on your light
And stay with me awhile

And ease your worried mind

--Rock Steady
, Bad Company

Guitar Player's
December issue leads with "Rock Hard! Spend Less -- 34 electrics under $499". These are the guitars musicians will be using, and the market is dominated by foreign manufacturers (China: 17; Indonesia: 12; Canada: 2; South Korea: 2; Mexico: 1.)

The market for acoustic guitars is similar -- The most famous acoustic is the Martin guitar of Pennsylvania, which now features made in Mexico versions. The state of guitar manufacturing is a microcosm of manufacturing across the board. The Chinese are dominating the multi-billion dollar industry of mass guitar manufacturing that used to be singularly American.

The electric guitar is an American invention and is like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, but it is now outsourced. Our money and jobs flow overseas as gratingly as notes from a cheap guitar.

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Blogger BadTux said...

Yah, but this has been true for years. Fender's been selling Made in Mexico crap for at least the past thirty years, I don't care enough about Gibson to check them out but I think they're probably about the same. At least nowadays they have the decency to re-label their made-elsewhere stuff as Squier (for Fender) or Epiphone (for Gibson).

I'll have to check out where the Martin I'm look at was made, next time I make a run by Guitar Center...

- Badtux the Musical Penguin

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 8:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Deryle said...

BadTux...Gibson claims their hollow-bodies are made in Memphis and their acoustics in Bozeman,MT.
Good Martins still made here as well, but their cheapos are made in Mexico. Look on the inside label for the country of origin.

There are some good guitar builders still operating here in the USSA: Santa Cruz,Taylor, Collings, Pimental--right here in my hometown of Albuquerque, Rickenbacker,Carvin and G& L as well as others, but they ain't cheap.

But, as you know, life's too short for cheap guitars and bad beer.

There it is.

Good story here:
In the mid-1960s, Don Adams was a guest on Jimmy Dean’s network television show. He mentioned to Jimmy that his wife had given him a guitar for Christmas, and he was really enjoying it. Jimmy was surprised, and asked Don if he’d like to play something. Don said sure, and a stage hand rolled in a Fender Twin and handed Don a Gibson ES 335. Don spent a few seconds putting on the strap, plugging the guitar into the amp, and setting the controls. Then he spent a few more seconds tuning up. At that point, he put his index finger on the tenth fret on the high E and plucked a solid D note. He then sat back, satisfied, and took his hands off the guitar.
Dean looked puzzled, waited a moment and then asked “Is that it?”
“Yep,” replied Adams. Dean still looked puzzled. He said “Well, it’s just that other guitarists seems to move up and down the neck, playing a lot more notes.”
“Well, yeah,” stated Adams. “They’re looking for it. I found it.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 11:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I have a Fender Squire that is made in the USA. The story is that a factory fire caused them to move to Mexican construction with US made parts, and then full production in Mex.
The Korean and especially Japan fENDERS are really fine guitars.MIJ and CIJ.
To both,
Gibson is in trouble with US Fish and Wildlife Agents b/c of supposed/alledged violations of a old US law. It's too complicated for me to understand.
All wood must be documented here in the states.
There are many fine high end US made guitars but this is not my point. The Chinese build a billion $ facility and Korea has Samack to tie up the low end market. WQHat do we do? WE SEND 1.3BIL THIS YEAR TO SUPPORT FUNDAMENTALIST EGYPTIANS in their rise to power.
I just bought a martin d28L/1956 and this is the nicest thing i've bought lately. I would NOT buy a new D28.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 8:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous CholoAzul said...

Gibson led the charge overseas when bought out by Norlin in the
70s, Fender followed suit with CBS.

Then Gibson pulled a Harley Davidson, and realized that 'Made In America' translated to vastly inflated prices for lawyers, doctors, and CPAs longing to reclaim their inner biker/rock star.

Other companies like Guild and Gretsch made the same outsourcing decision as the television manufacturers, and sent their top people to set up factories in China.

Want that great 1950s Martin sound for 1950s prices? By a Blue Ridge.

My latest gloat is getting a real Strat made by Leo Fender and George Fullerton (his top guy), after they left Fender, and before they started G&L.

$25 from shopgoodwill.com.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 3:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Blue Ridge that I play at least once a week. Saga has these made in China (which I just realized last night looking at the fine print for the first time and prompted by Jim's post).

It IS a great guitar. Excellent bass.

I don't like the gaudy inlay on the head. Bit you don't play the head. Might sand that down. Agreed. Excellent value.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 6:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Bit [sic] you don't play the head.

Well . . .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 8:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Deryle, Gibson now sells their made-elsewhere guitars as "Epiphone". Generally they're really crappy quality.

Ranger, the Chinese Fenders ("Squier") appear to be better made than the Made In Mexico ones were. Although it's hit and miss. What I discovered, dealing with the Chinese as a manager, is that you had to stay on top of them 100% of the time. They would never do the job right if allowed to do it lazily and sloppily. There was no pride of workmanship or professionalism. Part of that is probably because they find it somewhat humiliating working under white guys producing designs created by white guys, but if you look at the products they create *outside* the white guy factories, you'll see that they're *all* garbage.

But anyhow, they're perfectly capable of doing good work, and my Squier Duo-Sonic is proof of that. Just note that the namesake of this guitar, the Fender Duo-Sonic, was a *student model* introduced in 1956 for $149.95. That's $1100 in today's money! As vs. the made in China version that sells for $300. So the question is, are Americans willing to pay $1100 for what is, in the end, a fairly stripped down guitar (fixed bridge, two single-coil pickups, and that's about it feature-wise)? Who should we blame for this situation -- Fender, for giving us what we want, or us, for wanting a free lunch (or close enough) in the first place and refusing to pay the price it'd take to make this guitar in America?

Or as Pogo might put it, "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

- Badtux the Musical Penguin

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 8:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Deryle said...

Bad Tux: got it on the Epiphone. Thanks

My main beater being a '79 Guild Lefty, not much more I can add to all you gee-tar players after Jim talking up his '56 Martin D-28.

By the way, did anyone notice these heavy duty players on Gibson's Board of Directors?:

Senator John Breaux
Former US Senator (D-Louisiana),

Senator Orrin Hatch
United States Senator (R-Utah)

Wonder what kinda music they're into?

Just sayin'...

There it is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 9:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

if you're a lefty , boy do i have a deal for you.
i am not lefty , but i couldn't pass this guitar up. it was owned by a Nashville player named Ronnie Miller.
i'm collecting some data on him to bump up the price.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 9:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Bad tux,
i bought a mim fender power tele and NEVER PLUGGED IT UP. then i sold it on ebay , and guess what? the pickups were no good. i lost out big time on that deal.
it's a good comment on the mex stuff.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 9:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This spring i bought a lower end Ovation ($450 sticker). Was looking for a practice guitar to lug around. One i wouldn't be too, or as, concerned to expose to temp. extremes. This 1 is ok, for what it is, & what it is, is a $450 guitar. Was happy to get a guitar, from a well known Amer. co., which given my criteria, had a good price to value ratio. While changing strings 1st time i noticed it, the little made in China sticker. Was depressing. Had taken a 20+ yr hiatus from the guitar game.Had not kept up on makes/models/industry trends etc. Guess i shouldn't be so surprised that same trends are @ operative here. mike from cle.

Friday, December 9, 2011 at 8:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I had an ovation years ago and the top split as they are wont to do. The factory would not warranty the problem and so i tore off the top and unscrewed the neck from the body, and then used the bowl as a feeding bowl for my horse.
I currently have 2 ovations- us made and 1 has a custom top and the other is split to hell.
I would only buy a Hartford conn model.
To all,
i lipped on the MIM power tele and then thought about it. The problem was the fishman acoustic pick up which means it was wired up wrong or was defective from the factory. Whatever it should have been factory inspected before shipment.
The pup was made in the usa.

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 10:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous hvac contractors said...

Such a great article it was which The most famous acoustic is the Martin guitar of Pennsylvania, which now features made in Mexico versions. The state of guitar manufacturing is a microcosm of manufacturing across the board. In which The electric guitar is an American invention and is like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, but it is now outsourced.Thanks for sharing this article.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 6:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

my 1956 d28 and 70 d 35 are at the Martin factory for repair after years of continual use.
the mex martins are garbage.
bottom line is -it's our fault if we buy the junk made overseas.
the us gov't does not subsidize industry properly.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:45:00 PM GMT-5  

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