Made In USA and Guitar Provenance

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dindudedindude Frets: 4159
This letter from the President of Schecter is interesting.


What's people's view here - I think there has been more companies play on the made in USA thing whilst using a mix of USA manufacture and Far Eastern parts (PRS S2 series for example, although they are upfront about it) but for something to be labelled Made in the USA to have to have every single part 100% made US seems ludicrous in this global economy we live in - and very typical of the American mind set.

Made in USA is also becoming less and less of a relevance IMO as a mark of quality - quality "things" can be made in many places! (And I say that as someone who only has USA made guitars).

I can certainly see more of this type of listing each guitar part and its origins as Schecter have done here taking place.
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  • RichardjRichardj Frets: 1534
    So my 'Made in the USA' Strat is illegal then?
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  • photekphotek Frets: 794
    That's a good read and interesting issue. It does sound like a simple adjustment to the legislation would save a lot of heartache.

    I guess as this is not just for instrument production there will be areas of manufacture who take the piss stating Made in USA when they are simply assembling parts from overseas.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 24571
    He's correct.

    Worse, it now makes it impossible to distinguish between things which are really made in the USA even if some materials and components are imported, and things which are *entirely* made overseas by a company which has its head office in the USA, simply putting the company address on with no country of origin - this has been done for at least a decade or two by some brands.

    Whether it actually matters, or is a potentially useful way of undermining country of origin as an important factor in buying, I don't know - since I agree that quality should be what counts, not where it was made. But until now it has also generally been an indicator of quality, if only in minor ways… for example I still fail to understand why the Japanese cannot seem to make a jack socket as good as a Switchcraft.

    I would also expect that Rickenbacker will have to stop putting their 'Made In USA' stickers on, since their machineheads are German or Korean depending on model, and their pots are made in Mexico.

    Or Fender for that matter.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 4159
    Richardj said:
    So my 'Made in the USA' Strat is illegal then?
    Call it "pre-legislation" and it'll be worth more.
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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 2624
    edited November 2015
    Or get over the whole it is made in America and realise a quality guitar can be made anywhere on the planet. If its a Custom Shop guitar or similar I would expect it to be good wherever it was built.

    America has some serious issues with imported goods as being inferior, when in fact they are often much higher quality than US built stuff.



    How much does it weigh? & Does it play like butter?

    You can now read my insane guitar ramblings daily here http://www.gearnews.com
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  • RichardjRichardj Frets: 1534
    Thing is, and obviously this is lost on the US legislators, that 'Made in the USA' is not a guarantee of any quality. I have owned plenty of expensive US made gear and a fair amount of it has been what I consider poorly made or finished for the money that was asked for them.  I have more confidence in the quality of products coming out of Korea or Japan.   
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 9052
    Aggressive Litigation: Made entirely in the USA.
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  • GarthyGarthy Frets: 965
    Having seen a few factory videos, the made in the USA thing doesn't really hold much water- is the CNC machine in Nashville better than the one in Qingdao? Is the unskilled mother of five on minimum wage with a USA bandanna better at fretting with a mallet than the the unskilled mother of five on 60 Yuan a day with her mallet? It's the same with cars, watch the Corvette factory on Discovery, all unskilled labour with electric screwdrivers.
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  • GassageGassage Frets: 17780
    He has a point; as a cricketer I am very pissed off with some of the advertising bullshit from some of the batmakers.

    The only volume batmaker left in England is Gunn and Moore.

    Gray-Nicholls moved 85% of their production to India in 2007, yet they still claim to be a British bat making company. It's utterly misleading.

    And, sorry, but the quality of Indian bat making is not in the same league as British making. The finish and the handling is sub standard.

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • dindudedindude Frets: 4159
    Garthy said:
    Having seen a few factory videos, the made in the USA thing doesn't really hold much water- is the CNC machine in Nashville better than the one in Qingdao? Is the unskilled mother of five on minimum wage with a USA bandanna better at fretting with a mallet than the the unskilled mother of five on 60 Yuan a day with her mallet? It's the same with cars, watch the Corvette factory on Discovery, all unskilled labour with electric screwdrivers.
    I get where you're coming from, but I think it's a little over simplified. Who programs the CNC in the first place? It still amazes me that the contouring on a Mex Strat often seems less svelt than its American cousins. 
    Also a CNC doesn't chuck out a finished guitar, it's mearly the starting point to a load of handwork and turning a piece of wood into an instrument. 

    I think the truth is it's about the company and its leadership rather than country of origin, but an OEM factory in China churning out 100's guitars at a low price point on behalf of numerous brands is unlikely to have the passion and single minded vision of 4 people in the Schecter Custom Shop putting out 35 guitars a month - whether you can tell the difference and want to pay for it is entirely up to the customer of course.

    Ive ended up with USA Guitars as they are simply the ones that I've liked. I've had plenty of Chinese guitars that amaze me for the price but are less than inspirational, and I can't always put my finger on why.

    Conversely, I recently had a USA G&L and (despite people on forums often saying they are Custom Shop quality) felt to me like a well built Korean / Chinese guitar. Nothing about it screamed why you would need to pay a premium for it to be made in the USA. I'm certainly not blinded by the Made in the USA tag.
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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 2624
    Gassage said:
    He has a point; as a cricketer I am very pissed off with some of the advertising bullshit from some of the batmakers.

    The only volume batmaker left in England is Gunn and Moore.

    Gray-Nicholls moved 85% of their production to India in 2007, yet they still claim to be a British bat making company. It's utterly misleading.

    And, sorry, but the quality of Indian bat making is not in the same league as British making. The finish and the handling is sub standard.
    Yes you are of course correct.

    One day hopefully the Indian bats will be world class.


    The Koreans, Japanese and Chinese have been making guitars for a long time now. Lots of them are far superior to US built instruments, yet are seen as a cheap alternative. Just they have not yet got a 100 or 50 year history like their US counterparts.


    How much does it weigh? & Does it play like butter?

    You can now read my insane guitar ramblings daily here http://www.gearnews.com
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  • RaymondLinRaymondLin Frets: 3170
    edited November 2015
    My Bogner says "Hand assembled in the USA", my iPhone says designed in California.

    We all know where it was made.
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  • mike_lmike_l Frets: 5538
    Gassage said:
    He has a point; as a cricketer I am very pissed off with some of the advertising bullshit from some of the batmakers.

    The only volume batmaker left in England is Gunn and Moore.

    Gray-Nicholls moved 85% of their production to India in 2007, yet they still claim to be a British bat making company. It's utterly misleading.

    And, sorry, but the quality of Indian bat making is not in the same league as British making. The finish and the handling is sub standard.
    Yes, but how's the tone affected?

    Ringleader of the Cambridge cartel, pedal champ and king of the dirt boxes (down to 21) 

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 24571
    My Bogner says "Hand assembled in the USA"
    I like that - because it's true, on both counts.

    You can't "hand build" or "hand craft" an amplifier, as some companies claim - or not unless you went to completely ridiculous lengths which no-one does and which would produce an amp that looks like a Victorian science experiment.

    All electronic components are machine-made, to a greater or lesser extent. The small parts like resistors and caps are 100%-automated mass-production.

    Hand *assembled* is the correct description.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • GassageGassage Frets: 17780

    stonevibe said:
    Gassage said:
    He has a point; as a cricketer I am very pissed off with some of the advertising bullshit from some of the batmakers.

    The only volume batmaker left in England is Gunn and Moore.

    Gray-Nicholls moved 85% of their production to India in 2007, yet they still claim to be a British bat making company. It's utterly misleading.

    And, sorry, but the quality of Indian bat making is not in the same league as British making. The finish and the handling is sub standard.
    Yes you are of course correct.

    One day hopefully the Indian bats will be world class.

    Here's the thing- in terms of performance, they are. In terms of longevity they are hopeless.

    It's like a Formula 1 car that hammers everything and breaks down after 4 laps. Shoulder cracks are endemic in Indain batmaking and that's down to poor glueling of the handle.

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 24571
    Presumably if they were given the right incentive (ie enough money…) they would learn to fix manufacturing problems like that though.

    Same as the Chinese - in the 1960s they produced shoddy "Made In Hong Kong" plastic toys that went brittle and fell apart in a couple of years. Now they make iPhones.

    That, er… fall apart in a couple of years.

    :)

    But seriously, given them the right incentive and they will make anything to the required quality… just like they do with their space rockets.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    Presumably if they were given the right incentive (ie enough money…) they would learn to fix manufacturing problems like that though.

    Same as the Chinese - in the 1960s they produced shoddy "Made In Hong Kong" plastic toys that went brittle and fell apart in a couple of years. Now they make iPhones.

    That, er… fall apart in a couple of years.

    :)

    But seriously, given them the right incentive and they will make anything to the required quality… just like they do with their space rockets.
    That's the funny thing...when the Chinese design and make their *own* phones, they last a lot longer and have far fewer design flaws.

    "Designed in California" = "It's pretty, and that's about it."
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • ICBM said:
    Presumably if they were given the right incentive (ie enough money…) they would learn to fix manufacturing problems like that though.

    Same as the Chinese - in the 1960s they produced shoddy "Made In Hong Kong" plastic toys that went brittle and fell apart in a couple of years. Now they make iPhones.

    That, er… fall apart in a couple of years.

    :)

    But seriously, given them the right incentive and they will make anything to the required quality… just like they do with their space rockets.
    That's the funny thing...when the Chinese design and make their *own* phones, they last a lot longer and have far fewer design flaws.

    "Designed in California" = "It's pretty, and that's about it."
    The counter argument is that it's all made by computers and CNC machines.  The workers are more like machinery operators, putting PCB in and out of the trays than doing actual soldering.  It makes no difference of the GPS ordinates of the machine, it would still work the same way once you place the materials in it.

    As for Chinese designing their own phones, I have not seen an original design of theirs that isn't influenced by the West.  They flaunt the copyright law like it doesn't exist.  Even the Huawei phones looks like every other smart phone these days.  
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 9052
    I maintain that a 11 year child can make anything just as well in China as an unskilled illegal Mexican or Nicaraguan immigrant can in America.
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  • Gassage said:
    He has a point; as a cricketer I am very pissed off with some of the advertising bullshit from some of the batmakers.

    The only volume batmaker left in England is Gunn and Moore.

    Gray-Nicholls moved 85% of their production to India in 2007, yet they still claim to be a British bat making company. It's utterly misleading.

    And, sorry, but the quality of Indian bat making is not in the same league as British making. The finish and the handling is sub standard.
    @Gassage ; Are the balls still leatherish, or has that cleared up ;)


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  • The counter argument is that it's all made by computers and CNC machines.  .  

    Unless your Doug Wilkes in England....who cites " Made by hand, because we don't know how to use the equipment"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry0wI3Zd8ek




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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 5387
    edited November 2015
    I was told that this was cleared up in English law some time ago that if more than a certain (fairly high) percentage of the parts were made in the country it was assembled in, you could say it was made in that country.

    This is especially important from a customs and excise perspective, as the country of origin has to be called out on any Bill of Ladings.

    I would be very surprised if there isn't something similar in US law (probably more to do with import/export than from an advertising standpoint), as they are even hotter in such documentation than in Europe - although more lax on such things as RoHS etc.

    Interesting read, though.
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  • strtdvstrtdv Frets: 942
    Crazy. Having said that, the RoHS stuff over here is nuts too. Your Fender Deluxe Reverb has a whole separate circuit board to produce the same tremolo that you can get with a an optocoupler (a neon bulb and an LDR), simply because the optocoupler contains cadmium or some other banned element.
    Robot Lords of Tokyo, SMILE TASTE KITTENS!
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  • Fender Mex series made in Mexico by Mexicans.

    Fender American series made in America by Mexicans.

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  • NeilNeil Frets: 1778
    Fender Mex series made in Mexico by Mexicans.

    Fender American series made in America by Mexicans.

    No, the American series are made by Americans.

    The workers racial descent doesn't come into it and I doubt Fender are using illegal workers.
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  • Mexico is in America. Just not in the USA.

    In any case, a lot of work is shared (or used to be) between factories which are fairly close to each other albeit across a national border.
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  • newi123newi123 Frets: 212
    I approach this from a different point of view, in that `made in the USA` is not seen as a mark of quality, more as a mark of protecting American jobs.

    I am sure some very nice guitars are made in the USA, but then nice guitars are now made in most countries.

    We all know how good the quality of large scale American manufacturing is - I had a Dodge Nitro a few years ago (bought new as they couldn`t shift them at £25k, so literally knocked them out at £13k) - standard of assembly as expected...................... 
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  • See I was always led to believe that the American series is basically the same staff who are on the mexican production line. They just take a short commute to the factory in America. But then I was also told (granted by a sales man) that the american Fender guitars have better quality woods etc.
    I would love to change my username, but I fully understand the T&C's (it was an old band nickname). So please feel free to call me Dave.
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  • underdogunderdog Frets: 4041
    Has anyone honestly played a series of production guitars (as in not a one off) made outside of a major "1st world" nation that would compete with the regular fender, Gibson, prs etc

    I've played nice epiphones and squiers amongst others and they are always great for the money, never just great. The closest is the MIJ guitars but up until recently they even came with the caveat of needing to change pickups.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 24571
    Many of the higher-end Japanese guitars from the later 70s onwards will compete on equal terms in every way with the best American guitars. (With the exception of the jack sockets!)

    eg Yamaha SG2000, SA and AES series, Ibanez Artist guitars and Musician basses, Aria SB basses, and Levinson Blade which are made there despite the brand being Swiss.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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