I think moving import lines from WMI Korea is a mistake

PatriotBadger

Senior Member
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1,818
I know guitars can be made equally well or poorly in any part of the world, that is not in dispute. Yesterday, I received a new old stock Strat copy made by WMI Korea. I bought it to mess about with electronics and leave my custom shop guitars unmolested. New, this sold for $500. It's long been known that these guys can make some serious guitars, but what I got was pretty remarkable.

It sounded pretty darn good for the few minutes I played it. When I popped off the pickguard, the routing was incredibly neat and clean even in the recesses, even the finish looks good in there. The pickups were gray-bottoms with A5 beveled slugs and cloth push-back wire. That was a surprise.

The finish is really good as well, it's not a super-thin poly but it's perfectly applied and not gooped on, and the burst is perfect. Even the alder looks good (3 pieces).

The knockout punch is the neck pocket. I couldn't see any daylight around it and the entire fit into the body is tight and perfect. You can't even slide a thin piece of paper in that joint anywhere. When I took it off, there was no finish on the sides if the pocket...the neck had been hand-fitted to the body as part of the construction. That's nuts for an import guitar. The neck takes some wiggling to get it into the pocket because it is so tight. The neck itself is basically perfect too, down to the fret work. Even the Tusq nut is perfectly cut and sanded.

The overall quality is basically what I'd expect to get from someone like Warmoth.

Which brings me to....why are companies moving their production away from Korea? Economic reasons likely, but this guitar would still be a bargain at $700. These guys make rock-solid guitars, and I've had several now. It just seems to be a mistake to move the production away from Korea.



 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
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16,509
The bias that whatever country can’t make a guitar as well as what’s made in the US, is beyond me, I have a neck on my project Floyd Rose guitar that came from China that just feels and plays amazing... I paid $35 for it! The body on your guitar looks great, good luck!
 

Jim85IROC

Member
Messages
2,404
That kind of quality is likely lost on most people buying $700 guitars, so if they can get it made almost as good for $150 in China instead of $200 in Korea, their margins go up.
 

70 Mach 1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,091
I got a mic $219 squire tele as a gift promo. After a good set up, reset the neck ans name brand strings this thing rocks

I didnt even want it in the house originally and now i cant put it down. Have $2000 guitars sitting instead

You cant judge something on where its made and by price.

If you told me this 6 months ago ida back slapped you on the head. Lol
 

Johnny21

Silver Supporting Member
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2,460
Factories probably increased their prices and the guitar company realized they couldn’t raise the prices (without losing customers) to make a decent profit.

It’s all business at the end of the day so you cant fault them.
 

HotBluePlates

Member
Messages
10,652
...why are companies moving their production away from Korea? Economic reasons likely ... It just seems to be a mistake to move the production away from Korea. ...
Price. That's why, same as why production moved away from Japan before Korea, and away from U.S. before Japan.

Guys gripe incessantly about the price of everything, then gripe about where it's made to lower the price point.
 

PatriotBadger

Senior Member
Messages
1,818
Very nice. What make/model is it?
Schecter Traditional Standard. They also made a PT Traditional Standard (Tele) in the same mould. I think the last year of production was 2017. Schecter, and I'm sure a few others, have some older WMI stock that they and their retailers are moving through that are still at the old lower prices. It's going to be hard not to snag a few. As an exampe they have TSH-1 hollow bodies made in WMI Korea right now for sale on their site for $650. I've played one and they are killer, and of perfect quality. Nuts.
 

andy474x

Member
Messages
672
I’ve owned 4 PRS SE’s that were made by WMI, every one of them were/are fantastic.

That being said, I’ve also played some of their Indonesian/Cortek guitars, and they were also fantastic. An SE245 that was without doubt the best import singlecut I’ve ever played, save for perhaps my SE Akesson, which is much a holy grail guitar as a “budget” instrument can be. I tried many SE245’s in my quest that ended in me finding the Akesson, and the Cortek 245 was much more resonant and full sounding than I remember the others being, as have been the SE Paul’s Guitars and the SE Starla and Mira I’ve tried.

The take home is that it’s one heck of a good time to be a guitar player, especially if you’re not loaded!
 

musicman1

Member
Messages
4,040
I have a parker p44 that was made in Korea. The overall build quality is great. Fit and finish are very good. Really as good as a MIJ build i had from the 80s out of the Matsumoko factory.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
6,605
I have an Indonesian made Ibanez bass that is very close to perfect. I have not been impressed by the few WMI made Strandbergs I've tried. But with this low amount of samples I can't say either factory is better or worse.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,741
From my experience, most Korean guitars in the past decade are on par with MIJ and in some cases exceeding MIJ or MIA guitars in quality. So unfortunately a lot of guitar companies will continually shift manufacturing to the most competitive place and this usually keeps the prices down but also drags the quality down.
 
Messages
3,874
Rob Chapman did a factory tour when he started with them. These era guitars & the other brands made there, are the best quality you can get for a production level. I think they're equal to Japan production quality TBH. Now the workers have become better & they're now getting paid more. MIC can be good, but they just show up to get a paycheck. The Koreans are skilled. Fender is the only US full production CO. that does near the same numbers & I think WMI is better. The difference is labor costs.

The reason people are leaving Korea IMHO, is because customers demand low prices. I'd pay around 1.5k for a new Korean, but I'm in the minority.
 

Johnny21

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,460
I tried a Fender Corona or some type of semi hollow that was Made in China that was ugh. I don't mean to generalize, but after experience I would never buying MIC guitars again.

The made in Korea guitars are really, really good, I had a Schecter 10 years ago that played well above it's price point.
 




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