Hey Big Mike, I run a Service Dept. for a Heavy Equipment Company that employs several Union guys in Boston - So I know all about benefits, rates, overtime, materials, etc. But you got to draw the line somewhere. You have your opinion, and I have mine. But I know alot when it comes to overhead and production and profit.
I guess I just wanted to bring to attention that the Guitar Companies (like Fender), grossly overcharge consumers, just because it's made in America. And that the Mexican Strats (with a few mods) sound damn good, considering the price difference.
Click on link or paste, excerpt below: http://www.guitarstop.com/tour/indexT.htm
"All of the American and Mexican made Fender guitars start at the factory in Corona, CA. The lumber for the bodies and necks are shipped to the Corona factory where they are cut, fretted and inspected. At this time it is determined whether a guitar body will be painted a solid color or if the wood is nice enough to have a natural or transparent finish. Extremely nice pieces of wood are set aside for the Custom Shop. The Corona factory manufactures pickups, pickguards, bridges, metal chassis for amplifiers, neck plates, metal bridge covers and metal pickup covers. The pickguards are stamped out by a machine and the bevel is added by hand with a router. It was very interesting to see the care and attention that goes into the manufacturing of every single instrument!"
Im with you Mike. I own my own business. People think they know all about it on the other side. To me a Fender American Standard is a great value in my opinion. No guitar player should bitch this day and time. We have more choices then ever at every price range.
I will say that the neck and fretwork tends to be better and if you dont know how to do your own fret work, etc then yes it might end up being better in the long run if you upgrade to an american. That said, ive seen some mexican guitars that were better playing and sounding than some american's.. you have to hunt till you find "the one" and then add the costs and labor to get it to where it will be where you want it to... pickups, upgrades, etc American guitars tend to be ready to go other than a quick set up and maybe some boutique pickups..