Why are American made guitars usually the best?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by standard24, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. Nickstrtcstr

    Nickstrtcstr Lactose Intolerant Guitar Slinger

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    You should read his other posts about other subject matter. He trades entirely on anecdotal evidence, baseless conjecture and whatever else pops into his head.

    He is a hoot.
     
  2. Dickey

    Dickey Member

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    It is NOT nonsense, but for clarity's sake, I am only referring to foreign made Fenders ONLY. Not most, but EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have ever played with who had an Asian or Mexican made Fender had severe tuning issues onstage; I have tried in vain to setup their guitars to hold tune & intonate with zero success; yet every American guitar I have setup, including all of mine, had zero issues in that department. Got to where if I called someone for a gig, I would specify "American Fenders ONLY", otherwise they would hafta use one of mine. Maybe they're OK for rock, where distortion hides tuning or intonation issues, but most of the playing in my band (classic country,50s,60s,) is done clean, where tuning & intonation is a priority. There is a reason why these guitars are so cheap, and a reason why some are still made in America. Not familiar with other foreign manufacturers guitars, as I hold zero interest in them.
     
  3. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    Yes, they're cheaper because production costs are lower; basic economics. And, yes, it is nonsense to suggest that you can't tune or intonate anything Fender non-American made. Absolute bollocks, in fact. If they were that bad they wouldn't sell by the boatload. Maybe I should sell my foreign made (Mexican) Baja Telecasters that have been impossible to intonate all these years, and which simply won't play in tune. To suggest distortion masks intonation issues is also absurd. An instrument is either in tune or it isn't, and if you believe you can't get anything non-American to play in tune I suggest the problem lies elsewhere than the guitar, and possibly related to xenophobia...although whose that might be I couldn't possibly comment on.
    Now, tell us about the awesomely precise intonation of the three-saddle American Telecaster bridge which has found its way onto thousands of recordings since 1952, or the appalling intonation of a classical guitar with zero compensation which maestro Andres Segovia made a career from.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  4. Davy

    Davy Member

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    Wow, I've read some absolute nonsense in my time but this... this is a whole other level.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  5. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    I hope this has already been mentioned but it's simply a holdover impression that some people haven't shaken.

    Years ago American guitar manufacturers decided to create lower priced import lines in order to sell more guitars. It would have made no sense to have the imports compete directly with the "premium" American core line so the imports were designed around this reality. It was no reflection on the quality possible from workers from around the world....these guitars were never intended to compete with the American guitars.

    Of course, there's nothing to suggest that imports that focused on providing an original product have ever been inferior to American products. In the electric guitar business, Marshall is considered THE standard by many, but it was never created to be a low cost alternative to the American product.

    Some guys can't shake this simple reality and this it's NEVER been about the inability of people from other countries to relate to the instrument or some inherent American superiority in this business. That would be absurd...there have always been brilliant craftsmen everywhere in the world.

    For some the fantasy extends to the point where the imports are not only of lesser quality, but turn into some completely unusable item that don't even function properly.
     
  6. storm319

    storm319 Member

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    Actually, Jim Marshall created the JTM45 as a lower cost clone of the Fender Bassman due to the high import cost for Fender products in the UK. So the company was literally founded on this principal.
     
    Joe Tone likes this.
  7. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    I know the JTM 45 was a clone of the Fender but it wasn’t Fender having a lower cost amp built overseas for import....and it shows the quality that was available from overseas products forever.

    Either you missed my point or I’m missing yours.
     
  8. rstites

    rstites Member

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    The early 90's Jackson Pro's, made in Japan, were made identically to US made Jacksons and identical in quality. They cost quite a bit less due to manufacturing cost differences between the US and Japan. This only lasted a few years as Jackson learned their lesson. Their Japanese made Pro line has always been very good with high quality components, but they did learn to make the USA built ones higher end. It's poor business to undercut yourself with imports that cost less than your US models and are built to the same standard.

    You stated directly above this:

    I don't know what you meant by this if you didn't mean "it was never created to be a low cost alternative to the American product," when that's exactly what Marshall was building. Importing Fenders was too expensive for the musicians purchasing amps at Jim Marshall's shop, so he authorized an amplifier built out of locally sourced parts specifically to give them a low cost alternative to the (imported) American product (Fender).

    I used to know the price differences, but can't recall them at the moment. I suspect Doyle's book has that information. I've always assumed that they used the Bassman specifically because it's the simplest circuit of the higher power Fenders, so gave them the easiest entry into the market and probably price was a consideration.
     
  9. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    Exactly my point with Jackson or any company making a mistake of bringing in an import to directly compete with their American product....that wasn't the goal almost ever and it resulted in the continuing impression by some that an import is inherently inferior.

    I'm not sure why it's difficult to understand what I'm saying with the Marshall example....my fault for not being clear.

    Marshall stands out as a company that built amps in the UK and they've been considered the rock standard forever.....it's a fundamentally different story than if Fender had decided to have import amps built at a lower cost with less expensive (and less reliable) building techniques which is what they were doing with their import guitars. The imports were always about bringing a low cost alternative to the American market. The Marshall story is not at all related to that and actually shows what the American market can think about a product that wasn't an intentionally low end, lower priced import.

    My point is that the import guitars and amps coming to America as low cost alternatives in the American market have been a big part of the skewed view of some Americans towards overseas quality potential.
     
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  10. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    If I recall correctly there was a point during the CBS era at which Fender were at rock-bottom and were only rescued from oblivion by the manufacture of Fender guitars in Japan, in order to correct the mistakes being made by US manufacture. Even so it took them a while to get things right again.
     
  11. rstites

    rstites Member

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    Definitely. I got your point on the second go-around already, but was just pointing out why it'd be hard to follow. Marshall is difficult to use there as they're a UK brand. They were a cheaper alternative to US amplifiers in the UK early on, but once they came to the US were definitely never seen as the cheaper alternative. They've had their own version of this with UK vs. Asian produced amplifiers, and affiliated speakers.

    I still wonder if there's any reason, beyond pure luck, that there are well known high-end guitar amplifiers produced in the UK and Germany that are imported into the US, while we don't have any European guitars brought into the US that'd be in the upper price-point. (I'm talking decent production numbers here, not small production boutique guitars.)
     
  12. flysky578

    flysky578 Member

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    Framus and Duesenberg at least from Germany would be two , Mayones from Poland(they got quite big over the years).But other "Big" europe companys would come not on the quick in my mind :(
     
  13. Motorcaster

    Motorcaster Member

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    I have a BAJA that I bought from a guy and I felt the neck and heard the guitar without amplification.. I put it through it's paces and it clearly needed a pro set up so I did that with 11s and put new bridge saddle pieces on it.. I didn't even change the tuners and that thing stays in tune for nearly a whole set of aggressive playing... The intonation on it is A+++ My guess is I got a USA neck on the body because they likely didn't have any that day in the Mexican Plant which by the way is less than 100 miles from the American Custom plant.. I will put it up against any American Tele for tone... Eventually I will probably have have to rewire it.. But it feels like a tank right now. Fit and finish are A++++ ... Now I played 25 BAJAs before I settled on this one... but I would do that with any guitar I bought... American, Japanese, Mexican, etc.... I also own a Japanese strat from the 80s that is built and sounds as nice as any American strat I have played... But down deep my number one is a Custom Shop Les Paul Special.. Mahogany body... Gibson P 90s, stop tail piece with a good chunky neck.. I have never found a guitar as versatile as that particular one... It has balls, growl, shimmer, chiming beauty... It doesn't have much twang but it doesn't give up anything playing rock or blues...
     
  14. strattitude

    strattitude Member

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    My best guitar is a japanese built strat of the brand “History”. Fujigen built brand for some japanes guitar shop. I swapped my USA Don Grosh RC strat for it. The History strat suits me better. Wonderful strat!
     
    rizla likes this.

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