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Author Topic: What about these Chinese and Orient made guitars ?  (Read 13124 times)
boyds
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« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2008, 09:38:21 PM »

   I respectfully disagree with they won't fall apart. However you want to say it they can show major defects that were not apparent at first. I have so many guitars that I don't know how many I have and at least a dozen have left the house this last year. So I see many "trash" asian gits that started out looking and playing fine. I could tell you specifics but I don't have the time. Kelley's Blue Book reflects this in the pricing of some of the really poorly made ones.
      Even in playable shape a Fender 12 string with the v-notch in the headstock is only worth $30 - 50.
Well, not to get the hackles raised on those of us who are unable to hear that Larrivee can fall into the above category. Over the last 10 years i have owned 9 Larrivee's (the one I have now is flawless and a real keeper) 4 of which had build issues ranging from a split up the back of a brand new one to terrible finish issues, sinking inlay, missing inlay. And 2 Martins, both issue-less. Granted the total number of guitars I have owned is very small compared to some of you, but of the number of Larrivee's, almost 1/2 had issues. Hmmmmmm... I still really like Larivee, but will seriously think about another purchase of a brand new one. Would buy an older one made in the earlier years in a heartbeat though!
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Danny
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« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2008, 11:20:11 PM »

      Out of 5 Larri's ping tuners is my biggest problem..  Humidity issues otherwise, which were handled by me.
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larriveeluver
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« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2008, 11:29:02 PM »


Granted, maybe the Gibsons I tried out were duds and not representative of the Gibson electric line, but the Q.C. folks at Gibson could take a lesson from the Q.C. folks in Korea. Based on that one experience, I'd take the Korean guitar over the American guitar.

I've spoke with a couple guitar shop ownder that told me of and on Gibson has some serious Qauality Control issues.  I had an Epi Masterbilt - they used cnc for much of the guitar and it showed.  PERFECTION and than it sounded and played great too. 
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rustychicken
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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2008, 11:38:21 PM »

the Epi Masterbuilts that i've played were tremendously good...
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2008, 01:24:33 AM »

I agree.  I'd rather have a CNC'd precision cut myself, but folks seem to think that a magical exchange occurs when things are cut by hand.  I have a completely handmade instrument.  The reason I know is because I made it by hand. The inlay work is nowhere near the precision of CNC inlay work.  Granted, it was my first build and I'm sure there are folks who can inlay -- by hand -- better or as good as a CNC machine. 

I didn't know that. What did you build? I'm on my first now, I gotta thread in this section somewhere.
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Caleb
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« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2008, 02:48:34 AM »

I didn't know that. What did you build? I'm on my first now, I gotta thread in this section somewhere.
I built an A-style mandolin.  I haven't tried a guitar yet, but I'm thinking of trying a 12-fret slot-head in the winter months. 
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limnephilidae
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« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2008, 04:03:16 AM »

There seem to be 3 major factors to consider with kind of question. As usual, I'll venture unsolicited opinions on all of them...feel free to counter, that's how we learn   

1. Build Quality
I think it's clear that there are several companies making excellent guitars for less money in China and other Asian countries. Having sampled a few I'd have to say that I'm a big fan of Takamine and Guild's GAD series. I've had one Blueridge experience and I'd have to say that I'm very impressed with their higher end, but not so much of their lower end. There are bound to be people that will find issues with every little detail, however I doubt they would turn their scrutiny on equivalent US models. Ultimately, most people get what they pay for and there's no reason to believe most of these guitars won't last 20 years at least or that the build quality from China won't improve with experience.

2. Foreign Labor Conditions
It's really too difficult to answer this question generally as it varies from company to company. However, it's worth noting that the question should be asked relative to the employment conditions in the region in question. It's not a debate that is resolved without understanding the cultural values and expectations of the workforce. After all, scarcity of resources has a way of changing your value system, and it is something that we in the West are getting a taste of for the first time since the Depression.

3. Potential decline of skilled craftsman in the West
Will there be less Luthiers in the West because of Asian guitar manufacturers? I guess that depends on what market skilled labour seeks to address. I doubt there is an easy answer to this question but I'm sure that the low-end of the market will have less use for Western labour than Asian. That leaves high-end and unique markets to exploit, and potentially less room for employment on this side of the water. That being said, I often wonder if we respect skilled labor enough; would you encourage your kid to be a Luthier or an MBA?

Ok....ready....and.....dissent.
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« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2008, 10:14:23 AM »

I'm not sure the term "sweat shop" applies to the MIC guitars being named here. Does anyone have current info as to working conditions of Chinese guitar factories? If not, I would not assume that the guitars are being made under "unsavory" conditions. (Although, that was a safe assumption not so many years ago..)

I've no idea. I suspect / hope not. Didn't mean to imply that in my original post; apologies if I did.
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« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2008, 03:55:41 PM »

Ok....ready....and.....dissent.

not a dissent, just a comment ---- economics is complicated and consequences are not easily predicted. 

how about a choice between - work cheaply or not eat?

also, Japan use to be cheap labor, but wages increased, then china - wages are increasing there too, so stuff is moving to koria or malasia  --- so in the natural course of things, wages do rise

at one time the US was full of sweat shops, possibly a natural precurser to  economic development??????

(just some random thoghts - not making excuses for the slimmy rich people who take advantage of others)
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limnephilidae
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« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2008, 04:07:42 PM »

not a dissent, just a comment ---- economics is complicated and consequences are not easily predicted. 

how about a choice between - work cheaply or not eat?

also, Japan use to be cheap labor, but wages increased, then china - wages are increasing there too, so stuff is moving to koria or malasia  --- so in the natural course of things, wages do rise

at one time the US was full of sweat shops, possibly a natural precurser to  economic development??????

(just some random thoghts - not making excuses for the slimmy rich people who take advantage of others)

Too true. I think I was broaching the "life is harder in China so your expectations are lower" comment in my post by using the terms "cultural values and expectations". 

And wages DO rise and have already done so. I just hope that they rise faster in proportion to the cost of essential supplies such as food, shelter, and education.

Excellent point about US history too!
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Caleb
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« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2008, 04:17:30 PM »

There's no such thing as a good guitar "for the money".  A guitar is either a good guitar or it's not a good guitar, regardless of price paid. I never undersand this mentality.
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Novalis
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« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2008, 04:56:18 PM »

There's no such thing as a good guitar "for the money".  A guitar is either a good guitar or it's not a good guitar, regardless of price paid. I never undersand this mentality.

To report that an item (guitar, stereo, automobile, etc.) is "good for the money" is a way to avoid the relative-to-the-point-meaninglessness subjectivity of a black/white thinking that is known as "good-bad". There are few to none such absolutes when it comes to preference.

For example, my new apartment. I've had a number of guests over this past week and just yesterday a lady friend asked how I found such a beautiful apt for such low rent. Is my apartment "good"? I don't like apartment living (having lived in a house in the burbs for the past five years) but "for the money" it's a nice apartment. Is it a nice apartment in general? Would I call it a "good" apartment? Well, yes and no. This is where "for the money" comes into play. It's an amazing apartment "for the money". Does that make sense?

Another example: my Hamano uke. I've played quite a few ukes of various price ranges and the Hamano is, IMO, the "best uke for the money". What does this mean? That the construction and quality are top-notch, it sounds good, and the solid mahogany is nice to look at. BUT, I personally don't like Chinese-made products. So how do I feel about my Hamano? I can honestly say that it's the best uke "for the money" (based on the quality) but I would not refer to it as a "good uke", just a "good uke for the money" based soley on the fact that it's made in China (it sounded better than the Mexican made Martin, which is why I bought the Hamano).

You see, IMO, words like "good" and "bad" seem to represent industrial age though processes, a black/white thinking that does not seem to represent what we know in the 21st century. Check out Alfred Korzybski's book Science and Sanity for a fuller explanation. And I  actually know where you're coming from, creature. I also don't like to hear people say "my such-and-such is a good guitar for the money". It seems to downplay the guitar, but I just wanted to post this to make it a bit more clear what some folks might mean when using this expression.
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Caleb
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« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2008, 05:42:59 PM »

Wow, you said a mouthful, Novalis. 

I just never get the slight "slap" that folks feel they have to give when they say, "Oh...well I guess it's a good guitar...especially for the money".  That is crap.  Either something sounds/feels/is a nice instrument or it's not.  Is a guitar won in a contest -- that was free -- not a good guitar since no price was paid?  I think the bottom line is that folks directly equate how much it set them back financially to the enjoyment of the thing itself.  If it cost them $2k, then they feel they have earned the right to feel great about it and brag about it.  But if they only paid a few hundred bucks, then they can leave it out for the kids to bang around on, etc.  This is nonsense and only in a culture where people have more than enough and equate "things" with "success" is such an attitude entertained. 

If you have a guitar that sounds good and plays good...it is good.  It doesn't matter where it was made or by whom. 
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woodboatguy
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« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2008, 05:48:21 PM »

I wanted to add a Gretsch hollow body to my collection, but after playing a number of new ones, the fit, finish and quality of these Asian built guitars did not warrant dropping over $2200. As an alternate, I played the Ibanez Chinese made A75 violin finish hollow body. IMHO, fit, finish were comparable to the Gretsch if not slightly better. Electronics, bindings, inlays were very good. Bought it for $398 with case, put an Ibanez Bigsby on it for $90 more, and have a damn close Gretsch knockoff for under $500. Might put TV Jones pick ups on it, which would raise the cost about $200. Only real issue after 2 years of in-home playing is slightly sharp frets, but my brand new Larrivee D 09 has that issue too, just some tweaking to get it right, like any instrument. Same country manufactured both models, but huge cost difference! Would it last through gigging, not sure, but at only $500, if you got 3 or 4 years, it's worth it. Inspect the Asian models carefully and analyze what you expect from the instrument.
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sneaky
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« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2008, 01:27:32 AM »

I wanted to add a Gretsch hollow body to my collection, but after playing a number of new ones, the fit, finish and quality of these Asian built guitars did not warrant dropping over $2200.

know what ya mean...I feel the same way when I look at MIA Fenders.
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larriveeluver
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« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2008, 04:43:55 AM »

To report that an item (guitar, stereo, automobile, etc.) is "good for the money" is a way to avoid the relative-to-the-point-meaninglessness subjectivity of a black/white thinking that is known as "good-bad". There are few to none such absolutes when it comes to preference.


I like what you said, I don't know if I understand it, but I like it 

makes me feel like I'm back in college, except no tuition - so .. for the money, what you said was great 


(I apologize for being a smartass, couldn't help myself)

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sneaky
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« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2008, 01:38:32 AM »

" for the money " is a term that has always struck me a slightly derogatory, you know something like ...  she throws well...for a girl. Folks like to use it when comparing MIJs with MIAs like MIAs are somehow better because they cost more or something, and it seems, used by people who base their opinion on what they see where they live and who actually have no idea whats being made in Japan these days. Now, the Japanese have an interesting way of looking at things too...if something is priced too low here, it ain`t worth owning. I`ve seen people list used guitars and not sell them...relist them for more and baddabing...SOLD. It`s a crazy world ain`t it.
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Danny
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2008, 02:27:52 AM »

Mentality
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willguitar
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« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2008, 05:12:58 AM »

http://www.edroman.com/rants/japanese.htm

His other "rants" are interesting as well.
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« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2008, 10:38:16 AM »

Ed Roman is about as credible as Wikipedia.
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