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Old 11-12-2006, 10:22 PM
Montreal 007 Montreal 007 is offline
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Default Why are American made Guitars better ??

I don't get it ....Some context : ( i live in Canada)....i have been playing guitar about 4 years (started late in my life).....When i started going to music stores to buy a guitar i was told American made guitars are the most sought after because of their superior craftmanship...( USA guitars much better than the Japenese, Chinese guitars).....When i read this forum i get the same message....Just the other day i was looking at an electric guitar (a STRAT) and the salesman says to me "oh your holding the Mexican made STRAT, come over here with me and i will show you the AMERICAN made STRAT...,,,HERE IS MY POINT....Most sophisticated products of quality are IMPORTS from other countries...Years ago America dominated the automobile industry...Today the high end cars come from Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden....Electronics ?? Made in USA ??....Nope not anymore the High end stuff comes from Asia and Europe....TV's, Camera's, DVD's ect ect ect...Just about everthing that comes out of Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy ect superior craftsmanship ... yet....SO WHY ARE GUITARS MADE IN USA SUPERIOR ??...Are American Luthiers more skilled than luthiers in other countries ???...( i find that statement hard to believe) It seems to me this whole notion is contrary to everything else.....Note: Im not disputing this, i just want to understand it..I figured this forum would be the best place to ask.

Last edited by Montreal 007; 11-12-2006 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:36 PM
wingtip4 wingtip4 is offline
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Default AMerican Made?

I'm not sure that's completely true. Many players choose guitars made by Canadian luthiers. European makers would probably do better with marketing, but many a Lowden and Lakewood has been sold in the States. My perception is that there may be more American small shop builders, and of course they are "local" so we hear more about them. I had a Mexican made Strat and it was as good as any. I've also had several Blueridge guitars which serve their purpose nicely.
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:10 PM
Fstpicker Fstpicker is offline
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Perhaps because American-made guitars are some of the last things to still be made in the good ole' US of A, although that is slowly changing more and more.
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:26 PM
Turp Turp is offline
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Default Why are they better?

They just are. Cause they're American. It works for the saleman on weak minds. If it plays & sounds great, well built, and is a good value should matter most. I'm all for supporting my domestic companies but I am not blind to overactive marketing of the "Made in the USA" label by dealers and salepersons. It is funny how the Alvarez WY1 and Avalon S201CE are trimmed out better and about a grand less than the Martin and Taylor offerings. Problem is the Alvarez and Avalon are harder to find.

I buy American if practical to do so but will not be taken advantage by a marketing department waving a label.
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:47 PM
Rick Turner Rick Turner is offline
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Probably because the whole point of import guitars has been to make them cheaply. Thus the cheapness is built into the very design, and it's fairly obvious. The edges on the metal parts are cruder, the plating isn't as good, the finishes are thicker, the wood is boring, the interior work is sloppier, the woods are all substitutes, etc.

In fact there are some extremely wonderful "import" guitars from Europe and Asia. The Kiso and Kohno guitars from Japan. Various luthier guitars from Europe. The Lowden and Avalons from Ireland. And you know what? They're not cheap or inexpensive. You can buy near equivalent guitars made in North America for similar prices.

And you know what else? US-made guitars just have a better resale value than guitars made just about anywhere else in the world except perhaps those made by the top builders in Spain, Germany, or England. It's all about perceived value.
Rick Turner
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:03 AM
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Mr. Ed Mr. Ed is offline
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Default Why are American made guitars better?

Maybe because of the PASSION of people like Bob Taylor - they just won't settle for a mediocre guitar.
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:58 AM
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American guitars aren´t better than good european or asian guitars. There are many good luthiers in europe and good prodution guitars too. America has the tradition of steel string guitars like spain has the tradition of classical guitars. Here in europe if we want a good classical guitar we go to spain, but we all know american made classical guitars are very good too.
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:35 AM
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Stixx Stixx is offline
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I always go with experience. I look at a high end Japanese
guitar and I see evidence that they are some cases as good
or better built than any other jet the tone is lacking personality.

When I buy a guitar I buy such subjective criteria that the
guitar has to be much more than wood and glue and steel
put together flawllesslyl. I'd never have gone beyond a Taylor if that was the case and some asian built liscenced
guitars would satisfy. But they do not.

Americans have the formula for a traditioinal tone and feel
like no other. And even if you can get cheap copy of one
why would you want to . I always prefer the original.

Too bad the car companies couldn't have discovered waht
the gutiar companys knew. Take a good idea and keep
making it better and more efficient and we'd still be on
top of the auto manufacturing game.

We literelly gave away the technology to defeat us with
the electronics manufacturing and outsourcing nailded the
coffin shut. We have only ourselves to blame , that is the
multi natioinal companys who could care less about the homeland.

But on topic, Guitars are one item that is more than the sum of it's parts and it is not just patiotism, they have a
lagitimte content that you can't make or dublicate so easy.

It's called soul...............
"We are called to be a witness, not to be Lawyers or Judges."

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Old 11-13-2006, 08:39 AM
JohnZ JohnZ is offline
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The closer the builder is to the music the guitar will make, the greater the potential for the instrument to be a good player.
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Old 11-13-2006, 08:49 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Hi 007...
Potential to build great guitars is not in question - world class guitars are hand built everywhere by luthiers.

As to midline guitars, so far Martin, Taylor, and Gibson seem to be historically geared, mechanically tooled, and worker supplied to produce higher quality instruments en masse. Knowing consumers want solid high grade tone wood, reliable construction, and a good service department (guitars all need work when played often and for extended periods - like decades).

When it comes to the low end consumer guitars - which are quite playable and actually remarkable instruments these days - the Asians sure seem to have the market established there. There is probably as much money - if not more - to be made in the introductory guitar market because of the speed of production combined with cheap labor.

Many folks who think think they might want to learn guitar are more inclined to spend Walmart, Target, or Costco prices for their kid's first Asian rig than music store prices of ''nearly a grand'' found in a lot of shops.

And, I am seeing a lot more music stores, pawn shops and online music suppliers advertising the under a couple C note prices for kits - a guitar, case and amp - not stamped ''Made in America.'' They always had them, but now they are promoting them (well of course they are - it's nearly Christmas).
Larry J

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Last edited by ljguitar; 11-13-2006 at 08:57 AM. Reason: more info pertaining to the original thought of the thread...
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:00 AM
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ayavner ayavner is offline
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you're not going to believe this..... Bed Bath and Beyond has started selling guitars... I picked one up while my wife was looking at comforter sets, and it was truly, truly aweful... and the worst part is it was by some offshoot of Gibson, so they get to use that name. Bleh!

talk about "beyond"....
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Last edited by cotten; 11-14-2006 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Well understood appreviations for inappropriate terms are still inappropriate.
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Old 11-13-2006, 10:55 AM
lalowdwn1 lalowdwn1 is offline
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I suppose four major reasons:

1) Martin
2) Taylor
3) Gibson
4) Fender (and its incipient brands Guild and Tacoma)
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:23 AM
Shpeil Shpeil is offline
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I think it has a lot to do with perception/marketing. Is it not the case that Tokai and Ibanez started off their careers by making carbon copies of fenders and gibsons, down to the use of same font on the headstock? Except in many cases they were better than the real thing. Even today, Japanese produced Fenders are considered just as good as the US models, but you won't find them in American stores for that reason. Fender would much prefer to sell a higher priced US Standard.

Strats are a good example for other reasons - its a deliberate marketing strategy that the US models have a superior spec to the Mexican models. Lets not kid ourselves, it doesn't matter a jot where the factory is. Operating the machinery to knock together a good strat is hardly rocket science.

On acoustics, having played some high end Yamahas, I can assure you that for the money, they are just as good as the US factory made equivalents. They just don't have the same brand recognition as Martin/Taylor/Gibson. The fact that Taylor can be said in the same breath as Martin and Gibson speaks volumes for Taylor's immensly successful designs and production, but that would be nothing without an equally successful marketing strategy.

I absolutely agree with LJ that the far east has the lower end of the market pretty well sown up.

And when it comes to handbuilts, as has been rightly said, the world is your oyster. Fact of the matter is that you won't have come across most of the folk building in Europe, and its only forums like this that have alerted me to the US luthiers. Besides, why would a US resident want to incur huge exchange rate costs to buy from the UK (currently, £1 is about $1.92) when there are so many fine luthiers in the States?

Having said all that, I see nothing wrong in supporting the industry of your own country, nor feeling a special affinity for a guitar built near you.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:41 AM
martinedwards martinedwards is offline
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I'm not a brand loyal person. Every purchase is dependant on todays needs and the price/quality equation.

I have a friend who has a Tacoma. I'm not a fan. Another chum has a Lowden which he lent me for two weeks and 10 days in, it was back in it's case and I was back to my Far East made Turner. (Nothing to do with Rick)

I have an Indonesian squier strat which I've replaced the hardware & electrics in. the NECK is as good as any US Fender I've ever played.

In MY humble opinion US made guitars aren't any better than any other nationality IN THE SAME PRICE BRACKET. In fact, with the high (should that read fair?) salaries paid in the US, arguably a $1000 US made guitar shouldn't be as good as a $1000 Czech made guitar.

Like others have said, a quality handmade will be a quality handmade nomatter where it was made.
Originally Posted by Rick Turner
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I LOVE that guy!!!!!!
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:45 PM
Working Dog Working Dog is offline
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It's a fallacy. Especially when CNC machines are doing all the work. A $1000 Asian is as good as a $1500 American. If you want to pay $100's more for a made in USA lable go ahead.
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