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charlie brown

What Say You? Are American (made) products pricing themselves out of Business?

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I find some of those cheaper Gibson models quite appealing, you would never have to worry if you bashed it up a bit.

 

This accurately describes every guitar I own. [biggrin]

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Well, Rob could make a properly intonated 2 X 4 (with pickups and strings) sound awesome! [flapper][biggrin]

 

What way too many demo's (not just Rob and The Captain) do, is spend too much time on "Distorted" tone,

and not nearly enough on true "Clean" tone, where you're more apt to tell the tonal difference(s), in

the guitars being demo'd. [tongue]

 

CB

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Well, Rob could make a properly intonated 2 X 4 (with pickups and strings) sound awesome! [flapper][biggrin]

 

What way too many demo's (not just Rob and The Captain) do, is spend too much time on "Distorted" tone,

and not nearly enough on true "Clean" tone, where you're more apt to tell the tonal difference(s), in

the guitars being demo'd. [tongue]

 

CB

 

I don't like it whenever they add any pedals to the mix, your not here to listen to effects. It would also be good if the could stick to one type of amp instead of using all sorts of different amps in the reviews.

 

 

Ian

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I have a bit of a rant here, but I think my point addresses the OP's question.

 

Government administrative red tape has added immensely to the cost of doing anything in the US. I've seen how it can effect costs directly and indirectly in my own experience.

 

My wife and I are rebuilding our house on our property. My initial design solved all of ourt problems with the property and allowed for us to build our new house next to the old house (we have a 1.75 acre yard), reuse the existing septic system and connect it to the new house, move out of the old house into the new one, tear down the old one and build a garage where the old house was. Sounds simple right?

 

Then enter the government.

 

Our zoning had changed since we bought the house. We went from Residential the something called "Restricted Residential." We now require 2 acres to build (state average building lot size is .26 acre, I have 6x that, they still tell us we don't have enough land to build). So we had to hire a lawyer and a civil engineer to go for a variance. $$

 

We have to pay for the township's engineer to review our plans and the township's lawyer to challenge our lawyer (yes you heard it right we pay for both sides). $

 

Turns out the septic system doesn't meet the current codes and we have to replace that, civil engineer draws up that plan. $$$$

 

The lowest floor of the house has to be set above the flood plain. The government, FEMA, in their infinite wisdom, chose as their high water mark for our property a flood which occurred following a Northeaster, a hurricane and an earthquake which destroyed four eighty year old dams upstream of our property causing our yard to flood. This in my opinion is more of a five hundred year event and should not have been used as the mark. Turns out we can only build where our existing house is due to the Flood plain. So we have to rent (2) PODS at hundreds of dollars a month to empty our house into, and move into an extended stay hotel for 3-4 months at $4500 a month. I have to house my guitar collection with friends and family for the time, I also had to sell several guitars and amps to reduce how many things I was storing. $$$

 

The existing house had a basement 6 feet below the flood plain, so we had to demolish the house, and fill the hole with certified fill and have the compaction process reviewed by a certification lab. $

 

Because we are building a house instead of buying an existing house we are charged with a fee of 1.5% of the house's cost that goes towards low rent housing. $

 

We have to pay for building permits, zoning permits, demolition permits, inspections by the construction official -- This is an absolute crock of crap, inspectors know less than the contractors about what they are inspecting, the contractors have to follow all applicable codes anyway, if there is a problem and the inspector does not see it, the inspectors are not responsible the contractor is anyway. $$

 

Once the basement walls are set in place, the site has to be re-surveyed to certify for the township that the foundation is placed where the plans said it would be placed (I asked them if they pay to have this done, they said "We pay for nothing"). So out comes the civil engineer again, first to mark the site for the house, then again to verify it was built where it was marked once it's built. $

 

Since the garage is in the flood plain, instead of being able to tear it down and rebuild both the house and garage at the same time and save transportation costs and staging costs for equipment and personnel, we have to wait until after the house is completely finished then begin the process to allow us to raise the garage two feet. Which means go back to the lawyer and the civil engineer who has to show how adding 2000 square feet approximately two feet deep of fill will impact every property associated with 20 acre lake in the event of another flood! $$$

 

We thought that the basement walls were being built while the house was being demolished and the site was being raised to the new grade (about 3 weeks). Turns out the people building the basement walls won't start to build them until they have a photo of the signed construction permit. Our government office is only open two days a week to begin with and they were on vacation the week after we gave them the design documents needed for the permit. So we end up losing three more weeks that we have to add to the time in the extended stay hotel. $

 

Tens of thousands of dollars added to the cost of this building project because of government interference. Most of it stupid bureaucratic BS.

 

As for how that type of thing impacts Gibson, look back at the raid in 2009 on Gibson. They have to adhere to vague laws that reference hundreds of laws of other countries just to source materials. That must add to administration costs, legal fees, fines, import fees, storing and shipping, finding new sources, inspection fees and other stupid crap. This leads to them having to do more research and development for alternative materials and just generally impacts the quality or at least the perception of quality of the products (Richlite instead of ebony for instance).

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Indeed. Which is to say: if Gibson could charge for an Epiphone what they charge for a Gibson, they would. But the point is that it is the brand and not the materials which count for a significant proportion of the price. There are the US vs Chinese labour costs as well, of course. But fish glue is fish glue. We'll just pay more for Gibson fish glue than for Epiphone fish glue.

 

I am going to say this:

I tried an Epiphone ES 339 and then I tried the Gibson ES 339 the same day at the same store.

I am a very small female and the slightest weight increase is very obvious to me.

I have played my MIM Strat and a USA Strat and thought mine superior, so snobery here.

I did not go into the store thinking about how the Gibson would be way better, trust me.

 

End Result:

The Gibson ES 339 was way lighter weight than the Epiphpne.

They were both new so set up was stock.

The Gibson sounded better.

The Gibson felt and sounded superior. Namebrand be damned.

 

Do I think the Gibson ES 339 that is twice as good as the Epiphone? Yes.

Is the price twice as much? Yes.

 

Are prices for both not acceptable?

What does that even mean? Is the price fair?

People pay what they are willing to pay and if enough people are willing to pay $1,300 for a Gibson ES339 then those of us who can't afford it or who thin the price is nuts and will hold out for something else have a right to abstain. I have a friend who has an archtop Ibanez from the 90s that sounds great. He'd never trade for a Gibson ES 335. That Archtop was $400. I ain't paying $1,300 for a Gibson ever again. I'd rather get something less fancy set up right and not worry about breaking its neck. [-(

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There have been some very good observations shared on the topic asked in the OP, lots of different takes from personal experiences.Just thinking back to when I started playing and the difference in the marketplace. There has never been as many good guitars offered from as many sources. In the 60s there were no music mega stores where I lived, no chain outlets unless you count Sears or Montgomery Wards. The yearly production numbers of Gibson, Fender, Guild, Gretch and Rickenbacker in the 60s would not even fill the sales quotas for one major online dealer today, let alone all of the mom and pop shops around the world selling guitars. The invention of the CNC machine made these levels of production possible. But the quantity of quality raw materials has been a great challenge for all companies. You see it in the shrinking fretboards of instruments a few weeks out of the factory, cracks in fretboards and other problems caused by using wood that has not been naturally cured but forced to dry quickly in kilns. I watch a lot of factory tours online, the timeline from the time a tree is harvested to the time a piece of wood is used in making a guitar is much shorter today than 50 years ago. Along those lines the traditional woods used for guitars and other instruments has been either exhausted or protections have restricted their legal use, as a result builders are using other types if woods that really do not have a long history of use. We know what a 85 year old Gibson made with rosewood and spruce looks like, we don't know what a 50 year old Gibson made from saeple will look like. Maybe our expectations are too high, we want makers to build more units faster than ever before and to maintain the same quality of an era when they struggled to build a fraction of what they do today.

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I am going to say this:

I tried an Epiphone ES 339 and then I tried the Gibson ES 339 the same day at the same store.

I am a very small female and the slightest weight increase is very obvious to me.

I have played my MIM Strat and a USA Strat and thought mine superior, so snobery here.

I did not go into the store thinking about how the Gibson would be way better, trust me.

 

End Result:

The Gibson ES 339 was way lighter weight than the Epiphpne.

They were both new so set up was stock.

The Gibson sounded better.

The Gibson felt and sounded superior. Namebrand be damned.

 

Do I think the Gibson ES 339 that is twice as good as the Epiphone? Yes.

Is the price twice as much? Yes.

 

Are prices for both not acceptable?

What does that even mean? Is the price fair?

People pay what they are willing to pay and if enough people are willing to pay $1,300 for a Gibson ES339 then those of us who can't afford it or who thin the price is nuts and will hold out for something else have a right to abstain. I have a friend who has an archtop Ibanez from the 90s that sounds great. He'd never trade for a Gibson ES 335. That Archtop was $400. I ain't paying $1,300 for a Gibson ever again. I'd rather get something less fancy set up right and not worry about breaking its neck. [-(

 

That's all good news and fair enough.

 

My Gibson Howard Roberts is also far better sounding and feeling than my Korean Epiphone Casino. The Gibson was a very generous gift, and while that means that it has a special aura to it, it also means that I don't have a vested financial interest in it. So I judge it truly on feel and sound. The Epiphone I bought with my hard-earned gigging money, and so I always wanted it to be the best guitar ever. It just isn't. So I also have experience of a more expensive guitar being significantly better than a cheaper one.

 

But: both guitars are from the early '90s, and I'm alert to the fact that many Asian producers have been upping the quality of their product in the past decade (including a fantastic but very inexpensive Chinese-made mandolin I bought for my wife). The comparison I was making was between acoustic guitars made from the same materials and with roughly the same design. Unsurprisingly, they sound quite similar, but the price points are quite different.

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Then there's ole saying you get what you pay for

 

 

4H

 

 

except, it's completely worthless and untrue. especially in electric guitars. you don't get what you pay for. unless i'm missing something, and you can explain why

the Gibson Custom True Historic 1960 Les Paul Reissue Aged Vintage Cherry Sunburst, which costs CAD $15,510.30 is $13,415 better than the Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro IV Iced Tea which costs CAD $2,094.78

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except, it's completely worthless and untrue. especially in electric guitars. you don't get what you pay for. unless i'm missing something, and you can explain why

the Gibson Custom True Historic 1960 Les Paul Reissue Aged Vintage Cherry Sunburst, which costs CAD $15,510.30 is $13,415 better than the Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro IV Iced Tea which costs CAD $2,094.78

 

Resale value? Bragging rights? I mean, this is like comparing a very expensive non-jeweled watch ($5k) that keeps time the same way a cheaper watch ($200) keeps time. Some people want that fancy $5k watch. The person buying the expensive watch is getting what they pay for in the sense that they wanted to spend extra to have that special watch. The person who pays for the expensive watch wanting nothing more than an instrument to keep time is not getting their money's worth, however, and probably overpaid.

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Or (sometimes) Not! [tongue][crying]

 

CB

 

CB how many time have you seen a top touring band play jap guitars at a concert ? none

 

4H

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CB how many time have you seen a top touring band play jap guitars at a concert ? none

 

4H

 

Sorry to interject, but aren't most Ibanez MIJ? Gretsch too now. Lots of big names use them. I recently saw an Iron Maiden concert on YT and one of their guitarists was playing an Epiphone Black Beauty (made in China I assume). I've noticed more big name players using import guitars from time to time. Even the great Joe Pass used an Ibanez in the 80's. Just an observation.

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Sorry to interject, but aren't most Ibanez MIJ? Gretsch too now. Lots of big names use them. I recently saw an Iron Maiden concert on YT and one of their guitarists was playing an Epiphone Black Beauty (made in China I assume). I've noticed more big name players using import guitars from time to time. Even the great Joe Pass used an Ibanez in the 80's. Just an observation.

 

There are also a lot of metal bands (Metallica, Children of Bodom, Testament, Slayer, etc.) that play Japanese-made ESP guitars and/or basses.

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CB how many times have you seen a top touring band play Jap guitars at a concert ? none

 

4H

 

Well, thank you for your decision, to answer your own question! But, at least 3 I can think

of, right off the top of my "pointed little head!" U-2 (Sheraton) Fleet Foxes (Japanese Fender

Thinline Jaguar), Vampire Weekend (Sheraton), Daughter (at least, for awhile...I think they

still use, her "Dano" (bass) and other's, even though they've recently gone to Fender & Gibson's)

and, I suspect a LOT more than many folks realize, or even care! As mentioned earlier, some "Metal"

bands, use Japanese Ibanez, LTD's, or even Epi's. ("It ain't the guitar, it's the player!")

 

I've seen well known "blues players of both sexes, using Epiphone (Keb Mo, for one) and Ibanez,

etc., as well. Heck, there are some bands, that use old Harmonies, Dano's, Silvertone, etc.,

from back in the day...even if they were mostly MIUSA versions, they were/are hardly "Gibson's,

Fender's, Gretsch or Rickenbacker's. Yet, they do what their player's like, tonally. Their

guitar techs, do mention they need a LOT of "maintenance," but...that's not that unusual, even

for Gibson's and other higher dollar gear. But, they all use Great Sounding Amps!! Which, IMHO,

is far more important, than the cost or brand name, on a guitar head stock.

 

While my "Rant," if you like, may have seemed to be "trashing" Gibson's pricing, alone...that

was only ONE illustration, of a trend that has taken over most all "American" made products.

We (too often) pay more for even simpler, non-music related products, that are Made in USA,

than for their import versions, even with their import tariffs! And, I LOVE "Made in USA!"

But, some of us, retired, and/or on fixed incomes, cannot, or are finding it more difficult

by the day, to afford such "luxuries" as "Made In USA" seems to have become, anymore. If you

are working, at a great paying job, or are independently wealthy, or you get regular "cost of

living" increases, and just have "money to burn," it may be less of an issue, for you. So...

GO FOR IT!! Most (not all) workers pay, here, barely keep up with inflation, or the ever rising

"cost of living!" Many, do not! Which is why, in family households, BOTH parents, and often

some children of working age, ALL have jobs, at least "part time." That's especially true of

rural kids, but always has been.

 

So, constantly higher prices, across the board, DO negatively effect ALL of us, not just us

"Luxury Item" buyers. As many other's have done, and stated, I've gone to buying "used but

not abused" Gibby's and other MIUSA gear, as often as I can. I still drive my 2000 (17 year

old) Honda Accord Coupe, too! And, I (Still) LOVE it! So, yes, there are always ways around

the higher prices. But, it just reasons, that there will be a time, when prices will rise to

a level of diminishing returns. Maybe THEN, the companies will scale back prices, OR production,

and keep the "Elitist" mentality, of what they do produce, for those that can easily afford them.

 

Who knows?! No "Crystal Ball" in this house.

 

 

CB

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except, it's completely worthless and untrue. especially in electric guitars. you don't get what you pay for. unless i'm missing something, and you can explain why the Gibson Custom True Historic 1960 Les Paul Reissue Aged Vintage Cherry Sunburst, which costs CAD $15,510.30 is $13,415 better than the Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro IV Iced Tea which costs CAD $2,094.78

Resale value? Bragging rights? I mean, this is like comparing a very expensive non-jeweled watch ($5k) that keeps time the same way a cheaper watch ($200) keeps time. Some people want that fancy $5k watch. The person buying the expensive watch is getting what they pay for in the sense that they wanted to spend extra to have that special watch. The person who pays for the expensive watch wanting nothing more than an instrument to keep time is not getting their money's worth, however, and probably overpaid.

 

+1 Izzy. [thumbup]

Money is simply an invented liquid commodity traded to satisfy wants and needs. Since the ownership of a guitar is clearly a 'want' then what's better or worse and the degree of difference as it applies to cost is totally subjective to the buyer. To the non-guitarist the $2094.78 LP might appear an utter waste of $2094.78 as the $200 watch may to a blind person.

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This subject always perplexes me. My mind equates it to a person purchasing, say, an $800,000 home when a suitable property could be bought for $400,000. Buy what you want and, hopefully, can afford. Their money and they can do what they like with it. No harm to others nor is it anybody's business but the buyer. I don't know about others approach but my mind reaches a mental price point for products where I go, Nah! And my price point is different to that of others. It all works out in the end.

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i agree in that, if you earned your money you don't have to justify how you spend it. that wasn't my point at all.

saying that "you get what you pay" for" in this case isn't true. you don't get a phenomenally BETTER guitar. it may not even be incrementally better. there are valid reasons why one is more expensive than the other, but it is not a "get what you pay for" scenario. that suggests that the more expensive guitar is always the better instrument, when we all know that not to be the case. i'm not saying the true historic isn't really cool, or that it's not worth what they charge. i only use it as an example to illustrate that "you get what you pay for" does not apply in some scenarios.

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well AC, if you exclude personal preferences and wants/desires from the equation and focus only on materials and labour costs, it won't apply in most/all scenarios.

 

F'rinstance - say you must go and buy a T-shirt, and there are only 2 options, both identical materials and quality only one is emblazoned with BIEBER and the other with RUSH. The former costs $10 and the latter $20 and you can afford either. What ya gonna do? You get what you pay for, right?

 

[laugh]

 

not yanking your chain mate - its just an interesting topic and concept!

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well AC, if you exclude personal preferences and wants/desires from the equation and focus only on materials and labour costs, it won't apply in most/all scenarios.

 

F'rinstance - say you must go and buy a T-shirt, and there are only 2 options, both identical materials and quality only one is emblazoned with BIEBER and the other with RUSH. The former costs $10 and the latter $20 and you can afford either. What ya gonna do? You get what you pay for, right?

 

[laugh]

 

not yanking your chain mate - its just an interesting topic and concept!

 

In either case, I'd buy a magic marker as well and scrawl 'I hate' before the name of the act. Given that I could live my punk dream for half the price with the Bieber T, I guess I'd go for that, but it wouldn't be because I like Rush.

 

On the other hand, if my strategy were just to scrape the branding off the T, then I probably would pay double for the Rush one, because I'd have fewer letters to get rid of.

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This subject always perplexes me. My mind equates it to a person purchasing, say, an $800,000 home when a suitable property could be bought for $400,000. Buy what you want and, hopefully, can afford. Their money and they can do what they like with it. No harm to others nor is it anybody's business but the buyer. I don't know about others approach but my mind reaches a mental price point for products where I go, Nah! And my price point is different to that of others. It all works out in the end.

Good observation! That personal mental price point is something worth the trouble to cultivate and, once that's happened, likely won't correspond too closely with the next person's. The knee-jerk "THAT'S TOO MUCH" mentality, on the other hand, doesn't reflect much actual knowledge or logic.

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14519765_10210587499626636_6017226274585884233_n_zpsyypiweky.jpg

This Strat is a Modern Player Strat. I bought it used, but as new for £190. I've changed the pickguard, polished the frets etc. One day I had a go on a custom shop Strat at someone's house. I then drove home and got this Strat out and I can honestly say it felt as good to play. My point is, foreign makes are getting better and we keep hearing about faults on 'first world guitars'.

The bull**it factor is immense in Gibson/ Fender and if you look, there are great alternatives and a fraction of the price. E.g. The new Michael Kelly Strat/Teli range.

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Like Larry, I have a couple of cheap guitars (modified admittedly) that are certainly the equal of high end models in every respect.

Someone can still have a superb guitar for very little money.

 

 

As for price (other than the aforementioned CS & PS excesses) almost all electric guitars are cheap. Yes even the made in USA ones. If you doubt that, check out the cost of violins, trumpets, saxophones, cellos, etc.

 

If we all gave up guitar, and took up the bassoon, how many of those do you think we would collect? We are all fortunate that guitars are so popular.

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...almost all electric guitars are cheap......If you doubt that, check out the cost of violins, trumpets, saxophones, cellos, etc.

If we all gave up guitar, and took up the bassoon, how many of those do you think we would collect?...

Fancy a Harp (or even two), anyone? Price is at the bottom of the page...

 

msp_scared.gif

 

http://www.lyonhealy...ncert-grand.htm

 

Pip.

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Was shopping for a toggle switch plate (poker chip). On Gibson's website there is the "historic" washer for $34.99 plus the least expensive shipping option is another $13+. Scroll down a little there is a another washer (not historic, but still a plastic washer) for $4.99, but you still would pay over $13 to have it shipped. Shop elsewhere and I find the washer at Stew Mac for $1.84 (plus $6.95 to ship).

 

So it seems there is some excess profit taking when essentially the same item can range from $34.99 down to $1.84. Buyer beware.

 

Overall I think the biggest culprit is inflation. It is not that a guitar, or a car, or a house is worth 20X more than it was many years ago. It is that the dollar is worth 20X less.

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When discussing price there's always with Guitars,cars, or whatever the topic is MSRP.

MSRP is what it cost but there are several people that can give you a better price.

When selling used always consider MSRP when settling on a resale price.

Not the wholesale price you bought it for.

And in proportion to the final sale price the MSRP is not much more.

Say a historical washer at that price it's prices in proportion to what the guitar is worth. I'd just pay the extra and be happy I got what I wanted.

 

In other words they're not going to sell a switch washer for a $129000 guitar for $1.99!

You see now why they set the price at $34.99?

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Talk about profit margin?

Look what Gibson had to deal with when dozens of guitarists from the 60's/70's bought theirs at $300-$600usd then went off and used them to record records that made them millions!

And they sold these for just under $1000 and 50 years later some attorney pulled it out of his familys closet and sold it for $50000.

So I can't see how your accusing Gibson of stealing from you!

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