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Fender marketing and the guitar parts market


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So I was reading how before the early 80's there was virtually no guitar parts market.


Nowadays, you can make a custom guitar with non-original parts buying them from the comfort of your couch and at many different price points, Fender obviously is the most affected company given you can pick a body and pick a matching neck of your liking and they are more utilitarian guitars.


Some parts manufacturers are licensed by Fender and they pay royalties to Fender for selling their designs bodies and headstock but the vast majority do not pay Fender by simply adding variations to their designs.


Recently Fender tried to trademark their body designs but lost since the body styles have been around for more than 50 years, it looks like they were trying to get revenue from companies using their designs.


Now Fender is upping the quality and price of some of its Squier line which prices get closer to some Mexican made Fenders, prices have gone up in all of their lines of products and there are a lot more Amercan made expensive models.


How is the whole parts market affecting Fender do you think? they do enforce the sale and use of waterslide with their brand on it as much as they can, is that label on the headstcok la pièce de résistance for Fender?


What do you guys think? where will this head in the future?

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There was a parts market prior to the 1980s - but quite different from today. For example, there were quite a few sorts of "clamp-on" pickups for various styles of acoustic guitars. Everybody nowadays knows about soundhole pickups, of course, but ... I've even got a kinda "clamp on the strings behind the bridge and then run the pickup to where you want it thing that went onto acoustic archtops.


In fact, in ways there was just a burst of add-on pickup stuff as I recall, since there were a lot of nice acoustic guitars that guys wanted to electrify to play in newly-electrified bands.


There were tuning pegs of various sorts, bridges - all available even out here in the boonies. Quite a bit of the electronic side... I dunno. I think some of it was just packaged standard radio pots and other parts, etc.


But yeah, the thing about Fender is that it had bolt on necks which makes it easier to mess with that sorta stuff, mix and match and so forth. Add variations where there's a big pick guard with pickups screwed into it rather than the wood, and there are additional potentials for variation. Vibrato tailpieces of various sorts - even just "prettier" tailpieces were available as well as some of the cheapies that apparently got broken since I saw quite a few of 'em.


I wish I were somewhat more skilled at doing such things, cuz I'd love a Tele with a "Gibson-style" neck.


As it is I do well to do proper adjustments to such instruments.



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To add to the electrified guitar thing...


It's hard even for me to imagine <grin> but even PA systems are quite new, as in less than a century, anyway.


We had Cal Coolidge at the local rodeo in '27, and as I recall they brought in a PA system and "technicians" by train to run the thing. Prior to that, the announcer would often be riding on horseback along the grandstands with a megaphone to do his commentary.


Don't forget that sound movies were just coming in at the time, too, as tube technology began to be increasingly practical for everyday nonprofessional use in such as home radios that were just getting past the long antenna and crystal set tech that required no "electricity" in the sense of plugs or batteries.


The 30s were the heyday of an emerging tube technology, movies with sound, electric guitars and amplifiers, some wonderful commercial tube radios we'd still be "watching" in the 1950s when we came home from school since "television" was too expensive and the stations too far for decent reception in a pre-cable era.


In fact, it's on one of those "console radios" with multiple bands of frequencies that I first heard blues, the "real thing."


Imagine a radio with a big 12-15 inch speaker... Not much power in ways when one compares it to guitar amps of the 1950s, but you've gotta figure that the amp section in these things weren't much different from the early guitar amps.


Anyway... a lotta stuff was kinda different then.



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