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When will korean guitars get the respect they deserve


krock

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Ive been checking out the build quality of Korean guitars for quite a while now and have come to the conclusion that they have improved immensely over the last few years in terms of build quality and playability. I was just wondering how long you guys think it will take for them to get the respect they deserve from the guitar community.

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Are you able to tell if a guitar is made in Korea, China or Indonesia

 

if there was no sticker on it ???

 

The cooking-oil aroma of Korean guitars is more garlicky than Indonesian-made guitars. Chinese guitars are more apt to smell of cigarette smoke. [This post is only semi-tongue-in-cheek. I once owned a very nice UnSung Epi Casino that must have been built very close to the factory wok! A Washburn hollow-body I owned was not nearly as nice, but also smelled "kitchen-like".]

 

J/W

[blink]

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yep, with the sticker on it.......

I can tell the difference. You'll just have to accept that.

 

I mean, if you can't tell the difference between finished frets and unfinished frets there could be a problem. Korea has a history of woodworking that shows in their instrument manufacturing.

 

And it is starting to be noticed, that's why Korea is getting more expensive to build in and why Epi(Gibson) and other USA companies are making their imports in Indochina.

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Guest farnsbarns

I can tell the difference. You'll just have to accept that.

 

I mean, if you can't tell the difference between finished frets and unfinished frets there could be a problem. Korea has a history of woodworking that shows in their instrument manufacturing.

 

And it is starting to be noticed, that's why Korea is getting more expensive to build in and why Epi(Gibson) and other USA companies are making their imports in Indochina.

 

I thought they were made in China?

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Most of the Epis are made at their own 2 factories in QingDao, China

 

some are still made at Unsung, Korea

 

the 'entry level' models are made in Indonesia

 

and the remaining Elitists are made in Japan

 

and a few are made in US

I was referring to all USA companies, and I should have said China and Indochina (for Squier). I brain farted and left China out. [blush]

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A builder here in Vancouver called Prestige Guitars ships Canadian wood to, they claim, one of the better Korean factories.

 

And then they finish off the build here with quality US hardware by Seymour Duncan, etc.

 

I’ve been to their showroom, played a few of their guitars; and they seem well built and sound good.

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Although I agree that Chinese guitars' quality has improved significantly over the past 5 years or so, I still see evidence of too-hasty work in the Epiphones I pick up to examine at the local music store. The most common fault I see is the end of the fingerboard, up near the neck pickup: on many guitars, the wood between the last fret and the end of the fingerboard has been planed cross-grain, and the plane was either not sharp enough, the cut too aggressive, or too-quickly executed. The result is that the wood is torn or splintered, rather than being cut cleanly. [On higher-priced instruments, a plane would typically not be the tool of choice. A sharp scraper would have been used instead to dress the binding material until it was flush with the fingerboard.]

 

Another very common fault is the too-generous application of cyanoacrylate glue to affix the frets. My experience in fretting and refretting guitars, basses, banjoes and mandolins has led me to believe that a careful job should not require anything more than a drop or two of glue on a few stubborn fret ends, where the tang is not holding 100%. Many of the Chinese Epiphones I play and examine show evidence of considerable fret gluing, which is not very subtly executed. The Korean-made guitars I have owned and played almost always have pristine fret work.

 

Sadly, I am also noticing the absence of the traditional kerfed furring strip in the Chinese Epiphone semis and hollowbodies I pick up. Peerless Epiphones exhibit traditional Gibson building techniques, and most of the time, when you put a mirror inside the instruments, the work is immaculate. In my opinion, UnSung Epis are a close second to those produced at the Peeless factory [which was originally a joint-venture between Peerless of Korea and Aria, of Japan].

 

To answer the OPs question: can I tell the difference between a Chinese versus a Korean-built guitar without the benefit of a sticker? If it's an Epi or something at a comparable price point, I would say yes, because there are many telltale "giveaways" similar to the ones I have mentioned above, if you know what you are looking for. But there are Chinese companies like the one that produces Eastman guitars that can give most European commercial luthieries a run for their money. I am not aware of any current Korean manufacturer that is able to hold a candle to the Chinese at the higher price point.

 

Again, this is just my $0.02/YMMV

 

J/W

[thumbup]

 

[i'll bet a farthing that Angellus will back me up on at least some of these points.]

 

 

 

 

 

[confused] ... what the HELL is a farthing?

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Jelly... back when a penny was worth something in England, a farthing was a quarter of a penny.

 

As for Korean vs. Chinese in terms of history of woodworking, both cultures have produced outstanding work. But as with everywhere else in the world, there always have been levels of quality at varying price tags. I doubt their world in that sense has changed that much from ours.

 

Oh - and right on about the Koreans wanting better paychecks. They do not care to be "third world" in any sense, have a good work ethic embedded in their culture, and emerged from colonization and warfare with an incredible desire as a group to transcend those difficulties.

 

The Chinese have had their own problems, but pretty much ditto.

 

Meanwhile, most of us "westerners" seem to have lost the will to achieve unless we see results next week. <sigh> Yeah, I said "most." Certainly not all of us are that way.

 

m

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Advice:

 

Don't buy guitars from on soils you can't reach on wheels.

 

 

Reality:

 

NEVER THEY WILL NEVER BE WORTH JACK SH*T SO JUST SPEND AN EXTRA 200 AND GET A GIBSON

 

So, um, our British members shouldn't be buying Gibsons ????????? [confused][flapper][scared][blink][sneaky] .......

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Guest farnsbarns

Although I agree that Chinese guitars' quality has improved significantly over the past 5 years or so, I still see evidence of too-hasty work in the Epiphones I pick up to examine at the local music store. The most common fault I see is the end of the fingerboard, up near the neck pickup: on many guitars, the wood between the last fret and the end of the fingerboard has been planed cross-grain, and the plane was either not sharp enough, the cut too aggressive, or too-quickly executed. The result is that the wood is torn or splintered, rather than being cut cleanly. [On higher-priced instruments, a plane would typically not be the tool of choice. A sharp scraper would have been used instead to dress the binding material until it was flush with the fingerboard.]

 

Another very common fault is the too-generous application of cyanoacrylate glue to affix the frets. My experience in fretting and refretting guitars, basses, banjoes and mandolins has led me to believe that a careful job should not require anything more than a drop or two of glue on a few stubborn fret ends, where the tang is not holding 100%. Many of the Chinese Epiphones I play and examine show evidence of considerable fret gluing, which is not very subtly executed. The Korean-made guitars I have owned and played almost always have pristine fret work.

 

Sadly, I am also noticing the absence of the traditional kerfed furring strip in the Chinese Epiphone semis and hollowbodies I pick up. Peerless Epiphones exhibit traditional Gibson building techniques, and most of the time, when you put a mirror inside the instruments, the work is immaculate. In my opinion, UnSung Epis are a close second to those produced at the Peeless factory [which was originally a joint-venture between Peerless of Korea and Aria, of Japan].

 

To answer the OPs question: can I tell the difference between a Chinese versus a Korean-built guitar without the benefit of a sticker? If it's an Epi or something at a comparable price point, I would say yes, because there are many telltale "giveaways" similar to the ones I have mentioned above, if you know what you are looking for. But there are Chinese companies like the one that produces Eastman guitars that can give most European commercial luthieries a run for their money. I am not aware of any current Korean manufacturer that is able to hold a candle to the Chinese at the higher price point.

 

Again, this is just my $0.02/YMMV

 

J/W

[thumbup]

 

[i'll bet a farthing that Angellus will back me up on at least some of these points.]

 

 

 

 

 

[confused] ... what the HELL is a farthing?

 

Christmas is coming

 

The goose is getting fat

 

Please put a penny in the old man's hat

 

If you haven't got a penny a farthing will do

 

If you haven't got a farthing then god bless you.

 

 

Just to put what M said in context!

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Besides our non U.S. members, there are also some U.S. citizens who don't live where they could drive a car to Nashville.

 

Anyway, I think if you're on this forum, the world economy has brought us far closer together in ways that once the north of England was tied to the south, and the western U.S. to the east.

 

In fact, even back in the 19th century, economic recessions already were international.

 

I think a musical instrument is worth only what it is as something to make music or as a work of art. Some guitars, such as some Gibsons, truly fit the "art" category - but frankly were weather to cause a twisted neck or otherwise such damage as makes one unplayable, I think the "art" is important although it's worthless as a musical instrument.

 

Some imported guitars may share the "art" value, some may not - but I think we've to wait some period of years before the jury is in on most. Even half a century is a very short time span.

 

m

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People decide what is "worthy," of respect. All industrialized

countries, have the capability of producing wonderful instruments.

Asia, or otherwise. There's a "snob" appeal, to Gibson's, as there

is to Martin, and even Rickenbacker, to an extent. That's largely

responsible, for the "respect," they command. I'm NOT saying, their

guitars don't deserve it...overall, they do! But, Asian, Candian, or

European guitars can be every bit as good, if not better, than anything

produced here. We don't want to hear that, or acknowledge it, but to

do otherwise, is foolish...IMHO. Actually, in a lot of ways, it's good,

that the other countries produce equal quality, and even superior quality,

as it keeps American companies, on their toes, and constantly striving to

not only "keep up," but even to (constantly try to) "set the bar."

Competition is good, among brands, and among countries, even among workers! [thumbup]

 

Addition: Epiphone/Gibson China, is a perfect example. Epiphone is

making more "Gibson" like guitars, in appointments, and spec's, all the

time. Constantly imporving their quality, and I think their "image/respect"

along with that. There was a direct effort, by Gibson, to do that, by building

the Qingdao facilities, to make ONLY Epiphones, instead of contracting

(solely) to other Asian manufacturers, entirely. Some, of couse, ARE still

contracted out, but...even so, the quality has constantly improved,

more often, than not. I think there is a good bit of friendly

competition, even within the Gibson/Epiphone lines. So...

 

 

 

CB

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Advice:

 

Don't buy guitars from on soils you can't reach on wheels.

 

 

Reality:

 

NEVER THEY WILL NEVER BE WORTH JACK SH*T SO JUST SPEND AN EXTRA 200 AND GET A GIBSON

 

taking into consideration the amount of mass production going on compared to the 60's and earlier, I don't think many modern guitars will become collector's items worth much money. Maybe the ones that are limited runs of 1000 or less or custom shop models; but certainly not the regular production ones cranked out at a rate of 2000 a month with no intent on stopping until people stop buying them.

 

Sure, a Gibson might hold it's value better than an Epi, but don't hold your breath that the Gibson USA model LP Standard you just paid $2000 for will be worth more than that in 30 years. You could get lucky, but part of what makes the LP Standards from the 50's so valuable is the fact there were only a few hundred made each year.

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There all doing much better work - However the issue is that I buy luxury goods from America companies whenever possible. So I probably won't ever buy a Korean made guitar no matter if the quality is equal to us built guitar. But in the same method I will whole hardily agree to buy only Korean made guitars If the moment that I decide to relocate and move to Korea and that becomes my economy I feel i need to support.

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"Asian made" guitars, by American owned companies, the larger profit is still with the American

company. So, one still supports the American company. Their overhead, is what's paid to the

Asian workers, or contractor company. I too, try to buy my "luxury" goods, from American

companies. Even so, with a lot of those "Luxury" items, all or parts of them, are still foreign

made. "Made In America" (only), is becoming increasingly difficult to find. But, of course,

not impossible. [smile]

 

As to what will be "Collectible"...that remains to be seen. Some items, (Yes, even old Japanese guitars)

are still "collectible," just because they are rare, nostalgic, and/or "old!"

 

CB

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Ive been checking out the build quality of Korean guitars for quite a while now and have come to the conclusion that they have improved immensely over the last few years in terms of build quality and playability. I was just wondering how long you guys think it will take for them to get the respect they deserve from the guitar community.

 

a lot of them are better than gibsons current offerings...

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