Rampant Outsourcing Destroying Value?

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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Greed is spelled only one way and it's universal. Everyone is making $$$$$$$, specifications are so
iffy, if that isn't right, we'll send you a thousand more. The world is flat.
 

ReverendRevolver

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In my opinion it is not the outsourcing, that is the problem, but the companies trying to make bigger margins, while allowing quality to go down the drain.
Yup.
People are People, machines are machines. Better materials and better qc are more expensive that junk materials and poor qc, with little regard to the people or machines.

My local parts store stopped ordering Chinese parts, Korean stuff is the lowest end they use. Better QC, less cheapness in metals. Nothing else.
 

Festofish

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I’ve got a bunch of different imports and they’ve all been great. Sure some need some sort of replacement but most are very good. However I’d buy a new import other than an old import. It’s amazing what you can get for relatively low change. Im at the point that I want to down size and upgrade.
 

ChicknPickn

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I am starting to think it is a better idea to buy up those partcasters out there and tweak them a little to come away with really great guitars.
Once you do away with the "resale value" hobgoblin, you can build the guitar you want, rather than the guitar they dictate you have.
 

bottlenecker

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Once again I wasted too much time window shopping for the next guitar and once again I got disappointed by the level of outsourcing that goes along with the production. We have reached a time where all builders of guitars (at least I can't think of any exception) outsource parts, which is fine with me, but even the outsourced part is outsourcing so you end up with God knows what in the end.

You see the specs that tell you it comes with Grover tuners, great, I like Grover tuners. Then when you get it, you realize that although the tuners do say Grover, they are clearly an outsourced product bearing their name....which is not so good.

Go right down the line of the spec sheet and you can often find that to be the case for pickups, tuners, etc. leaving you really wondering if you are getting what is advertised? They all seem to be guilty of it these days in order to be price competitive, but I find it so shady.

Many don't realize that the Home Depot does similar thing with all the brands that they carry. They get the manufacturer to make small cost cutting changes to the product so that the store can advertise a lower price than their competition. Buy a Dewalt drill at Home Depot and take it apart sometime, you will find that it is different than any other Dewalt drill. It might just be a plastic internal part instead of metal or something, but the cost cutting measure is there and the buyer is left to believe that they are buying the same Dewalt drill as everyone else.

Our guitars are the same way....we get cheated in my view.

Are there still any brands out there that do not take part in such outsourcing practices yet can be affordable? Maybe this is the real value to partscasters and why they should actually hold greater value than they do? After-all, you are likely getting the hand-picked parts on the spec sheet without the knock off outsourced versions.

I am a fan of Godin and I know that they use their own lumber and their name is on the tuners and pickups, but I suspect they are all outsourced as well.

I am starting to think it is a better idea to buy up those partcasters out there and tweak them a little to come away with really great guitars.

What really bums me out is the lack of diversity and imagination in design. Pickups and bridges are almost always fender or gibson copies. It's not that hard to make a bridge, but no one wants to actually make anything.
 

notmyusualuserid

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What really bums me out is the lack of diversity and imagination in design. Pickups and bridges are almost always fender or gibson copies. It's not that hard to make a bridge, but no one wants to actually make anything.
Au contraire. Guitarists are conservative, they're suspicious of anything different. That's why you get Fender and Gibson copies.
 

bottlenecker

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Au contraire. Guitarists are conservative, they're suspicious of anything different. That's why you get Fender and Gibson copies.

Sure, but they also want Gretsch. And Gretsch sells guitars with Gibson style bridges, and even Gibson-sized poor imitations of Gretsch's own pickups. It's just the cheapest thing they can grab off the aftermarket because they're made in the most quantity.

That's just one example, because I'm not really talking about Fender and Gibson style guitars, I'm talking about all the other guitars that are built from the parts bin.

These are aesthetic tools, so we don't need innovation, but we do need imagination, and more sounds to choose from.
 

notmyusualuserid

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Sure, but they also want Gretsch. And Gretsch sells guitars with Gibson style bridges, and even Gibson-sized poor imitations of Gretsch's own pickups. It's just the cheapest thing they can grab off the aftermarket because they're made in the most quantity.

That's just one example, because I'm not really talking about Fender and Gibson style guitars, I'm talking about all the other guitars that are built from the parts bin.

These are aesthetic tools, so we don't need innovation, but we do need imagination, and more sounds to choose from.
In my experience, a guitar sounds how the player makes it sound. Why do we need more sounds?
 

telepraise

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re: the OP's rant above Grover tuners, while Grover may have originally been an American company, their tuners have been made in China for a long time. When I looked at rotomatics on Amazon a while back, they were $55 a set which is what I was expecting to play. I scrolled a page or two further and found Rotomatics for $17 a set ?!? The castings looked rougher, obviously knock-offs. Gotoh's top of the line 510's (great machines) are made in Japan, it's stamped right on the casing. Lower series are made in China.

It's been 5 years or so since my last partscaster and it came in around $650. That's with me building the body and doing all my own finishing but using quality pickups, pots, swtches and jacks. It's easy to see how a company using American labor and parts would have to triple that price to stay in business. I consider Fender's Player series to be a good compromise.
 

BelindasShadow

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A guitar company is not going to mine copper for wire, make screws or gears, do loads of metal casting, formulate and manufacture plastics and paints in endless shades.. virtually everything comes from the specialist supply chains. Some good and high quality, some cheap and nasty.

Maximising profit IS the game.

The ultimate game, one might say.
 

boris bubbanov

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A guitar company is not going to mine copper for wire, make screws or gears, do loads of metal casting, formulate and manufacture plastics and paints in endless shades.. virtually everything comes from the specialist supply chains. Some good and high quality, some cheap and nasty.

Maximising profit IS the game.
I agree, except that in some cases, the objective for now is market share. At least for now. And, I've got one of these Honda S-2000s and I doubt Honda made a nickel on any of those cars. They were massaging their image. And so, profit is the primary, the end objective, but there are different passages to that end.
 

schmee

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Well.... I imagine tuners were always outsourced. But the trouble is when they go to the low bidder. Your iPhone is a high quality item made in China. The buyer MUST specify a high and exact expectation!

I have some Gotoh tuners that are identical to ones which came on a Chinese guitar... except no Gotoh logo on them. I bought the identical Gotoh's to fit the holes etc and to "upgrade". Haha. The actual Gotoh's are at best the same, possibly looser.
 

NC E30

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The OP appears to believe that because something is outsourced it’s automatically lesser quality. I don’t care where some this made as long as it’s a quality product. As long as the tech specs are met I don’t care where something is from.
While overseas companies can build to a quality standard, to make outsourcing worth it, they need to make it even cheaper. Thus where the assumption of it being outsourced means it is lesser quality.

Interesting conversations going on in this thread, like does it really need to be better quality to get the job done? In reference to the OP, if I'm paying for better quality, then I want to receive better quality. A company sticking their name on a lower quality part and selling on just their reputation cheapens the entire brand.
 

bottlenecker

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I disagree with a whole lot of posts here. This is a golden age for guitars and parts. Competition has improved products at the low and high end. There's far more to choose from in addition to better stuff available for all budgets.

You could make this argument for furniture store art, and you'd be right. It just depends what you value. Efficiency and consistency, or imagination.
 

imwjl

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You could make this argument for furniture store art, and you'd be right. It just depends what you value. Efficiency and consistency, or imagination.
I'm not understanding that. Maybe my age is important for context.

Sticking to guitars, modestly and high priced choices are far better now than in times past. Quality of modestly priced stuff is much better. Adjusted for inflation, lots of current product match up to and even beat the pricing for days of old.

I believe I already pointed out a 10 or so year difference in Squier models, and great Korean made guitar stuff has come along. Martins that I know fairly well have better tuners than some of the same models had in the 1970s and 80s.
 

OmegaWoods

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If all guitars cost $5000 and were made by the neighborhood luthier, we'd complain about the cost and relative unavailability. I, for one, am thrilled to be able to buy a playable guitar for $200, a nice guitar for $1000, a really nice, lifetime guitar for $2700 and a top-shelf stunner for $5000. Some of these are made more by machines and some more by hand. Some in far-away lands and some nearer to home. Some have top-shelf components and some don't by varying degrees. My point is that today, more than ever before in history, almost anyone who wants to play is not boxed out of the market by price.

Knowing that there are a range of levels of manufacturing quality, licensing arrangements and branded and re-branded everything is just part of what we have to factor in as savvy buyers. For me, I'd rather do more homework and find the best value-for-money for me than be starved for choice.
 




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