Reason to Buy More Expensive Fender

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by RoCkstAr256, Feb 4, 2020.

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  1. BFcaster

    BFcaster Tele-Meister

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    DISCLAIMER- Okay, watched the video, starting reading...saw that there was 11 pages, so skipped ahead.
    First thing I noticed was the HB had what looked like a stainless saddle, not brass like the Fender. That'll affect your sound, I think we can all agree on that.
    Second thing- was either stock out of the box, or had each been set up (truss rod, action string changes, intonation. etc.)
    Third thing, again after skipping ahead so sorry if anyone mentioned this, the pickups. If those are HB/Chinese Tele pups then wow! IMHO, those DO sound just as good as stock Fender pups.
    Maybe the review should have been about them?
     
  2. VerySlowHand

    VerySlowHand Tele-Holic

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    For me, what this boils down to is: you buy a more expensive Fender because you can.
     
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  3. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    Expensive guitar better than cheap guitar - no clicks

    Cheap guitar better than expensive guitar - clicks

    Anyone think these guys don't have an agenda?

    Today's technology - you can manipulate anything to achieve your own agenda.
     
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  4. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    It's not Xenophobia but it's something... I'm not sure what I would call it but I feel good when I look on the back on my amp and it says 'Made in England" so I understand it. It's totally irrational though as I know that isn't what makes my amp sound good.

    It does kind of bother me a little when Americans use 'import' as a synonym for 'lesser quality' though. A US made Fender is an 'import guitar' to me and millions of others around the world.... and nobody seems to mind have German made Schaller or Japanese Gotoh parts, so it feels a bit disingenuous and a little bit 'USA is best' sometimes.
     
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  5. Nashville-tele-19

    Nashville-tele-19 TDPRI Member

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    A guitar is worth what someone is willing to pay for it ;) nothing more or less.
     
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  6. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    A lot of it is the presumptuous belief that a worker making a wage below the industry standard in America is taking his or her work less seriously. The notion that American labor is inherently better is asinine. It's all about how much minute differences are worth to you.

     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
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  7. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah .. but with regards to assumtions. My beef is with the assumption is that an equal amount of work goes into the MIM guitar as the MIA and that difference is only due to labor cost/labor skill.

    Which is not true .. I have no issue agreeing that the MIM would probably be as good as the more expensive US counterpart if labor time and hardware quality was equal, but it isn't, which is why the MIM are lesser guitars (and cheaper)

    But you're right that made in Mexico/made in US in principle don't mean **** .. In practice it's a proxy saying less hours/lesser hardware
     
  8. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    The fact is for the vast majority of these products the American worker is given more time and a higher quality target.
    Companies outsource for the lowest price.
     
  9. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Friend of Leo's

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    I play a somewhat expensive Fender AV Telecaster through boutique amps (stereo) for the same reason I wear a Rolex, drive a vintage Porsche, and live right on the ocean in SoCal.

    I only have this life and I've worked hard to have nice things.
     
  10. VerySlowHand

    VerySlowHand Tele-Holic

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    That doesn't make sense. I get that better parts can demand a higher price, but your logic goes on to suggest that if the same guitar were made by better paid labour, taking the same number of hours as cheaper labour, it would be a better guitar. In a global economy, wages do not necessarily equate to the quality of the workforce.

    You could argue the opposite. Better paid labour creates pressure to ensure high productivity, whereas lower productivity is less costly in a cheap labour force. Therefore, a job is as likely (or even more likely) to be done badly, under pressure of time, in a high wage economy, as it is to be done to a lesser quality in a low wage economy.

    I doubt that a guitar made by American workers is any better than one made in Mexico, until you get to Custom Shop specs. That's why, to my mind, an American Performer is poor value compared to a Mexican-made Vintera.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  11. VerySlowHand

    VerySlowHand Tele-Holic

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    No. They outsource to get the best quality at the right. There's a difference. The main one being that they can't afford the reputational damage that a lesser quality product would inflict on the brand. With Fender, they continue to manufacture in the USA because they know there's a strong market (in the USA) for a home-made instrument - that's the brand's heritage and future. I don't think that kind of loyalty to country of origin is as strong anywhere else in the world. I'm not knocking it - I should find it uncomfortable that the Germans own the Mini and Rolls Royce brands, but then I run a Merc, a Porsche and a BMW.
     
  12. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    A lot of you guys are still focusing on labor skills. The MIM guitars I've had were assembled just fine, I've never had a beef with the workmanship.

    But to make them less expensive, they have to use cheaper materials, cheaper components and do not allow the workers to spend as much time in finishing and fitting. They have to cut some corners.

    Get it? It's not that Mexican labor is bad, it's likely a lot of the same folks who assemble MIA guitars. Those guitars have to be designed and assembled in such a way to be cheaper, so that the're cheaper to the buying public. It's part of the whole concept.
     
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  13. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    Fender moved production of CV Squiers, which have a stellar reputation for quality on the internet, to Indonesia.
    This is price driven.
     
  14. lstdukestking

    lstdukestking Tele-Meister

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    If it sounds good, you like it, can afford it, buy it.
     
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  15. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    The best components, best pieces of wood, and most attention to detail go into the American guitars.

    That doesn’t mean the others are bad. My #1 guitar, the one I go to first, the one that will be with me until the day I die is a poplar ‘91 MIM Tele. It’s the one I grew up with and learned how to play on. It’s the only one of like fifteen guitars I won’t get rid of. But, I won’t pretend it’s a better guitar than its US counterpart.
     
  16. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    the question weighted, somebody has their finger on the scale, or Buy the expensive fender or buy the G&L?
    ( substitute any other manufacturers name)
    Here generally there is an implicit assumption when it comes to talking about gear that we have a share ability to recognize the difference ( it could be part of a talent stutic game: more discerning than you...) I am not gifted with the skills to analyze sound and actual recognize the difference between a C.S Tele and a $400.00 Squire Tele.
    should I feel the need to buy more than I can utilize? what are my playing Skills, Will the Squier impede my ability to learn theory, will it stop me from telling one chord from another , can I learn to travis picking on the Squier?
    Form follows function:cool: maybe.
    I am not Segovia, Tosin Abasi, Ry Cooder or Henry Kaiser. I am not at that level of physical skills or theoretical understanding

    where am I at and what do I need to enjoy learning and playing
    will the difference between guitar A,B, or C and amp 1,2, or 3 be able to be heard in a metal band, a lounge band playing jazz standards, or dirty-ass rock and rollin a noisy formerly smoke filled bar.

    I follow my own advice and play what I like in my budget range and Don't Expect a Squier Telecaster to sound Like a vintage Gibson Byrdland.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  17. VerySlowHand

    VerySlowHand Tele-Holic

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    Sorry, but that's just plain wrong. :lol: If a guitar could be made cheaper in the USA simply by using cheaper materials/components, why would Fender not do it? I'll tell you...

    Mexican labour is cheaper (not less skilled) than US labour and the cost of running a factory in Mexico (skilled labour, administration, business rates, cost of real estate, FTAs, etc etc) is massively less than it is in the USA - this is where the savings are. My guess is that this alone reduces production costs by 50% vs made in the USA.

    As for components. Materials cost next to nothing in the quantities that Fender buy them and those costs are much less than labour anyway, as we're not talking about a highly automated process here. As for giving workers less time to make a guitar... nah, sorry.. they could allow Mexican workers MORE time to make a guitar and it'd still be cheaper to produce than in the USA.
     
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  18. kodiakblair

    kodiakblair Tele-Meister

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    You're bang on the money there.

    I buy maple neck blanks from a place in Glasgow,they cost me £11. The trees have been felled in North America, milled then shipped over the Atlantic to a merchant. Every step adds it's mark up yet I'm only paying £11. Big companies are buying direct from the mills.

    Shop around for CTS pots you maybe find them for £5 each but buy in bulk you'll get them for pennies. Here's an example Mouser UK charge £4.05 for 1 CTS 250k pot,buy 250 and the price drops to £2.41. FMIC are using 10's of 1000s of them every year,probably paying £0.50 each.
     
  19. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Starting with the ideas that there are no (or few) bad Fender designs and production guitars are reasonably well made, the question becomes, "What do you get by spending more?"

    The answer is really pretty simple. You get better hardware as you go up in price, but that levels off at about $1500. You generally get a better finish, but that levels off for poly at $1000. You get better electronics. This one really doesn't level off because there are CS pickups not available apart from CS builds. You don't seem to get better switches and pots once you reach MIA but a little more put into the guitar gets you better containment of the wiring. I don't consider a discussion of pickups apart from CS pickups to be relevant. They're easy enough to switch out. The same goes for necks and tuners. This is where the questions change. Do you get more by giving more money to Fender or by modifying the guitar you buy either by yourself of by having a skilled technician do it?

    There appears to be more attention to getting the small things right as you go up in price. Ultra seems to me to be very well executed. They come with upgrades like a compound radius neck that may or may not be important to you. CS? That's double the MIA price or more, not because of the base price, but because how the price of those extra cost options adds up. Masterbuilt and Josephina wound pickups can raise the price to stratospheric levels.

    My opinion, and it's only that. I have MIM, MIA, and Fender CS guitars. I love them all. I modified my MIM. The pickups are N4 noiseless which I like. I also bolstered the shielding. I upgraded my MIA Strat. Hardware is definitely a grade above my MIM Telecaster. The pickups I upgraded to are better for me but not necessarily "better". I haven't touched my CS Strat. There's nothing that's not exactly as it should be. Fit and finish are excellent. The CS'69 pickups are amazing. Noise and hum are barely audible. I don't know how Fender does it. The guitar came set up for rock but was easy to adjust to my personal taste. I realigned the neck so I wouldn't be pulling the high E string off of it. Rolled fretboard edges and properly finished and polished frets actually exacerbated that technical flaw in my playing. I reduced relief a drop for playability. These are not complaints. They're part of a setup that needs to be done to personalize any instrument.

    So with guitars costing from $400 used to $4000, do I think you get more by spending more? It it worth it? For me, yes. I can't make that value judgement for others. A skilled builder should be able to produce a CS level guitar for a lot less, but the folks who work in CS need to be paid well. I didn't do any damage modifying my guitars that's visible with the pickguard and control plate in place. The guitars I worked on are personalized for sure, but they've not been brought up a level by any means. Before I got the CS Strat, I thought CS guitars were just partscasters made in Corona. I know how wrong I was now. And lucky for me, I didn't have to shell out $4K for my CS Strat. I won it at a Fender CS event at Music Zoo. I posted about it last November.
     
  20. 50hz

    50hz TDPRI Member

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    I've played cheap guitars into cheap amps my whole life. Last year I bought a Nocaster with plans to just flip it [I got it for VERY cheap] but that giant neck is so comfy I can't bring myself to part with it just yet. So instead I sold 3 of my MIM Fenders to make room for it. I don't miss any of them and my net spend is practically nothing. Additionally, I just picked up an AV '52 for well below the average rate, and it feels and sounds amazing so my last MIM Fender [a Jaguar] is on the chopping block now. That leaves me with 2 very nice guitars which would have otherwise been 4 perfectly decent, but less inspiring guitars. I'm content to have less if I enjoy them significantly more. And I still play them into old solid state amps lol.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
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