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#1
As we all know a lot of the low and mid tier guitars are made in Korea, Indonesia, China, Japan (though I think Japanese made guitars are of fine quality).

Now this "made in China" thing bothers me... you hear that and instantly you think "oh can't be too good"... and you look at the sticky and you see the word Chinese jump out at you in warning.

Am I just being paranoid? Are all Chinese made guitars going to be a dodgy purchase or inferior to, say Korean made?

I was looking at the Epiphone 1984 Explorer... now it seems to have the traits of a good-class guitar... active EMGs, Grover tuners, mahogany neck/body, neck-thru, TOM bridge, costs about $600 I think - standards you'd expect on a good guitar but it's made in China.


I'm not asking for an alternative recommendation to this guitar, just if you have had any experiences (or heard anything) about Chinese produced guitars AND if you think the Chinese are capable of making quality guitars on par with Korea, Japan, etc.


Have a good weekend!
#2
the majority of the bad chinese made guitars are bad because they are basically a bottom of the line product from a company outside of china who has them manufactured in china because it's cheap to do so and things can be manufactured in large quantities very quickly there, as a result of how over-populated china is - it's not because china is crap at producing guitars.

the quality is only going to be as good as these companies that are out-sourcing to china expect of the factories they are using, basically - if they get asked to make crap they'll make crap.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
Last edited by Blompcube at Jul 15, 2011,
#3
Correct. The Chinese people do not have a genetic condition that causes them to make bad guitars. If you gave a bunch of American workers the same crap materials and the same crap training and then paid them so little they didn't care about the outcome of their work, the guitars would turn out just as bad.
#4
Where a guitar is made doesn't have to do with the quality. It depends on the company and how good they want the guitar to be. A Chinese guitar can be great if the companies allow it. When a company outsources to China, it's usually to produce a high amount of guitars for a cheap price. If that's their goal, they're not going to be very good quality. But they also make some great quality guitars, just look at the Ibanez Chinese customs. Not all Japanese guitars are great and not all Korean guitars are great. It depends on the company really. Ibanez and ESP are Japanese companies so they're going to make their best guitars in Japan. Jackson and Fender are American companies but they outsource to Japan. They're not going to make you the best guitar possible because that's what their American lines are for. The American guitars get the best materials when it comes to Fender and Jackson while the best wood are in Japanese ESPs and Ibanezes The companies determine how much love and care goes into crafting a guitar. Jackson might say that workers can spend an hour on each guitar but Ibanez might tell them they can spend two. But Epiphones aren't really that good.
#5
I've got an old Squier strat made in China which seems to be decent enough. The pickups aren't particularly great but the guitar itself is solid (and the body is a rather sexy piece of ash).

QC tends to be the downfall of some Chinese made guitars, but there's still some fantastic ones to be found. The best way to judge a guitar is just to try it without taking into consideration where it's made.

Oh, and some shocking guitars came from Japan during the late 60's / early 70's..
Last edited by JustPhil at Jul 15, 2011,
#7
Quote by Black Hazard
The Japanese do not make low end guitars...

One word: Caparison.



The Japs make the best non-custom guitars hands down in my opinion.
#8
Quote by JustPhil
Oh, and some shocking guitars came from Japan during the late 60's / early 70's..

yep, there used to be the same stigma associated with "made in japan", until the late '70s when japanese companies started putting the likes of gibson and fender to shame, making copies of their guitars that were better than what gibson and fender were making at the time.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#9
Quote by Blompcube
the majority of the bad chinese made guitars are bad because they are basically a bottom of the line product from a company outside of china who has them manufactured in china because it's cheap to do so and things can be manufactured in large quantities very quickly there, as a result of how over-populated china is - it's not because china is crap at producing guitars.

the quality is only going to be as good as these companies that are out-sourcing to china expect of the factories they are using, basically - if they get asked to make crap they'll make crap.


exactly.

actually i've tried several guitars recently from china which were pretty nice. i picked up a lag jet 500 recently (for a steal ) and it's really very nice indeed. it's maybe not quite at MIJ ibanez prestige levels, but it's not far off either (and considering i got it at beginner guitar prices... ).

that'd be an example of a chinese guitar where, while still being made to a price, they're actually trying to make a good guitar at the same time.

that's not to say you won't get crap chinese-made guitars.

I have a korean-made fretking which is really very nice too- put it up against a japanese-made guitar and you'd struggle to tell the difference.

but i've also tried loads of meh korean-made guitars too.

it just depends.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#10
What the sticky really is referencing is the cheap Chinese "rip-offs" of more expensive guitar companies.
For example, seeing a Gibson Les Paul Custom for $300, probably not going to be real.
But licenced companies like Epiphone, Cort, Squire, etc can produce good quality instruments for reasonable prices.
So short answer is no, not everything from China is made awfully (if you buy smart and go with trusted brands), however there is a lot of awfully made gear in China.
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#11
oh that sticky. i thought he meant the info sticky I was wondering as i didn't remember writing anything about country of manufacture

yeah those fakes are a whole different kettle of fish.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#12
the squire classic vibe guitars and basses are made in china i think, and they're great for the money.
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#13
Not all chinese guitars are junk. The counterfeit guitars out of China are junk, but most of the legit brands made there turn out ok. Chinese Fenders are fine (and by Fenders I mean Squiers, Jacksons, and Gretschs, along with any other Fender owned brands I may have forgotten,) Epiphones are fine too. JELIFISH19's comment is purely subjective in that respect and therefore is impossible to substantiate.
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#14
Now that I re-read my post it seems I've got some hardcore anti-Sino sentiment. Didn't mean it like that. I've just never really experienced China as being a country known for its high quality goods. I've no doubts that the Chinese can be technological masters if they want.


So, focusing on the case example with this Epiphone Explorer I posted in my first post. Would that be of good quality do you think?
Are there quality-focused factories in China?

Hope nobody on here is Chinese btw. Don't be offended please!
#15
gota give credit where credits due,they can probably copy a gibson better than gibson can,they can copy anything well.
#16
Quote by Dave_Mc
exactly.

actually i've tried several guitars recently from china which were pretty nice. i picked up a lag jet 500 recently (for a steal ) and it's really very nice indeed. it's maybe not quite at MIJ ibanez prestige levels, but it's not far off either (and considering i got it at beginner guitar prices... ).

that'd be an example of a chinese guitar where, while still being made to a price, they're actually trying to make a good guitar at the same time.

that's not to say you won't get crap chinese-made guitars.

I have a korean-made fretking which is really very nice too- put it up against a japanese-made guitar and you'd struggle to tell the difference.

but i've also tried loads of meh korean-made guitars too.

it just depends.


Exactly. I'd dare anybody to find the flaws in my MIK Prestige S that would make a difference between a MIJ one. It's not the country of origin, it's the company of origin. If they're willing to make a good quality guitar in China, they will. The only reason crap comes out of China is because it's the best way to make a cheap, and subsequently crap, guitar, so it's no surprise. Just be smart about the purchase and do your research and remember the golden rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...
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#17
I think with a made in China guitar, you'll probably want to try it out in person if you can. The QC is pretty sketchy, but there are some good guitars that come out of there. I bought a 200 series LTD that is made in China and it rocks. It needed a good setup and it had one fret that was slightly high, but I took care of it and ended up with a really sweet guitar for $300.
#18
Quote by Dave_Mc
I have a korean-made fretking which is really very nice too- put it up against a japanese-made guitar and you'd struggle to tell the difference.

yay, someone mentioned fret king

i have an esprit III - it's a very nice guitar, but it will play so much better once i get round to taking it to a tech to have the saddles slotted - they aren't slotted at all

having said that, it's not too bad to play now even with un-slotted saddles

Quote by austhrax
gota give credit where credits due,they can probably copy a gibson better than gibson can,they can copy anything well.

i have a chinese-made burny SG that i think would give a new gibson SG standard a run for it's money - build quality isn't quite there, but i actually like the sound better than any new gibson SG i tried. lots of people ask me "have you put some original PAFs in that guitar or something?"
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
Last edited by Blompcube at Jul 15, 2011,
#19
Quote by Akula KO
Now that I re-read my post it seems I've got some hardcore anti-Sino sentiment. Didn't mean it like that. I've just never really experienced China as being a country known for its high quality goods. I've no doubts that the Chinese can be technological masters if they want.


So, focusing on the case example with this Epiphone Explorer I posted in my first post. Would that be of good quality do you think?
Are there quality-focused factories in China?

Hope nobody on here is Chinese btw. Don't be offended please!



my brother lives and works in Beijing. he has visited a few guitar factories and assures me that they aren't staffed by children or some peasant farmer from the country the biggest problem with chinese factories is that they just don't really know how to deal with a free market. the government used to run quality control and now they don't (for the most part). as mentioned the factories that make "brand" guitars for overseas companies have staff from those companies keeping an eye on things. there are also some new smaller companies that make reaqlly nice guitars like the maker of Vineyard guitars.
Agile is another example of a decent guitar from china
#20
Toys and VCR's are made in China. Not a real musical instrument.
I've had repetitive bad luck and flaws from any Chinese made guitar I've ever had, and I've had around 50 in the almost 5 years I've played.
Do not pay more than $300 for a guitar made in China.
Shoot, don't even pay more than $200, since you can find great Korean made stuff from the 80's on Ebay and in pawn shops, if you're lucky.
That's one thing I don't like these days. The guitars and the music. Ironically enough, they were both better back in the 80's and 90's, lol.
Cusp of Magic
#21
Quote by Chaos-Serenade
Toys and VCR's are made in China. Not a real musical instrument.
I've had repetitive bad luck and flaws from any Chinese made guitar I've ever had, and I've had around 50 in the almost 5 years I've played.
Do not pay more than $300 for a guitar made in China.
Shoot, don't even pay more than $200, since you can find great Korean made stuff from the 80's on Ebay and in pawn shops, if you're lucky.
That's one thing I don't like these days. The guitars and the music. Ironically enough, they were both better back in the 80's and 90's, lol.


are you sure it's the guitars? seems like you'd have to find a couple of gems if you wnet through 50 guitars.
#22
I had the pleasure of playing a friend's Eastman John Pisano signature archtop, and I was blown away. I'll probably want one for the rest of my life, but at $2500 or more I just don't see this happening. Oh, and Eastman guitars are made in China.

So as always, you get what you pay for. If you're willing to pay a highly skilled and experienced luthier to spend months of his life building you a guitar, even if he's in China, you pay for this.
#23
Quote by Chaos-Serenade
Toys and VCR's are made in China. Not a real musical instrument.
I've had repetitive bad luck and flaws from any Chinese made guitar I've ever had, and I've had around 50 in the almost 5 years I've played.
Do not pay more than $300 for a guitar made in China.
Shoot, don't even pay more than $200, since you can find great Korean made stuff from the 80's on Ebay and in pawn shops, if you're lucky.
That's one thing I don't like these days. The guitars and the music. Ironically enough, they were both better back in the 80's and 90's, lol.


What do toys and VCR's have to do with musical instruments? Just because they're both made in the same country doesn't mean ones quality is going to falter. A lot of amazing quality gear for affordable prices comes out of China, just look at the Epiphone range, Squier CV range.
There's nothing wrong with buying even a $500 Chinese made guitar if you're a smart buyer and you go with trusted brands.
And being ambiguous about your bad luck doesn't help, which guitars did you buy?
And i'm sorry but music from the 90's is awful.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#24
Well, Chinese made guitars are usually low end, I have a Gio that was made in China, and when I got it there were some knicks in the higher frets that caused notes to die off, but eventually after months of practicing, the knicks wore of as the frets wore down.
#25
I only buy used guitars. I'm amazed by the quality of a used Chinese made Ibanez SZ520 I recenly bought. Incredible craftsmanship.

A buddy recently got a fake Gibson Les Paul silverburst custom delivered to the door for $216. Wow! what an improvement over the fakes of just two years ago. What a gorgeous axe and it plays real smooth. Gonna get me one...break my 40 year span of not buyng new guitars.
Last edited by Pocopot at Jul 16, 2011,
#27
I've played a Tanglewood Les Paul copy that slayed Korean Epiphones worth twice as much as it.
Very solid guitars.
Obviously not all Chinese guitars will be great, but to say they are all bad isn't true either.
#28
China makes almost half of the world's guitars. There are hundreds of guitar factories. Saying China makes lousy guitars is like saying the USA makes lousy beer...what beer are you talking about? One can't generalize.
#29
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Japan the "China"(ie outsourced cheap guitar) in the 70s or 80s?

If that is the case, then it directly shows the amount of talent and skill, as well as work ethic, the Japanese possess, and the lack of it on China's part.

I know it's a different day and age, and different circumstances. But I wonder if people expected the Japanese to put out the awesome guitars they(eventually) started to make, or if they just figured it was cheap labor and you get what you pay for.
#30
Quote by Chaos-Serenade
Toys and VCR's are made in China. Not a real musical instrument.
I've had repetitive bad luck and flaws from any Chinese made guitar I've ever had, and I've had around 50 in the almost 5 years I've played.
Do not pay more than $300 for a guitar made in China.
Shoot, don't even pay more than $200, since you can find great Korean made stuff from the 80's on Ebay and in pawn shops, if you're lucky.
That's one thing I don't like these days. The guitars and the music. Ironically enough, they were both better back in the 80's and 90's, lol.

VCRs???I'm sorry are you a time traveller from 1982?
Actually called Mark!

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#32
Quote by Krauser
Exactly. I'd dare anybody to find the flaws in my MIK Prestige S that would make a difference between a MIJ one. It's not the country of origin, it's the company of origin. If they're willing to make a good quality guitar in China, they will. The only reason crap comes out of China is because it's the best way to make a cheap, and subsequently crap, guitar, so it's no surprise. Just be smart about the purchase and do your research and remember the golden rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...




Quote by Blompcube
yay, someone mentioned fret king

i have an esprit III - it's a very nice guitar, but it will play so much better once i get round to taking it to a tech to have the saddles slotted - they aren't slotted at all

having said that, it's not too bad to play now even with un-slotted saddles


wow that's weird that they're not slotted. I thought the hardware on the fretkings was all MIJ Gotoh?



Quote by Chaos-Serenade
Toys and VCR's are made in China. Not a real musical instrument.
I've had repetitive bad luck and flaws from any Chinese made guitar I've ever had, and I've had around 50 in the almost 5 years I've played.
Do not pay more than $300 for a guitar made in China.
Shoot, don't even pay more than $200, since you can find great Korean made stuff from the 80's on Ebay and in pawn shops, if you're lucky.


you've bought 50 chinese guitars even though you hate them?
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#33
How about indonesia made guitars? My Squier is made in indonesia.
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#34
Personally I'd take MIJ over MIA but from what I can gather:
American/Japanese>Korean>Indonesian>Chinese

I left out MIM as their QC is all over the place but generally a MIM is worse than a MIA/MIJ but better than chinese
Guitars & Gear:
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#35
i have just over 60 guitars. if you compare similar priced guitars then the order would be

MIC, MIK,MIJ,MIM,MIA

If you compare Fenders in general

MIJ,MIA, MIK,MIM,MIC

My 3 Japanese Fenders are 'superb'. However, Chinese guitars are by far the best bang for the buck.
#36
Quote by Dave_Mc
wow that's weird that they're not slotted. I thought the hardware on the fretkings was all MIJ Gotoh?


it's definitely gotoh hardware. the saddles have a little notch in them as a marking but not proper slot. i've seen it on a lot of guitars, though. especially gibsons
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#37
I'd say MII are better "bang for buck" than MIC
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB
#38
The Koreans do a good job with the PRS SE models.
Guitar/bass/mandolin stuff:
PRS SE Custom 24
PRS SE Paul Allender
Martin DCX1E
Squire Start
Memphis Bass
Johnson Savannah mando

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#39
Quote by Blompcube
it's definitely gotoh hardware. the saddles have a little notch in them as a marking but not proper slot. i've seen it on a lot of guitars, though. especially gibsons


oh ok
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#40
Quote by Roc8995
Correct. The Chinese people do not have a genetic condition that causes them to make bad guitars. If you gave a bunch of American workers the same crap materials and the same crap training and then paid them so little they didn't care about the outcome of their work, the guitars would turn out just as bad.

Exactly.
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