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#1
Hey, I was just wondering if there are any at least somewhat known companies that actually DO NOT produce any guitars by way of cheap labour in countries like China. If anyone could tell me, that would be great.
#2
Hmm thats a tough one. Does Carvin do any imports? Also I'm pretty sure all Mesas are made in the US but those are amps. MJ guitars is all US but they're not really known.
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#3
Carvin custom shop!

But not their acoustics. They're made by some cheap-ass asians, please excuse my racism.
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#4
Most big name guitar companies produce their guitars in the US, Mexico, Japan, and I think some are from Indonesia?

Quality varies from individual guitar to individual guitar, no matter where it's made. In any case if it's from a well known brand name it should be trustworthy, keeping in mind that you usually get something in the neighborhood of what you pay for.
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#5
As far as I can tell, all Rickenbackers are designed and built in California. However, their guitar straps are imported. From Canada, eh.
#6
Are you asking for companies that make 0 guitars in China/similar places?

I believe Gibson is all American, but someone else may know better. Larrivee (acoustics) I believe only makes guitars in Canada and California, seeing as most of their guitars are high end anyway. Does Fender make guitars in China? I know they have Made in Mexico models.
#7
Yes, I'm talking about companies that make zero guitars in places like China. I wouldn't consider companies like Gibson and Fender to not be cheap labour companies, due to the fact that they own companies that make guitars in cheap labour conditions ( Epiphone, Squier, etc.). I just thought it would be cool to know some companies that don't make guitars in places where the wages are ridiculously low, as it would say something about the ethics of the company: that they're not ridiculously concerned about mass producing a bunch of guitars in order so that they can make a lot of profit.

I really wouldn't mind paying for a $3,000 guitar (if I had the money) made by a company that didn't do any cheap labour, as compared to a company that was selling the same one for $700. I just think it's really unfair that those workers are subject to ludicrously low wages when their products are being sold for a much larger margin.

Anyways, that's my rant for the day, thanks for the answers guys!
#8
Quote by Habit Zero
I believe Gibson is all American, but someone else may know better. Larrivee (acoustics) I believe only makes guitars in Canada and California, seeing as most of their guitars are high end anyway. Does Fender make guitars in China? I know they have Made in Mexico models.


Funny thing about Larrivee is all of their guitars are made in my hometown of Oxnard, CA. When I found that out I was like "wtf, such nice guitars come from here...". It was then that I realized just how vague the term MIA is...
#9
Quote by The Arch-Mage
Yes, I'm talking about companies that make zero guitars in places like China. I wouldn't consider companies like Gibson and Fender to not be cheap labour companies, due to the fact that they own companies that make guitars in cheap labour conditions ( Epiphone, Squier, etc.). I just thought it would be cool to know some companies that don't make guitars in places where the wages are ridiculously low, as it would say something about the ethics of the company: that they're not ridiculously concerned about mass producing a bunch of guitars in order so that they can make a lot of profit.

I really wouldn't mind paying for a $3,000 guitar (if I had the money) made by a company that didn't do any cheap labour, as compared to a company that was selling the same one for $700. I just think it's really unfair that those workers are subject to ludicrously low wages when their products are being sold for a much larger margin.

Anyways, that's my rant for the day, thanks for the answers guys!


Thing is the "cheap laborers" don't mind doing the labor for the wages they are paid because they are not greedy, money hungry hogs like the lazy bastards in this country who refuse to do that kind of work for the wages because their pockets won't get fat enough.
#10
Well technically gibson makes guitars in china as they own epiphone. Its just a fact that that people keep demanding cheaper and cheaper. Im visiting china right now and 14,000 factories are closing here as the labor isnt apparently cheap enough. They raised the wages and standards to make the US happy which made the price go up a little so all the companies are bailing now. Heading for vietnam and india that have no regulations and of course cheaper labor. I see on other threads people complaining the guitar companies are jacking the prices. So the companies are stuck we want cheap prices, but fair wages and high quality.
#11
You guys make good points. I guess just what irks me is the fact that they have to settle for less when they're essentially doing the same labour as their counterparts in countries that have higher requirements for wages.

You see, when I purchase my next guitar, I want part of the basis to be made on how fair the labour of its construction was. I know, it's not very economically sensible, but I just didn't want to support companies that employ cheap labour. I also know that I wouldn't be making a really big statement to the big corporations, but it would feel more ethical to me.

The question is, though, would it be? Would it really be more ethical if I bought a guitar from a company that didn't employ cheap labor as opposed to one who did? Am I helping support the standards of Chinese/Indian/Vietnamese/etc. workers by buying the guitars they made? Or am I encouraging the big guitar corporations to just keep using cheap labour to attain their products?

I know I'm getting a little off-topic, but for me, one thing really leads to another on this particular subject.
#12
Ernie Ball/Music Man makes all their guitars in San Luis Obispo Ca. They have an OLP line thats imported from some place in Asia but as far as I know ALL guitars with the Music Man label on them are made in California
2003 Music Man Axis Pacific Blue Burst
#13
Quote by The Arch-Mage
Yes, I'm talking about companies that make zero guitars in places like China. I wouldn't consider companies like Gibson and Fender to not be cheap labour companies, due to the fact that they own companies that make guitars in cheap labour conditions ( Epiphone, Squier, etc.). I just thought it would be cool to know some companies that don't make guitars in places where the wages are ridiculously low, as it would say something about the ethics of the company: that they're not ridiculously concerned about mass producing a bunch of guitars in order so that they can make a lot of profit.

I really wouldn't mind paying for a $3,000 guitar (if I had the money) made by a company that didn't do any cheap labour, as compared to a company that was selling the same one for $700. I just think it's really unfair that those workers are subject to ludicrously low wages when their products are being sold for a much larger margin.

Anyways, that's my rant for the day, thanks for the answers guys!

See, I researched sweatshops. Your heart is in the right place, and for that you are admirable.

Yes, the labor is horrendously cheap by western standards. Buy them building our guitars, they are making more than doctors do on average. They also have way better healthcare, and it's alot less dangerous, as opposed to working in the rice paddies. Really, the workers are happy to do these jobs, and they are bettering themselves and their economies.

Also, I think Seagull's are all Canada and US.
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#14
Quote by i_am_metalhead
Thing is the "cheap laborers" don't mind doing the labor for the wages they are paid because they are not greedy, money hungry hogs like the lazy bastards in this country who refuse to do that kind of work for the wages because their pockets won't get fat enough.


What is funny about that and something I've talked about before with my friends is if you look at back in the 50's and 60's, working in a supermarket lets say was a normal job. Now they are considered minimum wage jobs and some people even go as far as to considering those jobs a joke. What I find even more messed up is the fact that so many young people have been brainwashed into thinking that if they finish high school, and go to college they will be guaranteed a job when they finish school. It just doesn't work that way. I am not encouraging people to drop out or saying school is useless but just be realistic about the world around you.
How many people will spend 4 or more years in college, graduate and get a job that a lot of the times didn't have much to do with what they studied for? or can't find a job at all and start with a low paying one until they do?
Not to get off topic but me as a Canadian I would love to buy a guitar made here but it doesn't always work out that way. Its not about guitars, hell your $1500 purchase on 1 guitar is not going to make a difference of course but its a good moral thing to do but the more important thing is if you look at almost everything you buy in everyday life and its made overseas. If you're a teen and you shop at Abercrombie or Hollister, check where your clothes are made and how much that A&F made in India shirt cost you (I'm betting $70+) then kick yourself in the ass. If you're an adult and you buy something electronic like your laptop, a digital clock, or a camera its....yup made in China and you can't blame them. If you live in the states blame one of your largest American companies such as Wal-Mart for importing all that crap, selling it for regular prices and then yup thats right paying its employees minumum wage.
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#15
There's two sides to it, yeah I think big companies are very unethical and just try to save money in any way they can, including testing the limits of the law. I'd very much like to see some big companies crumble and their upper management get tossed to the street.

But by sending the work overseas to countries with poor economies, they are as a side effect helping those people. Not that the companies involved have any interest in helping those people, but the simple fact that they create jobs and put some money in their economy helps a lot more.

That said, I don't like buying Chinese products. Their economy is growing quickly and will soon compete with ours, I don't agree with their politics, they generally make poor quality products anyway and I believe that when even as they grow economically and make advancements they will not voluntarily increase quality at the cost of increasing production cost. I try to avoid buying Chinese stuff whenever possible.
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#18
Quote by DSOTM80
Ernie Ball/Music Man makes all their guitars in San Luis Obispo Ca. They have an OLP line thats imported from some place in Asia but as far as I know ALL guitars with the Music Man label on them are made in California

All EBMM are made in CA. OLP aren't owned by MM and don't make MM copies any more.
#19
I may have missed this point if it was made earlier in some of the "thicker" posts, but one thing that many people don't realize when it concerns using cheaper labor overseas is, it's cheaper simply because cost of living there is much less.

So many of the people that work at these facilities actually make decent wages when you take in consideration their living expenses. Sure, it may not seem much to us, but then again, our cost of living is higher, and thus so are our living wages.
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#20
Godin I believe produces in Canada exclusively, those are pretty good and cheap. Outside of that, I really don't know, most large companies use China and South Korea in some capacity.
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#21
Quote by i_am_metalhead
Thing is the "cheap laborers" don't mind doing the labor for the wages they are paid because they are not greedy, money hungry hogs like the lazy bastards in this country who refuse to do that kind of work for the wages because their pockets won't get fat enough.


BS- they do it because the alternative is far, far worse.


Quote by The Arch-Mage
Yes, I'm talking about companies that make zero guitars in places like China. I wouldn't consider companies like Gibson and Fender to not be cheap labour companies, due to the fact that they own companies that make guitars in cheap labour conditions ( Epiphone, Squier, etc.). I just thought it would be cool to know some companies that don't make guitars in places where the wages are ridiculously low, as it would say something about the ethics of the company: that they're not ridiculously concerned about mass producing a bunch of guitars in order so that they can make a lot of profit.

I really wouldn't mind paying for a $3,000 guitar (if I had the money) made by a company that didn't do any cheap labour, as compared to a company that was selling the same one for $700. I just think it's really unfair that those workers are subject to ludicrously low wages when their products are being sold for a much larger margin.

Anyways, that's my rant for the day, thanks for the answers guys!


get a local (or not so local) luthier/small custom shop to make you a guitar. that way you know. or get a suhr, tyler or similar.

most of the bigger companies will use cheaper labour in some of their lines, or in companies owned by them. you most likely need to go with a smaller company, and be willing to pay a reasonable amount of money. it's certainly possible to achieve what you want, don't worry.
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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.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#22
Quote by Hakael
I may have missed this point if it was made earlier in some of the "thicker" posts, but one thing that many people don't realize when it concerns using cheaper labor overseas is, it's cheaper simply because cost of living there is much less.

So many of the people that work at these facilities actually make decent wages when you take in consideration their living expenses. Sure, it may not seem much to us, but then again, our cost of living is higher, and thus so are our living wages.


i dunno. often it's still akin to slave wages. it's just not as bad.

and if their currency is that devalued, what they're being paid means they can't afford foreign holidays or products etc. hardly something to be patting ourselves on the back about.
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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?
#23
Quote by T!AN
Funny thing about Larrivee is all of their guitars are made in my hometown of Oxnard, CA. When I found that out I was like "wtf, such nice guitars come from here...". It was then that I realized just how vague the term MIA is...



Hahaha, that made me lol-for-real. They really are incredible guitars... also they have some ugly electrics out now (look a lot like the new ugly Taylor electrics >_>.

If you're willing to spend lots of money to have a guitar made in America/Canada/Japan, then go custom from a local person, and help even your own community
#24
Quote by smb
All EBMM are made in CA. OLP aren't owned by MM and don't make MM copies any more.


Alright cool thanks for clearing that up. I think for the price the Music Man guitars are great guitars.
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#25
Quote by Sendrith
Carvin custom shop!

But not their acoustics. They're made by some cheap-ass asians, please excuse my racism.


I nearly spit my beer on my keyboard. That is hilarious, wrong as all heII but hilarious.

On topic - what a person makes financially and where they reside have no bearing on how good they do something for that cash. There are slackers everywhere.
#26
Quote by i_am_metalhead
Thing is the "cheap laborers" don't mind doing the labor for the wages they are paid because they are not greedy, money hungry hogs like the lazy bastards in this country who refuse to do that kind of work for the wages because their pockets won't get fat enough.



OMG!!! SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME!!!

I seriously you right now

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#27
esp...oh wait.
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#28
this is a dumb thread. seriously. no one makes their guitars in the us because we are a picky society and we want all this money for barely no work. thats why all the jobs are going to other countries because the people are grateful for almost anything.
#29
So you want a good guitar or you want to give money away to shops here?
The people who takes just enough money to raise their family making decent guitars overseas aren't "lazy" or "incompetent." It's the technology difference. If Gibson or whatever brought a worthy factory to China or Indonesia then you'll be begging for MIC/MII Les Pauls because they are cheaper and same quality as MIAs.
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#30
^ agreed.
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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?
#31
Quote by Dave_Mc
i dunno. often it's still akin to slave wages. it's just not as bad.


We may see it as being akin to slave wages, but for their economy, it's not all that bad.

Factory wages in the US could hardly be considered great either.

Quote by SQHero
So you want a good guitar or you want to give money away to shops here?
The people who takes just enough money to raise their family making decent guitars overseas aren't "lazy" or "incompetent." It's the technology difference. If Gibson or whatever brought a worthy factory to China or Indonesia then you'll be begging for MIC/MII Les Pauls because they are cheaper and same quality as MIAs.


That's actually what a few manufacturer's are starting to do. Building their own factories in other countries. Eminence, for example, made a nearly identical factory overseas to their own US factory. They've even stated that their cost savings comes from the lower cost labor, due to the lower cost of living in that area. Granted, not ALL companies have done it, yet, but a number are following suite, or at least considering it.

It's a start...
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#32
Quote by Hakael
We may see it as being akin to slave wages, but for their economy, it's not all that bad.

Factory wages in the US could hardly be considered great either.




certainly it's not just as bad in their countries as it would be in ours, but it's certainly not great.

and in the USA (or other western democracies) workers generally have much more rights... they won't be beaten up if they try to form a union, they won't be forced to work overtime, working conditions are (or should be) relatively safe, no child labour, etc. etc.
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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?
#33
I don't care where stuff is made per se. I care how they make it. The Koreans and Chinese and Indonesians have yet to prove they can build long lasting instruments that can take a lot of abuse. When they can make them as good as the Japanese, more power to the companies making 'em over there. Of course, that won't happen for awhile yet. Those shops are equal to Ford and GM car plants; make as much as you can as fast as possible. Japanese and American shops are much more like the Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche of the guitar world.
#34
Well, this is certainly more food for thought than I had hoped for. I am definitely going to put it all into perspective.

It's interesting to me, really. As somewhat mentioned before, I've wondered for a while about where my money for a guitar would be the "right place" to invest it. But yeah, you've made me rethink my positions on a few things, and some others I am still undecided upon. I'm sure I will reach more conclusions, though.

Very helpful, thanks so much!
#35
Rickenbacker - USA
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#36
Quote by CJRocker
I don't care where stuff is made per se. I care how they make it. The Koreans and Chinese and Indonesians have yet to prove they can build long lasting instruments that can take a lot of abuse. When they can make them as good as the Japanese, more power to the companies making 'em over there. Of course, that won't happen for awhile yet. Those shops are equal to Ford and GM car plants; make as much as you can as fast as possible. Japanese and American shops are much more like the Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche of the guitar world.



Even though Japan was responsible for the Nissan/Datsun Cherry!?

People forget how far ahead South Korea is, technologically and economically compared to the rest of the far east (except Japan which it isn't far from). I would rather have a Korean guitar than a Chinese one, but then I'd rather have a Chinese than Indonesian.
#37
Quote by AndyfrmUpstairs
As far as I can tell, all Rickenbackers are designed and built in California. However, their guitar straps are imported. From Canada, eh.

Yeah the factory is in Santa Ana. I tried to get a job there, but they weren't hiring. Bastards
#38
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#39
Quote by greggybhoy
Even though Japan was responsible for the Nissan/Datsun Cherry!?

People forget how far ahead South Korea is, technologically and economically compared to the rest of the far east (except Japan which it isn't far from). I would rather have a Korean guitar than a Chinese one, but then I'd rather have a Chinese than Indonesian.

The Korean's issue though is they still build things on an assembly line level. I mean what is probably one of the largest if not THE largest guitar factories in the world is there (owned by Cort IIRC and makes Schecter, ESP LTD, Cort, Ibanez and untold others). It works for cars, but you can't make consistent, quality guitars in that fashion. I don't know where Fender builds their Korean guitars, but theres seem to be a step above the assembly line guitars, so maybe it's a shop ala Jackson's Japan shop.

And for what it's worth, we had a '92 Hyundai and it's transmission died just shy of 200k, so no doubt they build pretty solid stuff (transmission was likely due to the previous owners towing stuff with it).
#40
Quote by CJRocker
The Korean's issue though is they still build things on an assembly line level. I mean what is probably one of the largest if not THE largest guitar factories in the world is there (owned by Cort IIRC and makes Schecter, ESP LTD, Cort, Ibanez and untold others). It works for cars, but you can't make consistent, quality guitars in that fashion. I don't know where Fender builds their Korean guitars, but theres seem to be a step above the assembly line guitars, so maybe it's a shop ala Jackson's Japan shop.



A lot of things are done "assembly line-wise." Heck, Gibson's Memphis factory isn't much different. Unless it's a custom job, they don't make their guitars one at a time. Stocked materials are made/put together and passed down to the next area to have further work done, and so on and so forth. Like was said before, Korean's aren't given enough credit technology wise. I would dare say some of the equipment is even more advanced than what SOME places in the US use (using Gibson for an example). You CAN make consistent quality guitars in the fashion mentioned. That's the whole reason for doing it that way, consistency.

What the real issue is, is quality control.

The US has a "reputation" to uphold. So they pay particularly extra care in QCing the instruments that they make with the "Made in USA" stamp. Many companies that do business overseas may make "allowances" in their QC, mainly because so many instruments are constructed on a daily basis, as well as to cut their costs further. There will be guitars that they let through as long as they fall within allowable "parameters."

This is one reason why I like Schecter so much. Although they are Korean built (from the same company that makes many, many other brands), they go through another process of QC that many other manufacturers do not. They're sent to the US facility for their final QC as well as setup, so even less "duds" make it to retailers.
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