Most top brand name guitars are good quality when you choose the “more expensive” versions. The cheaper “top name” brand guitar versions are much more generic and therefore not necessarily very good quality. So, how do American guitar players keep guitar companies in business?
Companies can be forced by the market to use cheaper materials
The lower-level market version, brand-name guitar companies are just trying to compete in certain price categories. They do it at the expense of a players lack of knowledge.
These top named companies make “cheaper” versions of their own great guitars to stay in the market. The reason for this is because there are more people buying into the low end of their product scale than the higher more expensive end.
It’s not difficult to see why companies can be forced by the market
to use cheaper materials. Usually an American company with a long history of building quality products in the USA will contract out to a foreign company. They will ask the company to build “knock-offs” of their own guitars. These “contracted” guitar knock-off companies are well versed in using cheap materials and are set up well to copy instruments using these cheaper materials. There is price pressure to manufacture a guitar at low cost. In that way everyone gets a bite at the apple. Everyone makes a profit.
“contracted” companies are well versed in using cheap materials
This is where the old saying, “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” really comes into play. American companies know they will be copied with impunity anyway because in the past, our government did nothing to protect U.S. businesses from counterfeit products. The thinking then becomes, well if our guitars are going to be copied anyway let’s be the only customer, then we’ll call it our product, and foist it on the American public at a hefty profit. That way we can cover our butts and stay in the sales game. Companies forget that is a self-defeating game. Every time a guitar company “knocks-off” it’s own products it cheapens and dilutes itself. Down the line it will become a mere fraction of it’s once great top name guitar self. And, confuse it’s customers.
“if you can’t beat ’em join ’em”
The losers in this profit “game” are American guitar players. Thinking they’re getting “Top Name Guitars” musicians gobble these fake name brand guitars up at a fast pace. The American “mother company” continues buying products from factories in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China or maybe Indonesia. Then, will have a distributor who will sell to a retailer, (your home town music store) who sells direct to you. Now you get it? Instead of a great guitar you get…….
The endorsement “trick”
Artist Guitars are manufactured in American facilities. The “specially personally designed guitars” come from a trusted factory in let’s say,
Fullerton, California for example. The guitar will go to the artist directly. Then, the (famous) artist, who receives the guitar free as an endorsement, will sing the praises of the product. The unsuspecting young players who listen to the artist spewing forth the wonderful qualities of the instrument then buy one.
The endorsement “trick” works! The Americans buying the products need not “think” about whether they should buy this product, but which model they need to buy! Again, we are full circle. The American company wins at your expense. You buy thinking you’re “buying American”. Players lose.
Don’t be fooled by Top Name Guitars
I was stunned when a guitar player came into the shop last week and said, I tried several guitars and decided to go with “Martin”, because I wanted a guitar that plays well.
HUH? Any guitar will play well if set up properly. The take away from all of this is that American guitar companies for the most part have players fooled.
Instead of promoting, “Buy our instruments because we set them up well”. They tell us, “Buy our instruments because a (famous artist) says they’re good. I have worked with a few “famous artists” and I can assure you they don’t know any more than you when it comes to making a good guitar choice. You have to explain a lot of things to them before they get it.
Solution. Bottom line: Any guitar can play well if it’s set up properly-Period! Don’t be fooled. Get your guitar set up well. Ask a pro.