What makes a Gretsch?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by MMike, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. MMike

    MMike Gretschie

    Age:
    67
    115
    Nov 3, 2011
    Holland Mich
    I would like to know your thoughts...

    I don't know if this will make any sense but...I recently bought my first Gretsch. 5235T made in China.. It says Gretsch right on it. As we know, Fender bought the rights to the Gretsch name. Suppose Fender bought the Vox name, had the same guitar made in China, or US, where ever, and it said Vox on it. Then, I'd own a Vox guitar? Or... Did Fender "recreate" a Gretsch by capturing the Gretsch design personality / sound feel, and had them manufactured in China at an affordable price?

    I happen to believe it's the recreate scenario... But I am interested in your opinions / info / history...

    Thanks;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  2. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    "What makes a Gretsch?" Well... mostly groups of Asian folks at the Terrada factory. But seriously, the history of the company, it's guitars and associate personalities "makes" them unique from other guitars. Even the newer models all harken back to the great legacy of the brand from the 40s-60s. If you're looking for specific ingredients to that legacy, like aesthetics, sound, mojo, cultural significance, playability... then the answer is YES!
     
  3. Gros Ouaso

    Gros Ouaso Country Gent

    Age:
    73
    Apr 13, 2010
    Trois-Rivières
    When companies go to China to outsource their products, it's not to make them more "affordable" but to make more profits in selling us.
     
  4. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
  5. asatattack

    asatattack Electromatic

    14
    Sep 18, 2011
    Cardiff Alberta Canada
    They are selling the brand not the guitar. The brand Gretsch has been built on decades of well deserved reputation of a quality product. By out sourcing the build to China, or some other off shore sweat shop eventually the brand reputation will be damaged creating a downward spiral in quality, sales and brand name. Short term profits= poor long term business plan.
     
  6. Gros Ouaso

    Gros Ouaso Country Gent

    Age:
    73
    Apr 13, 2010
    Trois-Rivières
    I'm a believer of making a reasonnable profit, but most longtime brand name guitare manufacturers are making "shameful" profits on the back of the poorly factory paid labor.
     
  7. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    What is a "Shameful" profit, and who decides this?
     
  8. Gros Ouaso

    Gros Ouaso Country Gent

    Age:
    73
    Apr 13, 2010
    Trois-Rivières
    greatfretsch forgot to read correctly the rest of my sentence above.
     
  9. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    Are you telling me the people that make these guitars are slaves?!? I don't think so!
     
  10. Gros Ouaso

    Gros Ouaso Country Gent

    Age:
    73
    Apr 13, 2010
    Trois-Rivières
    please don't mix slavery (lots of it stateside not that many years ago) and very poorly paid people .
     
  11. GuitarMojo

    GuitarMojo Gretschie

    357
    Oct 19, 2011
    Honesdale, PA
    waters getting a little dangerous in here... ;)

    it matters to me where a guitar is made, but more for my own little bit of patriotism than any real advantage in terms of tone or build quality. People clamor for 'american made' Fenders, but the reality is those guitars are made by the same people that make the mexican ones.

    But the reality is that my MIJ Gretsch has better fretwork than any american guitar I've ever seen, and the sound my Jet makes is totally legit as compared to what I remember my 59 6120 sounding like. Not the same, but legit.

    So to me, it's the way a guitar looks, the color, the tone, the way it hangs, the way it feels as you grip it. THAT is the mojo, and yes you can get it by copying the old designs - even if the hands that do the work these days are in the far east.
     
  12. ishtar

    ishtar Country Gent

    Companies who outsource work to countries run by bureaucracies that do not consider US labor laws, or those similar, where the workers are indentured servants or worse?
     
  13. GuitarMojo

    GuitarMojo Gretschie

    357
    Oct 19, 2011
    Honesdale, PA
    BTW, ultimately the consumer decides what is a shameful profit and what is not. IMHO, it is a shame we accept so much foreign sourced goods as acceptable.

    And that is my last word on this subject...
     
  14. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    Rather than jump on internet rumors and unfounded evidence, until I see proof that Gretsch workers are "poorly paid" slave workers, I will stand firm. I don't mean to be insensitive or controversial, but I don't believe that the people that work in the Gretsch factory in China are forced to do so. I would be willing to bet they are happy with their job, and would not want to see it go away. Show me evidence of work slavery at the Gretsch factory and I will change my position.
     
  15. Gros Ouaso

    Gros Ouaso Country Gent

    Age:
    73
    Apr 13, 2010
    Trois-Rivières
    greatgretsch, you're the only person that brought up the term slavery.

    because if we read you correctly....being poorly paid = slavery and twice you brought that up
     
  16. Likeabrave

    Likeabrave Synchromatic

    677
    Feb 11, 2010
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    ai yi yi! It's a guitar. Is it well made? Do you feel you got value for your money? Do you enjoy it?
    What makes a Gretsch is whatever entity owns the license to the brand. What makes a Gretsch a Gretsch is the design, character, and workmanship that goes into the instrument.
    Enjoy your guitars!
     
  17. Likeabrave

    Likeabrave Synchromatic

    677
    Feb 11, 2010
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I believe as long as the design and character of the instrument remains, it doesn't matter who makes a Gretsch (or a Vox). If Fender released MIM Strats in transparent orange and slapped the word "Gretsch" on the headstock, they would not be making a "Gretsch", just a guitar with the Gretsch Brand attached to it. If they released MIK 5120s in Daphne Blue with maple fretboards, 25.5" scale necks, and six on a side headstocks with the Fender label - that wouldn't be a "Fender", just a guitar with the Fender Brand on it. I would probably want one reeeeeeal bad, though.
     
  18. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    Again....show me the evidence of people that are working in a "sweat shop", "underpaid" for the job, or what is commonly know as "slave labor;)" at the Gretsch factory, and I will change my position.

    I'm finished with this thread...over and out!
     
  19. Build_or_Di3

    Build_or_Di3 Electromatic

    30
    Jan 16, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Interesting conversation. Perception is reality, to some degree. This struck me as an interesting corollary about a year ago. Elderly Instruments was selling the Dobro collection of prototypes and at that time had close up photos. I can only find this one at the moment, which is a group shot of the collection. The quality of the prototypes was stunning. The reality of the production models were... well not on the same level. The prototypes were made by the brothers, largely. The production models were of course factory made and in my opinion were just a shadow of the originals. It just makes sense that you can in no way put the same time in fit and finish on a production model that you can on a prototype. It does not matter where something is made or who made it. What matters is when you pick the thing up, is it a nearly living thing. Does it evoke emotion and does it allow you to find new means of expression? Every guitar I pick up makes me play differently because of it's sound, it's feel and the impression I get of the thing through its physical appearance. Yes, there is something nostalgic about vintage guitars that evoke strong emotions, but that's me and my associations. I grew up not so far from Brooklyn and there's something about having the label inside to remind me of a different era, which evokes images and emotions and a style of playing that is completely different than when I pick up a Fender. But even so, I lived about 5 minutes from the Fender factory in Fullerton in the late 70's, so there are associations with Fenders, Lipham music in Gainesville where I picked up a 50's Strat and all of the associations with everyone I knew there. It's endless. These things are emotionally charged and full of sentimental stuff, they are literally time machines from my perspective. Flash forward to present day.... I work for a well known company that produces stuff that is exclusively made.... elsewhere, but ya know, the vast majority of people don't care. These things are well made, well designed and you probably all have at least one of two of them. The idea that it was made by offshore hands is not part of the equation for most people. So the difference is what? Those items could not be made in the US because they would be unaffordable and non-competitive so there is no choice to speak of. Instruments are either made well or not, sound good or don't, play perfectly or don't. But that's not all there is to it, there's the sentimentality. I think the objection to putting a US brand name on something originally made in the US but now being copied thousands of miles away, messes with the emotions of the issue and feelings that we have failed to uphold traditions and are being sold a bogus hula hoop. Nationalism is built into our DNA and when we find we cannot afford something we are emotionally attached to, we become a wee bit sour. Long story short, it's a competitive world and there will always be a cheaper copy of something, and I, as a builder of one-offs, would be crazy to think I could ever in my wildest imagination complete with that. Thing is, it's not profitable or feasible for a factory anywhere to hand carve a neck, or hand rub a lacquer finish with violin finishing techniques, or any of the other wacky things I do because it makes a better time machine. I think that's an important distinction and something the musician is keenly aware of when he/she lays hands on the thing.
    So, to answer your question: What makes a Gretsch? A Gretsch is an idea and a state of mind. Question is, what makes a Baldwin?
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Pumpkinass

    Pumpkinass Gretschie

    302
    Feb 9, 2011
    NYC
    "..Companies who outsource work to countries run by bureaucracies that do not consider US labor laws, or those similar, where the workers are indentured servants or worse?"..


    Sounds like you're talking about the US right wings attempt to de-Unionize American Teachers, cops, firemen, ect..and the indentured servants being our college loan bearing youth ;)
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.