Where are Gretschs made?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by EssEll, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    We might need to curtail this discussion, as it could too easily veer into politics and other issues not permitted here.
     
  2. EssEll

    EssEll Gretschie

    181
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    I do have all the info I wanted on this topic now, just FYI. Thanks for all the input!
     
    GlenP likes this.
  3. Tadhg

    Tadhg Gretschie

    250
    Aug 8, 2019
    Qld - Australia
    Isn't Vietnam the next spot on the chain after Indonesia..? I've heard whispers about Vietnamese guitars, but they're nowhere near established enough yet to have any sort of QC.
     
  4. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    72
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I believe (but have no proof!) that production labour costs are higher in Vietnam than in Indonesia.
     
  5. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey Electromatic

    45
    Aug 28, 2020
    Texas
    I'm reading this thread and thinking, wow, going to the Custom Shop is the only way to get a Gretsch made in America? I know MIA guitars are generally more expensive, but, wow, I guess I'm just surprised there is not a model or series MIA.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
    EssEll likes this.
  6. Highroller

    Highroller Synchromatic

    761
    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    That's pretty much been the story since the late 80's when Fred W Gretsch got the company back after the Baldwin bankruptcy. Even the Custom Shop is a relatively new thing, a by-product of the Fender deal in the early 2000's. They spent some 15+ years without any USA product.

    Just sayin'... it's been this way for a while.
     
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  7. Tadhg

    Tadhg Gretschie

    250
    Aug 8, 2019
    Qld - Australia
    Wow - I wouldn't have expected that! But, even if costs are close (allowing for your uncertainty), the fact that there's an existing industry - and a long term industry at that - in Indonesia is a definite advantage.

    It shows - along with the quality of the instruments coming out of China and Indonesia - that the location of manufacture doesn't really have to mean anything. It's about QC, and selection of components to be used. How much you want to build it to a price. Oh, and how much of a sticker loss you have to cop for the whole "Not made in the US" psychological issue.

    Arguably the biggest loss in switching between Korean and Chinese manufacture for the Electromatic series is in pickup selection (from HiloTrons and Blacktop Filtertrons to Blacktop Broadtrons), and that's something FMIC could change at a moment's notice, if they desired. But the quality of the products from each location are only ever subject to "for the price" sort of comments. Change up the price, you get more time to do finishing touches.

    FMIC can be right pain in the backside (especially down here, where they take forever to do nothing), but they produce quality from all their factories.
     
    Rmccamey likes this.
  8. DannyB

    DannyB Gretschie

    286
    Apr 26, 2019
    Michigan
    wait til they start making guitars in NORTH Korea! A strat type guitar for $15.00! :p
     
    drmilktruck, EssEll, new6659 and 2 others like this.
  9. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    760
    Feb 17, 2020
    Albuquerque
    I use the S/N lookup sites for information.

    Some of my guitars were created at:

    Made at the Qingdao Plant (Epiphone), China on July, 2019
    Crafted in China, Yako (Taiwan)
    Made at the Qingdao Plant (Epiphone), China on July, 2018
    Made in Ensenada, Mexico 2018 or 2019
    Manufactured in Samick Factory, Indonesia, November 2019
    Factory Special Run Crafted In Indonesia at the Cor-Tek (Cort) factory in 2019
    Made at Fuji-gen Plant for Fender Japan 2007-2010
    Made at Samick Factory, Indonesia, September 2019
    Made at Nashville, TN Plant Final Inspection 9/20/2018
     
    DannyB likes this.
  10. Joe Hi-LoTron

    Joe Hi-LoTron Electromatic

    94
    May 19, 2010
    US
    The Gretsches I actually play are all made in USA. I buy vintage only. These are the genuine real hand made Gretsches.
     
    Rmccamey likes this.
  11. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    The Vox AC15/AC30 HW hand-wired series, introduced in 2010, are made in Vietnam.
     
  12. journeyman

    journeyman Gretschie

    439
    Aug 20, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Maybe you have seen this already. Aside from the basic CNC cutting which I'm assuming, the hand assembly and amount of hands on work at the Terada factory is impressive.
     
    Henry, DannyB and Stefan87 like this.
  13. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey Electromatic

    45
    Aug 28, 2020
    Texas
    What was the last year(s) the US Gretsch's were made? Or maybe a better question, what are the Gretsch vintage years considered to be?

     
  14. Highroller

    Highroller Synchromatic

    761
    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Baldwin ceased Gretsch production in 1981 and it didn't resume until '89 with the Terada produced guitars under Fred W's ownership, so I guess it's safe to say '81 for the "old" Gretsch and US made guitars.

    But that last dozen or so years under Baldwin ('67 - '81) wasn't a great time for the company. With a few exceptions here and there, quality and design took a long slow nosedive under their leadership. I happen to be a big fan of certain models from that era, but I think these days most people, when referring to a "vintage Gretsch", are talking about something predating the Baldwin era.

    This, despite the fact that anything from that era, in 2020 is technically old enough to be considered "vintage". It's a vague term, it means something ... or nothing, depending on your viewpoint.
     
    Rmccamey likes this.
  15. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    825
    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    Sadly it doesn't necessarily happen that way.

    Just because Gretsch moves production of the Proline series to China doesn't follow that the price is reduced.
    The company simply pockets the extra profit.
    Even if the Factory also produces virtually identical guitars for other manufacturers
    it doesn't mean you won't pay much more for your Gretsch of similar quality and similarly priced components.
    This is what happens in the Terada factory now as I understand it.
    Gretsch decides the price - not the factory
     
    DannyB likes this.
  16. DannyB

    DannyB Gretschie

    286
    Apr 26, 2019
    Michigan
    I agree, I meant the North Korea crack kind of as a joke, but I agree that a lot of the pricing in the guitars is from the guitar manufacturer, not where the guitar is manufactured.
     
    Gretschmen65 likes this.
  17. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'm assuming that you're making a hypothetical statement here, because the Pro Line series is made in Japan. The Electromatic Pro Jet series is made in China. A Pro Line Jet and a Pro Jet are not the same thing. Confusing, I know. I always thought the "Pro Jet" was a very poor choice of name for a mid-line guitar series, especially if the line of Professional grade instruments is also known as the Pro Line series.
     
  18. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    825
    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    Yes, hypothetical.

    Had two Pro lines both out of Terada.
    Many new owners think the Terada Factory belongs to Gretsch and seem surprised when they find out that many other brands and models are made there alongside the Gretsch run.
    I had a beautiful Epiphone Elitist ES335 complete with the Gibson open book headstock made in the Terada factory. Every bit as nice as any of the Pro Line Gretsch guitars or US Gibsons I've owned.

    I guess as we watch Gibson move Epiphone production to China and see a proliferation of new Gretsch models move to China it is not a huge stretch of imagination to see them all built in China someway down the track.
     
    tartanphantom likes this.
  19. flip

    flip Electromatic

    52
    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    I think rigid QC is the key. I compared the Qingdao-made Epiphone ES339 I bought my grandson earlier this year for under £400 with my 72 Kalamazoo Gibson 335 worth several times more and frankly there's little difference to tell except of course for the cachet of the name.

    I sense that for US buyers there may be some national loyalties to consider when buying foreign but if you can overcome that I think you and your wallet might be surprised.

    Finally do you not agree that it'd be very short-sighted for a big brand like Gretsch to jeopardise its reputation and future sales by making patently shoddy items?
     
  20. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Ah, your original post makes more sense now. Thanks for clarifying.
     
    Gretschmen65 likes this.
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