Where are Gretschs made?

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

  1. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey Electromatic

    45
    Aug 28, 2020
    Texas
    I understand what you are saying but companies are pretty astute and if they see a shift in purchases of products made in one location, they usually get the hint. Im not sure you have to refrain from buying ANY product from a company to get their attention. Contacting them directly is always a good idea.

     
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  2. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Gretschie

    173
    Aug 16, 2019
    United States
    Do they get the hint? I've never seen evidence to support that (admittedly positive and preferable) conclusion. I described the dynamic as I've observed it. There's no hint to get if no sales are lost.

    If I'm Gretsch, I take a "I bought your product built in Country A instead of the one built in Country B, which I obviously considered first" letter as meaning my branding is so powerful that people will go upmarket in price in order to buy it, even while expressing disapproval or even anger at some of my business practices.
     
  3. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Check out Eastman guitars. Also, there is a reason why all iPhone and Samsung Galaxies are made in China- no other country has the work force or the facilities to make them. China doesn't make as many high quality guitars because people won't pay for all of them, not because they can't. Same for S. Korea in fact; I am confident they could produce at thr Japanese even, but thr market won't pay $2-3,000 for S. Korean guitar.
     
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  4. flip

    flip Electromatic

    52
    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    This is of course entirely valid but unless you have the luxury of much higher principles than me, it's generally impractical in the modern world. I'm 77 and thus old enough to have lost family members in WW1 and to hold a very strong prejudice against the way allied soldiers were treated in the Pacific theatre during WW2.

    I spent much of my life in television. To apply the rule of not buying anything made now by the nations/companies/people whose politics, culture etc I disliked so much is simply impractical. I cannot avoid the fact that there's never been a mass-produced British camera or lens that could hold a candle to those from Germany or Japan. Cutting off the nose to spite the face may be morally commendable but it is neither comfortable nor healthy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
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  5. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Gretschie

    173
    Aug 16, 2019
    United States
    I know, absolutely. I've been in tech for 26 years. Trying to target sourcing to eliminate, as an example, China is essentially impossible in our context as well. We're in violent agreement on that.

    I'm simply stating that in the context of the OP, buying a Gretsch made in Country A does nothing to dissuade Gretsch from manufacturing in Country B. The money goes to the same company, and they keep those other facilities running, in order to keep selling guitars at a full range of prices. Yup, it's really difficult. Those are the cards we've been dealt.

    If the goal is merely to not have "Made in X" on the headstock in order to avoid it being seen, I suppose it would accomplish that, but nothing else
     
  6. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey Electromatic

    45
    Aug 28, 2020
    Texas
    So if Gretsch found that 70, 80, 90% of guitars they sold were MIA, you don't think they would consider dropping their manufacturing in other countries?
     
    EssEll likes this.
  7. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey Electromatic

    45
    Aug 28, 2020
    Texas
    I'm not suggesting that we live our lives buying products from only country X. As you say, that would be impractical. But for guitars and amplifiers, the primary subjects of this forum, there are plenty of very high quality products made in a variety of countries, so having a preference based on feelings, beliefs, principles to purchase products made in country X or "not" buy products made in country Y would not be all that difficult.

     
    EssEll likes this.
  8. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Gretschie

    173
    Aug 16, 2019
    United States
    That's not realistically on the table, is it? I mean, they only make custom shop in the USA. And most buyers clearly don't care, as the proliferation of lower price Gretsches shows.

    To most effectively. change a company's behavior, don't give the business and anyway. Deny them business and tell them why.
     
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  9. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Gretschie

    173
    Aug 16, 2019
    United States
    I think that's fair. I know I am mindful about my purchases in various contexts. Some are easier than others, of course. So I agree that perfection isn't an option.

    I merely quibble with the notion that buying Gretsch guitar s built in Country A guitars will make them stop building in Country B for a different price range.
     
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  10. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey Electromatic

    45
    Aug 28, 2020
    Texas
    But isn't Gretsch itself a perfect example. They are maintaining their business by selling a proliferation of guitars (90+% my guess) built in Country A (China, Korea, etc) in sufficient numbers that they have stopped building in County B (USA).

     
  11. DasherF

    DasherF Electromatic

    46
    Aug 28, 2020
    Minneapolis, Mn
    ...and even he played a Fender on that one...
     
  12. Tadhg

    Tadhg Gretschie

    250
    Aug 8, 2019
    Qld - Australia
    No, I don't think it is. Because I don't think that's the history. My understanding - and I'm open to correction here - is that Gretsch basically died as a USA company, and then a few years later they started building them in Japan. It wasn't, "We're selling heaps of Electromatics, so let's stop making them in the US!" Rather, it was, "No one's buying them from the US, maybe we could make them in Japan cheaper and of equal quality, and then we'd sell some?" Followed by, "Let's start a cheaper line, and maybe a prestige Custom Shop version, and then a cheaper line......"
     
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  13. btek62

    btek62 Electromatic

    4
    Sep 11, 2019
    Michigan
    For future reference, you might consider including your concerns in the OP instead of vaguely alluding to the reason you don't want a Chinese guitar halfway down the thread and then getting mad when people answer your OP instead of your buried reply.
     
  14. EssEll

    EssEll Gretschie

    181
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    I got “mad”... OK.
    If people want to assume the reasoning behind my question, they are welcome to. Or they could just ask. And when I came upon a reason to clarify for someone, I did so.
    You mad, bro?
     
  15. mjm0

    mjm0 Newbie

    2
    Jun 24, 2018
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks!
     
  16. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    770
    Feb 17, 2020
    Albuquerque
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  17. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Gretschie

    173
    Aug 16, 2019
    United States
    That's actually an example of the exact opposite phenomenon. It's all about labor costs to quality ratios, not people refusing to buy USA made Gretsches, despite attractive pricing, on principle. Gretsch is presuming - correctly, I might add - that most buyers don't care about the nation of origin in general, so long as the perceived price/quality ratio of the guitar suits them.

    Leaving the USA entirely for non-Custom Shop manufacturing very clearly shows they consider their branding to be enough to overcome any displeasure about where they manufacture their guitars. They seem to be correct, because even people not wanting to buy their brand when it originates from one country just buy it from another at a higher price.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
    Tadhg likes this.
  18. Ando

    Ando Synchromatic

    828
    Aug 7, 2013
    Seoul
    I am in full agreement regarding how the market views SK (factory) builds and how things are priced accordingly.

    But surprisingly enough, current Moollon guitars/basses are priced between $2199 and $3500, and boss YJ Park presently has a 11 - 12 month waiting list with 50+ orders all lined up and in progress, customers being mostly from North America and the EU.

    Granted, that's now...we annually used to have more than a few proper hecklers at Winter NAMM shows, asking this and that and leaving our booth with some rather strongly dismissive statements (mostly around 2007 - 2012 or so), as it was unimaginable that a solo luthier's work from SK (in-house pickups, body and neck shaping, nitrocellulose lacquer work, pre-CBS spec alloy reproductions, etc.) could demand such a price; didn't matter that Seoul has been in the top ten of most expensive cities in the world to live in for a long time, nor that he was a metallurgist by education who could pull off the "pre-CBS recipe".

    However, when certain folks realized (starting around 2014 - 2016) that YJ was doing strict reproductions of the early stuff with all the clunks and kinks of late 1950s Fenders, his obsession and the resulting tone started to be understood by those who shared his interest, and he's been working nonstop since. It's certainly a niche he's happy to occupy without competition: frankly, they're products that most customers wouldn't want, and it's thus no wonder that roughly one in three Moollon customers owns vintage Pre-CBS Fenders, and contact YJ to build a road-ready substitute that feels and sounds similar, fragile nitro finish, heavy headstock, clunks and all ;)

    tl;dr

    I think therein lies the issue: some SK builds can be fantastic (Gilmour Guitars for example make some of the best sub-$1200 small-shop factory solidbodies around), but the world market at large will not pay over $2000 for SK stuff that occupies a very similar space as excellent big-brand contemporary products that we've become accustomed to.

    It's all quite understandable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
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  19. BohemianLikeMe

    BohemianLikeMe Gretschie

    290
    Apr 18, 2020
    Prague, CZ
    My Japanese-made Gretsch is superior to every American and British made guitar I've ever owned, to be blunt about it. And I've had the gamut - Fender AVRIs, vintage, custom shop, Gibsons, etc.
     
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  20. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    @Ando, good to hear from you. I forgot to point out that Duesenberg charges a very shiny penny for their part-MIK products.

    @BohemianLikeMe, i agree that quality control by rather company, not the country of manufacture, determines quality. Ernie Ball makes excellent guitars in the USA, about $2000+.
     
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