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Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by tony2911, Jul 1, 2020.
Hi Peeps, what do you folks think of the quality of Epi LP,s made in Indonesia
My only Epi/Indo experience would be with my 2018 Sheraton ll Pro. If the quality of that guitar is any example of what the Indonesian plant is producing, you should be very happy with the LP.
Well that's just a silly thing to say. If you played one from each country side by side, I'd wager a large amount that you wouldn't have the slightest idea which one was made where unless you knew beforehand. Epi has their own dedicated factory in China now and makes some fantastic guitars these days. CNC machines don't know what country they are in.
Every factory puts out a lemon every now and then. Have you some of the pieces of shit that have come out of the Gibson Nashville plant the past few years?
I have 3 Made in China Epis, 2 Made in Indonesia, and 2 made in Korea. I love all of them. Judge the guitar by the guitar, not by where it was born. Don't say dumb shit.
BTW, welcome to Epi-Talk
Countries don't make guitars.....
companies and their employees make guitars
Epiphone has their own two factories in China since ~2003
Samick produces for Epiphone since ~1985 in Korea and for at least two decades in Indonesia.
they make 'em as good as they are allowed to do for the $$
if they didn't write 'made in xxx' on the guitar, most of us could not tell where they were made....
you can have a look and a bit of reading about those Epi-factory prisons here....
Welcome here @ €piTalk
Yes. Just imagine how productive Ted Bundy's murder victims would have been, had they lived to work and earn a fair wage. Seriously, WTF is up with your avatar?
I don't really care about your political view on China
And remember it was the US located CEOs who decided to move the production to China
The reason Epi moved production to Japan was back then Japan was what China is today - cheaper than US
Ever heard of Eastman guitars ?
High end made in China
There are no "board bullies" here but there are those of us who are willing to step out and correct personal opinions stated as unsubstantiated fact as you did. So allow me to add yet another correction.
The current Squire CV line are primarily former Vintage Modified models whose specs and appearance have been modified to replace the former MIC Squier CVs. The VM line has always been built in Indonesia and though good instruments in their own right have always been considered a notch down from the MIC CVs.
What it all boils down to as Paruwi posted is cost.
US mfgs like Fender who contract with Asian mfgs to build guitars and basses for them ask for an instrument they can buy for $$$ and sell for $$$$ to earn a profit at an established price point. For the CV line Fender's retail price limit appeared to be $400 for the majority of those models.
When the cost of manufacture in China began to require pricing higher than $400 to retain the same profit margins for Fender and it's distributors and dealers production was moved Indonesia and VM models with slightly altered specs and finishes replaced most of the former MIC models. This is fact.
Unlike Fender, Epiphone owns it's own Chinese manufacturing plant so ultimately they have complete control of cost and quality. And unlike Squiers the MIC Epiphones are also inspected here in the US before being shipped to dealers to assure the best QC they can provide. This is also fact.
So......I believe what we're trying to say is that your post is based solely on your own opinions which are not based on substantiated facts. And if workers being paid a fair wage in a free society make far better instruments then why has Gibson struggled so much with their own QC issues on models costing many times more than their import cousins?
You are certainly entitled to your own opinions but that doesn't make them true based on fact.
The first statement is quite obviously true. The second may be true to an extent but it's not an absolute when you consider that many US companies have top of the line product built in China and I own some of it.
In some cases where the traffic will bear because a much higher price can be charged a US company may elect to have an instrument built in Japan but then those models you mention have always been built in Japan. Some high end models from other US companies are also built in Korea and Indonesia by the very same companies who build their budget priced models. So in reality few if any absolutes actually exist.
Ah ha, me thinks your politcal persuasion is now showing and we try hard to avoid that here.
But if you'd like my opinion it seems to me that based on all the whining and wailing I hear from your side the true snowflakes are you and you're melting fast as this summer is showing. So please do depart.
DavidSG, I think posts 7-11 pretty much earned you the responses you received. It's fairly obvious that you are one of those individuals who has a political bone to pick, especially considering the hyper political "snowflake" comment. If you thought that your politics would be welcomed into this guitar forum, you thought wrong.
On that note and without further ado:
Don'tcha all just hate it when some new guy comes in and starts leaving empty beer cans and pizza boxes all over the place and flicks his his ashes off onto the floor?
Hope you got your answer.
The only reason there may be slight quality differences on guitar made in other parts of the world is... the managing bodies (CEO's board of directors, upper management, etc, etc) decided to only allow those guitars to be built with wood, hardware and electronics that fit their pricing paradigm. They choose from their management seats to limit the quality of guitars on purpose.
As far as the OP's question about Indonesia-made guitars... they have been doing high quality wood working in Indonesia for centuries. Long before there was an Orville Gibson, Leo Fender, or Paul Reed Smith. Wood working is part of their culture. Google has plenty of info on the wood working and furniture making industry in Indonesia:
The geographical location of a guitar shop has zero to do with what quality of guitars are made in a factory within that country or location on the globe. The managing body that owns and operates the factory dictates the quality control and materials used inside the factory. So, if we send folks to Mars, then send them luthiers, and now we say "Martian guitars suck" only because they are maqde on Mars, what sense does that make? It has much more to do with the supply chain and decisions upper management makes that makes the overall end product.
Globalization is a big 40 dollar word that means (in part) somebody knocked down the trade door to places like China and many other third world countries. There is something of value in these countries that appeals to businesses. Profits. The savings is, among other things, because the price of human resources in a third world country is way lower than trying to convince American workers to work for those levels of pay. I don't know exact labor statistics but I get the general idea that... a trained luthier in the USA might make (I'm guessing) $25-30 dollars an hours, plus demands benefits like health insurance, paid time off and vacations, etc, etc. Labor in America is very high compared to third world countries. So, with the trade door wide open with China, and 1.3 BILLION people to employ, China becomes a target for saving a BUNCH of money on human resources labor costs. As does the price and cost of labor in many other countries in the world. Which may be why less guitars are Made in Japan now, because Japan's labor price has went up.
I'm just gonna throw out a figure, but it is something like this... In the USA you have to pay a skilled craftsman $30 + benefits... I don't know the exact wage savings, but let's say in China or Indonesia people will work for $1.00-$1.50 an hour. Plus they will work 14 hour days, 7 days a week, never take vacations, and don't get a huge benefits package. In that scenario the company that owns the factory and sells the guitars back in the USA or world wide has way more hours of production per week, and is getting the products for pennies of the cost of labor.
I think a more important question is how could a company like Gibson charge a ridiculous amount like $4,699.00 for a Les Paul Custom, and allow products to hit the sales floor with even ONE TIME having some kind of quality issue?? A guitar at that price should have been built by the hands of God and angels. It should be perfect... every one in that price range should be perfect. But instead they are simply a man made product and since man is not perfect, neither will the things he makes with his hands be perfect.
I have this for an idea... let's take off the gloves and allow Indonesia (and any other third world country that makes guitars) the same exact quality of wood, hardware and electronics the USA Gibsons are allowed to use. I think the work ethic in these countries is much higher than what we typically see in the US worker. I think their love to HAVE a job drives their job satisfaction level. They live in very poor countries and don't have many of the things we take for granted in the US.
As an observer, the typical US resident is full of "entertainment-itis" I call it. Whereas if you had tonsillitis or appendicitis a part of the flesh would need to be cut out to save the body. Americans tend to worry more about what sports team or what level they got in their newest X-Box game more than what type of work they placed over the counter at the factory. Entertainment is something Americans seem to hold more dear than any other aspect of life. What movie to entertain themselves with next, what new phone to buy so they can entertain themselves with a new phone, what big screen TV they can buy so they can watch their favorite entertaining sports team in vivid color. Not everyone, but this is the culture of people making guitars in America. Folks who come in late on Mondays and want to leave early on Fridays. I worked in the production/factory trades for a better part of my life and that is my observation of the typical American worker. Plus its my opinion from my perspective. I didn't work in the auto factories, but I grew up in Michigan and just about every family member I have worked in the auto factories. Places where you can go off in the corner and sleep and can't get fired because the Union (UAW) will protect you. One of my best friend's husbands would have somebody punch his time card for him at the factory, and be at home all day doing nothing, and getting paid for nothing. Meanwhile the cost of labor at the unionized auto plants has sky-rocketed as has the price of automobiles. Ten times the ridiculous price Gibson charges for a Les Paul Custom.
As far as Asian-made guitars I have a bunch of them and I love them all. I have USA-made stuff, too, but I am more in awe of the Asian-made stuff because the price makes it a lot of fun to have several guitars rather than one guitar you're afraid to play because it might get scratched.
I'm not really thrilled with the sound of the electronics from the Epiphone brand. But what I am thrilled with is the price I can find them on the used market, then I take that guitar and make it into something I am very proud to have changed. For example... I gave $150 for this Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro with an Epiphone hard LP case... It had lots of issues. No pickguard, no strap buttons, the Alnico Classic and Alnico Classic Plus pickups sounded like trebly, ice pick bee poop. One of the knobs was broken, and one of the push/pull pots didn't work. Plus, when engaging the push/pull for coil split on the pickup that did work, the pickups were so much ice picks there was little difference in tone, LOL.
So, I drove down there as fast as I could before someone else saw the ad for this guitar for $150 on Craigslist... got a pickguard, installed Dunlop strap buttons, gutted all the electronics (toggle, jack, caps, pots, wires) as well as the ice pick pickups. Replaced the pups with Dimarzio John Petrucci Dreamcatcher bridge and Rainmaker neck. Wired the new pots 50's style...
Now this is one helluva guitar, its dinged up plenty already so I don't fear playing it, and it has (IMHO) better tone than a $4,700 Les Paul Custom...
I call this one "The Holy Trinity" as the pickguard I found at GreasyGroove has the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove).
Then there is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom I found at the pawn shop for $285. It had rusty crusty strings and was in need of a new home. Brought it home, discovered it needed a new output jack (which is why nobody had bought it), soldered that in, now I have another project waiting to happen. Thinking maybe this time Dimarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs, we'll see.
As if I don't have enough black/ebony guitars, just got this Epiphone Dot from the pawn shop. $200. The strings were corroded and looked like it had been sitting somewhere not played for years. It needed a new home... Thinking either a Seymour Duncan JB bridge/Jazz neck set, or maybe a Seymour Pearly Gates set (have Alnico 2 magnets like the Gibson '57 Classics for a lot less money... '57s with 4-conductor wires are $200 EACH on the Gibson page... NOT)...
But this one, made in Indonesia just takes the cake... a 2011 Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue... spotless and mint as they come, still had the little washer thing on the tone knob... $200... absolutely gorgeous made-in Indonesia quality... 5-way switch and tons of tones, wouldn't change a thing on this one... this one among others has made me an Epiphone convert out of a previously American-only snob...
Tell Karen we said she should stay home too!
Why do people trolls feel the need to announce that they're leaving?
At the risk of repeating myself:
Well said Jam Handy. I'll just add one more thought relative to labor costs.
We live in a capitalist free market nation and our basic cost of living is much higher here than it is in many Asian nations where some basic human needs such as health care are not provided by a consortium of for profit corporations selling insurances, drugs, hospitalization, surgeries, etc. which make our basic health care costs outrageous and increasing at a far greater rate than we can easily cope with.
To that you can add many other basic human needs being provided completely or via heavily subsidized government intervention and control of availability and cost. Asian nations more like our own also have higher labor costs so much guitar manufacture has often been moved away from those nations to those with lower labor costs like Indonesia or India. But they still build what we pay them to build.
Throw in currency valuations as yet another major variable and you have yet another element why US designed guitars are often built in Asia where they can be produced far cheaper and a strong dollar buys more quantity and quality than it can buy here. Like it or not our capitalist world can't compete with theirs in terms of building something like a guitar far cheaper than we can and we will never again "catch up" or compete with this unless we somehow design and build robot guitar builders who don't eat. sleep, or require health care and retirement/pension plan benefits, cars to drive, or houses to live in.
This isn't meant to be a political lecture it's simply an "it is what it is" statement of facts.
Very much agree. Just the facts.