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Have to do it ......... USA Strat price up again!

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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
Topic starter  

Was looking at Musicians Friend catalog. $1,200.00 for a USA Strat! as you may know, I purchased an SX Strat knockoff from Rondo music and modded it with upgrades. My total end cost was $175.00. How could I justify the over $1,000.00 more? Lets compare. I'm sure I will ruffle a few feathers.

SX with mod vs Fender USA

Craftsmanship: Hand made by Chinese person vs Hand made by American person

Neck: Maple vs Maple

Body: 3 piece alder vs 3 piece alder

Tuners: Grover vs Fender

Trem: GF Replacement with solid steel oversized block vs Fender solid steel block (same size)

Pickups: Guitar fetish Lil Killer, 2 SX stock vs Fender

Pots and caps + switch: Full sized upgrade from GF vs Fender

Jack: Non slip GF upgrade vs Fender

Action: Can be adjusted well below fender specs without buzz .......... vs Fender specs ??

Finish: Can't find a flaw vs ????????

Setup: Setup in USA by TR vs Fender setup

Yeah, I'm sure the USA Fender is the superior instrument, but how do I justify the difference of over $1,000.00????? Somebody please try.
I could crank out 6 of these modded SX's with change for $1,200.00.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@bluezoldy)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 329
 

... Yeah, I'm sure the USA Fender is the superior instrument, but how do I justify the difference of over $1,000.00????? Somebody please try...

I think the answer is simple: you're paying a premium for a brand name and US labour costs. One day people may wake up, put ego aside, and Fender & Gibson brand names will be as valuable as those of Chrysler & GM against Toyota.

♪♫ Ron ♪♫

http://www.myspace.com/bluemountainsblues


   
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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Craftsmanship: Hand made by Chinese person vs Hand made by American person
Big bonus on "American person", he has a union behind him to get major employment benfits, that a Chinese worker can only dream of. Negative: Adds hugely to the cost of a US 'Strat.

[quote="TRGuitar"Neck: Maple vs Maple
Body: 3 piece alder vs 3 piece alder

We can argue the issue of wood quality until the cows come home. The major difference will be in the number of pieces used in constructing the body - a US Fender is said to have "2-3", but how many does a Chinese Strat have and will it make an difference?
Trem: GF Replacement with solid steel oversized block vs Fender solid steel block (same size)
Unless they have changed, Fender use an alloy block, at least that is what is in my Strat. I intend to upgrade to the GFS steel block and roller saddles.
Pickups: Guitar fetish Lil Killer, 2 SX stock vs Fender
Can't say too much, as my Strat has Texas Specials in it and I have no experience of GFS or SX pups.
Pots and caps + switch: Full sized upgrade from GF vs Fender
Jack: Non slip GF upgrade vs Fender
That probably puts you ahead of Fender, in this dept.

I have a Burn's Marquee, which cost me £200, used. It is as good as my US Strat in most respects. Where it falls down is in the switch - I'm going to replace mine, sometime, with a good quality one. Apart from that, I'd recommend anyone to try the Burn's as an alternative to a Mexi (or even US Strat). Compared to the Strat, the Burn's has a fairly heavy neck, but that's no problem, as far as I'm concerned.

A US Strat is not the be all and end all of guitars - doing a "Gibson" and raising the price does not improve the quality of the guitar, it merely puts it out of the reach of more guitarists. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that a US Strat is a bad guitar, just that there are others "up there", but at far lower cost.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

I expect "hand made" means the same in both cases, the wood being shaped by CNC machines with someone putting the pieces together by hand.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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in a modern factory, most of the critical "hand work" is going to be final assembly, fret dressing (unless there is Plek machine -- unlikely for low cost guitars), tuning and set-up, final cleaning/polishing, inspection and packing. nitro finishes are usually hand buffed.

on less expensive guitars, manual labor components are reduced by using poly finishes (fewer layers, less polishing), skipping the more labor intensive steps in fret dressing and only doing a cursory setup.

-=tension & release=-


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Sounds like you could make a business out of doing this, TR.
I even have an idea for the name of the company . . . CopyCat Strat. :mrgreen:

But seriously, if I was considering buying a Strat, I'd think about asking you to build one for me.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@trguitar)
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Topic starter  

Hey, no problem Ken. :lol: Seriously though, the SX neck and body were good and I just swapped hardware and electronics. Did I mention it has a 2 way truss rod? The price of a Squire Strat is up to $350 in Musicians Friend! I will tell you that my SX blows that out of the water. Heck, I'm gonna buy the same parts again and do the same upgrade on my MIM Strat. Those are selling for $550 now. :shock: Actually, those have 5 piece bodies, not 3 like the SX. Oh, and no bathtub route on the SX either! See...........


This is just a body, I bought a whole guitar so mine is finished. Body $40, neck $40 .... whole guitar $100 .... no brainer.

Greg, I agree with you, any USA Fender I have played has been smooth, shiney, polished and perfected. Should be though for that kind of scratch.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@gnease)
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agree, TR I was not defending Fender USA. one can buy a lot of polishing and dressing for $1000, even in the US -- and some "higher end" Asian guitars do provide all this. Fender probably will claim a lot of pricy R&D and unique "know-how" goes into their products. as many of their higher end products have few recent innovations (is relicing an innovation?), it would be difficult to take such a claim seriously.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@citizennoir)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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LOL - I know some of you have been waiting for my reply :twisted:

And here it is:
I agree! :D

I, myself have grown wary of Fender guitars.
Oh, I still love the design and all.... just not the company.

I too (with my dad) am putting together a non-Fender (Tele).

Mine will be a bit pricier than yours TR.
And although I will have everything that I want in a Tele.... since I wont be allowed to hand pick the wood pieces,
and oversee production, I have a feeling that I might be let down still! :shock:
But that's just because I'm way too picky!

Regardless, it should still end up better than something from Fender's Custom Shop, and at more than half the price.

Sorry Fender :P

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


   
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(@scrybe)
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Besides, making your own guitar is way more fun than buying one. And you get 50 kewl points for every guitar you make (25 for those you mod). So, by my reckoning, GN probably has some of the kewlest guitar players in the world. 8)

Scrybe,
(who is currently in the process of racking up some kewl points for herself...)

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@trguitar)
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Topic starter  

The only thing I kept from the origional guitar was the neck, body, pickguard, trem cavity cover and string trees. Can I get 37 1/2 points?

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@citizennoir)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1247
 

My Strat-Am is really in need of modding....
Every time I get to thinkin' about what it needs to make it sound better,
the only thing original left on it is the input jack!

49.5 possible points?

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


   
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(@scrybe)
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Posts: 2241
 

The only thing I kept from the origional guitar was the neck, body, pickguard, trem cavity cover and string trees. Can I get 37 1/2 points?

Certainly, but only because it means I'll get a similar count on my Am Strat upgrades (which I swear I'll get done this month, and Swampy within two months tops, honest!) :wink:

I can't help wondering who is the kewlest GNer?

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

It's hard to post something in this thread without getting on a soap-box. The big manufactures are forcing our hands though. I'll just leave it as:

Congrats again on your project guitar coming out as good as or even better than you wanted, TR. 8)

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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