A Fender made in China?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MovingPitchers, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. MovingPitchers

    MovingPitchers A Geddy Lee wannabe Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Vancouver, B.C

    I really like the telecaster model on the p-bass, like the one Mike Dirnt of Green Day uses. Looks sick then I saw this.

    Figured it was an American or Mexican model, then the guy said made in China.

  2. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
  3. azzyrazzy


    Oct 18, 2005
    Well, IMO and as I see it, the Fender company has different quality/production lines. Unfortunately it is also differentiated by country and that does confuse things. So let's say for instance that Fender has these lines of basses:

    1. Budget
    2. Standard
    3. Premium
    4. Custom Shop

    If this was it, and the quality of wood, hardware and workmanship got better for each line, it would be easy to understand. You could say "I got a Fender Precision Premium" etc and it would be clear.

    Unfortunately, people (and especially patriotic Americans, no offense intended) are very interested in where the products are made or assembled, and will choose their instrument with this factor in mind in addition to the actual quality of the instrument in question.

    This is why Fender names them differently in stead:
    1. Made in China
    2. Made in Mexico/Japan
    3. Made in USA
    4. Made in USA Custom Shop

    A complication is that some basses are only available from a certain production line. They don not make every bass model available in all production lines.

    To further complicate things, a bass build is not rocket science, and thus you can have great instruments coming from each of these production countries. So even though the quality of hardware and wood may be lower in the low labor cost factories (as intended, because it is their Budget line), you could end up with a great instrument from whichever country, and maybe with a replacement pickup or tuners or minor fret job etc, you could have a great sounding and playing bass.

    So it's funny to read posts like yours, because you liked a bass in the "1. Budget"-line as described above, but you seem to think it's strange that the budget line is made in China. As you see, it all makes sense though. If you like it, you like it. Toss the predjudice, buy it, mod it or not, and be happy, brother !

    Correct me if I'm wrong :)
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  5. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser Supporting Member

    "...c'mon, a billion Chinese can't be wrong..."
    David the vampire, #2 in chain of command, The Lost Boys, 1987
  6. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    They make some great stuff... Chris Jones (Goldfrapp) plays a tele modern player.
  7. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    I admire the more creative models Fender have introduced as a result of moving production to China. I doubt they would take the risk of tooling up the Mexican plant for a Bass VI, or any of the other new oddball (and very cool) creations.

    The way I see it, there is very little heirarchy between the MIM and MIC instruments. The Chinese instruments scratch a different itch; oddball creations, unusual reissues and a slightly more experimental edge. The MIM stuff is very 'meat 'n' potatoes'. I have a MIM Jazz that does the Jazz thing very well, but the real party is going on with the Jazzes they make in China with the twin P pickups, or the humbuckers... if you want that sort of deal. Every MIC Fender I've played has not felt as robust or as well finished as a MIA Fender for sure, but they have still all been brilliant, especially for the price.
  8. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    Should be a Sqiuer IMO, China has more than earned their reputation for making cheap poor quality crap.
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    So, by extension, Squier is a label that should be used for cheap poor quality crap?
  10. ScottTunes


    Feb 7, 2011

    The problem isn't "predjudice" [sic]. But because people want want want, and don't care where it's made as long as it's affordable, US citizens are giving up manufacturing of almost everything in this country... You've likely heard the union coined phrase, "the job you save may be your own." Or your Neighbor's...

    Guitars are small business compared to food, toiletries, appliances, cars, etc... Many of these things aren't made in the US anymore... This is bad. And the problem lies more in the greed of wanting at any cost. In this case, the cost is millions of jobs lost in this country. To have cheap stuff, we either have to accept lower wages, or buy from countries who are willing to accept lower wages...

    In the 60s, the Japanese were making "cheap crap." Then they improved, and raised their prices... Then it was somewhere else... Now China makes a ton of stuff... As they raise their prices, the stuff will be made elsewhere (India perhaps?)...

    It's not the prejudice, but that something as American as apple pie and Fender guitars are not made here... For some of us, it doesn't seem right.

  11. So did Japan back in the day. Now look at them.

    China is ramping up quality at a stunning rate. Example: Tourbillon watch movements ( typically found in watches starting around 50 thousand dollars) is something that China has been getting into. A few short years ago the Swiss were literally laughing their asses off at Chinese tourbillons. Now? You can purchase a Chinese tourbillon for 5 grand and the quality is stunning. The Swiss are now crapping their pants.
  12. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I chose a Chinese-made Squier (Classic Vibe) over a Fender when I was shopping for an electric guitar. It's a good guitar. I don't mean 'a good guitar for the price', it's just plain good.

    Okay, it was also a Chinese-made Fender I was comparing it to. :D
  13. Thrash3r


    Aug 5, 2013
    The new Modern Player basses are better made than the MIM stuff, the China factory are putting out better basses for less money.
  14. Don't forget Indonesia. That's where my Squier VM Jazz fretless was made.
  15. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    And my P Special. A bass that punches way above its weight.

    I judge each instrument on its merits, and how much spare cash I have when I'm buying! That's why I have basses from the UK and Indonesia, guitars from the US and China, and a mandolin from who-knows-where-in-Asia.
  16. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Incorrect. They are better made than the MIM stuff of ten years ago, but I just A/B'd a bunch of MIM and MIC basses and I would say they are pretty even.
  17. Thrash3r


    Aug 5, 2013
    Not my experience, the exceptions being a Classic 50's P & RW 50's P which could easily pass for MIA, fretwork has been better on the MIC basses I've played, no loose & unaligned screws, the biggest difference has been in the setup, especially with the Modern Player series always seen better setup straight from the box.
  18. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Ok I will give you that. Screw alignment is for the birds, but MIM basses all seem to ship with high action. Fretwork is up for contest; it is unlikely to be a masterpiece on either.
  19. chilepunkbass


    Apr 15, 2013
    The Chinese fenders are a complete problem to me, because I try not to buy anything that will give a cent to the Chinese government (Tibet situation) and there is also plenty of issues on how workers are treated. :bag:
    But Chinese fenders and squiers are mighty good.
  20. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Is this true of the FMIC plants though?