I was reading the Lakland Skylines are made KOREAN MADE! thread and started typing a response and decided that the idea would be better served by a new thread. Often, outsourcing lower priced instruments to Korea and other places has a very deleterious effect on the brand name. When I think of a Lakland I used to think high-end like Sadowsky almost, but now I think Skyline first. Now, Skylines are great basses, don't get me wrong, but they aren't in the same league as the USA made Laklands that they imitate (or are they?). G&L seems to be going the same way with their "Tribute" line. On a much smaller scale, Michael Tobias and Ken Smith, as well as many others have done this, too. It seems to be a popular way to enlarge the company. This strategy does raise market share, but the effects on the brand are often bad unless the outsourcing is very carefully managed. Some examples of very well managed outsourcing are Gibson/Epiphone and Fender/Squier. The existance of a Squier Affinity P-Bass doesn't take anything away from a custom shop made in USA P-Bass, and say what you will about Fender's QA, they are extremely careful with anything that comes from the Far East with the Fender™ name on the headstock. The Japanese and more recently Korean Fenders are excellent basses by all measure. And, like them or not (and as much as Gibson ruins so many brands they buy), Gibson's import Toby basses are another very well handled brand. Some smaller high-end USA brands have also done very well managing imports, Spector comes to mind immediately with their exceptional Czech line, as well as Music Man with the OLP basses. Nobody's going to mistake and OLP for a real Stingray, and they manage to keep somewhat affordable USA made basses in the line up. However, if you've got a smaller less well known higher end or botique name, this outsourcing can very easily kill your brand. Let's remember two great bass (and guitar) companies who completely changed their reputation and brand meaning with this market approach: HAMER. Anyone else here remember Hamer USA stuff? My local guitar shop "Classic Axe" carried them. They had high end components (including the neato 2-Tek bridge), excellent electronics and pickups, and were extremely well made. Anyone who's played a USA Cruise will tell you they are very comparable and equivalent to the best USA Fender Jazz basses out there. What happened? With what they thought was a well enough established brand name, they introduced the "Slammer" series. Now, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think HAMER? Those fantastic USA Cruise basses? Schecter. Before the imports, the aforementioned Classic Axe shop up the street from me had the largest Schecter selection in the Eastern US. They had a 5 string honey colored ash jazz bass that I almost bought (I bought my blue Fender instead). Fantastic bass. Top shelf production through and through. Easily on par with the best stuff coming out of Fender's USA non-custom shop. Schecter started the imports slowly, like Lakland is doing. All the Korean stuff had to come through their California shop for set-up, inspection, etc. Then the flood came. Then the Guitar Center started carrying them. Now what do you think of when you see Schecter on a headstock? Do these companies even manufacture guitars at all in the USA any more? Who knows? (according to their web site HAMER makes some very nice stuff indeed in Chicago - who knew?) If you had $1500 to spend would you go looking for a HAMER or Schecter bass? There was a time, not so long ago, when you would. These used to be small companies started by dedicated artisans with a passion for luthiery who loved the guitar craft. Now they're big import/export companies. It's not that these imports are bad for players, or for the businesses. They're great basses, and the brand names allow the (already excellent and getting better) Korean manufacturers to sell their wares here in the USA. The basses and guitars themselves are great, even if they are mere shadows of their exceptional former USA-made bretheren (and sometimes they're as good as the originals!). It takes so long to build up a brand, it's sad to see excellent brand names like G&L and Lakland aparently going down the same road of cheapening the brand with imports that we've seen before. I suppose that's just how the market is now. I'd rather see them sell out to bigger manufacturers like Tobias selling his basses to Gibson then sell out to the marketplace. Reading that thread just made me wan to comment that it's kind of sad to watch these once great companies (hell, G&L was started by Leo himself!) go the way of Kramer and Charvel and BC Rich and so many once great names before them.