1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Companies who have stayed true

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Boogie.Man, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Boogie.Man


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sorry, but I couldn't think of a better title. Who are industry manufacturers who have stayed true to their original concept? These would be companies who created a great guitar product and haven't resorted to:

    Resorted to offshore manufacturing of the existing brand,
    Creation of an offshore manufactured, budget line that leverages off of the brand name, or,
    Sold their business to a larger conglomerate loosing their identity?

    Let's not make this a list of who has done these things and create a flame war, but a list of who hasn't.

    I'll start:

    Mesa Boogie
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Alembic immediately comes to mind.
  3. D Rokk

    D Rokk Banned

    Feb 19, 2009
    Delta Quadrant
    i would think the ones that stay true to the original vision and goal would be a list of companies that no longer exist..

    you have to change with the times
  4. JoeyZ


    May 9, 2005
    Avatar, even though they're young.
  5. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009

    No Squires, Epiphones, japanese, Korean, Singapore, Chinese, Tex-Mex, Mexican, road worn, custom shop, private reserve, secret stash, bla bla bla.

    You get a RIC. Made in CA, USA.

    Oops! This is an AMP thread.
  6. Greyvagabond


    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    MarkBass? Granted, not made in the US, but made in Western Europe!
    Also, Traynor, our awesome friends in the Great White North.
  7. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    From the land of the great northern black pudding there is always fooking Matamp.:bassist:
  8. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    I don't think you can make a general statement like that. Some companies need/want to make more money and go overseas. There are alot of companies that have control of their quality and product and are happy where they are. Companies like F bass, Rickenbacker, Alembic etc are some that have survived a long time...;)
  9. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    Bad Cat
    Category 5
    Two Rock
    65 Amps
    VVT Amps
    Viking Amps

    many more!
  10. This who comparison is kind of flawed. A lot of these companies haven't been around nearly as long as other companies that people would compare them to like obvious big ones such as Ampeg and Fender.
  11. Boogie.Man


    Apr 9, 2009
    I forgot about Rickenbacker, Alembic, etc. MarkBass is still true to their roots, but they are kind of young. Time will tell what course they take.

    It seems to me that all of the "Outsourced Brand by Respected Brand Company" serve to devalue their original brand. I understand that many people can't afford the brand and are very happy to have a licensed or outsourced version. I also understand that many of the outsourced models can be excellent and sometimes even better than the originals. And finally, profit does need to drive the business. But somehow the brand looses its luster to me.

    I like knowing that if I buy a Rick, Alembic, Mesa, Avatar, Fulltone, etc. it's going to be made in their factory, not under license somewhere. It doesn't mean guarantee that it is any better than a licensed product but to me it isn't the real deal.

    I guess that dunlop/mxr could be added to the list.
  12. Boogie.Man


    Apr 9, 2009
    Very true, but Fulltone, Alembic, Mesa and Rickenbacker have been around many years. Perhaps we could like of other companies who have been in business for over 10 years.

    I'm not against outsourcing for political reasons. In many cases the outsourced brand is of better quality. I had an Asian made bass guitar that was superior to the same company's USA made basses. I have also had German made basses that were superior to most production USA basses. My turnoff is that in many cases outsourcing, to save labor costs, is but one of other less obvious cost cutting measures. I'm more concerned about the more hidden measures. I would doubt that a manufacturer says that I am going to make this product offshore but I am going to use the best materials made along with the most highly skilled labor force available.
  13. One could argue that companies that "sold out" could still be true to their roots. Fender still makes good quality instrument - they just make cheaper lines too. Face it, there are more weekend warriors out there than cats!

    Kinda the same concept w/ music. Like Nickelback and Aerosmith. They put the cheese on to sell records and to continue to make the music they want as well . . . I watched a really cool interview w/ Steven Tyler who talked about this - he said by keeping the record label happy allowed him to make the music he wanted - and that he liked having a million dollars in the bank:D.

    I don't look at a company like Fender or Gibson for selling out - I look at it as good business!! Ampeg. . . well they are really not making anything good anymore to my knowledge - so fire away!
  14. I think it's fairly important to draw the line between a company's "original concept" and our vision of their "original concept". Who is to say that the very things lamented here:
    weren't part of the company's long term business plan? Celebrating companies who haven't expanded to an undetermined point where we, the consumer, deem them sellouts is ironic.

    If a company wants to remain a certain size or maintain a certain course of action for their own convenience, that's great, but I see nothing noble about it.

  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Evan Carvin Cobalts as well as some parts and accessories are made overseas.
    In fact I'd venture to guess that no one can build an amp without overseas parts.

    "stayed true" in my book is staying true to the customer and always offering the best quality and support at a fair price. This means they may need to change their manufacturing processes to stay with the times and competition. The company going out of business is not good option to anyone.
  16. Good point.

  17. Boogie.Man


    Apr 9, 2009
    I agree about it not being noble. Have you noticed how threads are started regarding "the best years" of some company's product? At lot of this goes on regarding some very famous brands who have outsourced, changed ownership, etc. You rarely see that for companies who are owned by one of the original founders and that maintain 100% control by manufacturing inhouse.

    Sure, there is probably nothing made that doesn't contain outsourced parts. The MarkBass amps have a fan made in China. I would suspect that most of the electronics in most amps and guitars are outsourced. But the manufacture of those electronic components is done under extremely high QC environments.

    I don't think the origin of a manufactured product is an issue in itself. It's the reason behind the decision to offer the cheaper version, and the hidden/and not so hidden shortcuts some companies take. I also know that the oursourced products can pay the bills for these companies allowing them to make some high end stuff.
  18. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    If Markbass or any other amp manufacturer made all of there own components right down to the capacitors, resistors, diodes, transformers, pots, etc, etc, etc, a little markII would cost $5000 dollars.

    The last electronic product I can think of that might have had all components sourced in house was maybe a Motorola Television circa 1959.
  19. Greyvagabond


    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Agreed. There'd be no Fender Custom Shop without the Indonesian Squiers! I have to say, though, that the new MIM stuff is real quality. As many have pointed out before, Fender is based in So Cal; so, since day one, its guitars/basses have been made by Mexicans!
  20. I guess part of my point is that the concept of "the best years" is, many times, a construct of people who romanticize the early years of a compnay as somehow better when they might not have been.

    But the reason behind the decison to outsource is generally the same reason they got into business in the first place: to make money. If this wan't the case, all amps would be sold at cost with a Thank You card included.

    Yeah, it's great to call the manufacturer and physically talk to the owner and you read that time and time again here with respect to the "old" SWR, but don't you think he's dreaming of the day he can afford to pay a knowledgeable guy/gal to take those calls so he can focus on the parts of the business he enjoys?

    I can bet you that none of these manufacturers got into it with the vision of personally busting their ass until they turned 65 and then retired the brand with no one from the original team able to carry on at that age. They HAVE to expand. They have to at least reach the point where they can turn over employees when needed. Then, the long standing employees need raises, benefits, etc. Sales must increase to provide this. Then increased sales require the addition of another guy...or machine, or supplier, or whatever.

    It's a business cycle. Mesa is massive compared to the "original vision". They might be growing slower, but they are still doing the same thing, slowly expanding from the one man shop they began as.

    A glaring exception is Rickenbacker, but I wonder how the employees feel about their long-term employment? They are, apparently, manufacturing at capacity with no plans to expand to accomodate the orders. This will eventually level off (indeed it has in the 12 months since the price increase) and they will stabilize. But the employees must now face the reality that at this stage their pay increases will amount to "cost of living increases" from here on out. It looks like they are charging as much as the market will bear and with no expansion on the horizon....the current crop of employees are possibly making as much as they ever will there.


Share This Page