Fender's weaknesses?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RobCobain1994, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Ok so as part of a college assignment I need to conduct a swot analysis. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
    And I chose to do Fender. The thing is, I'm having trouble trying to come up with weaknesses, so I'm wondering if anybody can help out.
  2. lilcrate

    lilcrate Tortdaddy

    Sep 9, 2013
    St. Louis
    They aren't unique. I've heard people say they will never buy a fender because "everyone has one". Some people want something different. I don't know if that counts, but something to consider I guess.
  3. Inconsistency, low radius requires higher action, some of the models still need to get the neck removed for truss rod adjustment.
  4. For starters, they've been cashing in on the same two obsolete design for years. And yes, i love Js and Ps and PJs, but it's a matter of fact that i can't work on a Ps electronics without removing the strings, or that the straight headstock needs a string retainer in order not to have them fly off the nut, or that the C and D frets on the G string on ANY Fender styled instrument are dead spots. Have i mentioned i hate having anything less than 24 frets?
  5. jessicabass


    Dec 22, 2009
    Removing neck for truss adjust
    Hit and miss quality
    Dead spots
  6. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I think the A string sting not being anchored was a problem for years. It has recently been remedied though with those little anchors they put close to the tuning peg. I know another thing with most models of Fender is the life of the truss/neck. The truss rod will eventually run out of turns if it is adjusted throughout its life. When that happens and the rod cannot be adjusted any longer one way or the other, you eventually have to get a new neck. Research this further because it may be one of the only things you will find that is an ongoing issue with Fenders and has been for some time. I cant say that this is a common problem but I do know I've heard about it a couple times and it can be heartbreaking for some. Other than that I cannot think many other huge problems. I know some people cant stand the simple style bridges but they usually function just fine for years. I personally usually switch the bridge out to a high mass at some point.
  7. Casting Thunder

    Casting Thunder

    Oct 7, 2012
    Want to hear why I went with Ibanez? But it was either that or a squier, and I'm sure if that'll apply to what you're looking for.
  8. Go for it :)
  9. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I may be wrong, but they've been innovating much less often and less dramatically over the years than most bass makers. It's arguable whether that's a pro or a con because a classic is a classic, but it's something.
  10. BrentD


    Jun 7, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    I assume you mean business weaknesses.

    For most players, a musical instrument is a hobby expense. That is, it's not a necessity to have a new Fender. And when times are tough, people cut back on nonessential spending.

    Certainly even necessities like food and medical care see a drop in bad economic times, but generally speaking people will forgo a luxury like a new guitar to be able to continue buying stuff they need to get by. Given the economic problems of the last five years or so, Fender might be facing a lot of uncertainty.

    Another weakness might be that big-box type places (GC, etc.) have largely taken over the musical instrument retail market. Fender has cooperated with them perhaps too much. These stores have saturated the market to the point where not only are they not selling stock on hand, they also as a result are not ordering any new stock from Fender. So Fender ramped up production to stock these places and now are presumably facing a lull. Other business models - like Rickenbacker's - I think mean more steady work for the factory. If a customer has to wait for a guitar then he or she has to wait, but Ric has exercised some control over their own side of the equation. Fender has not.

    Fender also put itself in a bad spot when shooting for a recent IPO. They jacked up prices a good 20-30% a few years ago in a bid for short-term increased profit margins. I think they were trying to boost profits and pay down some debt to make their books look better to investors. This price-hike instead ticked off a lot of loyal customers and the saturation problems at Guitar Center put Fender in a crappy position regarding its accounts receivable. AFAIK the IPO fell through but there was a Hawai'i-based Japanese company that used to own a minority share and has since bought enough to be a majority shareholder. These guys are (I believe) behind the upcoming changes in custom-ordered production line instruments. There are a lot of strengths in this change, but change itself can be unsettling and I think combined with a failed IPO attempt one could make an academic argument that the situation as a whole could have a negative impact on the company.
  11. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Which brings us to a fundamental weakness:
    1) people hate them because they are not innovative.
    2) people hate them when they introduce 'nontraditional' innovations.

    They are victims of their success.

    And their marketing model. Their distribution agreements have squeezed out a lot of smaller players, who would otherwise be forced to buy (and inventory, tying up capital) large quantities of instruments.

    This means FMIC is selling primarily to huge corporations that can buy in bulk.

    The huge corporations that bought in bulk (<coughBainCapitalcough> owe FMIC millions. This could have an effect on FMIC's ability to fund development for innovations that major corporations wouldn't buy in bulk...
  12. Joebarnes


    Oct 4, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    In terms of weaknesses, although this could be termed as general threat; popular music is moving away from guitar driven instrumentation. As Fender is very focussed on guitars, basses and amplification for each, their market is aging and they are getting fewer and fewer new entrants to maintian their sales in the longer run. If kids aren't listening to guitar gods, they don't want to buy a guitar.
  13. :D Thanks for the help everybody, I really appreciate it. If you have any more ideas, feel free to post them
  14. yookh4u


    Jul 28, 2010
    Fenders are nice instruments. But those vintage styled ones... has very very unstable bridge.
  15. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    The market for their products is growing smaller each year.
  16. Not me. But i agree.
  17. Casting Thunder

    Casting Thunder

    Oct 7, 2012
    1) Price: For entry level models Fender cost an extra $50 compared to Ibanez, and that was just to slap on a sticker that said Squier; nowhere on it did it say Fender while my Ibby may be a Gio but it's still says Ibanez on the headstock.

    2) Better Quality: I have the cheapest non-starter pack basses Squier and Ibanez make (Bronco Affinity and GSR200) and it's hard to compare the two. The Ibby keeps its tune better then the bronco, the bronco only has one pick up while my Ibby has three. The frets on my Squier had to be sanded down, and it doesn't even have a fret board. If someone was forced to gig with one of these basses, you could make do with the Ibby, the bronco not so much.

    3) Style (but this might be too biased for you to use): On my Ibby I feel like I can pull off any style of music short of folk. My Bronco seems like a one trick pony, I can play around with my technique all I want, but its tone is not going to change unless I change the strings. I'm also not a fan of the Squier's body style (but this might be because I started on the Ibby). I'm only a hobbyist, so at most I drag my instruments from room to room, and I'm only comfortable using a gig bag with my Bronco because there's nothing to grab on to besides the neck. I also have audio processing delays so I get lot of the sound waves going through the body of the bass into my lap, the bronco hardly transmits these compared to my Ibby.
  18. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Their biggest weakness IMO is their failure to protect their intellectual property. It's no coincidence that lots of different basses by lots of different manufacturers look like Fenders.
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    No! :D
  20. TuneIn


    Jul 24, 2013
    N. California