Is made in america less important now?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TTA, Jul 14, 2021.

  1. TTA


    Jun 10, 2021
    I have been mostly out of the bass scene for the last 15 years.

    As i return i have noticed this: made in america seems to be less important. Or rather… things like made in china seem far more accepted, and even defended.

    Case in point: much of the ampeg line. Fender player series. Orange. H&k. And many brands gave outsourced to china.

    The line that got me was… “your iphone was made in china, still costs a kidney.” Or another saying the china ampeg stuff is superior to the old americsn made gear.

    Does where a bass/gear was made matter now… or is it about quality?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
  2. When I beginning my love affair with the bass guitar, I always gravitated & wanted American made basses. As the main originals Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, Guild etc were all designed & made there and the copies and other styled basses were mostly made in Japan.
    Even though now in hindsight the Tokai's & Squier's of the early 1980's, have proven to be well made instruments in their own right.
    But now I would say it's all about the quality of how the instrument is made, and the cost of a quality "beginner/semi pro" instrument is light years away from some made in the 60's & 70's. And as there are enough quality spares available so you can upgrade any instrument to make it sound better.
    Me personally after 33 years I still love & prefer American made bass guitars. :):thumbsup:
  3. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Place of origin is irrelevant with today’s manufacturing technology.

    Any differences in build quality are by design and dictated almost entirely by economics and marketing strategy. Any country with modern plants and equipment (which is just about all of them these days) can manufacture world class products or junk. It only depends on how much you want to pay for it.

    Works the exact same way here with American manufacturing businesses.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
  4. tvbop


    Mar 11, 2021
    Yep, says my Squire CV P bass.
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  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Advances in technology have really leveled the playing field internationally. There is nowhere this is more evident than manufacturing. I still try to by Made in USA products simply because of my own patriotism. (I'm not putting down any other country. And I hope you feel the same way about your country as I do mine.) But it gets harder every day... or at least a lot more expensive with fewer choices. (Try looking for a pair of boots made in America.)

    Short version: You absolutely can find plenty of bass gear to choose from that is good quality made in other countries. Whether or not you want to is another story.
    shojii, metermech, flewis and 33 others like this.
  6. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Made in the USA, Europe or UK is my preference. It's a personal decision that I can afford and I believe it's becoming more important to support home industries.
  7. TTA


    Jun 10, 2021
    One business man said china can make somethig a cheaply (low quality components) or as expensive (best of everything) as the company dictates.

    Fender for example i feel always saved the best designs/hardware/components for their american made series… has that practice of artificially throttling the quality of their import lines changed?

    My fear about mia products is that with higher labour costs, to keep pricing out of the stratosphere, do they need to cut other corners to keep pricing competitive with overseas competition?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  8. Bassclef46

    Bassclef46 Inactive

    Feb 1, 2021
    for myself i dont care about MIA as much as i care about Made in Japan. I would not worry about buying Ibanez or Yamaha from Indonesia, but I would never buy a Fender that was not MIA because thats a crap shoot on quality. Even the MIA Fenders are not as good as they once were.

    I would never hesitate on a Japan made bass though. They really care about quality and making a flawless product.
  9. TTA


    Jun 10, 2021
    I have been buying a lot of traynor gear. They are still all made in canada from what i understand. At least the tube bass heads and cabs. All solid stuff even if it lacks the big “name” punch like fender or ampeg.
  10. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    “Made in the USA” is a brand and that’s basically it. You are paying for that label on your instrument and not for any real increase in quality or manufacturing standards.

    So if that’s a brand you want to support, then by all means do so. In my experience, I haven’t really seen the value in it although collectors seem to really like it
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  11. A9X

    A9X Inactive

    Dec 27, 2003
    It was never that important to me and it seems to be much more important to Americans. My first bass was an Ibanez Blazer, MIK IIRC. Next was an Alembic Distillate, then my basically only bass for the next nearly 20y, my Steinberger XL2. I didn't care that this was MIA (it's Newburgh though), I just loved what it was. Since then I've had hundreds of basses and the most consistent initially were the MIJ, mainly lawsuit basses I bought. Then a lot of manufacturing was shifted to S Korea, and they were great after a short while. The most recent instruments I've bought have been made in Indonesia, and they're excellent; that's 6 Ibanez basses, a Cort acoustic and a PRS guitar. I would not have paid $10 more for any of them, based solely on build and sound quality, if they were made in the US.

    Of the 30 or so instruments I own, 5 are US made; 3 Peaveys, a Kramer and the XL2.. There's one from the UK (Status) and the rest are in order, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese made. If any of them were awful, I'd have already moved them on.

    There's a very recent MII basses thread that might prove interesting reading for you.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  12. marchone

    marchone Since 1951

    Nov 30, 2009
    Is made in america less important now?

    High quality gear is made everywhere one can find it.

    The economic realities of globalization have pushed American manufacturing back home for the last several years. It would be ideal if everyone played by the same rules, but they don’t.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  13. beatdatthang

    beatdatthang Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    That all depends on your perspective. What does “Made in the USA” mean to you? Is it a sign of perceived quality? Is it a patriotism thing? Is it brand loyalty? Why do you choose to buy American or to exalt American made basses over others?

    CNC machines have made everything essentially equal. Let’s keep it 100 and just say that an alder/ash body, maple neck, bent bridge, single P pickup, 1 vol, 1 tone control bass is probably equivalent in just about every way whether or not it’s assembled by Indonesian hands, Chinese hands, Mexican hands, or American hands. Only you can decide if the difference you pay between a Chinese Affinity Squier P bass and a USA built Standard P bass is worth the extra cost. How about the Indonesian Squier VM, or the Mexican Standard P bass?

    Are they? People can argue until the cows come home about their options but only the person shelling out the cash really matters. FMIC and others are counting on the fact they there is a perceived difference, hence the guy there is a price difference.
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I recently purchased Lakland 55-94 Lined Fretless used on TB and sold my Lakland Skyline Lined Fretless 55-02
    to finance the purchase. Tonally they sound alike. The 54-94 is lighter and prettier and plays easier. I could have never afforded that bass new. It’s becoming my favorite bass.
  15. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    It’s not important to me.
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I’ll guess: ‘probably,’ even though I have no real way of knowing what Fender’s actual product differentiation strategies are. But I can say I’d confidently put my Squier MIC Matt Freeman PB up against any of the Fender PBs I’ve owned over the years. And I’ve owned: MIAs, MIMs, and even an MIJ, which was probably the best of the rest btw. As of right now I have an MIM and my “Matt.” I may one day opt for a different Fender. But the Matt Freeman is here to stay.

    So going purely on my own experiences with Fender, I can say that while I’ve found really nice PBs (and one magic one) over the years I’ve been playing (54 and counting in case you’re wondering) their quality and tone had little to do with where they were built.

    I think with an instrument as elegantly and simply designed as a PB there’s very few places that couldn’t build a really good one - as the huge number of good sounding and playing FSOs by different makers clearly demonstrates.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  17. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I try to buy products made/grown locally, and made by people who are paid a living wage. Both require mindfulness and usually cost more than alternatives. Often only one is possible, and occasionally neither :-(
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  18. TTA


    Jun 10, 2021
    Perception and marketing are a big part of it for sure. But at least 10-15 years ago i know fender for example saved the higher quality features, pickguards, pickups, hard cases (vs gig bag), hardware for their american models. I saw it as “artificially throttling back” their mim, mij, etc vs mia to help keep mia “on top”. I love my fender and want another so i am not trying to pick on them… it is just what i know.
  19. Gigas444


    Jul 30, 2018
    Pernate - Italy
    Like someone already said Us/China/Europe does not matter anymore, I have american/mexican/german/chinese/canadian/japanese made instruments and love them all, but considering my last purchase (Dingwall NG) it's made in China: quality is far better (fretwork, body/neck joint etc) than my american Made Fender Elite and price (at least here in Italy) is pretty much the same, so IMHO it depends by the people/company who build it, no matter it's on Earth on Mars :D
  20. ElectricBass72


    Aug 6, 2019
    I no longer care where a bass is manufactured. I adore my Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5 HH and my Rickenbacker 4003, but USA made is no longer a goal. Most of my basses are Indonesian made... also have a Mexican Fender Player P and a Korean-made Ibanez Soundgear 6-string. I also have another Indo-made bass on order... Sire Marcus Miller V5 Fretless Jazz Bass. The quality of basses out of Indonesia, China, Korea, etc.. is off the charts good these days. No need to buy American... unless somebody really wants a USA Fender, EBMM or Rickenbacker. USA Fenders are no longer a "need." Squires, MIM Fenders, G&L Tributes, etc... are all gig-worthy, IMO.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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