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what makes essex so cheap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by king_xanadu, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. is there some lack of quality?:confused:
  2. envika


    Nov 27, 2007
    Bronx, NY
    cheap hardware/electronics, made overseas, ordered in VERY large quantities.
  3. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    They make a ton of basses under different names for many different people.
  4. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    Cheaper labor and factories= cheaper manufacturing costs.

    Increased trade relations have helped, as have CNC machines.

    Due to the CNC machines as well as people who are interested in and knowledgeable about instruments finally writing up good specs and having some QC translates to inexpensive product that is of really decent quality.

    The bodies and necks of SX gear are fine. In fact, I prefer the SX necks to most Squiers and many Fenders.

    It's true the nuts and bridges aren't the best, but they are functional. I also think the stock pups sound great, though the wiring isn't as nice as a Fender of course.

    All in all, IMO you can score an SX bass, slap on a new set of strings, swap out the bridge, wiring harness and jack and have a good tech replace the nut with better material and cut, and give it a little setup and you have a killer bass.

    All the above mods should come in around or under $100.

    It's a lot of bass for that money and, frankly, the mods aren't even necessary unless this is gonna be your workhorse.

    And with those mods, it'll be a great-playing, great-sounding, great-performing, reliable instrument.

    Even though some of the stock hardware isn't the greatest, SX manages (in large part, again, to those CNC machines) to turn out consistently good, affordable merch.
  5. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    I've said this in numerous SX threads, but it's worth saying again.
    I used an SX SPB 62 as my main workhorse bass for over 3 1/2 years. For a good long period of time the only mod to it was a different p/u. This was totaly a personal preferance thing, and there was ABSOLUTLY nothing wrong with the stock p/u. I was going after a more early/mid 60's P tone, and that's the ONLY reason the p/u was swapped. Yeah, I cosmeticly upgraded the pickguard, but that has nothing to do with sound or playablitly.

    The only stock part that ever gave me any issue was the factory jack started to get a little worn after 3 years, 7 states, and God only know how many shows. Lost count a long time ago. :)

    I've had that bass with me as either my primary or back up on every show I've played (with only a few exeptions) since late 2004.
  6. They only have to pay the little elves that make them with cookies.
  7. Its a knockoff company. Just cheap basses thrown together to copy quality basses.
  8. kevin_n


    Mar 30, 2007
    Starvation wages.
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    artificially skewed currency + low pay to workers + few regulations protecting workers + pollution as a way of life + efficient volume production + high demand = SX
  10. What makes other basses soooo expensive?
  11. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    Labor costs.
  12. +1 F'ing million
  13. Lead based based paint.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    When workers at the SX plant injure themselves, they're killed instantly, saving a great deal in workmen's comp costs.
  15. jon118


    Apr 19, 2008
    Sadowsky and Lakland are just basses thrown together to copy quality basses, they just aren't as cheap. What does being a knockoff have to do with anything?

    I've seen you say this before but I just want to know, do you have anything to substantiate this claim? I'm not trying to be combative here or call you out, I'm just seriously wondering because I haven't seen evidence and would like to.
  16. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    You guys are half right -

    High quantities, automated machining and assembly and good design are true, and the reasons for the low price. In addition Essex does not have a chain of stores to support and has minimal marketing and sales costs - ever seen an ad for them?

    Starvation wages are not - this is a myth. The factory workers don't make a fortune, but compared to their real cost of living, they make a good wage, and they have room, board and uniforms provided by the factory, so it costs them NOTHING while they are working.

    I spend about 2 months a year in China visiting factories for our clients, just returned. Factory workers in the South now make around $100 / month (up another 5% just this year) for 40 hours and now have overtime, unemployment, social security and other benefits paid. Wages in the North are only a little less, but catching up quickly. This may not seem like a lot, but a multi-course meal for 5-6 people in a nice restaurant in a small town may only be a few dollars.

    Most workers save the money for 2-3 years and go back to their little village where people make 30 CENTS a day and buy a farm or business or donate the money to support their entire family at home.

    Sure there are some sweat shops with slave labor but this has really gone away over the last 20 years as the standard of living throughout China has skyrocketed and large buyers such as Wal-Mart have insisted on changes and have their own inspection staff to enforce the rules. Wal-Mart is the largest buyer in China and has tremendous power there.

    Something to note - Prices in China will continue to climb - in another few years products will not be any cheaper there. Some business can go to other countries, but no one has the resources to take over, and the standard of living in other places is also climbing. Companies that are SMART will start to re-design their products for fully automated assembly with minimum labor and stuff will start to get made HERE again. This will put me out of business, but hopefully I will be retired by then so I can play full time!
  17. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    Cheaper woods, all plainsawn instead of riftsawn or quartersawn. Plainsawn necks are very likely to warp over time.

    Cheap hardware that will tarnish and rust much sooner.

    Poor finishes

    Poor fretwork (lots of labor involved in quality fretwork)

    Poor routing jobs, neck pockets, etc

    SX basses are fine for what they are. But a quality instrument will cost much more. And then you can spend even more than that for something that has a lot of TLC put into it.
  18. so what do you do exactly? :eyebrow:
  19. +1

    My SX came without any setup. Strings were sitting on frets adn it was unplayable until I fixed the truss rod. Fretwork was pretty uneven.

    To sum it up the bass itself was not that bad, after a good setup. Sound was nice enough. But I don't think I would get another.
  20. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Plus I am sure they do not take the time to select and properly cure the wood like Fender and other manufacturers do.

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