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When they say it is made in Korea....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lamarjones, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC

    Seriously kids, I am going to Korea for a week after next week, and then to Japan for a week. What I really want is to find out where I can check out one of the factories that are doing the work for some of the US brands. Any ideas? Maybe some ideas of good places in Tokyo to check thing out?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Cort and Samick make most of the korean basses, for all brands. I don't remember the stats but those 2 manufacture about 80 % of the total production.
  3. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    i worked in korea, japan, singapore for about 4 years off and on...

    pretty familiar with korea...

    there's a musical instrument warehouse/flea market/mall type of place called "nak-won-sang-gah"
    it's near the jong-ro district (not far from downtown Seoul)

    it's got about 100 tiny retailers. most of them do business with the 2 or 3 huge factories that turn out most of these basses for lakland, mtd, g&l, etc.

    i tried and couldn't get any detailed info about the factories. in fact, they almost seemed kinda secretive about it... like they were priviledged to have a relationship with the factory and didn't want anyone to bypass the middleman... makes sense...

    also, i asked most of my musician friends about possibly getting something direct from factory (worked as a producer/arranger so lots of contacts) but no dice.

    if it's possible to visit the factories, it'll probably have to be through an introduction from mike tobias, etc. but from my experiences in korea, i doubt they'll be accessible to the public.

    let me know if you need any other info about korea though...
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i'm sure tobias would answer that question. he's perdy cool to responding to emails
  5. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Sounds like what I am looking for, thanks! how were the prices?
  6. If you're coming to Seoul and you think you might want an English-speaking contact, or maybe even a guide if our schedules match up, feel free to email me for my cell number. I've been in Seoul for nine years now, and speak enough Korean to get by. I can't get you into a factory (I've tried myself), but I'm familiar with the music market that superphat mentioned.

    Quite a few dealers there speak passable English. It's possible to get some good deals there on Korean-made stuff, and bargaining is sometimes possible, but Korea isn't as cheap as it used to be. There's a lot of crap there, but a lot of good stuff too.
  7. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    so true...

    btw, they're not allowed to sell the exports stuff domestically (lakland skylines etc.) but they do sell them occasionally as imports! with import prices! more expensive than in the US. so forget about the models you're already familiar with. but they will have other similar instruments from the same factories (often times they look almost exactly the same with something else on the headstock, etc.) so look out for those.

    as for japan,
    i've found that there are decent deals on yamahas and fender MIJ models. not really that much cheaper than in the US, but more of a selection.

    i did see some great deals on USED Tune, Bacchus, and Atelier Z basses (really good high end japanese manufacturers).
  8. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks a lot man! I might take you up on that. My Fiance is Chinese, and some of her family will be there, but it might be nice to have some English speaking contact available.

    And I was figureing the bass that I know will be under brand x name.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - there may be good reason. I remember reading that the reason Michael Tobias sold out to Gibson, was that he couldn't afford to keep up with the US Health and safety legislation to do with spraying finishes on basses.

    There may be "issues" about factories - maybe they are flouting laws on spraying indoors without the right sort of ventilation - it may in fact be dangerous to your health to go into a factory! :eek:

    Even if this isn't the case - these are obviously going to be busy places working on tight deadlines and budgets - they won't want "outsiders" coming in and possibly affecting production lines, productivity etc.

    They're set up to produce basses as cost-effectively as possible - not to give guided tours!! ;)
  10. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    For further clarification, her relatives are Chinese who have migrated to Korea. So all of the relatives speak Chinese and Korean, my fiance speaks Chinese. This still leaves me understanding nothing.
  11. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    oops, lamar, just deleted my post thinking it might've come off as a little curt. anyway, good luck finding a bass.
  12. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Not at all!! With the info I gave, it would seem like a normal conclusion.
  13. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    Throw in a Southern guy named Lamar Jones and that's quite a party! :D

    (actually i know that's the name of your band - checked your website)

    The whole Chinese-Korean thing actually made me LOL. If your fiance was Chinese and you didn't know the difference between Korean and Chinese, that would be pretty hilarious...

    anyways... sounds like it'll be a fun and educational trip.
  14. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    How did you know I was southern? ;) Maybe we have talked on the phone.

    Throw in a country, basically American Japanese person with an Indian last name, and you have many confused Asians and a good ol boy trying to figure out where cheap guitars are.

    It will be an intersting wedding.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Raleigh, North Carolina
  16. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    i think both cort and samick have factories or offices in incheon, outside of seoul. could be wrong, but i remember seeing websites at one point.
  17. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    So, I asked, and you guys delivered, so here is something for you.....

    I went to Nak Wan Arcade, it was pretty bad ass!!! A huge flea market of just dank basses, and of course a bunch of Korean models, some you know, some you don't.

    So I took a bunch of pics, and made a little site out of it. Take a look, you can probably kill 2-5 minutes up there.

  18. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    Just as a minor point, the Korean made MTD's are not made in one of the big factories.

    Lamar, Thanks for the pics - how cool. How much for one of those Korean made Foderas :D

  19. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Some were about 3000-3500, pretty dang reasonable for a US product over there.

    There were some deals, and some crap. The Skyline 55-02 were right under a 1000. The last picture of Bacchus's has a Cirrus in it that they wanted 2200 for. Not to mention the Smith Burner pic.....
  20. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    hey, i almost bought that fender victor bailey on page 4!

    and bacchus basses are the best japanese basses imo! i'm playing an ash 5 string now~

    last time i was there, i saw the cort elrick jp bass for around $650 or so... the skylines were overpriced, but i saw some other "skylines" that looked identical, but no "lakland" on the headstock! they weren't that much cheaper though...

    how was the rest of the honeymoon? :) hope that trip to Nak-won wasn't all of it! haha.
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