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1. It Says, MADE IN CHINA. Is that BAD?
2. Become A PYOG Affiliate



1. It Says, MADE IN CHINA. Is that BAD?

Hey there, fellow guitar enthusiasts...

I get these two questions regularly:

Q 1: Are your ready-to-paint guitars made in China? I don't want to buy junk.

Q 2: Are the Floyd Rose bridges you carry good quality, or are they cheap Chinese junk?

A 1: Before I answer Q 1, let me give you a quick history of guitars being made overseas. Guitars have been made overseas for decades. Japan was probably one of the first countries to start producing guitars for the American market. When they began, naturally, their quality was not great. Over the years though, they got VERY GOOD at making guitars, and as such, their prices grew.

But, as their prices grew, the companies they were making the guitars for said - "We can't afford to buy the guitars at these prices." So, they would move their operations elsewhere. It's gone from Japan to Indonesia to Korea to Taiwan to China - and everywhere in between.

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A recent email to my RTP guitar manufacturer.

It all comes down to one thing: PROFIT. Big companies HAVE to buy the guitars at a cheap enough price to be able to mark them up considerably and make a nice profit. Cuz, without that profit, companies don't operate - they close down. Quality takes a back seat to profitability - that's just the way that it is sometimes.

So, right now, Korea, Taiwan, and China are probably the biggest manufacturers of guitars in the world. They make guitars for ALL of the big companies. For the most part, their quality is good AND more importantly, the prices are LOW. But, at some point, their prices will get too high, so once again - the big companies will move their operations to another country - when that day comes.

The key to getting good quality guitars comes down to two words: QUALITY CONTROL. When a company has good quality control in place, that company will sell guitars that are better than other companies. When they have POOR quality control, their guitars will not be great... nor good.

At the recent NAMM show, I picked up several guitars from each of the top companies in the U.S. To my surprise, some of the guitars were amazing while some of them were bad. All of them were made overseas - and, by CNC machines. (Yes, I know who makes which guitars for which companies.)

Companies like Epiphone have their guitars made by one of the top manufacturers overseas. After they are made, the guitars are then shipped here to the U.S where the guitars are properly set up, the frets are dressed and polished, and the guitars are then shipped to the music stores. So, if you pick up an Epiphone guitar off of a music store shelf, for the most part, it will play very well. That's how Epiphone handles THEIR quality control. They buy their guitars at a very good price, and are therefore, able to sell with a considerable markup - with just a small investment in improving the quality (set up by an in-house tech) before shipping them out.

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Some guitars and necks that I simply will not sell because they are not up to par.

How do I personally handle "quality control" you may be wondering? A couple of ways:

1. By not buying too many guitars at a time

2. By demanding that specific parts be on the guitars as well as features I ask for. If they are not there, then, they do not ship me the guitars; they make new ones until I'm happy. They may HATE me, but really, I'm the kind of customer that'll make their overall production better because I'm a stickler for details. See the email to the right as proof of my most recent email exchange.

I'm not saying that I won't get a bad guitar in my bunch, because I do. But, once again - see the photo on the right for guitars that I will not sell because of quality issues. Those are simply bad guitars, in my opinion, and I won't sell them to anyone.

I inspect and set up every guitar I sell before shipping it out. Sometimes, I spend as much as an hour setting a guitar up prior to shipping it out. That's because I want my customers to have a very good playing guitar once they've finished painting it.

So, my answer to the question is this: no matter where a guitar is made, the quality control the company has in place will determine how good the guitar is. For the guitars I sell, the quality control is very good because I don't sell a guitar if I don't think it's any good, PERIOD.


Q 2. Are the Floyd Rose bridges you carry good quality, or are they cheap Chinese junk?

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The Floyd Rose bridge that I carry.

A 2: ALL Floyd Rose bridges are made by just two companies/manufacturers overseas. I REPEAT - ALL Floyd Rose bridges are made by just two companies/manufacturers - with the exception of Schaller (however, the Schaller version may also be made by one of the companies - I just haven't gotten confirmation on that yet). Even the real Floyd Rose bridge is made by one of the two companies/manufacturers. This same ccompany/manufacturer that makes the original F.R. also makes licensed versions as well.

Both companies/manufacturers are overseas - in the Far East.

Without naming any actual company names, I have seen the Floyd Rose bridges that XXXXX sells and I've seen the ones that XXXXXX XXXX sells - and, both are made FOR them by one of these companies/manufacturers. The quality is okay - not great. I've definitely seen better.

Keep in mind that when you buy a F.R. licensed bridge, it's very much like buying a car; you can buy the top-of-the-line car with all the bells and whistles, - which will cost you more, or you can buy the basic model - which will cost you less. Paying for better quality means having a bridge with steel saddles and steel pivot points. If you're looking for FORGED steel, then your choices are a REAL F.R., or a Schaller F.R. - and, you will pay more.


Even this baseball glove that I bought for my son the other day was... MADE IN CHINA. But, it's a really good glove.

But, as for the quality of the Floyd Rose bridges that I carry, they are not the best licensed versions (but I WILL be carrying the best ones very soon) but, they are very good bridges with a few features that I actually prefer over the real thing - one of the features being fine-tuners which are slightly angled back.

I own REAL Floyd Rose bridges, SCHALLER F.R. bridges, and have several made by the two overseas companies/manufacturers. My goal in selling parts to my PYOG customers is to sell the stuff that I would use. I use the same Floyd Rose bridges that I sell - I have them on several guitars and I have NO complaints about them. The same goes for the Ready-To-Paint guitars that I sell; the quality of the guitars is very very good - they are guitars that I PERSONALLY play and use - and they are comparable to many name-brand guitars out on the market.

Just because it's made in China, does not mean it's junk. When it comes to price, you always get what you pay for.

When thinking about the difference in quality, just think FORD Mustangs: you've got your basic entry-level Mustang, then you got the Mustang SALEEN - the difference is about 15Gs. To drive them is not even comparable, yet, they both say, MUSTANG.



2. Become A PYOG Affiliate

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See you soon...

John Gleneicki
Author - The Book Series
AOL IM: paintyourownaxe

John Gleneicki has been painting guitars professionally for over 25 years.
He's a former Guitar WORLD Columnist and has also done
custom airbrush work for such companies as ESP Guitars.




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