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Unread 07-20-2013, 06:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Indonesia vs. China

As outlined in another NGD thread, I just purchased a honeyburst PTP Les Paul. Just a quick refresher, or if you didn't happen to partake in that particular thread...I tried many of the identical models in different colors and finishes before selecting one as the best player of the bunch and buying it. It happens to have been made in Indonesia according to the sticker and SN on the back of the headstock. A return trip to the place of purchase today had me trying some of the PTP's that I didn't happen to choose. I didn't notice before but every single PTP Standard in the place was made in China. It appears that the day I went shopping there was one Indonesian made LP amongst a sea of LP's from China. Again, while I didn't pick up on that at the time, my LP was (to my ears and hands) the best of the lot. On many of the Chinese mades I looked at today, there was something or other in the finish or such that didn't agree with me. A similar honeyburst had a slightly "weird" aspect of the finish and also didn't seem to have a flame that was as attractive. Another had an unusual streak of lighter grain on the fretboard.

What are the reps of these two different plants or whatever else specific to the matter with regards to building their Epi' LP's? Is one thought to be better or more desirable than the other. Like I said, I didn't even notice when I bought mine that it was the single Indonesian available along with a whole bunch from China. Mine is just better looking and plays better IMO. Did I just get lucky, or is something that is common knowledge? Or maybe I'm altogether wrong and the Chinese have a better rep and I'm just guitar stupid? I honestly don't know jack about that side of things and would greatly appreciate having knowledge dropped on me from people that do know.

Please advise and TIA.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 07:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Just the luck of the draw, I expect. You're not guitar stupid.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Paruwi to the country-of-origin thread, Epiphone forum.

Stat.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 07:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Just use the 'search forum' mate. plenty of topics on this.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 07:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Chinese made guitars are manufactured in Gibson owned factories, all others are made by subcontractors. The quality of any guitar, from any brand, made in any country, is dependant only on the people who have worked on that guitar. If your guitar was made or finished by someone who had a really bad hangover, it may be less than perfect. Maybe it was finished on a Friday and the person was in a hurry to get home at the end of the day.

Or maybe it was made on a Wednesday by someone who was fresh and alert and very proud of the job they do, or by someone who got laid that morning and just can't stop smiling, or by someone who just got a raise, and it came out perfect!

Who knows? There is no way to tell if a guitar is the one until you play it.

Bottom line: there are good guitars and less good guitars from any factory and any country and any brand. The idea is to find that great one which calls out to you and take it home.


PS: I do agree that the Indonesian producer has really been stepping up their game lately and seem to be putting out some great guitars from what members who have bought them have been saying recently.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 07:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Agreed with Barcham. Guitars are artesanal stuff. Some are just not so good, some are wonderfull. The country where it's made doesn't means nothing.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 08:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Thanks guys.......I'm new to the forum and to the "country of origin" question of overseas guitars and didn't really think to use the search function. My first thought when reading the post about Gibson owned factory made vs. subcontractor factory made was to be a bit miffed that the Indo factories aren't Gibby owned, but I went and read a couple threads and it seems that the Indo LP's are pretty highly regarded nowadays for the overseas builds. Several posts claimed the workmanship was superior, the finish better, etc. etc...one guy described his experience with the Indo' guitars as always finding them to be perfect and visually superior. Like several of you have said, it doesn't much matter where it is made if you get the one you want, and for me the proof was in the pudding....I didn't even know when I bought it that there were differences in origin and yet when I tested them all, I choose the lone Indo' LP as the best. I'm happy. The guitar is beautiful and plays exceptionally for a $500 guitar, and when I get done with upgrades, I expect it to be even better.

I will say this though, examining a few of the Chinese LP's today I saw a couple examples of wood splicing that would have put me off from it if I was looking. Doesn't mean it isn't a good guitar but yeah, I want my guitar to LOOK the best it can too...call it vain, but I think we all have some of that in us. One of them had a very visible join on the tip of the cutaway "horn" that frankly looked terrible. And the Chinese honeyburst that was similar to my Indo' honeyburst had a flame that was not as visible or as brilliant as the one I chose. I came home and examined my Indo LP yet again today after all this.....just awesome. As I said when I introduced the guitar in my NGD thread, there were a couple very very minor finish things, but they were things I had to really look hard for that wouldn't even be noticable if you weren't going over it with a fine tooth comb.

I'm convinced now that I got a keeper....a really good one. I love it.

Thanks again, guys.....you really are a wealth of information that is very valuable.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 10:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

The Chinese made Epi's are very good. The Indonesian made ones are just better and have more consistent quality IMO . Although they are very good, I've had to search among the Chinese ones for one I like at times.

Every Indonesian one I have seen has had no stupid flaws like misplaced or crooked strap buttons, bad paint tape lines, book matched flame maple tops off center or not even matched etc. To some people these things are insignificant...but to me these little flaws bug me...




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Unread 07-20-2013, 11:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

I mentioned it in other threads, but a few months ago I was looking at the G-400s on Sweetwater and they had a batch from Indonesia and they were just mind blowing! They had no veneer on the bodies and Gibson style deep cut bevels. If they had bound necks, I would have thought they were Elitists. I check back there now and then, just did actually, and haven't seen any since that batch was sold.
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Unread 07-20-2013, 11:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

You'll never see em again. Gotta make sure they don't start putting out guitars that are too good, right?
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Unread 07-21-2013, 01:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Unless someone looks at a sample size that has any statistical signifigance (and 5-10 does not qualify), one can not make ANY kind of quantifiable determination as to better quality from one country or the other. And, even if 2 people look at 1000 guitars from each plant, they still may not agree, as all too often, we all use personal, subjective criteria to determine what feels and sounds better (to us).

Additionally "the squeeky wheel gets the oil" applies here. One remembers the extremes, not the midde of the road majority. Extremes stand-out. Additionally, the larger the sample size, the more extremes one will find. I.E. if one sees 20 Chinese Epis, and 2 Indos, it is MUCH more statistically probable that they find an extreme in the 20 than the 2.
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Unread 07-21-2013, 05:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Ok, at least qualitatively, it seems Indonesian LPs might be better. The instruments I've seen from there (not just Epiphone) are nice--no inattention to detail errors like you see with some PRC origin stuff. G&L Tributes are good quality/value for the money. I've heard same from others. Get enough anecdotes and you might have a quantitative trend....
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Unread 07-21-2013, 11:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Originally Posted by cybermgk View Post
Unless someone looks at a sample size that has any statistical signifigance (and 5-10 does not qualify), one can not make ANY kind of quantifiable determination as to better quality from one country or the other. And, even if 2 people look at 1000 guitars from each plant, they still may not agree, as all too often, we all use personal, subjective criteria to determine what feels and sounds better (to us).

Additionally "the squeeky wheel gets the oil" applies here. One remembers the extremes, not the midde of the road majority. Extremes stand-out. Additionally, the larger the sample size, the more extremes one will find. I.E. if one sees 20 Chinese Epis, and 2 Indos, it is MUCH more statistically probable that they find an extreme in the 20 than the 2.
That all went right over my head....

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Unread 07-22-2013, 07:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

I've got an Indonesian made Fender Tele.



I feel it is a well made, polished guitar and have only heard good things about them.
The fit and finish on the frets and the neck is real nice.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 01:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

That Tele is awesome ! I like it !
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Unread 07-23-2013, 01:41 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgenet View Post
I've got an Indonesian made Fender Tele.

http://www.c22webdesign.com/fenderJA-90Tele.jpg

I feel it is a well made, polished guitar and have only heard good things about them.
The fit and finish on the frets and the neck is real nice.
I've had bad GAS for the (black) JA-90, but the price raised from 525 to 670 Euro over here during 1 or 2 years.....and that is just too much, IMO
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Unread 07-23-2013, 03:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Unread 07-23-2013, 06:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

dont forget the korean ones.....
and the moon ones :P
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Unread 07-25-2013, 12:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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You'll never see em again. Gotta make sure they don't start putting out guitars that are too good, right?
You think you're kidding. There remains at Gibson a culture within the upper management that seems to have a DNA connection to when Epiphone was a serious competitor, sometimes putting out guitars that exceeded the quality of Gibson. After the original owner died and the remaining family fell into financial difficulties, Gibson swooped in and bought them, and as punishment for having been a worthy competitor, they've made sure that Epiphone remains a second-level guitar entity. They've moved manufacturers before -- from US to Japan to Korea to China, and prior to Gibson's ownership of the Qing Dao plant, the guitars have eventually risen to be pretty high quality. This seems to be happening at the Indonesian supplier as well.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Guys I know threads like this are way over done but...

Today I played several Standard PTPs. Many had fretboard issues. Not bad, but attention to detail issues. Finish issues, the grains on the guitar backs were not in line with the neck (crooked so to speak), etc.

I had every intent to pick up a vintage burst but none had a "perfect" look. Well I bought a beautiful heritage cherry with the most beautiful dark fretboard, the top and back were just awesome.

Long story short it was Indonesian and the rest were Chinese. The first thought I had was this thread.

IDK gentlemen. I'm a believer.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 03:19 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Originally Posted by shupe13 View Post
Guys I know threads like this are way over done but...

Today I played several Standard PTPs. Many had fretboard issues. Not bad, but attention to detail issues. Finish issues, the grains on the guitar backs were not in line with the neck (crooked so to speak), etc.

I had every intent to pick up a vintage burst but none had a "perfect" look. Well I bought a beautiful heritage cherry with the most beautiful dark fretboard, the top and back were just awesome.

Long story short it was Indonesian and the rest were Chinese. The first thought I had was this thread.

IDK gentlemen. I'm a believer.
I am too, and since I made this discovery I've been all over looking at Epi LPs' trying to find another Indo' and haven't yet.....a lot of China-mades though. This may be a honeyburst thing but here is a picture of the back of my Indo' (left) against the more common dark/black back.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 03:35 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Originally Posted by Surecatch View Post
I am too, and since I made this discovery I've been all over looking at Epi LPs' trying to find another Indo' and haven't yet.....a lot of China-mades though. This may be a honeyburst thing but here is a picture of the back of my Indo' (left) against the more common dark/black back.
It must have something to do with the age of the plant and worker experience. QC should be the same no matter which plant but just doesn't seem to be the case.

I'm just thankful for the beauties I have.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 03:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Originally Posted by jcsk8 View Post
Agreed with Barcham. Guitars are artesanal stuff. Some are just not so good, some are wonderfull. The country where it's made doesn't means nothing.
CNC operators are artists?
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Unread 07-25-2013, 11:37 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Originally Posted by Surecatch View Post
I am too, and since I made this discovery I've been all over looking at Epi LPs' trying to find another Indo' and haven't yet.....a lot of China-mades though. This may be a honeyburst thing but here is a picture of the back of my Indo' (left) against the more common dark/black back.
I've never seen a Honeyburst or a Cherryburst with a black back. Black backs are quite rare actually and are only found on a few models.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 06:11 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

I have an Indonesian Standard. Is it 'better' than my Chinese- or Korean-made guitars? Nope.

But it sure is a lot heavier than the others.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 06:29 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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CNC operators are artists?
you do realize that the CNC machine is just used to cut and rout the parts right? Doesn't finish them, put them together, apply vaneers etc.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 07:02 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Quote:
Originally Posted by shupe13 View Post
Guys I know threads like this are way over done but...

Today I played several Standard PTPs. Many had fretboard issues. Not bad, but attention to detail issues. Finish issues, the grains on the guitar backs were not in line with the neck (crooked so to speak), etc.

I had every intent to pick up a vintage burst but none had a "perfect" look. Well I bought a beautiful heritage cherry with the most beautiful dark fretboard, the top and back were just awesome.

Long story short it was Indonesian and the rest were Chinese. The first thought I had was this thread.

IDK gentlemen. I'm a believer.
I assume by several above, you meant much more than the usual 3 that several means? Else "many' that had fretboard issues would mean 2 of those three etc. So how many exactly? If you can make a quantitative conclusion about quality, I would think you took note of exactly how many? Or are we talking an overall, or even cumulative IMPRESSION.

THe first is important, because if it is 3, is that really a large enough sample size to make any kind of conclusion? If it was ten, then exactly how many had no issues, 1 issue, a few issues?

The latter is also important. You looked at some amount of Chinese made Epis, some had issues. Ignoring the fact that you were LOOKING for issues, you allowed yourself to form an impression of Chinese = quality issues. You saw some with issues, and thus, that's what you remember, the issues. It is common for everyone to do such, this is the "squeaky wheel gets noticed" principle.

You also remembered the extremes, i.e. the issues more readily than the non issues. One reason, is you were actively looking for them. But it is also human psychology to do so.

You also saw an Indonesian sample size of 1. Impossible to make ANY conclusions from a sample size of 1. If that 1 Indonesian guitar had issues, would you then draw thee conclusion that all Indonesian made EPI LPs have issues? Of course not. Then you also can't draw the opposite conclusion. It's basic manufacturing statistics, that some percentage of guitars WILL/ARE leaving the Indo factory with issues.

I can almost guarantee, if you could look at 5, or 10 Indo built PTPs of the SAME finish, your going to find some issues.

Also, all to often different finishes are done at different times (i.e. different workers), in the same factory, even on different lines. Point is, there are lots of factors in a single factory that can affect quality at a given time. But, many of those come and go.

Say you have a poly guy who just fought with his GF/Wife. So he mucks up 50 guitars. But, that's only a small percentage from that factory that day. however, they come of the line in somewhat order, boxed the same, etc. Good chance they all go to the same big box outletter too. Thjey come of the line together, next x go to GC, so go to GC together, put on pallets together, are at GC wharehouses together, so go to same GC as well, when they order 10 more.

So some GC store gets 10 of those. THeir entire stock has those flawed poly finishes. But, they are a SMALL percentage of that entire day's/week's production from that factory. But, if you look at JUST that GC store's small sample size, well geez all gits from that factory have poly issues. It's an even worse conclusion to draw, if that store got 1 or 2 total.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 09:05 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

Quote:
Originally Posted by shupe13 View Post
Guys I know threads like this are way over done but...

Today I played several Standard PTPs. Many had fretboard issues. Not bad, but attention to detail issues. Finish issues, the grains on the guitar backs were not in line with the neck (crooked so to speak), etc.

I had every intent to pick up a vintage burst but none had a "perfect" look. Well I bought a beautiful heritage cherry with the most beautiful dark fretboard, the top and back were just awesome.

Long story short it was Indonesian and the rest were Chinese. The first thought I had was this thread.

IDK gentlemen. I'm a believer.
Oddly, you don't mention here, about the "Damned volume knob was crooked" on your new Indo PTP, like you did here NGD Epi Standard PTP
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Unread 07-28-2013, 10:02 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

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Agreed with Barcham. Guitars are artesanal stuff. Some are just not so good, some are wonderfull. The country where it's made doesn't means nothing.

This. If a guitar plays/sounds and feels right to you, it is a good one, regardless of what name is on the headstock or where it was made.
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Unread 07-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Indonesia vs. China

A guitar is much like a wife - if you like her looks, the way she feels in your hands, and the sounds she makes when you touch her, then it makes no difference where she was made.
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