Made in Indonesia, 90% Chance its Samick

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by gibiphone, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. gibiphone

    gibiphone Senior Member

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    In the early 1990’s Korean manufacturing giant Samick began moving its production base to Indonesia. Today, Samick, at its production compound outside Bogor, 90 miles south of Jakarta, produces about 90% of the guitars made in Indonesia under various names including Gibson and Fender models. As a rule of thumb, Indonesian made guitars are generally the lowest price models with the better ones coming from Korea.

    What attracted firms like Samick, Yamaha, and Kawai to invest in Indonesia was a combination of a stable workforce, nearby access to 80% of the materials that go into pianos and guitars, a stable currency linked to the U.S. dollar, and most-favored nation status with the U.S., a designation that allows Indonesian-produced products to come into the U.S. free of all duties.

    Samick is the world’s largest producer of stringed instruments and has a huge presence in Indonesia producing half a million copies annually (total guitar production in Indonesia was 600,000 in 2002). It is a major manufacturer for a number of well-known brands, including low-end models for Fender and Gibson brands.

    The rising standard of living in Korea in the 90's led to increased wage and production costs, and the musical instrument industry began to look to new, lower-cost markets. In 1992, Samick opened a $30 million, 430,000-square-meter plant in Bogor, Indonesia. This large-scale plant was initially comprised of six wood processing mills, a sawmill, a veneer board mill, seasoning facilities, and various other additional facilities on approximately 40000 acres. The new subsidiary, PT Samick Indonesia, began operation in 1993.

    The Indonesian subsidiary gradually took over production of the company's entry-level instruments, beginning with acoustic guitars in 1993. By 1995, the facility had gained sufficient expertise to begin production of electric guitars as well, followed by upright pianos in 1996 and grand piano production in 1998. By the beginning of the new century, the Bogor site was producing some 15,000 pianos and 500,000 guitars each year, while Samick focused its Korean manufacturing capacity on higher end products. These, however, often featured wooden components produced by the Bogor plant. So you are likely to get Indonesian input on any Samick produced guitar made at any of its factories in the world.

    Local Indonesian plywood such as Pine (Pinus spp), Agathis, Nyatoh (Palaquium spp), Meranti (Shorea spp) are used in the production of the back part of acoustic guitars with and average consumption of 4,800M³ per year and solid wood of Mahagony (Swietenia spp.) for electric guitars. They normally use local Makassar Ebony (Diospyros spp.) and imported Spruce (Picea spp) or Alder (Alnus spp) for top board of acoustic guitar. One company utilizes Spruce (Picea spp) at about 357 M³ per year for the front/top board of acoustic guitars which come in from their other manufacturing facilities in Taiwan. Occasionally, based on requests, imported veneers are used for coating the top part of acoustic guitars, including the rosettes, mostly Cherry (Prunus spp), Oak (Quercus spp). Local wood Sonokeling (Polyathia spp.) and imported U.S. or Canadian Maple (Acer spp) wood are particularly used for the neck of both guitar types. An average consumption of U.S. and Canadian Maple (Acer spp) lumber for guitars is about 1,474 M³ per year. ((USDA GAIN Report 2002))

    The Samick facility in Indonesia could best be described as a small city. The walled compound covers 50 acres and has four million square feet of manufacturing space in 11 buildings. That manufacturing space is large enough to house 88 football fields. The plant even has two restaurants, housing for visiting Korean engineers, tennis courts, and a driving range. Samick put up its first factory in Indonesia in 1993, investing about $30 million to begin producing acoustic guitars. Since then, myriad new investments and products have followed. In 1995 the company began producing electric guitars. Twelve months later a line was established for upright pianos. And in 1998 Samick produced the first grand piano ever built in Indonesia.

    The company's Indonesian factory has 3,000 workers who have been with the company for an average of eight years. All but one of the team of 16 factory managers has been with the factory since it first opened. "We're not talking about assembling toys or stitching together sneakers," notes Samick Indonesia Managing Director S.M. Park. "The musical instruments we craft are highly complex, extremely difficult to produce, and require a workforce with great skills." Worker turnover spells disaster for manufacturers like Samick that produce complex products backed by long-term warranties. "In China it's very common to lose half of your factory workers every year," Park adds. "They are very quick to seize on higher wages and move to factories that have better amenities. Many factories even have to guarantee housing or they can't keep the workers." Workers in Indonesia, he says, are much less prone to move from job to job. "Our customers wonder why we are able to put a satin finish on our pianos like no one else. The reason is basic: The manager who runs our finishing department has been with us since we opened and knows all the problems you can encounter with finishes. He also has a team of workers who understand the problems as well." ((entrepreneur.com Jan 2008))

    gibiphone

    just north of the mexican line
     
    rjac52, Namelyguitar, paruwi and 5 others like this.
  2. FFXGuitar

    FFXGuitar Senior Member

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    ...ok thanks...?
     
  3. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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    Interesting stuff.

    I've wondered why Gibson doesn't move Epi production over to Indonesia since China won't do anything about the counterfeiters.
     
  4. Klemperer

    Klemperer Junior Member

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    Very interesting read. I own a few guitars Samick made for Samick themselves (Greg Bennett series) from Indonesia. In Germany the Les Paul copy (Avion av3 and av6) are rather unknown, but I really like my av3. Will read much through this forum to find out what others think about changing the pickups of a "Les Paul copy", about playing and all. This most interesting post got me onto this place.
     
  5. LongBeach

    LongBeach Premium Member

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    Interesting, thanks!
     
  6. marc1kim

    marc1kim Senior Member

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    Our bass player uses a Bennet series samick bass and it's quality stuff. I've played on it and I buy one of them before buying anything else.
     
  7. Ar0Rose

    Ar0Rose Junior Member

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    Well.. I have a Epiphone Les Paul Custom which is made in Indonesia... And god it's damn hell good as a Korea one... Bt not exactly though LolX XD... Yeah, the wiring is jus dam simple... So I'll most likely rewire it and change the pots... Bt cosmetically it's almost flawless; as there's jus like one or two small blemishes but hey, wad cn u expect from a Epiphone huh?? :D:thumb:
     
  8. gibiphone

    gibiphone Senior Member

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    Welcome to MLP Ar0Rose!! And congratulations on your Indonesian-made Epi Custom!!

    Yep, like I said “Indonesian made guitars are GENERALLY the lowest price models with the better ones coming from Korea”. But the low price models are not the ONLY Epis made by Samick in Indonesia. When Epi sees a production shortfall from the Qingdao plant, for example say for Standards or Customs, Epi will contract a production run from Samick’s Indonesia factory.

    Its all good. Enjoy your Custom!! :applause:
     
  9. Mark H

    Mark H Senior Member

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    Yes thank you ...COOL!
     
  10. QuicksilverSS

    QuicksilverSS Senior Member

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    Well alright my 1st necro post....

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    Mine in made in Korea,1997. Just doing some research on GOOGLE and found this.
     
  11. old mark

    old mark Senior Member

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    I just bought a used Epiphone Dot and realized that the first digit is a letter I, which I guess means Indonesia...It was made in 2003, and is a very solid and well made guitar that has NO problems and sounds amd plays great. I have several other Samick made guitars, going back to the 1990's and they are all good instruments.
    FWIW, with any electric guitar, try setting up the pickups to find their ideal height before changing them...might save you a lot of frustration and money.

    ADDED: ON further research, I find that the I prefix to the SN on my Epi Dot means m,anufacture in the Saien factory in Korea, located near Inchon...It is a very fine instrument, and I have great liking for every guitar I own made by either them or Samick.
    I also find that an acoustic guitar I own labeled "Harmony" was made by Samick in Indonesia, and it is first rate.
    mark
     
  12. dead end horror

    dead end horror Senior Member

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    Well, when you talk about Indonesia you shouldn't forget to talk about Cort, too. 90 per cent Samick? I don't believe that!
     
  13. QuicksilverSS

    QuicksilverSS Senior Member

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  14. mymindsok

    mymindsok Member

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    My Epi Masterbuilt was manufactured in China and it's beautiful! Not only that but the tone puts my old Martins completely to shame for 1/4 the cost.

    And now Fenders introducing a line of Chinese built instruments. Hmmm...



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