Brand origin vs. manufacturing location...

Mockbel

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Hi there...

According to the guitars I played, which are not so many btw, I am under the impression that best guitars, at least for me, are whether USA or Japan made guitars.

My question is about the quality of Japanese guitars built in USA and USA guitars built in Japan and pure Japanese or USA guitars... In other words, I can put my inquiries like this:

- Is an ESP made in Japan better than an ESP made in USA?
- Is a Jackson made in USA better than a Jackson made in Japan?
- Is an ESP made in Japan better than a Jackson made in Japan?
- Is a Jackson made in USA better than an ESP made in USA?
- Is a Jackson made in Japan better than an Ibanez made in Japan?

I am not comparing specific models, just asking about the concept...
 

Ruthie58

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Country of manufacture is definitely important, but IMO USA built > Other country IN GENERAL. BUT, with that being said, if there is a country that puts out = or better guitars than the USA it would be JAPAN!

Japanese Ibanez, Fender, etc. are very high quality instruments, and some of the best sounding PUPs ive ever had in a strat came straight from Japan.

Essentially, alot of USA bias comes from the fact that most of us LIVE in the USA, making its intrinsic (sp?) value increase. But, for the most part, I have been the most impressed with the quality of USA made instruments over any other country of manufacture.

Japanese Ibanez, esp, etc are TOP quality instruments, and barring budget guitars, I think anyone who objectively looks at a USA vs Japan instrument would have trouble finding one to be WORSE than the other in build quality.

This post is obviously excluding luthier and botique custom guitars.
 

TheX

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Most people couldn't tell you where a particular guitar was made if you didn't tell them. Some of the Chinese guitars are VERY good. Times are changing, and that's a good thing.
 

Mockbel

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Country of manufacture is definitely important, but IMO USA built > Other country IN GENERAL. BUT, with that being said, if there is a country that puts out = or better guitars than the USA it would be JAPAN!

Japanese Ibanez, Fender, etc. are very high quality instruments, and some of the best sounding PUPs ive ever had in a strat came straight from Japan.

Essentially, alot of USA bias comes from the fact that most of us LIVE in the USA, making its intrinsic (sp?) value increase. But, for the most part, I have been the most impressed with the quality of USA made instruments over any other country of manufacture.

Japanese Ibanez, esp, etc are TOP quality instruments, and barring budget guitars, I think anyone who objectively looks at a USA vs Japan instrument would have trouble finding one to be WORSE than the other in build quality.

This post is obviously excluding luthier and botique custom guitars.

So a Jackson made in Japan shouldn't be less quality than Jackson made in USA, or an ESP made in Japan?
 

Mockbel

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Most people couldn't tell you where a particular guitar was made if you didn't tell them. Some of the Chinese guitars are VERY good. Times are changing, and that's a good thing.

I agree with you... but when I am in a situation where I will buy without trying or inspecting the guitar, the "Made in" tag would be very important... at least it would decrease the probability of having a low quality guitar construction or finish...

Chinese make very nice guitars but their issue is with quality control.. the probability of having top quality and piece of sh** coming from same plant is very high !
 

Ruthie58

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So a Jackson made in Japan shouldn't be less quality than Jackson made in USA, or an ESP made in Japan?

These guitars are made with very high quality control standards, but The USA equivalent is generally going to made with the best parts/attention to detail etc.

as TheX said, QUALITY is a tough word to pin down when it comes to certain things. Is the finish on a japan made instrument going to be worse? No. Is the wood used inferior? Not necessarily (debatable). Is the Quality going to be better if the guitar is USA? I would say Depends on who you're asking, but No. Unless the guitar is a budget instrument with cheap ply wood, poor construction, or cheap hardware, a guitar made in japan can be, and many times IS just as good as its american counterpart.

some of the best guitars ive played were MIM or MIJ and were of VERY high quality.
 

SWeAT hOg

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I agree with you... but when I am in a situation where I will buy without trying or inspecting the guitar, the "Made in" tag would be very important... at least it would decrease the probability of having a low quality guitar construction or finish...

Chinese make very nice guitars but their issue is with quality control.. the probability of having top quality and piece of sh** coming from same plant is very high !

Plenty of MLP members gripe about the apparent poor QC of Gibson.
 

paruwi

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The quality of any guitar depends on what is 'allowed' to do,
and what parts are used....
finally the skills of the person who builds it is important, too

the location isn't that important, IMO

The best luthier/craftsman can't build the best guitar out of sh!tty wood or parts

and the worst luthier/craftsman can't build a perfect guitar, even if he uses the best parts

another thing is, how big is the management squad that needs to be fed with the work,
and how many fail company-decisions needs to be balanced with the guitar....

:wave:
 

dspelman

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I am not comparing specific models, just asking about the concept...

It's a poor concept, and not one I'd bother spending time with.

Virtually any guitar builder is capable of extremely high quality, and honestly, woods don't differ all that much. "Country of origin" is immaterial.
Thing is, US importers currently order cheaper guitars from asian sources mostly because labor costs are cheaper. They could just as easily order guitars that are every bit as well built as something from a top-end US or Japanese builder, and they'd still save money, but customers would likely still differentiate between offshore and USA-sourced just...because (and not "because" there's a real quality difference).
 

Matt_Krush

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So a Jackson made in Japan shouldn't be less quality than Jackson made in USA, or an ESP made in Japan?

Japanese Jackson's are not built the same as USA Jackson's.

Like say bolt on necks....not there is anything wrong with them...just you aren't exactly comparing like for like.

In Jacksons, I have a:
Chinese made Soloist (the x series). The Floyd Rose Special is crap.
Japanese Rhodes V (1994 era). Best playing lead guitar I have ever owned
Korean Dinky: nothing to complain about here
Japanese Dinky: Same as above
Chinese Rhodes V (2001 era): something was way different than the Japanese, but I didn't bond with it.
USA Soloist (1996): Kent Armstrong pick ups (sucked), ebony fret-board (had fret sprout for the first 6 years)...

All but the Chinese Jackson have the Jackson 580TLP Floyd Rose Licensed bridges...Love them. Perfect even after 20 years of hard playing. And all but the Chinese Soloist have had the Pickups replaced. The Chinese Soloist came with EMG's...the Japanese (who knows what they were) not that they were bad sounding...there was noticeable output differences. I like to have all my guitars with equivalent output.

So which is best? Japan? USA? Korea? China?
Any, all, none, depends.

Answer: Which ever guitar fits you and you can play your best on.

Today, because I have plenty of 'player/work guitars' and I rarely look at imports...I buy USA only because I can afford it and because I appreciate them....unless a deal pops up that I can't pass...
 

Thumpalumpacus

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The country doesn't matter. The workman does. The machinery does. The corporate attitude and investment into basics matter. But country?

That's just a line on the ground. I've owned American, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Mexican, and Spanish guitars. I've liked them all.
 

Rocco Crocco

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Also important is the final QC inspector. Will he or she allow sub-par instruments to be sent to dealers? Im my view, that job is very important.
 

Mockbel

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...
Japanese Rhodes V (1994 era). Best playing lead guitar I have ever owned
...

I owned one in the late 90's and yes, it was amazing... it had an amazing wide, straight, smooth fretboard... I remember I was able to achieve an extreme low action with zero fret buzz... Unfortunately I sold it for a very low price more than 10 years back :(

I wonder if MIJ Jacksons nowadays are of same quality !
 

cybermgk

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Best guitars are made by a small tribe in the northern Amazonian jungle. Just very hard to export.
 

Grey

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Virtually any guitar builder is capable of extremely high quality, and honestly, woods don't differ all that much. "Country of origin" is immaterial.
Thing is, US importers currently order cheaper guitars from asian sources mostly because labor costs are cheaper. They could just as easily order guitars that are every bit as well built as something from a top-end US or Japanese builder, and they'd still save money, but customers would likely still differentiate between offshore and USA-sourced just...because (and not "because" there's a real quality difference).

You've defeated your own arguement. If US importers ordered high quality guitars from asian sources, i'm sure they'd be great. But they don't. Gibson, Fender, PRS, etc. use overseas manufacturing for their low-end models to cut costs and you get what you pay for. It's not about what they could or couldn't do but what they are doing.
 

mmd

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I owned one in the late 90's and yes, it was amazing... it had an amazing wide, straight, smooth fretboard... I remember I was able to achieve an extreme low action with zero fret buzz... Unfortunately I sold it for a very low price more than 10 years back :(

I wonder if MIJ Jacksons nowadays are of same quality !

There are no MIJ Jacksons anymore. India, China, and I believe Mexico make the import Jacksons.
 

mmd

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1. Is an ESP made in Japan better than an ESP made in USA?
2. Is a Jackson made in USA better than a Jackson made in Japan?
3. Is an ESP made in Japan better than a Jackson made in Japan?
4. Is a Jackson made in USA better than an ESP made in USA?
5. Is a Jackson made in Japan better than an Ibanez made in Japan?

1. Probably equal, except ESP Japan will ALWAYS have the BEST stuff because they are a Japanese company. ESP's Japanese Custom Shop makes some of the best guitars in the world, bar NONE. It is a TRUE custom shop. Want a guitar shaped like a Bushido Warrior? They'll do it, even if it is more for looks than playability....

2. YES - USA Jackson is better than Japanese Jacksons, EXCEPT the 1990-1995 Pro Series. Those were SO good that Jackson USA had to reduce the quality because it was eating the sales of the USA guitars. The 1996 forward Japanese guitars were good, but not the same as the USA guitars.

3. YES!!!!!!!!!! (to infinity) ESP is its own company making its own product with its own luthiers in their own factory. Jackson had a contract with a factory exclusively building their guitars. Still proud craftsman, but different.

4. Depends who you ask. I was an exclusive Jackson player for YEARS - had dozens of USA and Custom Shop models. I moved away from them about five years ago. I just found myself wanting something else. I still have a PC-1 that is one of my favorite guitars. Any of the USA ESP guitars I have played seem to be on par with the USA Jackson stuff - but so do a lot of other brands. Once you hit that price point, things seem to level out. USA Fender, USA Jackson, USA Charvel, USA ESP, PRS S2, Gibson mid-range models.....at that point it starts becoming about preference.

5. No. The exception would be 1990-1995 Jackson Pro series. Those were superior to the Ibanez guitars of the time (aside from the SUPER high-end stuff that we couldn't easily get in the US). Ibanez Japan makes quality stuff.
 

Mockbel

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Turning to a bit more specific question.. I am offered a Jackson DK2 (MIJ) .. owner says it is 2006/2007 model... I thinking about trading it with my Ibanez RG320 in the pic below. It is 2005, Made in Korea, with Dimarzio Petrucci set of pickups (Crunch Lab/Liquifire)...
_c1338934_image_0.jpg


...and here is the offered Jackson
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuyAndSellMusicalInstrumentsEgypt/permalink/10154170721696103/
 

hbucker

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It also depends on what era the guitars were made.

Modern guitars are generally all cut on the same CNC machines, regardless of what country we're talking about. Then it comes down to the wood being used, which may or may not be an issue - but that's a whole other volatile thread. ;)

In the early 90s, Mexican Fenders were terrible. Since then, they've become very viable products that compete well with USA made Fenders.

As has been stated, Japan production tends to be very good, but was once disregarded as poor quality. Some of those old Japanese products that were once panned, are now regarded as good quality, and valuable pawn shop prizes. I personally have an '04, Japanese, Epiphone Elitist LP that is an excellent guitar.

IMO, this can get so complicated that your brain can melt if you over think it. Find a price point that you are comfortable with. Then look at the products within that price point. If you can buy USA, do it. If not, you really aren't going to sacrifice much in the way of quality, especially when you can always replace pickups and hardware down the road, as needed.
 

mmd

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Turning to a bit more specific question.. I am offered a Jackson DK2 (MIJ) .. owner says it is 2006/2007 model... I thinking about trading it with my Ibanez RG320 in the pic below. It is 2005, Made in Korea, with Dimarzio Petrucci set of pickups (Crunch Lab/Liquifire)...
_c1338934_image_0.jpg


...and here is the offered Jackson
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuyAndSellMusicalInstrumentsEgypt/permalink/10154170721696103/

Personally, as a former Jackson guy, I would not make that trade. There are some newer model MIJ DK2s that come from the factory with real Seymour Duncan pickups - JB and 59 - and the Floyd Rose Special. I hate the JT590LP bridge that is on that guitar, and upgrading to a "real" Floyd can be a pain because of the route. You end up with space because of the base-plate difference.

The overall feel of the DK2 is decent. The neck feels good, the body is good, but the hardware - in my opinion - is crap. You could end up with a BEAST once you upgraded it, but you'd have too much money in it. The later DK2s are just better overall.
 

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