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I took the Fender Factory tour today!!

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by gerryl98, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. gerryl98

    gerryl98 Strat-Talker

    119
    Dec 22, 2010
    So Cal
    It was well worth the $10 they charge. Me and my daughter had a great time. I took a ton of pictures with my iPhone....which died about 2/3 into the tour. I think the next I'll bring my camcorder because video of craftsmanship in action is much better than a picture. Not sure exactly the name of each section but we toured the metal shop where we them punch out the pickguards, control plates, and amp housings, the area where they CNC the bodies and neck, the area where they skunk stripe the necks, press the frets, trim the fret ends, contour sanding and finish sanding, pickup and pots soldering, and the custom shop!! One of the master builders showed an aluminum bodied strat he was working on and said he's supposed to be making 60 of them for the 60th anniversary. He said he figured out a way to make a transparent neck too which seemed interested. (not for the aluminum body)

    From what I remember the inspection is done by employees that are guitar players and then goes to final inspector before it gets sent out. They said they produce about 500 American Fender guitars a day and about another 15 in Jacksons, Charvels and EVH. What's interesting is that the tour guide said each guitar takes a total of about 8 hours labor but about 2 weeks to complete because of wait times. I think he said drying after painting was several days...might have been 10.

    Spent another $90 on shirts, picks, and a Fender mouse pad. I'll going back again for another tour soon because my buddy wants to go. I highly recommend taking the tour.

    And yes, it is true about difference in labor for MIA vs MIM. The parts may be different but either way they are being built by a Mexican.
     

  2. JimBob911

    JimBob911 Strat-Talker

    411
    Dec 9, 2013
    Iowa
    They charge $10 for a tour? *Boggle*
     

  3. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-a-holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    41
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Quality differences are arguable, the biggest difference in price between a MIA vs MIM vs MIC etc is labor costs, secondary is component quality. I'd love to go on a tour though!! Sounds like you had an awesome time. I'd be geeked out!
     

  4. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014
    Australia
    Thanks for the interesting post !

    They'd have to charge something for the tour, to not only cover wages for the man that's been taken-off his regular job to show you around, but for insurance costs should some-one get injured whilst on the premises. - And that can't be cheap !

    At least they offer you a tour !

    Cheers,

    Rastus
     

  5. bish0p34

    bish0p34 Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 11, 2013
    Alexandria, Va.
    Awesome! I'm quite jealous!

    Ten dollars for a tour is totally worth it in my opinion.
     

  6. Viking inLA

    Viking inLA Most Honored Senior Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Awesome. Im about an hour north but ive never been there...Might have to remedy that some day. Is there any historical aspect to the tour?...Old machines, guitars, thingamajigs etc.....
     

  7. abnormaltoy

    abnormaltoy Thread derailer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 28, 2013
    Tucson

    You know, the 1-800-BAD-TOUR shysters would be all over a splinter.
     

  8. Mayn

    Mayn Strat-Talk Member

    54
    Apr 13, 2014
    Washington state, USA
    Can we see some of them pics? That's awesome.
     

  9. gerryl98

    gerryl98 Strat-Talker

    119
    Dec 22, 2010
    So Cal
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  10. Mayn

    Mayn Strat-Talk Member

    54
    Apr 13, 2014
    Washington state, USA
    Wow u got right up in there. That's flippin awesome.
     

  11. wiryawan

    wiryawan Senior Stratmaster

    Been there too! I say it's absolutely fantastic to see how the factory runs and produce the parts and make them together. There are lots of things that kind of look simple but require massive amount of thinking. For example they have a humidifier controller for a huge part of the factory just so the moisture balance on the woods is correct and it gets corrected everyday if I'm not mistaken..

    I got a chance to hold someone's Custom Shop order at the Custom Shop corner, the guy ordered a Strat with white body binding, flamed maple top, no contour and rosewood neck.

    I then proceed by jamming on the jam room, playing some tunes on a HSS floyd MIM and a Classic Player '50s and then buy some merchs and go back to the hotel.

    Will go there again someday if I visit US...
     

  12. gerryl98

    gerryl98 Strat-Talker

    119
    Dec 22, 2010
    So Cal
    When we were in the Custom Shop we spent a few minutes talking to one master builder. We then moved one "office" over to see the master builder with the aluminum body. I turned back to the first guy we were talking to and to my surprise he's letting a guy from the tour pose with the master built bass he was working on!! I guess that can always fix any imperfections before they go out.
     

  13. gerryl98

    gerryl98 Strat-Talker

    119
    Dec 22, 2010
    So Cal

  14. Cooter

    Cooter Strat-O-Master

    721
    Jan 24, 2013
    So Cal
    I gotta go there! So do you have to make an appointment or anything or just show up?
     

  15. wiryawan

    wiryawan Senior Stratmaster

    You just gotta show up at the factory before the scheduled tour starts, unless you are bringing a large group which then requires you to notify them. They are closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

    Visitor Center | Fender®
     

  16. Cooter

    Cooter Strat-O-Master

    721
    Jan 24, 2013
    So Cal
    Cool! Thanks for the info.
     

  17. Chachimus7077

    Chachimus7077 Strat-Talk Member

    27
    Apr 11, 2014
    Burbank, Ca
    I took the tour last march, one of the most amazing and inexpensive things i've ever done. I probably spent three to four hours in the gift shop alone. You can test out just about anything. Coolest thing, we actually got to see Abigail Ybarra otherwise known as "abbey" in action. Her office was inside the custom shop. She retired just a few months later but she had been winding pickups for fender since the 50's.
     

  18. strung-out

    strung-out Strat-Talker

    462
    Jan 25, 2014
    Miami,FL
    That looks awesome! It's cool to visit the hospital in which your guitar was born

    But next time in in California, I'll make sure to stop by! Looks like fun.
     

  19. gerlach1995

    gerlach1995 Strat-Talk Member

    96
    Dec 27, 2013
    Coleraine MN
    They still use some of the machines that they bought in the 40's. In the visitors center (which is free), they have replicas of famous guitars, posters, a room where you can play boutique guitars and amps as loud as you want. In the factory hallway they have old advertisement from Fenders beginnings.
     

  20. rapaul76

    rapaul76 Strat-Talker

    170
    May 1, 2011
    Thunder Bay, Canada
    I've gotta do that one day. Looks like a lot of fun.