Is it worth to give 1000$+ for an Indonisian or MIM guitar ? Remember the past !!

Thrup'ny Bit

Grand Master Curmudgeon
May 21, 2010
45,145
Yorkshire
Drooling over that second hand selection.

There are a few stores in my area that do carry exclusively used gear but they are now considered specialty stores. Selection is low, prices are crazy high.

You have to see what is actually in the shop when you go in, their computer system takes time to catch up. Very few things I've seen online have been there by the time I got my boots on. They do take photos of the used gear on the shop floor though, my walking stick has been in a few pictures. :p
 

Thrup'ny Bit

Grand Master Curmudgeon
May 21, 2010
45,145
Yorkshire
I mean I could sit here and talk about the chances I had to buy a USA Fender Strat Plus or Plus Deluxe for like $700 Canadian $550 US almost brand new, or new old stock even....circa like 1993.......those days are long long gone.....

Or a 1966 Princeton Reverb for £50 in 1983.

It went for a bit more than that when I sold it, even at mates rates, a couple of years ago... :D
 

Handsome McClane

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 6, 2020
1,848
Sacramento
There's a learning curve to making guitars that probably takes a decade or so. Production is moved there because labor is cheap, they start building, the guitars start getting good, the workers want more pay, and the corporation moves moves somewhere else where the labor is cheap again. Rinse and repeat.

In the '80s Japan started making quality guitars, '90s it was Korea and Mexico, 00's it was China, now it's Indonesia. Especially with CNC manufacturing, once a plant is over that hump they start making quality guitars. I've got two Indonesian PRS SEs and they're both fantastic guitars. Only thing "cheap" on them are the pots, switch, and jack - and you can easily swap those out. Also had a G&L Tribute Bluesboy made in Indonesia and it was a great guitar for dirt cheap too.
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
6,824
Murfreesboro, TN
A Strat in 1962 was $289.50, what's your point? :p

And 289.50 accounting for inflation since 1962 is $2672.62. These were expensive guitars, even back then.

All factory widgets are built to a price point. The company decides how much it's willing to spend building a particular model--and that may or may not have any bearing on how much they sell it for, except that they rarely sell at a loss for very long if they want to stay in business.

There have been MASSIVE changes in shipping, computing, automation, and communications over the past few decades. The real sea change happened with Windows 95 and widespread adoption of the Internet.

Now that so much of the work is done by robots (CNC routers etc.) and raw materials are routinely shipped (cheaply) to anywhere in the world, it matters a whole lot less where the work is done. A CNC machine in California can do the same work as a CNC machine in Mexico or Indonesia or China--it's not as though the same machine in a different country suddenly becomes lazy or develops a greater attention to detail. But guitars are built to a price point--which of course includes materials, hours of labor etc. Very fine instruments can be built anywhere--and very cheap poor quality instruments can also be made anywhere.

But the most important factor for guitars is how well it fits your hands. And it's not as though one neck profile costs more to manufacture.

As it happens, my #1 and #2 guitars were both made in Indonesia--one by Yamaha in the 1980s, the other by PRS in 2021. I also own instruments made in Japan, USA, Mexico, Korea, and China. And I can say with absolutely no doubt, that national origin is a poor indicator of quality. My one USA guitar (a Carvin) is so far down on the list that it's stuffed in the back of a closet.
 

sgarnett

Senior Stratmaster
May 19, 2019
1,485
Versailles, KY
Inflation is not linear. What you are seeing right now is in fact a correction. Manufacturers of all products have been eating production cost increases for awhile, but now everything is ratcheting up all at once.

It’s like dropping a seed crystal into supercooled water or an earthquake releasing built-up pressure. Nobody wants to be the first, but once it starts, look out!
 

Thrup'ny Bit

Grand Master Curmudgeon
May 21, 2010
45,145
Yorkshire
There's a learning curve to making guitars that probably takes a decade or so. Production is moved there because labor is cheap, they start building, the guitars start getting good, the workers want more pay, and the corporation moves moves somewhere else where the labor is cheap again. Rinse and repeat.

In the '80s Japan started making quality guitars, '90s it was Korea and Mexico, 00's it was China, now it's Indonesia. Especially with CNC manufacturing, once a plant is over that hump they start making quality guitars. I've got two Indonesian PRS SEs and they're both fantastic guitars. Only thing "cheap" on them are the pots, switch, and jack - and you can easily swap those out. Also had a G&L Tribute Bluesboy made in Indonesia and it was a great guitar for dirt cheap too.

The Japanese factories started using CNC in the mid to late 70s, which is when the quality of those copies started to irk CBS and Norlin...
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
6,059
Republic of Gilead
If “worth” is defined simplistically as more expensive than it used to be . . .

but we’re better than that, aren’t we?

Are we making better wages and salaries?

Is the purchasing power of the dollar still declining, consistent with the last 42 years?

Are the workers in Indonesia and Ensenada getting their annual raises, and are these price hikes commensurate with that growth in overhead costs?

Has the price difference between a MIM/MII and MIA grown? shrunk? remained consistent?

Personally, I think imports have been overpriced for a long time. But that’s a matter of macroeconomics, not quality per se.
 

FrieAsABird

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 18, 2020
3,206
Germany
Eh, I really don’t care about all that stuff too much. I’ve never bought a guitar, used or new, for more than 5-600 euros. If there’s a guitar I like and I can afford, I’ll take it. Mainly used ones, most expensive being my Gibson LP Tribute Goldtop from 2018.
 

bgmacaw

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 16, 2014
1,021
Near Athens, GA
In the 80's I bought a '73 Strat for $250, a '73 Princeton Reverb for $100 and a '64 Champ for $100. Why isn't gear still the same price since gig pay is still the same now as it was then?

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JamesE

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 30, 2018
1,139
Hamburg, Germany
Does anyone here remember the woman who bought a house in Detroit for $1 in 2008? If we'd all done the same, maybe we could buy lots of guitars now. Or is the house still worth $1?
 

helliger

Strat-Talker
Feb 25, 2021
207
richmond
You can make really good guitars anywhere. It was often the case that guitars made in certain places had cheap components and were quickly made with low quality control standards by barely trained workers. Nowadays that's often not the case and a guitar will be spec'd well and made by trained workers to higher quality standards. It's still cheaper to make since labor is a huge part of construction but if you took that same worker and plopped them in Corona they'd be just as good. I think those higher quality guitars that are made overseas cost more to make now since they are done to higher standards in many cases.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
11,402
Harlow, Essex, UK
So... i am thinking a lot of this question....

Once upon a time ( not so many years back ) you could have an MIJ jackson for 700$ ( brand new ) or an Ibanez mij prestige for 1000$ + hard case!!! .....

....and now what??? Asking for indonesian and mexican guitars 1000$+ ?? sometimes even used!! without even a hard case...

I REMEMBER......i had a Jackson USA sl1 for 1400$ ( used ) ... now they sell them... for 2.500-3000$ ...and an ESP M-II which i bought for 1800$ and i sold for 1000$ and now they ask 1600$ for the used one (near brand new price once upon a time again )

What happened guys....and HOW DO YOU FEEL.... When you pay so much money for a NON Japan or USA instrument compared to what you remember from the past ?

I would like your opinion...

Thank you

Depends how far you go back. Once upon a time, you paid relatively high prices for rubbish guitars and took out a bank loan for stupid money for a good one. Nowadays, most of the cheap one’s are really cheap and really playable and tge expensive ones are affordable. Talking about Far East and other imports with friend. Being as we drive on the left, we were among the first to get Nissan (Datsun) cars. They were inexpensive, nothing special but reliable. Slowly the mocking stopped and they were accepted. Anyone take the proverbial out of Nissans now? No, and they’re not cheap either. The only reason these companies start by exporting cheap goods to us is that that’s what we ask for. As confidence builds in their reliability and quality, the manufacturers improve them and increase the prices. Clever marketing and thought out product placement. If an Indonesian guitar is $1,000 it’s probably well worth it. If it’s $100, it’s probably worth twice that.
 


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