Jump to content
funkgod

bass prices, are some worth it?

Recommended Posts

11 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Bass making at Rickenbacker, Sandberg, Custom shop etc levels is skilled Labour.

One of the questions I have about Fender Custom Shop in particular is to what extent the bodies and necks are 'hand made'?

Are the necks and bodies really crafted by hand from the original blocks of wood or are they made on the same CNC machines as all the other US Fenders albeit from a special 'custom shop' wood pile?

To some extent using CNC would be much closer to Leo Fender's original vision for his instruments, but it then becomes more difficult to justify the prices.

I'm not suggesting that they're not constructed using 'highly skilled' labour, just that most of the man hours are going on finishing rather than actual construction and assembly, which isn't radically different from their mass production lines.

Edited by Cato
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Maude said:

Again, I agree, to a degree. If £5.5k (Rick 4005xc) was a reasonable recompense for the labour and materials involved then why don't all their guitars and basses start at that price. They obviously feel £2.5k is fair for a 4003 so why double it for the 4005, unless cashing in on the vintage values, which they're entitled to, it's theirs after all. 

Again this goes back to something only being worth whatever someone else is willing to pay. If the 4005’s sell then that’s what they are worth. If they don’t sell they will be discontinued and/or come down in price.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Doctor J said:

You may consider Custom Shop prices outrageous but when you consider the instruments they're replicating - mass produced by largely unskilled labour using some of the cheapest, most plentiful woods at the time - sell for multiples of even Custom Shop prices, it might change your perspective, no?

What's worth considering is how cheap some instruments are, not just how expensive others are. There's a whole lot of exploitation built into your £99 Harley Benton. When you consider the cost of the raw materials alone, never mind the taxes and duties, the transportation, everyone taking their cut along the way, it does't leave much for the poor bastards who built it, does it? Comparing the cost of something made where worker's rights don't exist and living standards are barely above the level of vermin and using it as means to gripe about how expensive instruments made elsewhere is just a little misguided, in my opinion. 

I've wondered about HB prices as they do seem such amazing value. But @stewblack mentioned the other day that they were made in Vietnam and the workers were being looked after.

1 hour ago, binky_bass said:

I know this isn't a 'relic rant' thread, but I just don't understand the relic look... in any other industry it would be classed as insanity - 'Come buy your brand new relic'd Ford, we've smashed it up a bit for you to make it look like you've rolled down a genuine Californian hillside'. 

Why pay 60% over the odds for a bass/guitar that's been sandpapered a bit and had a few rocks thrown at it. They just look like battered instruments to me so why pay more for damage?? I don't get it. 

Even with true vintage instruments, the better the condition the higher the value, so it just seems like the attraction is people wanting to make it appear like they've been gigging for years and are seasoned pro's when they likely are not. Just my personal 2 cents! Opinion is subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder so really who am I to judge!!

Me and you both!

41 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Stone wash jeans, Tie dye shirts, ripped jeans, distressed caps, shabby chic furniture, your old teddy with an ear hanging off and an eye missing you still like the look of, sandblast to buildings, turdburst and tort which is spawn of the devil, gold hardware - all just finishes and bits - I am pretty sure that only people that think that someone thinks they are a seasoned pro are people from the outside who don’t like the finish-I don’t look at someone with a pristine guitar and think newbie, OCD, doesn’t get out enough, he/she must gig a new guitar every week etc.

Excellent riposte!

Guess we just need the above two posts on any relic thread and mods can then close it down. 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, tegs07 said:

Again this goes back to something only being worth whatever someone else is willing to pay. If the 4005’s sell then that’s what they are worth. If they don’t sell they will be discontinued and/or come down in price.

That's it, I'm sure they will sell so it's all irrelevant. The fact that I don't feel they're worth it just means I won't own one. 

Or will I? 😉

😄

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Cato said:

One of the questions I have about Fender Custom Shop in particular is to what extent the bodies and necks are 'hand made'?

Are the necks and bodies really crafted by hand from the original blocks of wood or are they made on the same CNC machines as all the other US Fenders albeit from a special 'custom shop' wood pile?

To some extent using CNC would be much closer to Leo Fender's original vision for his instruments, but it then becomes more difficult to justify the prices.

I'm not suggesting that they're not constructed using 'highly skilled' labour, just that most of the man hours are going on finishing rather than actual construction and assembly, which isn't radically different from their mass production lines.

I can only speak for Sandberg, but it’s likely to be a lot of CNC unless they state otherwise.

All guitars are then hand finished to the same raw level, but you are correct it then comes down to man hours on the finish - a masterpiece involves the thermal and vibration treatment and then the time taken to create the finish which only a couple guys do - Sandberg is a small operation with a critical mass of approx 26 employees I think - big enough to churn out stuff, small enough to ensure a family feel and QC

The most bang for buck finish unless they upcharge is high gloss compared to matt as that takes so much more time to achieve

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Maude said:

Again, I agree, to a degree. If £5.5k (Rick 4005xc) was a reasonable recompense for the labour and materials involved then why don't all their guitars and basses start at that price. They obviously feel £2.5k is fair for a 4003 so why double it for the 4005, unless cashing in on the vintage values, which they're entitled to, it's theirs after all. 

Totally - I dunno if they cost more, maybe there is some fairy dust sprinkled in, rare factor will be a thing 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

I've wondered about HB prices as they do seem such amazing value. But @stewblack mentioned the other day that they were made in Vietnam and the workers were being looked after.

I'd love to know how much they're paid per hour. How many hours of manual labour do you reckon go into your average P bass, let's say since it's as basic as it gets?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Doctor J said:

I'd love to know how much they're paid per hour. How many hours of manual labour do you reckon go into your average P bass, let's say since it's as basic as it gets?

I'm guessing it will be machined parts with just final quick assembly manually. I'm no expert in how long it would take, but let's say 3 hours per bass to assemble parts by an experienced worker How does that sound as a guesstimate?

Bear in mind that the cost of living is a lot less in developing nations, so the equivalent min wage might be 1/4 to 1/6 what it is in devoloped nations. But I have no idea what they are paid. Need Mr Stewblack to jump in on that one. 

Then you need to add transport costs and Thomann mark up, which will add a chunk. And UK VAT at 20%!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Doctor J said:

I'd love to know how much they're paid per hour. How many hours of manual labour do you reckon go into your average P bass, let's say since it's as basic as it gets?

I suppose it depends on how they are produced. If it's pure production line, as in one man stands there all day long just screwing on bridges with an electric driver, then he can do hundreds a day. If all the other parts are done in the same manner and there are multiple people doing the same component then it's thousands per day. Also how much is actually automated, are frets just cut and pressed in by a robot? You'd have to know the exact manufacturing process to work out how many actual hours go into each bass. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

I'm guessing it will be machined parts with just final quick assembly manually. I'm no expert in how long it would take, but let's say 3 hours per bass to assemble parts by an experienced worker How does that sound as a guesstimate?

Bear in mind that the cost of living is a lot less in developing nations, so the equivalent min wage might be 1/4 to 1/6 what it is in devoloped nations. But I have no idea what they are paid. Need Mr Stewblack to jump in on that one. 

Then you need to add transport costs and Thomann mark up, which will add a chunk. And UK VAT at 20%!

There's assembly, yes, but aren't necks and bodies painted and finished by hand too? Don't the same manufacturing processes and automation exist in the USA and Mexico too? I don't, for a second, think your average factory worker in the US or Mexico is living high on the hog, either. Anyway, you can see where I'm going as you expanded through the rest of your post. There's not a lot of the £99 going to the people who made it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Corts video of the basics of making a guitar in their Indonesian factory. 

You can see where expensive bits of skilled labour could be replaced with further automation. Also, things like in house pickups rather than Chinese ones will adding to the price

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Corts video of the basics of making a guitar in their Indonesian factory. 

You can see where expensive bits of skilled labour could be replaced with further automation. Also, things like in house pickups rather than Chinese ones will adding to the price

That was brilliant - thanks for that.

I don’t know if they do or they missed it out, but if you add A Plek machine to the step, that’s more time and man hours on that process.

Do you know do Cort only do Cort, or does the factory also do other makes as happens elsewhere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am aghast at the prices companies suggest for what are essentially Jazz and Precision (and to a lesser extent, Thunderbirds) copies.  Much as I love my Lulls, why anyone would pay £3K for a Precision or Jazz copy is beyond me.  As for the OP, why would anyone pay a vintage price for a brand new distressed instrument?  Mental.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, binky_bass said:

Why would you want to buy a pair of jeans already ripped up? Fashion is a sheeps game, whoever came up with the idea of selling pre-ripped jeans has been laughing 12 hours a day since selling the first pair. 

Slightly off topic but in case you want to find more about that, then check out this video (from 27:42). Renzo Rosso, Founder of Diesel, explains the story behind the distressed jeans which he started back in 1978. At first, retailers would return his jeans, thinking they were second hand. The video also shows how they "screw" and "grind" the fabric in a factory in India (from 31:23). Very interesting.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

Slightly off topic but in case you want to find more about that, then check out this video (from 27:42). Renzo Rosso, Founder of Diesel, explains the story behind the distressed jeans which he started back in 1978. At first, retailers would return his jeans, thinking they were second hand. The video also shows how they "screw" and "grind" the fabric in a factory in India (from 31:23). Very interesting.

 

Liked that too!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Do you know do Cort only do Cort, or does the factory also do other makes as happens elsewhere

They do loads, eg the Indonesian-made Ibanez are theirs. I think I've read that some Squiers are made there. I presume they have made the G&L Tribute series since production of those moved from Korea to Indonesia.

Yamaha I know have their own Indonesian factory, but what other Indonesian factories are there? 

Edited by Ricky Rioli
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen early 2nd hand Squier basses go for over £1k. I struggle a bit with that. I played one when they first came over here and it was OK but no better or worse than the Colombus J copy i already had at the time and they only sell for few hundred quid 2nd hand. Prices have been hiked because its an early Squier ?? 

Personally i wouldn't buy something like that. Not sure i'd buy a classic Fender either at the prices they are going for these days when i could get something of better quality for same or less money. 

This is all subjective as its solely down to personal choice.

As for the 4005 i personally find it ugly and not something i would give a second glance.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, dmccombe7 said:

I've seen early 2nd hand Squier basses go for over £1k. I struggle a bit with that. I played one when they first came over here and it was OK but no better or worse than the Colombus J copy i already had at the time and they only sell for few hundred quid 2nd hand. Prices have been hiked because its an early Squier ?? 

Personally i wouldn't buy something like that. Not sure i'd buy a classic Fender either at the prices they are going for these days when i could get something of better quality for same or less money. 

This is all subjective as its solely down to personal choice.

As for the 4005 i personally find it ugly and not something i would give a second glance.

Dave

The 82-83 Squiers are rightly held good regard, but mainly because they were better than the rubbish coming out of USA - prices nearer the £7-800 mark is a better reflection depending on condition, mods etc.

Yep - newer basses are likely to be more consistent than some of the ancient ones.

The Rick I would have would be the Al Cisneros - it looks and sounds Amazing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

The 82-83 Squiers are rightly held good regard, but mainly because they were better than the rubbish coming out of USA - prices nearer the £7-800 mark is a better reflection depending on condition, mods etc.

Yep - newer basses are likely to be more consistent than some of the ancient ones.

The Rick I would have would be the Al Cisneros - it looks and sounds Amazing

For me a 4003 Jetglo is probably the one i'd go for. I do like the blue burst they did yrs ago but they are rare.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

I am aghast at the prices companies suggest for what are essentially Jazz and Precision (and to a lesser extent, Thunderbirds) copies.  Much as I love my Lulls, why anyone would pay £3K for a Precision or Jazz copy is beyond me.  As for the OP, why would anyone pay a vintage price for a brand new distressed instrument?  Mental.

 

A precision or jazz copy would take just as much work, if being hand made, as something in a different shape. With many high end jazz basses the body shape is really the only similarity, and even then, it’s often shaped quite differently if you were to compare to a Fender. 

I’ll just add that a good high end instrument will hold its value much better than a budget or mid range one, so in the long run they can work out cheaper. I’ve probably had about five instruments for an initial outlay several years ago and if I sold them all now I’d make it back with interest.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is complicated. There are so many things at play. Others have addressed the issue of instruments made in high wage economies by craftsmen/women who are paid properly vs. those built in highly mechanised Far Eastern factories staffed by people who are paid the equivalent of a tin of beans a day.

Price and "value/worth" are not the same thing. Modern manufacturing means you can buy a budget instrument which will be as good a functional tool (albeit with a bit of fettling) as something handmade and expensive. If that's the case, why doesn't everyone play a Squier (other brands are available)?

The list of reasons is long - pride of ownership, scarcity, desire to own something unique or unusual, disposable income, fashion, resale value, etc, etc.

If people want to treat themselves to something nice or expensive that makes them happy, that's great. It's their money after all.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With a lot of basses you're going to be paying for the name of the brand, player associations for signature basses, and gimmicks. Some *cough* Fender *cough* will hike their prices up enormously for just a mediocre product. It's about what the brand believes that they can  rip you off with reasonably charge you, and for a brand name like Fender how could anyone possibly think they won't get anything other than a top notch quality product given their history.

Fender, for just one instance of a large number of similar brands who play the same tricks, charge that much because people will pay it. Not because it's worth that much or you're getting a quality product. It's really that simple!

Another reason for high price is custom made. Some people like that human, personal, one-of-a-kind touch. But in a contest for accuracy and precision between a robot and a human, I know who I have my bets on.

 

This is why I have bought inexpensive basses. I know how business works and I'm not taken in by brand names, marketing tricks("tonewoods" on solid bodies instruments, anyone?), or other tomfoolery.  I know that many people believe that the more they pay the better quality they will get, and that basses that are cheap(ie reasonably prices) will be made by some sort of slave labour by workers getting whipped if they work less than 23 hours a day.

If a bass costs you above £400 and isn't diamond studded or laced with gold, you should question what you're getting for your money.

Edited by TheLowDown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...