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EdwardMarlowe

Shijie Guitars

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Scguitars.co.UK 

 

Anyone had a chance to try one of these Chinese beauties? Lots of positive buzz around. I'm hoping they do lefties...

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On 28/12/2020 at 22:08, Dad3353 said:

800€ for a Tele copy..? Hmm... I'm not seeing the appeal. -_-

Depends how you bracket it, I suppose. The design intent behind these is to provide something closer the quality of the Custom Shop - i.e. a two grand Tele - rather than the production line Fenders. The quality of materials all seems to be there. They are shooting to be a similar operation to Suhr or Tom Anderson, who both sell Tele "copies" for about three times that price. Obviously the saving here is that a good wage in China is much lower, given relative economies, than the same in the USA. (Which is not to say these people are being exploited; I know Chinese academics who chose to work for a Chinese university rather than a job in the UK. On paper, they earn 50% in China what they'd have made here, but relative to the local economy they have a much higher standard of living than they could possibly have afforded in London, or most other major UK cities.) 

I suspect the biggest challenge they're going to face is prejudice about Chinese manufacture, given the "China makes crap" stereotype, despite the fact they make what the West orders! If they can pull it off, though, it will be a very significant move in the market, given how major a manufacturing nation China has become for almost everything else. 

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On 29/12/2020 at 05:35, EdwardMarlowe said:

Scguitars.co.UK 

Anyone had a chance to try one of these Chinese beauties? Lots of positive buzz around. I'm hoping they do lefties...

I'm really curious to know who might be making them.  There are only a handful of Chinese companies that do quality builds.  I've found the rest of them just rush things and try to get away with sometimes school boy errors.   Having said that, the parts are pretty simple and if he's finishing them off by hand and assembling then quality might not be such a problem so long as the wood is seasoned properly.

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8 hours ago, Kiwi said:

I'm really curious to know who might be making them.  There are only a handful of Chinese companies that do quality builds.  I've found the rest of them just rush things and try to get away with sometimes school boy errors.   Having said that, the parts are pretty simple and if he's finishing them off by hand and assembling then quality might not be such a problem so long as the wood is seasoned properly.

It seems to be a small custom shop, building their own stuff, it's not contracted out at all. They did have an agent for a bit doing all their sales, but they've taken that back in house. They're in Guangdong,  if I recall correctly; they're certainly based not too far from the Epiphone factory, though they're not making them there. Could be they drew some of the expertise from there, though. The concept is really sound: a custom guitar that would cost over two grand from the US for less than half that - but they certainly will have to face down the stigma of Chinese manufacturing stereotypes in the West. Same old same old - the West orders cheap crap from China, China obliges, and then the West thinks China can only offer cheap crap. I've been saying for years (based on experience out there) they're just as capable given the budget and materials.... this might be a chance to prove that theory!  Web talk seems to be evenly split between folks who have one and love it, and folks who refuse the believe a Chinese guitar could be any good (and haven't played one). I'm hoping now they have UK distribution that I'll get a chance to try one out - I wouldn't buy one unseen, but then to be fair I don't think I'd buy any guitar unseen. If they are really all that and I had one and loved it, there would be a temptation to buy a second; I really like the 'standard' versions, and I'm very much a single coil guy. The relic'ed versions look pretty cool, though (I'm not normally a relic guy - I can admire them, but my aesthetic preferences are more geared towards the vintage look as was back in the day when those guitars were new rather than forty years old and beat tae feck)... there'd be the temptation to have the relic'ed version of the same colour, perhaps with the HB in the bridge, almost as if it was the first guitar at a different stage in its life. I'm not normally a HB guy at all - for years, the HSS layout has been a deal breaker to me - but I've actually really warmed to the look of it on these. I also like that they have the original layout in terms of tone features - would put it at another variation from my existing Strat. I've been planning for a while to pick up a Player Strat once I sell some stuff, but I'm toying with the idea of one of these first. They're certainly different enough that a Player would still slot in nicely for variation. My current Strats are my original 1994 US Standard (an anniversary year model, but the left handers made that year were for whatever reason not given the additional anniversary badge that went on all the right handers) and a Squier Std I modified with GFS lipsticks, but the latter is going to be parted out and sold off. I'm actually going to shift the bulk of my collection (around 13 currently; only keeping the Strat, my CIJ Tele and a Brandoni P Bass), including amps, so I should have a nice little bit of cash to play around with, and I'd be happy to take a punt on one of these Shijies as long as I can play first and be sure it works for me. Thereafter, who knows.... if Fender get their act together and extend the Mod Shop to the UK (an idea I was pushing  on forums twenty years ago, I wodner if someone at Fender ever saw that, ha...), that might even supplant the Player.... 

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The innards look pretty good here, though of course there is the question mark about a 'review special' as with any brand:
 

http://www.shijieguitars.com/home-products-index-catId-16.html

Found this on Youtube, production video from the factory. Looks likes sort of Gordon Smith  type affair - not entirely 'hand made', if you want every last bit done 'by hand', but not a huge plant affair:
 



I'm going to be interested to see what the UK guitar press makes of this; for all the accusations of going easy on advertisers over the yeas I've always found the likes of Guitar to be pretty reliable as to what's worth looking at. The thing that caught my attention here is the attention to the details - the trem isn't just a copy of the Fender version; brass block; that stripe in the neck... Sure, they're Fender "copies" to a great extent, but there seems to have been a lot of thought gone into how they would do their version, even down to the 12" radius as standard, rather than just copying the Fender norm of 9.5. 

Edited by EdwardMarlowe
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On 15/01/2021 at 18:36, EdwardMarlowe said:

It seems to be a small custom shop, building their own stuff, it's not contracted out at all. They did have an agent for a bit doing all their sales, but they've taken that back in house. They're in Guangdong,  if I recall correctly; they're certainly based not too far from the Epiphone factory, though they're not making them there. Could be they drew some of the expertise from there, though. 

Many suppliers have factories located in Shandong which is up north near Beijing, although Guangdong is bigger. But I think you are probably correct, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if someone skilled up at the cost of Epiphone and then went their own way in search of an easier life and more money.  But finding someone in that position from outside China would be literally like finding a needle in a haystack. 

On 15/01/2021 at 18:36, EdwardMarlowe said:

The concept is really sound: a custom guitar that would cost over two grand from the US for less than half that - but they certainly will have to face down the stigma of Chinese manufacturing stereotypes in the West.

There's already precedent with brands of companies outside China.  It's not hard to beat any custom shop on price and quality, the prices of almost all custom shop instruments do not reflect the actual cost of making them.   Yes there is better quality and attention to detail in custom shop instruments compared to off the shelf models but not three or four grand's worth of attention.  But endorsements, online fan boys and youtube influencers are running effective interference.  The key things to watch for are moisture content, tolerances of key joints, finishing and fretwork and they're labour intensive and tend to be skipped in the race to hit production targets.

I've been advised that it's much harder to establish a brand these days than it might have been 15 years ago.  I think the market is shrinking generally but there are still some players out there willing to shell out eye watering amounts and plenty of sellers wishing to charge outrageous amounts if the market lets them.   There's also more competition in the mid price range sector as budget companies like Shecter and ESP are upselling themselves in the same way that mid priced brands like Warwick have upselled themselves to boutique level. 

 

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2 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

? ? ? :o  Upsold, Shirley..? -_-

Depends on whether you're assuming that past simple or present continuous is the correct verb.  Marketing activity for a company that still exists has no end... 

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52 minutes ago, Kiwi said:

Depends on whether you're assuming that past simple or present continuous is the correct verb.  Marketing activity for a company that still exists has no end... 

Does the 'have' not give us a clue on that..? 'Have upsold'  : past simple; 'are upselling' : present continuous'. No..? o.O

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On 16/01/2021 at 05:33, Kiwi said:

Many suppliers have factories located in Shandong which is up north near Beijing, although Guangdong is bigger. But I think you are probably correct, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if someone skilled up at the cost of Epiphone and then went their own way in search of an easier life and more money.  But finding someone in that position from outside China would be literally like finding a needle in a haystack. 

There's already precedent with brands of companies outside China.  It's not hard to beat any custom shop on price and quality, the prices of almost all custom shop instruments do not reflect the actual cost of making them.   Yes there is better quality and attention to detail in custom shop instruments compared to off the shelf models but not three or four grand's worth of attention.  But endorsements, online fan boys and youtube influencers are running effective interference.  The key things to watch for are moisture content, tolerances of key joints, finishing and fretwork and they're labour intensive and tend to be skipped in the race to hit production targets.

I've been advised that it's much harder to establish a brand these days than it might have been 15 years ago.  I think the market is shrinking generally but there are still some players out there willing to shell out eye watering amounts and plenty of sellers wishing to charge outrageous amounts if the market lets them.   There's also more competition in the mid price range sector as budget companies like Shecter and ESP are upselling themselves in the same way that mid priced brands like Warwick have upselled themselves to boutique level. 

 

There's definitely a much bigger  price spectrum than when I was starting out. Back then - early 90s - there was a very stark difference between bands - a Squier was a Squier, a Fender MIJ (MIM not being around yet then) one thing, and Fender USA another. Much less blurring of the lines than nowadays. 

The custom shop guitars from Fender all look amazing, though there's definitely a huge upcharge for intangibles like it being "built by masters" (I don't honestly much care, as a rule, who built it if it's good!), and then also basic 'choice' aspects - greater range of colours and other options. Being able to choose whatever pickups you want is great, though it may be debatable how much having that choice in and of itself is worth (as opposed to the actual cost difference of the pick-ups themselves).  

It'll be interesting to see if these guys can make it take off. For my entire playing years, there's been this notion of "the original and the copies". A guitar built to 1950s patterns by people who didn't make the originals or design them is "real" if it carries the same brand as the guitars designed and made before the current builders were born, but otherwise it's a copy. IT is what it is. Marketing. With acoustics, nobody points at a dreadnaught shape and says "Oh, that's a Martin copy", nobody points at a violin and says "oh, cheap crap - that's just a Stradivarius copy". Seeing how many big companies with their own established brand are now doing their own takes on a classic, I wonder will the next generation of guitar players be beyond the idea of "copy", and just see a "traditional" design?  Maybe that's what's going on with PRS.... I can't help but be bemused that as long as they aped Gibson nobody batted an eyelid, but as soon as they made a "Strat"....  Interesting that they've gone for the Fender market now as well as the Gibson... I wonder if they'll ever do an SE Strat type? Would like to try one of those (if they ever do a lefty), though I think the PRS neck would be too wide for me. 

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On 16/01/2021 at 05:33, Kiwi said:

 There's also more competition in the mid price range sector as budget companies like Shecter and ESP are upselling themselves in the same way that mid priced brands like Warwick have upselled themselves to boutique level. 

 

That's another thing I see too. Part of it is that it's getting cheaper all the time to production line many guitars (and with older designs retaining the strong market share - I mean how long ago did Fender recoup their R&D costs on the Strat, or Gibson the LP - the trad versions that seem still to e their biggest sellers - forty years ago? Fifty? ) . It feels to me - and Fender's re-arrangement of its line with the Player series is a prime example, Gretsch with its 5xxx vs 6xxx series too - that for all the blurring of  geographically produced ranges as compared to how it once was, we're increasingly seeing a stratification on hobbyist vs "professional" levels. If I was playing professionally, I suspect I'd be prepared to pay out much bigger money for a guitar I'd be using every night rather than a hobby piece...  At least, that seems to be how the marketing works, though the average working musicians I've ever known were far more likely, pre playing on a Gold album at least - to be playing workhorse, mid-range instruments, while the wealthy hobby players bought the top end stuff. 

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As in so many areas (cars, bikes, electronics, the list is endless), automated design, machining and production has meant that quality levels have, in the main, gone up. It’s hard to buy something truly awful these days and it’s certainly much easier to produce something decent on a budget.

So, for me, that leaves the question of where the market for Masterbuilt, Custom, boutique models sits and how much volume it can support. I can see the appeal of a small supply of custom instruments (or car or boutique hi-fi or whatever) but that can only ever be a very limited market for the minority who are prepared to pay a lot more for something “artisan crafted”*. 

If I can buy a perfectly good mass-produced guitar at a reasonable price, the only appeal of a custom shop model is the name on the headstock, surely? It’s the bragging rights attached to it rather than any real improvement in quality. So if this part of the market is driven by brand snobbery, how is a new name going to get established?

I think these guys have an interesting approach but I think they’ll have a struggle on their hands establishing a new brand under their own name (and Shije? Really?). I think PRS have shown with their SE line that you can sell good-quality Asian instruments at a mid-level price point - Shije might have been better approaching an existing boutique name and doing a licence deal to get themselves established rather than starting from scratch.

I wish them well but wouldn’t put my own money into it. I’ll be interested to see how this develops....

 

*I always read the phrase “artisan crafted” as a shorthand for “a bit wobbly and likely to contain, or be wrapped in, hemp

Edited by Skinnyman
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I believe they're open to doing work for a big brand, though TBH I'd rather see them succeed on their own. I have a feeling it's going to be the 'Made in China' image they're going to have to get past more than being a new brand, but we'll see. Asia has shed the image it once had. Fender Japan took a bit to be viewed as well as it is now - ironically, I think it took Fender shifting its European / US targeted midprice line to Mexico for the Japanese guitars to really start to be prized. Korea was very much loo0ked down on at a time, now it's China.... I wonder if Chinese manufacture will begin to getsome respect when the very cheapest stuff moves again to Africa? (not impossible, especially for an EU market, and Chinese conglomorates have been investing heavily in several central African nations over the last decade). 


It'll be interesting if their new UK representation can get them reviewed in the UK guitar press, that could be a big help. While the right to stamp "Fender" on the top end would certainly help them shift units, I suspect there's a niche market there for people who like the idea of a Suhr or similar, aren't wedded to the "big" names, but can't justify spending two grand. I suppose it all keeps coming back to the same thing - whether there's a market that connects with what they are trying to do or not. 

If I can sell off all my old stuff for what I think might be possible, I may well spend some of it on one of these, though obviously not sight unseen. I wouldn't buy *any* guitar much about £200 without getting a chance to play it first, even a Fender custom shop. 

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2 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

I believe they're open to doing work for a big brand, though TBH I'd rather see them succeed on their own. I have a feeling it's going to be the 'Made in China' image they're going to have to get past more than being a new brand, but we'll see. Asia has shed the image it once had. Fender Japan took a bit to be viewed as well as it is now - ironically, I think it took Fender shifting its European / US targeted midprice line to Mexico for the Japanese guitars to really start to be prized. Korea was very much loo0ked down on at a time, now it's China.... I wonder if Chinese manufacture will begin to getsome respect when the very cheapest stuff moves again to Africa? (not impossible, especially for an EU market, and Chinese conglomorates have been investing heavily in several central African nations over the last decade). 


It'll be interesting if their new UK representation can get them reviewed in the UK guitar press, that could be a big help. While the right to stamp "Fender" on the top end would certainly help them shift units, I suspect there's a niche market there for people who like the idea of a Suhr or similar, aren't wedded to the "big" names, but can't justify spending two grand. I suppose it all keeps coming back to the same thing - whether there's a market that connects with what they are trying to do or not. 

If I can sell off all my old stuff for what I think might be possible, I may well spend some of it on one of these, though obviously not sight unseen. I wouldn't buy *any* guitar much about £200 without getting a chance to play it first, even a Fender custom shop. 

Of course, they’d get a head start by letting an influential member of a well-known guitar forum have one for review purposes....

Just sayin’

😁

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17 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

So, for me, that leaves the question of where the market for Masterbuilt, Custom, boutique models sits and how much volume it can support. I can see the appeal of a small supply of custom instruments (or car or boutique hi-fi or whatever) but that can only ever be a very limited market for the minority who are prepared to pay a lot more for something “artisan crafted”*. 

Yes, and there are probably parallels with the exotic car market and fine art as well.  The number of people who can afford original vintage instruments and are interested in owning them will continue to dwindle over the next 100 years.  And prices will probably continue to rise mostly because the demand is not driven by players so much as collectors. 

18 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

Maybe that's what's going on with PRS.... I can't help but be bemused that as long as they aped Gibson nobody batted an eyelid

Gibson actually took them to court over PRS single cut models.  Paul was in his element in the witness chair though and Gibson ultimately lost their case.  Fender gave up rights to their body shape IP long ago.

13 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

It'll be interesting if their new UK representation can get them reviewed in the UK guitar press, that could be a big help.

Endorsements are the most effective form of marketing.  Fender have been guilty of buying competitors purely for their list of endorsees - I think it might have been Genz or SWR who were an example of that happening, I can't remember exactly.  But it's why good brands die after being bought out by a larger corporate interest.  Mark Gooday tells a good story about Fender's interest in Trace Elliot shortly before announcing they'd purchased SWR.  Trace had to open up their books to Fender as part of the due diligence process...

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On 19/01/2021 at 05:50, Kiwi said:

Gibson actually took them to court over PRS single cut models.  Paul was in his element in the witness chair though and Gibson ultimately lost their case.  Fender gave up rights to their body shape IP long ago.

Endorsements are the most effective form of marketing.  Fender have been guilty of buying competitors purely for their list of endorsees - I think it might have been Genz or SWR who were an example of that happening, I can't remember exactly.  But it's why good brands die after being bought out by a larger corporate interest.  Mark Gooday tells a good story about Fender's interest in Trace Elliot shortly before announcing they'd purchased SWR.  Trace had to open up their books to Fender as part of the due diligence process...

I remember the Gibson case well (followed it out of both personal and professional interest). I wasn't surprised PRS won on Appeal. The first instance decision was nonsense - nobody spends that much on a guitar without having a fair idea what they are getting into, and the idea that anyone in any way would assume the PRS was a Gibson is bunk. Pretty transparently Gibson were trying to shut down a competitor who made them feel threatened, imo. Otherwise, Vintage would be a better rand to sue (look a lot more like Gibson, and really are a "copy" rather than "inspired by". 

That said, what I meant was guitar players were like "ok, fine, it's the PRS version of a Paul, that's cool" - the same people, by and large, who went apeshit when PRS did their version of a Strat. Granted, it was a step further away from *most*  of what PRS is known for, style wise (it seems everyone has forgotten their early 90s EG models, which are pretty damn close to these, if less blatantly "our version of the Strat), but still.... why was one shrugged at and the other the apparent crime of the century in the eyes of so many? I don't think for a minute that any of them thought twice about the Gibson v PRS case. Fender, if memory serves, did register their headstocks as TMs in the mid 50s, though they couldn't do that in the UK prior to 94, or much of the rest of the world as shapes weren't registrable as TMs until  the TMs At 1994 (in the UK). Prior to that, it would have been the much murkier common law issue of passing off / goodwill in the overall look and such. AFAIK, they can still protect the headstock shape now, but yes they lost everything else about the look of a Strat or Tele long ago. (As an aside, it amuses me that the headstock is the bit they're still able to protect, given that was the one bit of the Strat that they ripped off from somebody else, arguably - see Paul Bigsby's early prototypes.) 

Endorsements are an interesting thing. Definitely true that they sell product; Gibson and Fender so rarely advertise outside of the hobbyist press, but they continue to dominate the market largely because they got there first - all yer heroes play F or G, so you want F or  G and  when the next generation make it b ig playing F or G because their heroes did the new raft of kids in the audience want 'em.... self-perpetuating loop. At least we have some more variety in the market these days, but still. It's what makes me laugh a bit about people who whine and complain about "me too" brands.... generally exactly the same people I've often seen say they *would* buy X, but for "that ugly headstock - why can't they do a nice one, it's just not as good looking as the Fender..."

 

Another thing that sort of intrigues me is how  I've also long been intrigued by Fender's approach to these things: they might dabble with a few oddballs under the Big F for those who won't buy anything else, but they prefer to buy entire brands rathe than compete, then let the brand be what it was. Why copy Gretsch when you can own Gretsch? I see they've even revived the Starfire range that they killed off when they bought Guild, though interestingly now it's being sold as "Guild Starfire" with Guild on the headstock - a stratification of the main brand same as has worked for Gretsch. But I'm digressing here.... 

If some big name played Shijie, they could take off right enough. I remember Hagstrom becoming much higher profile after Pat Smear played one in Nirvana, and we'd probably not have brands like Eastwood around if Kurt Cobain, Jack White et al hadn't popularised a lot of those defunct sixties oddballs like Airplane and Univox. Let's not forget "Mosrite of California" (nothing to do with the original Mosrite company), who owe their entire existence to the Ventures and Johnny Ramone. 

Edited by EdwardMarlowe
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On 19/01/2021 at 18:31, EdwardMarlowe said:

I remember the Gibson case well (followed it out of both personal and professional interest). I wasn't surprised PRS won on Appeal. The first instance decision was nonsense - nobody spends that much on a guitar without having a fair idea what they are getting into, and the idea that anyone in any way would assume the PRS was a Gibson is bunk. Pretty transparently Gibson were trying to shut down a competitor who made them feel threatened, imo. Otherwise, Vintage would be a better rand to sue (look a lot more like Gibson, and really are a "copy" rather than "inspired by". 

I think you may be right.  Additionally, there are plenty of other makers out there doing almost exact replicas, like Heritage who even use the old Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, who weren't subject to this level of attention from Gibson.  So it seems sensible that they would feel threatened by PRS.

On 19/01/2021 at 18:31, EdwardMarlowe said:

That said, what I meant was guitar players were like "ok, fine, it's the PRS version of a Paul, that's cool" - the same people, by and large, who went apeshit when PRS did their version of a Strat. Granted, it was a step further away from *most*  of what PRS is known for, style wise (it seems everyone has forgotten their early 90s EG models, which are pretty damn close to these, if less blatantly "our version of the Strat),

And there is the 305, plus the swamp ash single coil models - that's all about as strat as a guitar needs to be for the sound and playability.  But the shape and the scratch plate also in the Silver Sky?  I don't blame some out there for interpreting this move as antagonism from Paul.

On 19/01/2021 at 18:31, EdwardMarlowe said:

Endorsements are an interesting thing. Definitely true that they sell product; Gibson and Fender so rarely advertise outside of the hobbyist press, but they continue to dominate the market largely because they got there first - all yer heroes play F or G, so you want F or  G and  when the next generation make it b ig playing F or G because their heroes did the new raft of kids in the audience want 'em.... self-perpetuating loop. At least we have some more variety in the market these days, but still. It's what makes me laugh a bit about people who whine and complain about "me too" brands.... generally exactly the same people I've often seen say they *would* buy X, but for "that ugly headstock - why can't they do a nice one, it's just not as good looking as the Fender..."

I think you're right about the pattern of emulation...which is ironic given music is supposed to be a creative industry.  One would expect a bit more originality from us guitarists.  But anyway, I think some of it is to do with many guitarists not being that interested in their instruments and just want something reliable without going down a rabbit hole of spec. that'll perform predictably...which is arguably Gibson also dropped the ball on...and PRS around the mid to late noughties.  Lee mentions in one of the early PRS review vids with Rob Chapman by Anderton  that PRS appear to have improved the quality.

And speaking of Chapman, and Sire.  Two brands that have managed to establish themselves through grass roots support via social media rather than support from the industry.  Hats off to both Rob and Kyle Kim for that.   Interestingly enough, Kyle Kim actually displayed Sire at NAMM with the support of Marcus Miller already in place.  Yet NOONE in the US was interested in representing the brand despite the clear and obvious game changing nature of the products.  So clearly even superstar endorsements aren't a silver bullet (although they have definitely helped Sire). 

Kyle Kim's theory is that there's a music industry cartel in place...which isn't exactly espousing the ideals of free trade and healthy competition.

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On 19/01/2021 at 10:31, EdwardMarlowe said:

Gibson and Fender so rarely advertise outside of the hobbyist press, but they continue to dominate the market largely because they got there first - all yer heroes play F or G, so you want F or  G and  when the next generation make it b ig playing F or G because their heroes did the new raft of kids in the audience want 'em.... self-perpetuating loop. At least we have some more variety in the market these days, but still. It's what makes me laugh a bit about people who whine and complain about "me too" brands....

I agree - and I also think there’s a degree of “shorthand” in the choice; 
 

I’m a rock guitarist. I play a Les Paul

I play mainly blues. I play a strat..

I’m a country boy. I got me a telecaster.

Etc.

Certain guitars are associated with certain genres and if you play that genre, you expect, and you’re expected, to play that guitar.

Until you find the confidence to make your own choices, the path of least resistance is to conform to the stereotypes.

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On 24/01/2021 at 10:25, Skinnyman said:

I agree - and I also think there’s a degree of “shorthand” in the choice; 
 

I’m a rock guitarist. I play a Les Paul

I play mainly blues. I play a strat..

I’m a country boy. I got me a telecaster.

Etc.

Certain guitars are associated with certain genres and if you play that genre, you expect, and you’re expected, to play that guitar.

Until you find the confidence to make your own choices, the path of least resistance is to conform to the stereotypes.

Funny though how those stereotypes can change. Look at how Gretsch are considered "the" Rockabilly guitar by so many now. Before Brian Setzer played one because Eddi Cochran did, it wasn't so.... in fact, more of the original recordings were apparently played on a Tele than anything else. So there's a now powerful stereotype that wasn't even based in reality... 

Audience expectation can dictate a lot, of course.  The rockabilly scene is notorious for shunning an act that doesn't get the look right. That's at least those who will listen to new bands. I've been at weekenders where people spend the whole weekend dancing to old records in the dj'ed room, no interest in the live bands because they're "not authentically fifties acts". People who refuse to listen to any music other than that which was recorded decades ago for purely ideological reasons.... I also know of people who have never owned an album by some of their favourite bands because they won't buy CDs, only vinyl.... I prefer vinyl too, but not to the exclusion of missing out when it's not an option! 

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