My column in last month’s Premier Guitar about profiling amps seemed to touch a nerve among guitarists even though it was really aimed at manufacturers of amplifiers. The debate raged on for a while, racking up some record website hits and massive pageviews of this blog as readers searched for information and backstory.
This month’s article is off to a similar start. It targets the idea that Fender created a de facto standardization of parts and simple manufacturing steps to make an electric guitar. It’s no secret that the Strat and Tele are the simplest instruments to build. Don’t get me wrong—I love bolt on Fenders. I worked in a factory where we made 900 a day. It’s the instrument equivalent of Lego.
My piece touches upon the shops that build parts (necks and bodies) for a swelling contingent of home-builders. Rather than name names or point fingers, I’ve merely laid out some of the story behind the ever-growing community of parts-guitar assemblers masquerading as “builders.” Also mentioned are the huge offshore factories that churn out instruments for lots of famous and not-so-famous brand names—side by side on the same production line. It seems that I’ve ruffled a few feathers, even among the folks wha actually build guitars from scratch. Go figure. They may be mad, or say it’s sour grapes—but they know I’m not lying.